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What if each drum in your drum set was engineered as an instrument unto itself? What if each tom was designed to respond perfectly within the confines of its respective frequency without compromise over any other areas of your kit? This is the mission behind Reference Series: A complete set of individually engineered, incredible sounding drums. So forget what you think you know about drums and take a look at Reference Series, the most acoustically advanced drums in the world.
Reference Series Drums are the product of what became a two and a half year search for harmonic perfection. Like keys on a piano, each drum in a kit should combine to create a singular instrument without losing its own sonic signature.
With this concept in mind, Pearl explored the many options in the Masterworks crafting process to find the perfect combination of shell material, thickness, and edge profile for each individual size and type of drum. The result is a collective of individualy-engineered drums dialed-in to the best sonic character for that drum’s intended voice.
Truly, the reference standard for quality and sound performance.
Reference Series drums use a combination of task specific bearing edges and 3 time proven woods: Birch, Maple, and African Mahogany. Using Maple as a sole material has long been the traditional choice for shells and for good reason. Maple provides smooth, well balanced tone that is perfect for a 12" tom. Subsequently, all Reference Series 12" toms are composed of 6 plies of Maple. The only single wood shell in the series. Our 10" and 8" toms receive 4 plies of Maple with 2 inner plies of Birch for cut and attack. And for maximum response, all 13" and smaller toms have a rounded 45° bearing edge.
Beginning with our 13" tom and larger, Mahogany is added to the inner plies to increase the lower frequencies and accentuate the warmth of the Maple. The 14" toms and larger begin using our fully rounded bearing edge for even more shell contact. Our 18" and 20" bass drums use 4 inner plies of Mahogany with 2 outer plies of Maple. As the size of the bass drums increase, so does the amount of Mahogany. Our 22" and 24" bass drums incorporate an amazing 6 inner plies of Mahogany surrounded by 2 outer plies of Maple for the ultimate in solid responsive bass frequencies.
With Reference Series, it’s not about compromise, it’s about every drum in your kit performing at its optimal capacity.
Maple is a fine grain wood with a smooth even texture. This highly respected wood offers a very wide dynamic range with extremely well balanced acoustic properties. Rich lustrous lows, with an even balance of mid tones and high frequencies, have made this the all around accepted premium shell material for years in the acoustic drum industry. This mix of creamy warm resonant mid to high frequencies, balanced with the propensity for powerful bass response, makes it the logical choice for our 12” toms, which also happens to be the only single wood shell in the series.
A straight grained wood with a fine, even texture, Birch is known for its strength and resilience. It provides a lively interior springboard for sound waves, which in turn creates a noticeable increase in the higher frequencies. This makes it the perfect interior for smaller tom-toms. Birch’s tightly bound network of cells also promotes a perfect balance of mid-range frequencies, with a smooth transition from the lower register to middle register. The 8” and 10” toms incorporate 2 inner plies of Birch for cutting attack and high frequency presence.
African Mahogany is a relatively “soft” hardwood that offers a dramatic boost in lower frequencies. This bass boost effect is most likely due to its loosely packed cellulose network, which creates a natural resonator effect in the lower frequencies. This predisposition for powerful lows makes it the logical choice for the interior of 13” and larger toms. All Reference Series bass drums utilize 4 to 6 inner plies of Mahogany to produce a noticeably present bass response, as well as a naturally smooth sonic transition into the mid-range frequencies.
The 45 degree bearing edge on Reference snare shells brings all 20 plies into play by promoting a tightly focused shell contact area for extreme sensitivity and maximum volume. The six inner plies of Birch provide a resilient crack, which is balanced and warmed by the 14 outer plies of Maple. The ultimate balance of power, projection and resonance, Reference Snare Drums are unlike anything you have ever experienced.
The rounded 45 degree bearing edge featured on our 8” through 13” Toms offer cutting attack and projection, all balanced with a solid punch. This edge promotes a finely balanced interaction between the individual wood plies that allow the smaller toms to sing with amazing clarity, without premature delay. The journey of the energy from the head to the shell is given a much more direct path with the rounded edge.
The fully rounded bearing edge provides the ultimate solid punch and resonance by raising the overall contact area of the head to the shell. This allows maximum kinetic energy transfer from the head to the shell, resulting in maximum shell resonance. This is the logic for using the fully rounded edge on 14” through 18” toms, for absolutely thunderous tom fills. Our 18” to 24” bass drums utilize also utilize this edge for a deep solid punch, creating sound pressure levels that are felt just as much as they are heard.
Lower frequencies require greater energy to equal the projection of the higher frequencies, requiring the larger diameter drums to be thicker than the smaller drums. Reference drumsets feature two very different shell thicknesses: 6 plies on rack toms and 8 plies on bass drums and floor toms, for incredibly balanced sound. The Reference Snare Drum has an alarmingly thick 20-ply shell, giving it incredible projection and cut, perfect for higher volume musical settings.
Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology utilizes a proprietary technique for achieving the ultimate air chamber. It begins with select woods chosen for their unique acoustic attributes, milled to precise thickness with overlapping scarf joint seams, for a perfect air-tight fit. The wood plies are saturated with Pearl’s proprietary “AcoustiGlue” that permeates every pore and dries to the exact consistency of the wood for optimum resonance. Finally, the plies are formed in high-temperature molds with 1000 PSI of hydraulic pressure to produce perfect drum shells that exhibit superior tone, optimal resonance and extreme strength.
The same tireless pursuit of perfection that goes into our legendary drums is found in our hardware. Hardware designed to maximize the sound of your drums. Pearl Hardware has set the standard for strength, durability and innovation. It’s the choice of working professionals who depend on their equipment. Surefooted on stage or in the studio, when the show must go on, count on Pearl hardware.
Bridge style lugs and floor tom brackets provide maximum resonance with minimal shell contact. Pearl’s revolutionary BRL lugs assure the ultimate in head seating and tuning integrity. The unique swivel function allows the tension rods to align perfectly into the lugs so there’s no lateral pressure against the hoops, thus assuring maximum resonance and sustain. Choice of Chrome, Nickel, Gold Plated, or Black Chrome Plated, & Black Nickel Drum Hardware (**Extra Charge For Nickel, Gold, Black Chrome Plating, Black Nickel)
Our bass drum claws incorporate rubber hoop isolators for scratch prevention on lacquered hoops, provide evenly distributed clamping force for consistent tuning. The key bolts are recessed for snag-free fit in carrying cases and to eliminate accidental detuning.
Full height adjustment with our built in memory lock keeps floor tom positioning perfectly set. Our patented Air Suspension Rubber Tip allows your floor tom to rest on a cushion of air. These large rubber feet prevents premature sound decay from floor contact. Floor toms never had it so good.
The OptiMount Suspension System provides tom mounting with zero shell contact for ultimate resonance. By attaching to the tension bolts via isolated rubber bushings the shell is allow to float which in turn allows it to sing to its fullest capabilities.
Our die cast hoops offer state-of-the-art head seating and tuning capabilities thanks to their structural strength and precision manufacturing technique. The MasterCast Hoop system prevents binding and allows the shell to resonate to its absolute fullest potential.
Our telescoping spurs feature rubber or spike tips for maximum traction control. The high-grip rubber tip can be retracted to allow a recessed spike to be exposed for maximum “bite” on carpeted surfaces.
Pearl’s stainless steel tension rods are machined from a single piece of stainless steel to the most exacting tolerances in the industry. They feature super smooth and precise tensioning with absolutely no play. Each is matched with a precision-machined brass swivel nut for ultra-precise performance.
*HARDWARE, CYMBALS & SNARE NOT INCLUDED*
*FLOOR TOM LEGS INCLUDED, TOM MOUNTS NOT INCLUDED*