The Pearl Compact Drum Kit

When I moved to Japan in 2016 from Hawaii, I began looking for a solid compact drum kit. In this article I’m going to share with you about the Pearl Midtown compact drum kit I discovered and how I think it will be great for you too. It’s roadworthy, lightweight, compact and most of all, sounds great.

My Pearl Midtown compact drum kit.

Drum Kits

Drum kits or drum sets as they’re also called, come in different different sizes. In Rock drumming, for example, drum kits are usually large.

Rock music has heavy amplification for the other instruments so the drums have to make a bigger sound too. In addition to being larger, the number of drums on a typical Rock drum set can range from 5 to several dozen.

In Jazz drumming, drum kits have traditionally been small. The music we play in Jazz is more intimate and often acoustic so smaller drums with smaller sound fit this music well.

A compact drum kit is ideal for Jazz drumming.
Jazz drum kits are usually smaller than Rock drum kits.

Jazz drum sets are compact drum kits with usually only 4 drums. The drum sizes are also smaller than on a Rock drum set.

Compact drum kit necessity

In Hawaii, I always drove to gigs so I could bring any amount of drum gear I desired. In Japan however, the train is how I get to most of my gigs. So, compact lightweight drums and hardware are a must.

In Hawaii I used a typical Jazz drum kit but it wasn't a compact drum kit.
Drumming in Hawaii with great vocalist Alison Adams Tucker.

Most clubs in Japan have backline gear including a full drum set. Usually, I bring only my snare drum, sticks, cymbals and kick pedal with me to most of my shows.

There are frequent occasions however, when I need to bring an entire drum kit. For full drum set gigs, I bring my Pearl Midtown drum set.


You might also like my article about the best drum throne cushion. It’s inexpensive and will relive back and leg pain from drumming.


Me on the train with my compact drum kit.
On the train with my drums.

The best drum set

The best drum set all comes down to what you need your drum set to do for you. All drum makers have high-end and entry-level drum kits. Often entry level kits don’t sound like a high-end drum kit at all. The Pearl Midtown is an exception to that rule.

When I lived in Hawaii, I owned the Rick Marotta HipGig drum set for a couple of years. It was cool but the toms and snare sounded thin and the bass drum was too boomy. In fact, I used to joke that the bass drum was like a canon.

I was also interested in the Yamaha Manu Katché Junior Kit. The sound was great but by the time I was ready to get one here in Japan, the price had gone up astronomically. It’s good but not worth over $1000.

I was always a Yamaha guy and never seriously thought about playing any other drums. Then, I discovered the Pearl Midtown drumset and my mind was blown! The size….the sound….the price….perfection!

Below is a video from a show I did with my Pearl Midtown compact drum kit. It’ll give you an idea of its sound.

Professional drum kits

If you’re a regular working drummer like me, you might be looking for a compact drum kit that has a great sound. Professional drum kits are usually the high-end more expensive drum sets.

The reason for this is that we have to use our drums on stage and in the recording studio. Microphones expose all of the good, bad and ugly sound of any drum set.

Me in the recording studio with my Pearl Midtown compact drum kit.

There are other compact drum kits out there but the Pearl Midtown has worked for me in numerous recording sessions and live performances.

My recommendation criteria

As with everything I recommend, the Pearl Midtown drumset, gig bags and hardware meet my two criteria for sharing with you.

  1. I use them and they’ve been great for me.
  2. I think they’ll benefit you too.

Buying through my affiliate links at the bottom of this article, it’s a convenient way for you to get your drum gear and an easy way to support this drumming blog. Thank you 🤙


The Pearl Midtown compact drum kit

I’m just going to lay it out here. The Pearl Midtown is the best compact drum kit on the market. I can use it on gigs in large halls to small clubs and even in the recording studio.

I take my Pearl Midtown compact drum kit to gigs in large halls too.

The sound is warm, full and responsive to different venue acoustics. In the picture above I was playing a large hall here in Japan.

The sound tech staff couldn’t believe the beefy sound I was getting out of my kick. They were impressed with the overall tone and depth of the entire kit.

I generally use the full kit for live performances but if I’m heading to the recording studio, I’ll swap out the 13″ snare for a 14″ snare. The Pearl Midtown drumset sizes are:

  • Elevated kick drum with kick pedal plate: 16×14”
  • Rack tom with mounting arm: 10×6”
  • Floor tom with legs: 13×13″
  • Snare drum: 13×5.5″
The Pearl Midtown compact drum kit sounds great in the recording studio.

Getting to the gig with my compact drum kit

For transport, I take off one of the floor tom leg brackets and nest the floor tom inside the bass drum. I then reassemble when I’m at the gig. I can put the drum throne cushion inside the floor tom as well.


If you’re looking for a good drum throne, I have an article with 3 solid recommendations. I own 2 of them and regularly play on the third one.


The Pearl Midtown compact drum kit can be easily transported.

The snare fits into a 13×5″ snare bag. It then slides nicely in the hardware bag.

The rack tom fits into a 10×8″ tom bag.

The rack tom then stacks nicely next to the bass drum/floor tom gig bag with the hardware bag at the bottom. See the pictures below of my set loaded up for a gig.

The compact drum sizes but full sound, make the Pearl Midtown the best compact drum kit on the market in my opinion.

My compact drum kit on a drum cart.

Now let’s weigh in

The Pearl Midtown shell pack doesn’t weigh too much, only about 46 pounds (21 kg). I have also created an ultra compact, lightweight hardware setup.

It’s pieced together with spare hardware I had and a few new components. I think you’ll get the idea of how to do it when you see the pictures below.

My special hardware design for my Pearl Midtown compact drum kit.
This is the ride cymbal hardware assembly I use on my compact drum kit.
I use a mix of drum hardware makers in my compact drum kit.
Here is the crash cymbal hardware assembly I use for my compact drum kit.
A compact drum kit will make transporting your drum kit to the gig much easier.

My goal has always been to reduce the hardware weight as much as possible. I am not endorsing any particular drum maker so I pick and choose what I like from different companies.

The total weight including the cart and drum rug is about 95 pounds (43 kg). Not too bad considering we’re talking about a full drum set here. A drum set that will sound great with most any style of music you throw at it in both large and small spaces.


Here are the affiliate links to everything I use in my Pearl Midtown compact drum kit. Many thanks in advance for supporting this blog.

DRUMS

DRUM HARDWARE

DRUMS, HARDWARE AND CYMBAL BAGS

HAND TRUCK


Conclusion

As with everything I share with you, my ultimate focus is to help you be the best and most successful drummer you can be. If you are looking for a terrific compact drum kit, the Pearl Midtown drum set will get the job done.

The sound, size and price are all perfect. Mine has paid for itself so many times over, I’ve lost count!

I’ve also got a video about the Pearl Midtown compact drum kit. It might answer some other questions you have and help you make a more informed decision about purchasing a compact drum kit.

I know purchasing any drum set is an important decision. I hope the information I have shared will help you make the best decision for your drumming needs. Keep swinging and KEEP ON DRUMMIN’!

Do you have a compact drum set that you like play on?


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