I remember Pearl drums from the old days (70's) when they were humble, cheap knock-offs and cost $200 for a full 4-piece kit. Of course, they sold like Coney Island hot dogs and they invested their profits wisely and GREATLY improved their products. Tama did the same. In the 90's, I bought a nice vintage Slingerland kit that I was so proud-of... I played a show with another drummer who was using a Pearl Export set. I was so pissed-off when I heard those cheap Pearl drums... they sounded WAY better than my Slingerlands that I'd spent so much money on. Now... I know it could have been the heads, mic-ing, etc. There are a million variables. But I'd played a Pearl Export kit before, in a rehearsal studio. Those drums are amazing. It is possible to make them sound freakin' amazing! And they're like, the cheapest thing out there! I would advise ANY young drummer out there with a limited budget to consider Pearl Exports.