cheapest DW line (excluding the Chinese made PDP, of course): made in Taiwan, comparable to Gretsch Renown.
I own a DW design brass snare, I really like it. It tuned up easier than any snare I have owned in10 years or so. Solid, beefy, easy to control overtones.
I have come very close to buying a Frequent Flyer set (20-12-14) a few times, and would like to get one some day.
5 piece kit new from Sweetwater is about $1600
comparable 5 piece Gretsch Renown is $1550
A blurb about the shells from DW:
HVLT grain orientation and slightly thicker 1/32" plies of North American maple are a potent combination that delivers a full tonal spectrum, attack, punch, and sonic versatility. Design Series™ shells are tailored for just about every style of music.
Design Series® 8" toms feature a 7-ply HVLT construction, while the snares feature 10-ply HVX, and the 10"-18", along with all bass drums, feature 8-ply HVLT construction.
I really like the Tobacco Burst... here it is in the DW Design FF kit:
I saw an ad today for the Design series acrylic shell drums with Chad Smith. Those, to me, sounded very weak. The drums weren't mic'd and he played the snare mainly. They looked fantastic. The color was a sea green/blue. No vistalites in that color.