I get real curious when I get to try drums in person that I have no experience with. The last "drum set" I bought was ~16 years ago. Lots has happened in the market since then and it's very difficult to fully assess a drum set without taking it home, putting different heads on it, and trying various tunings from the bottom up. Next best thing is to sit without a timing rush in a drum shop with some quiet, a drum key, and kit in question.That's a really interesting point. I wonder if that has to do with the blend of woods for those shells.
Getting back to the SJC kit for Steve...he doesn't like messing with his heads and hardware. He wants it to tune quickly and hold it. So finding that sweet spot for him would be a major hassle he wants no part of.
What's interesting here is that to me, that sweet spot issue sounds incredibly limiting. Limiting to the sound and feel of the drum. Again, without this being a slam on any of these drum lines...just going by your past experiences (which in just about everyone's case will be more extensive than mine), has anyone encountered such limitations? Or am I leaping to the wrong conclusion? I'm just curious.
When I sat with the yamaha tour custom in a shop, I was pretty shocked how much trouble it was giving me to get full "in tune" sounds out of the toms. I think I would have gotten it eventually, but I wondered if that tuning would slip with heavy playing and leave me in the lurch. As long as no one has bought that kit yet, I will sit with it again and see. Twas a surprise though.
A month later I tuned a stage custom birch and found it a breeze, but it had double ply batter heads on it. It made me start shopping for a set casually.
I also recorded on a dw collectors kit over ten years ago and tuned and tuned to try to get the toms to sound good, but they fought me at every corner (the bass drum was huge live though). We swapped the kit for a premier cabria and everything dialed in quickly.
I also had a dw floor tom shock me once with how quickly it tuned up so I never really equate a brand or model to a hard expectation without hearing it. I like to be pleasantly surprised and know that the visuals, marketing, and hype are affecting me.