Now this is the sore area. You want a professional kit, but without the thrills and spills of a premium kit. You want a kit that's great in the studio and live but don't really care about how it looks. For some this is enough, you can have this as your last ever kit if you want, but for some the lure of the premium is too much. For now, here is the best of the best.
Third place is the Ludwig Epic. Set in the intermediate price point, but sadly for a reason. Heads. By far and large the worst heads ever placed on a drum kit. Once fitted with appropriate heads it hits into the high price point. Used by Ludwig artists in the studio and live it has proven its worth many times over. If you can catch a downbeat kit, then you are a very lucky person. Thin shells, vintage sound and one of the very few kits to stand out with a unique sound. If it had standard great heads, it would win this hands down.
Second place is the Mapex Saturn. Great sound and the industry standard as professional kits now. Come with great heads and pre tuned means great right out of the box. Great price point too.
First place is the Gretsch Renown. Amazing all maple kits by a fantastic company. Very punchy, great heads and again great out of the box. Not much else to say, at this level all the kits sound great and have there own things to offer.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your new kit. Oli.