The best of the best.
What if each drum in your drum set was engineered as an instrument unto itself? Each tom designed to respond perfectly within the confines of its respective frequency without compromise over any other area of your kit. This is the mission behind Reference Series. A complete set of individually engineered, incredible sounding drums.
In 1999, Pearl began its most ambitious undertaking, The Masterworks Series, the world's first truly custom drums. Designed for the player by the player. Every aspect of the manufacturing process was custom made, from the number of wood plies, the wood selection, to the final finish. Over the last five years, through arduous listening tests, Masterworks has taught us a great deal about drums and what makes the perfect shell. So forget what you think you know about drums and take a close look at Reference Series, the most acoustically advanced drums in the world. To fully understand the Reference Series you must understand that the desired tonal characteristics of a 10" tom are completely different than that of a 22" bass drum. Thus to use the same material in both drums would result in a compromise.
Reference Series drums use a combination of task-specific bearing edges and three time-proven woods: birch, maple, and African mahogany. Using maple as a sole material has long been the traditional choice for shells and for good reason. Maple provides smooth, well-balanced tone that is perfect for a 12" tom. Subsequently, all Reference Series 12" toms are composed of six plies of maple; this is the only single wood shell in the series. Pearl's 10" and 8" toms receive four plies of maple with two inner plies of birch for cut and attack. And for maximum response, all 13" diameter and smaller toms have a rounded 45° bearing edge, a more focused area for head-to-shell contact to boost mid- to higher-range frequencies.
Beginning with Pearl's 13" tom and larger, mahogany is added to the inner plies to increase the lower frequencies and accentuate the warmth of the maple. The 14" diameter toms and larger begin using Pearl's fully-rounded bearing edge for even more shell contact for a boost in mid to low range frequencies.
With Pearl's Reference Series, it's not about compromise, it's about every drum in your kit performing at its optimal capacity.