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Reference Mission

What if each drum in your drum set was engineered as an instrument unto itself? What if each tom was designed to respond perfectly within the confines of its respective frequency without compromise over any other areas of your kit?

This is the mission behind Reference Series: A complete set of individually engineered, incredible sounding drums.

Brian Frasier Moore

Dennis Chambers

“The Reference Series is one of the greatest drum sets I’ve ever played in my life. My hat’s off to all that put this together.”

Omar Hakim

“From many years of dedication, craftsmanship, hard work and experience comes perfection. Pearl has given us a new level of perfection in The Reference Series Drums.”







All Drums are not created equal. So why make them all with the same wood type, edge and thickness? Reference toms, snares and bass drums each have a different “recipe” for their specific application and voice.

Optimised shell composition

snare
8
10
12
13
14
16
18
20
22
24
Shell composition
13" & 14" Snare Drums
20 ply, 25mm 14 Ply Maple 6 Ply Birch Sharp 45° Bearing Edge
8" Toms
6 ply, 7.5mm 4 ply Maple 2 Ply Birch Round 45° Bearing Edge
10" Toms
6 ply, 7.5mm 4 ply Maple 2 Ply Birch Round 45° Bearing Edge
12" Toms
6 ply, 7.5mm 6 ply Maple Round 45° Bearing Edge
13", 14", 15" Toms
6 ply, 7.5mm 4 ply Maple 2 ply Mahogany Round 45° Bearing Edge
14" Floor Toms
8 ply, 10mm 4 ply Maple 4 ply Mahogany Fully Rounded Bearing Edge
16" Floor Toms
8 ply, 10mm 2 ply Maple 6 ply Mahogany Fully Rounded Bearing Edge
18" Floor Toms
8 ply, 10mm 2 ply Maple 6 ply Mahogany Fully Rounded Bearing Edge
18" & 20" Bass Drums
6 ply, 7.5mm 2 ply Maple 4 ply Mahogany Fully Rounded Bearing Edge
22" Bass Drums
8 ply, 10mm 2 ply Maple / 6 ply Mahogany Fully Rounded Bearing Edge
24" Bass Drums
8 ply, 10mm 2 ply Maple / 6 ply Mahogany Fully Rounded Bearing Edge

Maple

maple
High Density Wood with fine texture High Frequency presence Naturally EQ’ed Sound

Birch

maple
Medium Density Wood, with beautiful grain Wide Dynamic Range Well Balanced Sound

African Mahogany

maple
Soft, flexible & durable wood, deep red brown colour High Frequency presence Naturally EQ’ed Sound

Optimised bearing edge

Next to the selection of wood, nothing influences the overall response and tonal dynamics of the drum as the bearing edge. It is the energy portal from the drum head to the shell. This is why the Reference Series incorporates 3 unique and task specific edges to optimise the tonal characteristics and dynamic range of each component.

45° sharp bearing edge

bearing bearing-line

The 45 degree bearing edge on Reference snare shells brings all 20 plies into play by promoting a tightly focused shell contact area for extreme sensitivity and maximum volume.

45° round bearing edge

round round-line

The rounded 45 degree bearing edge featured on our 8" through 13" Toms offer cutting attack and projection, all balanced with a solid punch.

Full round bearing edge

full-round full-round-line

The fully rounded bearing edge provides the ultimate solid punch and resonance by raising the overall contact area of the head to the shell. This allows maximum kinetic energy transfer from the head to the shell, resulting in maximum shell resonance.

Optimised shell thickness

Lower frequencies require greater energy to equal the projection of the higher frequencies. This means the larger diameter drums need to be thicker than the smaller drums. Reference drumsets feature two shell thicknesses: 6 plies on rack toms and 8 plies on bass drums and floor toms for incredibly balanced sound. The Reference Snare Drum has an alarmingly thick 20-ply shell, giving it incredible projection and cut, perfect for higher volume musical settings.

6 ply

6ply

6ply-7.5 mm. Exceptional for general purpose play, excellent projection with full bodied wood tone.

8 ply

8ply

8ply- 10mm. Maxium cut and projection with subdued sustain. Avoid diminishing the dynamics for bigger size drums.

Specs

Snare 20 ply
Tom 8"" - 16"" 16"" - 18""
6 ply 8 ply
Floortom 8 ply
Bass drum 18"" - 20"" 22"" - 24""
6 ply 8 ply

SST - Superior Shell Technology

Pearl’s Superior Shell Technology utilizes a proprietary technique for achieving the ultimate air chamber. It begins with select woods chosen for their unique acoustic attributes, milled to precise thickness with overlapping scarf joint seams, for a perfect air-tight t. The wood plies are saturated with Pearl’s proprietary “AcoustiGlue” that permeates every pore and dries to the exact consistency of the wood for optimum resonance. Finally, the plies are formed in high-temperature molds with 1000 PSI of hydraulic pressure to produce perfect drum shells that exhibit superior tone, optimal resonance and extreme strength.

Reference Snares

“The heart and soul of your kit is your snare drum and the Reference Series Snare Drums shines through loud and Clear”

Reference Features

Strength and Flexibility

Pearl’s revolutionary BRL-65/55 lugs assure the ultimate in head seating and tuning integrity. The unique swivel function allows the tension rods to align perfectly into the lugs so there’s no lateral pressure against the hoops, thus assuring maximum resonance and sustain.

Push, Turn, Lock, Play.

The SR-1000 Glide-Lock strainer features a locking tension knob to maintain snare tension settings no matter how hard you play. Simply push down and turn its large industrial machined knob to adjust tension and release it to lock.

Locked to Rock.

The Glide-Lock strainer incorporates a locking lever that eliminates accidental snare release once and for all. The lever locks with a reassuring click and keeps the snares positively engaged no matter how energetically you play. Depress the button in the top of the lever to engage or disengage the snares.

Reference Wood snares

6 inner plies of Birch unite with 14 outer plies of Maple for a staggeringly thick 20 ply shell. The 45 degree bearing edge brings all 20 plies to the party in a highly focused sweet spot. This projects the volume that you would expect from such a thick shell without losing sensitivity or articulation. The state-of-the-art in modern hardware adorns these snares to maximize every nuance of the shell construction.

Reference Brass snares

Reference Series offers the most advanced Brass snare drums in the World. The winning combination of extreme sensitivity and powerful volume make this snare drum a must-have for the working drummer. The Reference Brass snare with a 3mm shell redefines the standard for metal snare drums just as our wood Reference Series snare drums did for wood snare drums. The “wet and ringy” tone of 3mm Brass together with the powerful volume will satisfy the most demanding players.

The Reference Brass Snare Drum features Reference swivel lugs for perfect tension rod alignment, MasterCast die cast hoops, SR-1000 Glide Lock strainer with patented locking lever that prevents the throw-off from disengaging no matter how hard you play, and UltraSound SN-1420D Graduated Tension Snares for extended dynamic range and sensibility.

Available in 14”x6.5” and 14”x5.5”


RFB1450
RFB1465

Reference Cast Steel

The Reference Cast Steel Snare drum with its brutally assertive power is the brightest snare within the metal snare drum assortment. This Reference Snare drum sets a standard for all other metal snare drums. The most demanding drummer will be blown away by the power in combination with the extreme sensitivity this snare drum has to offer. The 2.5mm Cast Steel shell is a unique shell, heavy, but up for extreme duties and needs a drummer that can handle that many extremities in this stunning beauty.

The Cast Steel Snare Drum features Reference swivel lugs for perfect tension rod alignment, MasterCast die cast hoops, SR-1000 Glide Lock strainer with patented locking lever that prevents the throw-off from disengaging no matter how hard you play, and UltraSound SN-1420D Graduated Tension Snares for extended dynamic range and sensibility.

Available in 14”x6.5” and 14”x5.5”

RFS1450
RFS1465

Drum hardware / features

Lug design

Bridge style lugs and floor tom brackets provide maximum resonance with minimal shell contact. Pearl’s revolutionary BRL lugs assure the ultimate in head seating and tuning integrity. The unique swivel function allows the tension rods to align perfectly into the lugs so there’s no lateral pressure against the hoops, thus assuring maximum resonance and sustain.

Bass drum claw hook

Our bass drum claws incorporate rubber hoop isolators for scratch prevention on lacquered hoops, provide evenly distributed clamping force for consistent tuning. The key bolts are recessed for snag-free fit in carrying cases and to eliminate accidental detuning.

Floor Tom Leg Brackets Air Suspension
Rubber Tips

Full height adjustment with our built in memory lock keeps floor tom positioning perfectly set. Our patented Air Suspension Rubber Tip allows your floor tom to rest on a cushion of air. These large rubber feet prevents premature sound decay from floor contact. Floor toms never had it so good.

OptiMount
Suspension System

The OptiMount Suspension System provides tom mounting with zero shell contact for ultimate resonance. By attaching to the tension bolts via isolated rubber bushings the shell is allow to float which in turn allows it to sing to its fullest capabilities.

Mastercast Die-cast Hoopdesign

Our die cast hoops offer state-of-the-art head seating and tuning capabilities thanks to their structural strength and precision manufacturing technique. The MasterCast Hoop system prevents binding and allows the shell to resonate to its absolute fullest potential.

Bass drum spur

Our telescoping spurs feature rubber or spike tips for maximum traction control. The high-grip rubber tip can be retracted to allow a recessed spike to be exposed for maximum “bite” on carpeted surfaces.

Pearl’s Ultra High Gloss finishes 31-step process

A work of art.

You can recognize Reference Drums by its signature finish. Looking up close, you can see how beautiful the Reference finishes are, with its stunning layers and incredible depth.

The art of making an Ultra High Gloss finish lays in the painting process and polishing, where beauty matches with durability. Our paint craftsmen undertake a painstakingly 31-step process to make the Reference drums look as good as they sound! Pearl’s finishes are the industry state-of-the-art.

The choice is yours, selecting your Ultra High Gloss Finish out of 30 available options.

Select a finish »

Colour selector

#102 - Natural Maple
#109 - Arctic White
#393 - Purple Craze II
#100 - Red Wine
#103 - Piano Black
#111 - Matte Natural
#124 - Matte Black
#151 - Platinum Mist
#154 - Midnight Fade
#155 - Scarlet Fade
#160 - Silver Sparkle
#165 - Diamond Burst
#166 - Black Gold Sparkle
#195 - Crystal Rain
#199 - Navy Blue Sparkle
#201 - Matte Walnut
#302 - Inca Gold Burst
#310 - Brooklyn Burst
#329 - Burnished Branze Sparkle
#330 - Ivory Pearl
#331 - Black Pearl
#332 - Red Pearl
#335 - Black Cherry
#342 - Vintage Tobacco Burst
#345 - Satin Auburn
#355 - Antique Walnut
#377 - Scarlet Sparkle Burst
#400 - White Marine Pearl
#406 - Bronze Glass
#483 - Vintage Marine Pearl

Configurations

RF924XEDP
22x16 bass drum
10x7 tom
12x8 tom
16x16 floor tom
RF924XSP
22x18 bass drum
10x8 tom
12x9 tom
16x16 floor tom
RF923XSP
22x16 bass drum
12x8 tom
16x16 floor tom
RF943XP
24x14 bass drum
12x8 tom
16x16 floor tom
RF903XP
20x14 bass drum
12x8 tom
14x14 floor tom

Reference Gallery