DW Performance Series toms have a very distinct tonal quality similar to that of the Collector's Series. It's that aggressive attack followed by a warm low, and when the batter and resonant heads are in harmony with each other you get a nice pitch sustain throughout its decay. I've demoed many DW kits and always hoped to buy one some day. When I finally did I went with the Performance Series because it sounds so close to the Collector's Series. The Design Series sounds more like a hybrid between a DW and any other brand's mid-level kit, and so even though it's cheaper I knew I would not be completely satisfied in that trademark sound I was looking for. The bass drum is both punchy and big sounding, with good tone so long as there's not too much muffling. The snare has good dynamic range between low and high volumes, and sounds good with low, mid, and high tuning. Not too much overtone, and just the right amount of openness. I am very happy with this kit. My shell sizes are 18 x 22 kick, 14 x 6.5 snare, 8 x 10 tom, 9 x 12 tom, and 14 x 16 tom.
Even though the hardware is not quite as robust as the collector's series, it is still very strong and looks great. The 1/2" diameter for the tom mounts and floor tom legs help to keep everything stable, and the STM mounts are awesome for improving the drum's natural sustain. I have the white ice lacquer finish. I imagine it will get nicked and chipped more than a finish ply wrap, but overall the drums and hardware both are really solid.
Compared to the Collector's series I would give this a 5 value. Unless I wanted to customize my options, I wouldn't likely ever buy a collector's after owning one of these. Compared to drum kits in general I would go with a 4 for value. If buying separately, I feel that the snare drum is somewhat overpriced. I have a few cheaper snare drums that sound nearly as good.
A DW drum kit has a unique look and sound which stands out from the masses. It looks great under stage lights, and the turret lugs with STM mounts really make it look like a top level pro kit in every way. Normally I would use a medium amount of muffling on my kit. With this one I like it wide open, except for the 2 bass drum pillows that came with it.
I've been a drummer for 30 years. Right now I'm a hobby drummer playing in a local cover band on my spare weekends. I play mostly rock (modern & classic), metal, country, and pop.