I have the Gretsch Renown Maple kit and I have played the more expensive Yamaha Maple Absolute kit and I like the sound of my drums better! A plus is they cost half as much and the kick drum is a stand alone!
I play the Maple Renown too, and there is no set I would rather play. It really is a beautiful sounding set not to mention looking. It is so versatil, I use to have a rock/funk set and my jazz set, but with minor adjustments this set replaced both of them, and cost me less then just one of the others.
I have truly fallen in love with Gretsch, they do amazing work for a amazing price. Though, I must confess, I do have Yamaha snare.
The shells alone cost me $1,200. I bought the Gilbralter Rack to set them on. It was $250. For the price these are really great. I think they sound just as good as the high end Yamaha or DW drums. Totally worth the money.
I own a renown too and my old yamaha set cannot compare at all. Currently I play Sabian, but I am switching to Meinl for their contemporary sounds. Not to mention all of my hardware will be replaced with Sonor's 600 models. Also, I just bought a giant step double bass drum pedal and I thought the 9000 DW pedals were stable, boy was I blown away by sonor products. :shock: