Buying a new drum set can be a bit intimidating. Especially if you have not been playing very long. With so many different brands on the market and so many options and opinions, it makes choosing a new drum set a bit challenging. My advice is to go to severel different music stores or drum shops and get as many opinions as you can from as many different drum sales reps as possible.
While you are in the drum shops beat around on the different brands of drum sets that are displayed and listen for which ones are most appealing to your ears. Since different drum sets and drum manufacturers make their shells out of different types of wood, sounds will vary. Most entry-level drum kits are made of basswood or mahogany, which is cheaper wood that does not produce a high quality sound . Higher-end drums use more expensive wood such as birch or maple, which produce a more rich, more resonant tone, but also require a higher price tag.
There is a minor difficulty to overcome about the drum sets on display, and that is, most display drum sets are not muted, or not muted properly. So, you will have to bring some felt or something with you to the drum shop along with some tape assuming the drum store doesn't have anything you can use (it happens). Also, ask the drum rep if you can remove the front bass drum head so you can insert a pillow, blanket, or your coat in as a mute if there isn't a mute already in there. When your shopping for new cymbals be sure to bring your own sticks with you into the drum shop. When your crashing the crashes, riding the rides, and splashing the splashes, you want to get a good feel for them as you will be more comfortable with the sticks you are used to drumming with.
A quick tip. be sure to write your name on your sticks or mark them somehow before you take them into the drum store. Also, inform the drum reps at the store upon entering that you are bringing in your own sticks. You don't want them to think you stole them when you leave. Obviously, one of the first things you need to consider when contemplating purchasing a new drum set is your budget. Drums are available in a wide range of prices, but unlike most other instruments, you can buy drums one at a time and build your kit as your budget allows.
You can start with as little as a new snare drum for your old kit, and then some new cymbals, then on to some new hardware or drum accessories. All of which can be purchased for less on eBay. I know you will not be able to test anything on eBay before you purchase it, but that's why you do your homework first. Go shop around at your local drum store and then zero in on your purchases.
Dan Brown has been drumming since 1976. Sign up for his FREE weekly newsletter and get tips, ideas, articles, and merchandise! http://www.dbdrumtips.com/