Yamaha birch drums, and saving money!

EqyptianJesus

Junior Member
I am very curious as to why Yamaha Stage Custom sets appear to sound better than Yamahas birch Absolute drums. Our pep band in high school made use of a Stage Custom kit as we know them today (im just class of 2013), with the first YESS mounting jigger Yamaha innovated and the metal-to-wood rubbing-off of the lacquer paint on the bass drum hoops and all of that, and it sounded good, like, i would buy one. Demonstrations of the sound of Yamaha Stage Custom kits on Youtube even reflect the same kind of niftiness i remember hearing in front of and behind the kit.

But i like how it seems to get better with Yamahas Absolute series. But, my problem is that all of the sound examples ive found on Youtube of these Absolute kits made out of "higher-quality(?)" Hokkaido, Japan-grown birch, as opposed to somewhere-in-Indonesia-grown birch of the Stage Custom kits, dont sound as quality. I feel as though its just me, but now i can ask!

With all of the differences between the two kits, including but not limited to [the marketing of] a home-grown vs. less-expensive wood, and all of the variables taken into account (tuning, heads, rims, mounts, cameras, mics, room, etc.), has anyone else noticed a more favorable Stage Custom sound than that of an Absolute? And, if it turns out that the price difference between SCs and Absolutes exceeds the quality difference, one could get a Stage Custom kit, change heads of course, replace the metal tuning rod washers with nylon ones, purchase thicker hoops, unscrew the tom mounts (or mount; im a four-piece guy) and floor tom legs, and get a RIMS-esque mount or FlexFrame for the tom(s) and DynaMount the floor tom, and theoretically have the best sounding kit-hardware relationship for birch drums ever for like a thousand bucks, as opposed to the faaaat price of a stock Absolute kit.

And one might wanna exchange the metal bass drum claws with ones with rubber lining. But this has gotten very hypothetical. What do you guys think?
 

makinao

Silver Member
Let me get this straight. You are comparing a kit you personally heard with your own ears, versus a kit you heard only on youtube? A fair comparison would be either 1) you heard both kits with your own ears, or 2) you heard both kits recorded in the same studio with the same setup.
 

slowrocker

Silver Member
First of all, Youtube is not always an accurate sound of the drums. You have to consider mic quality, room acoustics, possible eq work tuning and heads as well as who is playing the drums. The reasons for higher prices: Better quality hardware, more care taken in making the drums, the finishes (although honey amber stage customs look amazing) and other things involved as well. Your talking about a well known top of the line birch set against a great intermediate set/gigging set.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I got a stage custom for band practice/live shows the other week. It's really all you need.

The snare is a bit average but I'm more into metal snares anyway. Just put some nice heads on and you're set. Awesome stands too.. Really light and smart designs. I'm really happy with it.

Don't worry about swapping all the hardware over.
 

makinao

Silver Member
I've been in the studio with a Stage Custom back in 1999 and with an Absolute Maple in 2005. They were in different studios, but with similar mike setup, and played by the same drummer. I heard them with my own ears from the driver's seat while helping the engineer with the sound check, listening to the drummer warm up, and in the control room as the producer.

There is little difference ... if you aren't paying attention. But having listened to them closely by themselves or mediated by a sound system, then the Absolute series is my preference. It is paradoxically sounds more focused but complex at the same time, which to me is one of the characteristics of a great acoustic instrument. It also has a wider tuning sweet spot, which is good if you need to tune the drums to sit in the scale of a song. I'm not saying the SC was useless. It was actually fun to use because it had a raw urgent sound that fit the songs we were working on at the time. But the Absolutes were really a joy to use because we could do so much with them, and they sounded good any way we set them up.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Both are fantastic birch kits. I own a Recording Custom that uses the same wood as the Birch Customs. I also just toured with a Stage Custom from China. I used the same model heads on both kits.

The Recording Custom has a little more of a polished sound to it. In fact most studio engineers don't have to EQ it much when I do sessions.

The Stage custom performed beautifully live, but required a little more attention to get it to sound perfect.

I think you would be happy with any of Yamaha's birch drums, and if you want to save some money and get a stage custom, you wont be disappointed.
 

sciomako

Silver Member
Hi Dre25,

Any head suggestions for the Stage Custom snare?

I got a stage custom for band practice/live shows the other week. It's really all you need.

The snare is a bit average but I'm more into metal snares anyway. Just put some nice heads on and you're set. Awesome stands too.. Really light and smart designs. I'm really happy with it.

Don't worry about swapping all the hardware over.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Sorry, I've hardly even used the snare... I put it in the corner and the chad smith snare took its place (I'm a metal guy).
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
Got the stage custom a few years ago for our church and am very impressed with it. Run clear emperors on the toms with clear ambassadors on the reso. PS3 batter and reso of the bass and I tried a coated ps3 on the snare and was/am quite happy with how it sounds. I tried the stock yamaha head on it, not impressed. Tried a coated ambassador (pretty much the same as the stock head) and still just wasn't happy. Put the PS3 on and it's giving the tone I need for the room and music we play.
 

BGH

Gold Member
I'm not sure what this thread is about. Whether one kit 'sounds better' than another kit is totally subjective. There's no denying that Absolutes are more expensive, but its sort of a moot point; you can't buy them anymore unless you buy a used kit or find a kit in stock in a shop. As most of us know, they have been discontinued by Yamaha, along with most of the other Japanese made lines.

Do the current Stage Series make a nice beginner, intermediate or even pro kit? Yes. Were the Birch Absolutes some of the best birch kits made, right along with the Recording Customs? Yes. Tons of drummers have owned either RC's or BCA's. Are they highly regarded? Yes. To each, his own. When buying a kit (or anything else for that matter), cost is usually a factor. Stages offer excellent value, but do lack a bit in overall quality compared to Absolutes. 'You get what you pay for' as they say, but there's nothing wrong with owning either series.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
...one could get a Stage Custom kit, change heads of course, replace the metal tuning rod washers with nylon ones, purchase thicker hoops, unscrew the tom mounts (or mount; im a four-piece guy) and floor tom legs, and get a RIMS-esque mount or FlexFrame for the tom(s) and DynaMount the floor tom,...

...And one might wanna exchange the metal bass drum claws with ones with rubber lining... But What do you guys think?

I think you could do that. But it's a lot of work, a lot of parts chasing, and a lot of time involved.
I'm not sure where you could get some of the parts without purchasing the used drums that they're attached to.
If some of the parts aren't exact matches, it might mean having to drill new holes, and plug old ones.
And personally, I don't care for your idea about the mounts. I like Yamaha's mounting system just fine.
In the end, you'd have a modified Stage Custom kit, that would have value to you, but might not have much more resale value than a stock kit.
 

JosephDAqui

Silver Member
I pretty much did that, but without changing any mounts because they are fine - it's a stage custom birch bought in early 2012. Here's the cost breakdown:

- 5 piece kit (22, 10, 12, 16, 14 snare) for $650.00 (in natural finish)
- 14 x 14 Floor tom for $160.00
- 8 x 7 add-on tom for $110.00
- 2.3mm triple flange (brass) hoops for all the drums and die-cast hoop clamps for the BD for $120.00
- Sleeved washers for all the drums and 2 snares (pack of 100) for $24.00
- I sold the snare for $75.00 (credited in the sum below)
- Remo clear Emperor batters - new fusion pack - $37.00 (10, 12, 16)
- Remo clear Emperor 8" for $10.00
- Remo clear Emperor 14" for $13.00


Total cost = $1,049.00 (check my profile pics if you are curious)

I originally bought it based on sound alone. I liked it better than other kits I tried head-to-head: Gretsch Renowns, Tama Birch (Superstar and Starclassic), DW Design Series, and etc. It all comes down to what sound pleases you completely. When I think about what i spent to get the perfect kit for me, compared to what I was checking out, I think I fared pretty well and saved quite a bit, which I spent on buying some "K's" :).

I play DW, Tama and Pearl kits all the time on gigs and studios, but when possible, especially for recordings I will always use MY kit - engineers and fellow musicians always comment how great it sounds and looks. (I also use a TuneBot - using full resonant settings - matched frequencies for both heads)

Something to consider: customize it and make it your own.
 
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