Yamaha PHX - am I missing something?

dxtrinc

Member
I work at a local drum shop and we recently got in one of the new Yamaha Phoenix drum kits.

With a whopping price tag of $6500 for 10, 12, 16, 22 i expected the best of the best.

Before anyone here starts ragging about my tuning abilities I've turned the worst oldest pieces of crap into gigging kits. I've tuned pretty much every major drum companies lines with tons of different kinds of heads. I've done it all and i know I'm good at what i do (not to be an arrogant dick lol).

Point being we took down one of the toms today to see what the thing sounded like. With the stock heads...not much...but generally that is the case. We tried a single ply coated, a 2 ply coated head, a 12 mil (just for something in between), and a 2 ply pre-dampened head (I'm leaving out brand so a drum head discussion doesn't start up lol).

The crazy thing is we could not tune this drum to sound good! AT ALL! For $6500 it better tune with any head, sound great in almost any situation and do my friggin laundry!!

I've taken the Yamaha recording custom, maple custom, birch custom, rydeen, gig maker and stage custom birch (awesome drums for an intermediate kit by the way) and made them sound amazing (respectively of course), but I could not get anything out of the phx drums. We even tried another single ply coated head just in case the head we took off the wall was a dud.

I'm not here to bash Yamaha as i said before i like the drums but i was mainly posting this to ask anyone if they have gotten any good sounds out of these drums? And if you have has it been $6500 good?
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

My regular shop has the PHX and is sounds really nice---coated single ply heads...

Does it sound $6500 good...NO.

I have played snares that cost over $6500 and this whole KIT doesn't sound as good as that snare.

I usually dig Yamaha drums, not the sound I have in my head for MY drums, but they usually sound great.
The PHX has it's place, but the price tag is over the top IMO for the amount of drums you get.
For that tag, I'd rather have a Gretsch US Custom, a DW Jazz series (basically the same kit haha!), a Craviatto kit (or that $8000 Innovation Titanium snare!).

If someone had the dough, and it wasn't their only kit, I'd say go for it if they wanted one (based on how the kit in my shop has), but as the ONLY kit, I'd recommend something with a more universally standard shell to get more range out of it.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

I love Yamaha drums and I have dirty dreams about the PHXs,

BUT....

Its like the orchid craze of the 1920s.. when people were selling them for like $5000 for a bouquet and millions were buying them for that price.. till someone on Wall Street said " Hey, wait a minute.."!

Like real estate pricing or fancy cars, beyond a point it stops making sense.

I think you had a similar " Hey, just wait a minute" moment with that tom.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

I'm sure much of the problem is just "you don't like the sound of the drums". No big deal. Don't buy them. Someone else will. Much like I don't like the sound of Harley's. If I was to buy a "big twin", it would be a Ducati, Moto Guzi, or BMW. Not to say, "Harley's suck", but they don't "stir my soul". And if your gonna splash $6500 on a drum set, it should "stir the soul", in my opinion ....... the "other" side of the coin is "bragging rights". A lot of people simply buy really expensive stuff because it's really expensive. Check out the Ducati 1098R Bayless, @ $44,000. There are probably cats out there who will buy that bike, and never ride it. Only 500 made. For that matter, some cat will probably buy a Yamaha PHX for his kid, just on account of because he can.
 

dxtrinc

Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

You all made great points thanks for your input guys.

harryconway: i guess your right. its just not my thing i guess i just expected it to sound different then it did. ya i hope whoever buys it loves it and plays it like they should and it doesn't just sit around. and i think you have a thing for bikes? lol

aydee: i got nothin....expect I'm a little impressed that you brought up the orchid craze of the 1920's as an example....good show

KarlCrafton: Ya a Gretsch would be nice but again ridiculously expensive.

I've been talking a lot lately about the whole mixed shell craze thats been happening lately ie: Pearl Reference. You guys have thoughts on any of those types of drums?
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

FYI- Check out eBay. Dave Weckl's kit from the early 90's is out there. The Recording Customs in cherry finish. Many drums and stands and Dave will sign each drum to the winning bidder. Last time I checked they were up to $3400.00 and that has not reached the reserve.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

aydee: i got nothin....expect I'm a little impressed that you brought up the orchid craze of the 1920's as an example....good show
Then you did get something ; )

I've been talking a lot lately about the whole mixed shell craze thats been happening lately ie: Pearl Reference. You guys have thoughts on any of those types of drums?
The premise on which these drums have been designed on seem to be very sound. Never played one, but the ones I've heard live sound great.
And a less than half the price of the PHX.
 

Jon_Gwon

Senior Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

Well, theres definitely excessive marketing hype behind the mixed shell reality, but it's not completely unfounded. I've only had a chance to really wail on two mixed wood kits, The Pearl Reference, and the Tama SC B/B, but was pretty impressed with both.

The Reference kit is very well rounded and each drum speaks well in it's respective voice, while still maintaining tonal consistency. My only issue with them is they're almost too well rounded for my taste. The sound sits in the middle of the road, and I like a drum with a bit more of a unique character.

The SC B/B was really quite nice and I almost bought one. The have a lot of cut... errr bite.
with a nice and full low-end resonance. Very similar to the SC Bubinga, but they're slightly more "brash"?. the Bub's are quite a bit richer in tone. But for the price, compared to the SC Bub's they're pretty freakin sweet.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

I love a well made set of drums as much as anyone else, and own two high end kits, and still drool over pictures posted here.

But there does come a point where it's still just a round piece of wood with a plastic head stretched across it, and no amount of money (i.e. asking price) is going to change that basic fact.
 

drumhammerer

Silver Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

I love a well made set of drums as much as anyone else, and own two high end kits, and still drool over pictures posted here.

But there does come a point where it's still just a round piece of wood with a plastic head stretched across it, and no amount of money (i.e. asking price) is going to change that basic fact.
Yeah, I agree. I'm shocked at how much some people are willing to drop on a drum kit. At the end of the day, it really is just a round piece of wood, with the same plastic heads.

I think some of these co.'s are going overboard with their highest end kits. There is truly only so much you can do with a round piece of wood. It's getting to the point that they're using woods that may not sound good, or finishes that are ugly, just to try to please the overly demanding drum buyers these days with something different. When you start over-engineering things, sometimes the fundamentals are forgotten.
 
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

dxtrinc

After playing these drums in a music shop I was baffled because I did not get it and still don't.

xmapex
 

wuffb

Junior Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

It's 2013 . . . and so much time has gone by since these original posts . . . I have been playing for over 30 years and have played around with some of the best kits out there . . . Craviotto, DW Collector's SSC, Pearl Ref Pure, Gretsch USA Custom, Yamaha Maple Custom (the REAL one), Yamaha Recording Custom and more.

I bought a PHX kit last year . . . use Remo Ambassador Heads . . . these drums ARE special . . . but it's SUBTLE . . . NOT pronounced . . . they mic up INCREDIBLY.

Here is what sold me . . .

1) From the slightest tap to the pound of a full stroke . . . these drums are "clean" . . . overtones are not there . . . pure pitch . . . sustained incredibly.

2) Take these drums OUT of the music store and INTO your living room . . . compare them to ANY other drum out there . . . tap the head . . . LISTEN closely to the pitch and sustain . . . and you will understand . . . they are like warm tympani's . . . the sensitivity is unbelievable. Anyone who plays guitar and remembers how we USED to tune "harmonically" without all the gadgets will INSTANTLY be floored by these drums which seem to have the same musical characteristics.

My 2nd choice would be the Craviotto Maple Mahogany - different, but an elegant sound as well.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

It's 2013 . . . and so much time has gone by since these original posts . . . I have been playing for over 30 years and have played around with some of the best kits out there . . . Craviotto, DW Collector's SSC, Pearl Ref Pure, Gretsch USA Custom, Yamaha Maple Custom (the REAL one), Yamaha Recording Custom and more.

I bought a PHX kit last year . . . use Remo Ambassador Heads . . . these drums ARE special . . . but it's SUBTLE . . . NOT pronounced . . . they mic up INCREDIBLY.

Here is what sold me . . .

1) From the slightest tap to the pound of a full stroke . . . these drums are "clean" . . . overtones are not there . . . pure pitch . . . sustained incredibly.

2) Take these drums OUT of the music store and INTO your living room . . . compare them to ANY other drum out there . . . tap the head . . . LISTEN closely to the pitch and sustain . . . and you will understand . . . they are like warm tympani's . . . the sensitivity is unbelievable. Anyone who plays guitar and remembers how we USED to tune "harmonically" without all the gadgets will INSTANTLY be floored by these drums which seem to have the same musical characteristics.

My 2nd choice would be the Craviotto Maple Mahogany - different, but an elegant sound as well.
See.. that is an interesting review IMO.


Wuff.. why did you put the Craviotto second ???
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

I dunno if you can trust anyone who considers a DW kit one of the "best"... ;)
 

hogdaddy

Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

I saw Steely Dan not long ago when Keith Carlock was using Yamaha Phoenix drums and to me they sounded awesome but now it seems he switched to Gretsch for some reason.
 

conchrandy

Senior Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

Pulled up the PHX and the Sakae on MDS. Listened to both, 18/12/14 sans snare. The Sakae is about two grand less and imo sound better. Not to mention looks better.

Interesting, all kinds of speculation about these two sets and their possible inter-relationship.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

There are a few things that I dislike about the Phoenix line, although they do sound amazing.

1. I despise those hook lugs.
2. I don't like "fade" finishes. My favorite Yamaha finish is the Deep Blue, but it's not offered on the PHX.
3. Why don't they offer a Phoenix snare drum???
4. No 15" floor tom? What?
5. That big wood plank that attaches the tom to the holder is absolutely hideous. Effective, yes, but UGLY.
 

wuffb

Junior Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

Artstar,

I picked the PHX over the Craviotto for a couple of reasons . . .

1) While I love the single ply construction of the Craviotto, I am not sure how it will stand the test of time . . . I also have an original Yamaha Maple Custom set that I bought in 1993 and 20 years later . . . you would think it was brand new. Still play it out a lot.

2) Craviotto does not make an 8" shell and I love having an 8 and 10 on the rack. I actually spoke with Steve Maxwell and Johnny Craviotto about this last June in NYC and they just didn't think the single ply could stand the stress of an 8" drum.

3) I agree with another poster here that Yamaha doesn't have the latest fad of coolest finishes . . . but that being said, if you ask for a custom finish when you order a PHX, they will do it! Yamaha finishes are made to outlast the latest looks and stay classy for decades.

4) Not least of course, but the SOUND is INCREDIBLE on these drums . . . but you can't appreciate it in a store because there are usually all sorts of other sounds and interference going on . . . but get them in a studio and/or home or mic'd up at a gig . . . and HOLY S*** they come alive like no other drum I have EVER heard in my 35+ years of playing. They are warm, tympanic, responsive and pitch perfect . . . no overtones like my DW Collector's SSC kit. I think Yamaha's research here has paid off and the Hybrid shells sound better "to me" than single ply or single wood type shells. I think so many are figuring this out with combinations like Birch/Bubinga, Poplar/Maple, Maple/Mahogany etc.

5) I have found that using Remo Clear Ambassadors on the batter and Evan Level 360 Genera Resonance heads are simply a magical combination for these drums . . . and I have used others . . . coated and non-coated.

6) The bearing edges are ridiculously perfect . . . Craviotto now also offers varied edges like their "baseball bat" edge on the toms . . . Yamaha has been doing that PHX since the start of the series.

7) The YESS II wood thing is ugly, but it's purpose is to vibrate harmonically with the hybrid shell . . . all that being said . . . why Yamaha doesn't color match . . . I just don't understand. The new YESS III is more "mechanical" looking. . . Craviotto uses RIMS and other stuff and I don't like those holders . . . though many people do.

8) The PHX is now the only Yamaha drum kit still handmade by three master craftsman in Hamamatsu, Japan. Sakae is now marketing their own drums and look like they have some really good stuff . . . but haven't played them . . . since however, my Maple Customs were certainly made by Sakae . . . I am sure they are really good. The rest of Yamaha is being made in China . . . end of an era I believe.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Re: Yamaha PHX am i missing something?

end of an era I believe.
And time for a new one to begin ;)

So after a few year we know some are custom orderable (but only visible in the paper version of the catalog) and there are some true custom models (like Larry Mullen's kit)

Still. Enjoy the pictures ;)



Custom artist kits:

Oscar Seaton



(Larry Mullen's Custom Silver Sparkle PHX, I think they started with these)

And last but not least... Matte Natural.
 

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twelvenotes

Member
I just took delivery of a new PHX kit in solid black and they are awesome. I've never seen a deeper black on a drum set.

I can't speak to Mullen Jr's kit, but all the other colours below are available for order. Remember these drums are not "stocked" and only made to order.
 
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