Yamaha PHX - am I missing something?

evilg99

Platinum Member
Okay guys...I'm going to go start a new PHX thread.
As I mentioned earlier, please please please continue this discussion in that thread
Aptly titled " Yamaha Phoenix (PHX) Drums

Neal
 

jbonzo1

Silver Member
Still don't understand from other purpose than being a endorsee of a famous brand, why would somebody spend so much money on a kit from a famouse brand, when they can buy similar in a smaller boutique shop totally customized to their preferences, but to each its own.
You answered your own question. We are lucky to have so many choices in all price points.
 

MDslammer

Member
I just took delivery for my Yamaha PHX kit. A few observations.

The 11 plies makes all the drums a bit more heavier than my previous
birch kits. However, it's minimal.

The craftsmanship of these drums is astounding. The 30* bearing edges are off the hook. Bass Drum has the sharpest edge, floor toms have a slightly rounded edge and the rack toms a bit more rounded edge.

The redesigned versions of the Nouveau lug and YESS system are better than the original. The rack toms seem "suspended" and yield an amazing amount of sustain.

The finish I chose, Garnet / Sunburst fade, gold die cast hoops and hardware looks, well...decadent. You decide.
But how do they sound. Well, nothing short of AMAZING. These drums are the
Bugatti of the industry.

Replaced the factory heads with Aquarian Classic Clear resonate heads and Coated Response 2's on the batter side. I first tuned them at a very low register in fourths. Very ballsy. Then I tuned them up to a more medium tuning, same with fourths. Again, these drums just amazed me with the amount of sustain and true pitch the produced.

For my 16" x 20" kick, I have an Aquarian White Regulator on the front head and a Super Kick II on the batter side. NOTHING inside the drum. Look out! This beast was thumping. Tuned first low and then at a medium tuning the drum is a full, rich anchor for the rest of the kit.

Here's one thing that I had to take into consideration and this is only my own observation. I've been playing Yamaha Recording Customs since 1983. They are Birch drums and over the past 33 years, my ears have become accustomed to the Birch wood sound.

The PHX kit uses 4 different kinds of wood for their plies (Maple, Kapur, Jotba and Ash). I definitely can hear a tonal difference between these drums and my older Birch drums. And that's a good thing.

I'm still tweaking, and will be for a while, different head combinations to see the variety of sounds the PHX can give me. I haven't even begun to see what they sound like with clear heads.

In any even, these drums are not cheap by any means. But I have to say, I have no qualms about the price considering what I got in return. IMHO, these acoustic drums are the best in the industry. PERIOD!

Mark Dalzell
Drums / The Tournament Of Kings
Excalibur Hotel
Las Vegas, NV
 

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RickP

Gold Member
I have tried a number of different head combinations on the toms of my PHX kit and I settled with Aquarian Response 2 coated on the batters with clear Remo Ambassadors on the resonant side. The bass drum has a coated Aquarian Superkick 1 with the stock Remo smooth white PS3 with a porthole and no laundry required.

I normally go with coated Aquarian single ply heads or Evans coated G12s but the PHX kits are so incredibly resonant that I ended up going with the Response 2 to tone the resonance down a bit and mute the high end harmonics a tad.

These drums really sound unique and each drum really sounds like a much larger drum due to the depth and tuning range of these shells.
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
The PHX really do respond very well to different head types... I'm currently using Aquarian modern vintage II heads with very good results (a little more mellow, round tone)...I'm planning on going to an Aquarian clear soon (as I see a head change in the near future)... with the clear heads I'm sure the drums will definitely be amped up on the attack.....
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
I just took delivery for my Yamaha PHX kit. A few observations.

The 11 plies makes all the drums a bit more heavier than my previous
birch kits. However, it's minimal.

The craftsmanship of these drums is astounding. The 30* bearing edges are off the hook. Bass Drum has the sharpest edge, floor toms have a slightly rounded edge and the rack toms a bit more rounded edge.

The redesigned versions of the Nouveau lug and YESS system are better than the original. The rack toms seem "suspended" and yield an amazing amount of sustain.

The finish I chose, Garnet / Sunburst fade, gold die cast hoops and hardware looks, well...decadent. You decide.
But how do they sound. Well, nothing short of AMAZING. These drums are the
Bugatti of the industry.

Replaced the factory heads with Aquarian Classic Clear resonate heads and Coated Response 2's on the batter side. I first tuned them at a very low register in fourths. Very ballsy. Then I tuned them up to a more medium tuning, same with fourths. Again, these drums just amazed me with the amount of sustain and true pitch the produced.

For my 16" x 20" kick, I have an Aquarian White Regulator on the front head and a Super Kick II on the batter side. NOTHING inside the drum. Look out! This beast was thumping. Tuned first low and then at a medium tuning the drum is a full, rich anchor for the rest of the kit.

Here's one thing that I had to take into consideration and this is only my own observation. I've been playing Yamaha Recording Customs since 1983. They are Birch drums and over the past 33 years, my ears have become accustomed to the Birch wood sound.

The PHX kit uses 4 different kinds of wood for their plies (Maple, Kapur, Jotba and Ash). I definitely can hear a tonal difference between these drums and my older Birch drums. And that's a good thing.

I'm still tweaking, and will be for a while, different head combinations to see the variety of sounds the PHX can give me. I haven't even begun to see what they sound like with clear heads.

In any even, these drums are not cheap by any means. But I have to say, I have no qualms about the price considering what I got in return. IMHO, these acoustic drums are the best in the industry. PERIOD!

Mark Dalzell
Drums / The Tournament Of Kings
Excalibur Hotel
Las Vegas, NV
Nice review!... and great looking kit..
 

zenghost

Senior Member
I think these kits are as good as any TOL kit out there, but there's still a matter of preference.

Good for what? Good for who?
Agree.

I received a new PHX kit very recently (10/12/14/16/20). The craftsmanship is very good (for me, the nod goes to Sonor SQ2 for overall build and attention to detail for ply drums). I am waiting for a couple issues to be sorted out before spending more time with them. I've already spent a fair amount experimenting with tuning etc.

It's easy and understandable to get excited over new gear and just as easy to arrive at quick conclusions about that gear. I am trying like heck to avoid that scenario. My initial impression is the PHX are very nice drums as far as build and overall quality, but somewhat finicky to tune (this has been confirmed for me by two other more experienced PHX owners). Being finicky to tune may not be an issue for some if you happen to not mind it and especially if the sonic payback is superior in every way - this is not my experience with the PHX. Yes, the bass drums are the best part of the kit, but in my mind not in a superior way compared to some others - simply different.

The PHX line is very pricey for the limited sizes and finishes offered, so for me the value proposition is diminished by that. In Yamaha's defense, they are not a custom drum company (at least for the masses). I did not pay typical US prices for the kit, so I get a little (not a lot) wiggle room (in my mind) with respect to overall value.

Hopefully, once I have my set complete again I will be able to spend a bit more time before pronouncing judgement based on my experience and perspective. If I can consistently get sounds I like from them, the PHX may stay in the stable. I have several other kits from which I can consistently good sounds, so it's not a serious tuning ability deficiency on my part. Otherwise, I will have no qualms about putting the kit up for sale because I will not make the effort or spend the time to convince myself it's a great kit, if it's not (for me). So, yes, you are hearing the straight talk from a guy who spent $5k+ on a kit and is not yet in love with it. Granted, it's probably somewhat atypical for a drummer to spend a boatload of cash on a kit and not fall in love with it. I'd LOVE to be telling a different story, but I'm just calling it as I hear it in service to the drumming community.

After spending a good week and a half experimenting with various heads and tunings on the PHX, the best I can suggest is for any prospective PHX buyer to spend some time with the drums themselves (changing heads, tuning, playing etc) and do your best to make a true evaluation (sonic and otherwise) of them while being as blind to cost and appearance as possible. I truly believe what we pay for an item and see (oooooh, pretty!) can affect what we hear (perceive), which can make the subjective aspects of reality almost endlessly mutable in some ways. It does not matter what data a manufacturer throws at you from a sound frequency analysis, if the reality of the sound in your head is not registering as desirable and the overall experience pales. Obviously, Yamaha did not intend for the PHX line to be a drum for the masses - possibly in more ways than one. That alone itself does not make it an inherently superior, or inferior drum in my view.
 
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Artstar

Platinum Member
(for me, the nod goes to Sonor SQ2 for overall build and attention to detail for ply drums). .
Good of you to acknowledge that Zenghost ! Sonor does screw up once in a while but they ALWAYS make good on any problems. They do need to get most of their finishes back in order IMO. No comparison to the Designer era.
 

zenghost

Senior Member
Good of you to acknowledge that Zenghost ! Sonor does screw up once in a while but they ALWAYS make good on any problems. They do need to get most of their finishes back in order IMO. No comparison to the Designer era.
Yes, Sonor has a something special going on in my experience. I am not saying Sonor is perfect all the time, but the craftsmanship is typically spectacular from what I've seen. One example, the seams in the veneer on my SQ2 are either invisible or very difficult to detect. They are much, much more pronounced (obvious) on the PHX. Sonor appears to value bookmatching the veneers and that detail is nice.

I never thought I'd say this, but the Sonor SQ2 line starts to appear as a reasonable value for a flagship line of drums when you look at the available options for spec'ing a kit.

I am a Yamaha fan in general and love my Club Customs. Yamaha does a lot of things very, very well. The shell construction and bearing edges on the PHX are top-notch and appear to rival the Sonor SQ2 line.

The PHX sound may be more of an acquired taste in drums, but the last thing non-PHX owners should think (in my opinion) is the PHX is some type of sonic breakthough that leaves all other drums wanting. As always, the value is where you find it (or place it).
 
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steadypocket

Gold Member
Slammer, thanks for sharing pics of your stunning new PHX kit. Just extraordinary. Zen, thanks for the objective review and the great advice. I've occasionally been enamored with new drums during the initial honeymoon period, only to eventually come to an objective conclusion that the drums didn't really speak to me. That's why it's taken me so long to amass my ideal snare collection. Every one of them sounds so good to me. They're all keepers at this point. We all have our individual tastes and one drummer's Ferrari is another one's Edsel.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Yes, Sonor has a something special going on in my experience. I am not saying Sonor is perfect all the time, but the craftsmanship is typically spectacular from what I've seen. One example, the seams in the veneer on my SQ2 are either invisible or very difficult to detect. They are much, much more pronounced (obvious) on the PHX. Sonor appears to value bookmatching the veneers and that detail is nice.
It's probably a lot easier to do with man-made veneers.

Sonor does make great drums, but all those huge rubber gaskets are a big problem waiting to happen. That stuff disintegrates after a dozen or so years. They need to go back to their old Phonic lugs.
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
It's probably a lot easier to do with man-made veneers...
Yes it is, and yes sonor does use them... I'm not knocking Sonor drums as I think they make fine drums and I've owned a sonor kit in the past..

Regarding PHX drums, I have owned my PHX kit for almost two years and I can honestly say I'm still every bit as enamored with these drums as the day I got them.. they are very special drums and worth every penny I paid for them...
 

zenghost

Senior Member
It's probably a lot easier to do with man-made veneers.

Sonor does make great drums, but all those huge rubber gaskets are a big problem waiting to happen. That stuff disintegrates after a dozen or so years. They need to go back to their old Phonic lugs.
Sonor uses Alpi veneers for many of its wood finishes. However, in my case, I have an SQ2 kit that uses a genuine wood veneer (one of the few), not an engineered substitute, so it appears Sonor can works its magic with the real stuff as well.

I am not aware of any issue with rubber bits for the SQ2 line - the Designer series had issues with aging parts of that nature, but I've not seen or heard of that being the case with the SQ2 line. At any rate, I am guessing a revived Phonic line would be embraced by many.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
It's just the nature of rubber/vinyl to degrade with time. It happens faster when exposed to uv rays (sunlight). Good luck finding replacement gaskets when the time comes.
 

zenghost

Senior Member
It's just the nature of rubber/vinyl to degrade with time. It happens faster when exposed to uv rays (sunlight). Good luck finding replacement gaskets when the time comes.
I wouldn't be surprised if I need some replacement parts myself when the time comes. Otherwise, I 'll continue to care for them as usual, including restricted tanning booth privileges. If push comes to shove, I'll give ST Drums in Germany a call for some parts.

Anyways, in the meantime, drum on folks using whatever gear gives you satisfaction.
 
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Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Prices for a product depends on many things. In the case of PHX, still made in Japan would be a considerable part of it.

For me USA Customs are the holy grail of what I like. They have not only a character I like, but that character cuts through music and records well. TO my taste Broadkasters are the nicest thin shells, though I fully understand if someone has a different taste.

The PHX represents to me a similar set of qualities with a more modern tone. If I at some point have full shell packs of the Gretsches and I'm really rich, have all the other percussion I want/need the PHX is the next kit I'd want for those very reasons.
 

zenghost

Senior Member
I'd classify the PHX as a definite try-before-you-buy drum to ensure you know how much value you would be inclined to ascribe to them. Less of a concern if you get a screaming deal on a PHX kit as the PHX drums are fine drums and sound OK, but not spectacular in my experience. They are spectacularly over-priced in my opinion though.
 
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