Birch drums. Why?

lefty2

Platinum Member
I've owned a few Birch kits and no Maple kits. First up is my Yamaha Power Tour Custom kit 1988. It has lots of sustain. It's not all Birch shells though. Next is Yamaha BCAN 2007. All Birch shells lots of sustain (I no longer have this kit). Next is Tama Starclassic Performer 2003 all Birch shell. Lots of sustain. This is the kit I've been using the last couple of yr. I just recently bought a Ludwig Clubdate kit 2019. I think it's a Maple/Poplar shell. I don't notice any more or less sustain. They do sound a little different though. Quality Birch drums have plenty of sustain and great tone.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
I own both the AHM and a recent RC, and I absolutely love both of them. Getting more resonance out of birch or less out of the maple is a simple question of head selection and tuning. Honestly, I could sell either one and be perfectly happy with the other, but it's nice to have one set up and the other one in cases by the door.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
I've owned a few Birch kits and no Maple kits. First up is my Yamaha Power Tour Custom kit 1988. It has lots of sustain. It's not all Birch shells though. Next is Yamaha BCAN 2007. All Birch shells lots of sustain (I no longer have this kit). Next is Tama Starclassic Performer 2003 all Birch shell. Lots of sustain. This is the kit I've been using the last couple of yr. I just recently bought a Ludwig Clubdate kit 2019. I think it's a Maple/Poplar shell. I don't notice any more or less sustain. They do sound a little different though. Quality Birch drums have plenty of sustain and great tone.
Would love for you to elaborate a little further on the sound of birch being different. I've never experienced playing a birch shell kit, so any/all additional info related to birch shells and the sound they produce will be of great help to me. Many thanks in advance.
 

gaddgod

Junior Member
Birch has a shorter vibration than maple and a natural EQ. One of the best drum tracks I have heard was the record Misplaced Childhood from Marillion recorded in 1985. A Yamaha RC in a huge ballroom.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Listen to these demos. Same heads! First is a present day birch RC. The RC note is so short it sounds like he's hitting a board. Where's the tone? I hear some nice lows and the attack but not much in the mids.

Now here's a Sonor vintage maple Prolite. Tone across the whole spectrum. Bass drum is a kick in the chest. Toms sing.

Even the Taiwan made maple Renown kit here...

Again, personal pref but man, there's a BIG difference in sound to me. I'm not here to change anyone's mind on what they like. I like the sound of my drums to move me and anyone listening.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
How can you make a commitment to something as expensive as a birch SQ2 kit without ever having played a birch shell kit? That just boggles my mind.
Roaring with laughter!

It boggles my mind, too, but considering I've never owned a kit of any great quality, I feel confident that a birch SQ2 kit will be sure to please.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Listen to these demos. Same heads! First is a present day birch RC. The RC note is so short it sounds like he's hitting a board. Where's the tone? I hear some nice lows and the attack but not much in the mids.

Now here's a Sonor vintage maple Prolite. Tone across the whole spectrum. Bass drum is a kick in the chest. Toms sing.

Even the Taiwan made maple Renown kit here...

Again, personal pref but man, there's a BIG difference in sound to me. I'm not here to change anyone's mind on what they like. I like the sound of my drums to move me and anyone listening.
Recordings (I find) are so abstract. They fail to project a true level of accuracy.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Listen to these demos. Same heads! First is a present day birch RC. The RC note is so short it sounds like he's hitting a board. Where's the tone? I hear some nice lows and the attack but not much in the mids.

Now here's a Sonor vintage maple Prolite. Tone across the whole spectrum. Bass drum is a kick in the chest. Toms sing.

Even the Taiwan made maple Renown kit here...

Again, personal pref but man, there's a BIG difference in sound to me. I'm not here to change anyone's mind on what they like. I like the sound of my drums to move me and anyone listening.
Not sure if, or how much it matters, but the first demo is a vendor, and not only a "vendor" but a very respected vendor. The next two demos are manufacturers.

For *me* I would lean more towards Sweetwater for an accurate representation of these kits over the manufacturers.

Did you look for a Sweetwater demo of those two maple kits?

Curious how they would sound. I am at work but I may look tonight when I get home.

Edit: I really think the Sonor and the Reknown demos have some processing going on...maybe even just a more resonant room. You can oick up on the *lack* of processing on the Sweetwater demo. At least to my ears. Like Nick said-"I want the drums to sound like they will when you play them at home." They purposefully don't add anything to them.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Just a thought, when acoustically evaluating something, IMO it's not prudent to base the evaluation on how the drums sound in just one room.

Everyone knows that the room plays a HUGE part in rendering the drum tone. Different room, different tone.

So if someone was going to compare woods, it seems that outside would be the place to evaluate. That would remove the room from the equation and it's effect on skewing the final tone. There would be no major absorbing or reflection of various frequencies.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Not sure if, or how much it matters, but the first demo is a vendor, and not only a "vendor" but a very respected vendor. The next two demos are manufacturers.

For *me* I would lean more towards Sweetwater for an accurate representation of these kits over the manufacturers.

Did you look for a Sweetwater demo of those two maple kits?

Curious how they would sound. I am at work but I may look tonight when I get home.

Edit: I really think the Sonor and the Reknown demos have some processing going on...maybe even just a more resonant room. You can oick up on the *lack* of processing on the Sweetwater demo. At least to my ears. Like Nick said-"I want the drums to sound like they will when you play them at home." They purposefully don't add anything to them.
OK here's a non-manufacturer video of a prolite. Some of you guys crack me up with how you invent these different variables to counter what is obvious to most people. "It's the heads, it's the room, it's inside a room it's outside, it's mics, it's the hardware!" Jeesh, listen and use your ears.

 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
For snares I actually prefer Birch because they're more articulate than Maple.

I'm more split on birch toms though. They have more articulation which is great but they usually lack the resonance and warmth of maple.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
OK here's a non-manufacturer video of a prolite. Some of you guys crack me up with how you invent these different variables to counter what is obvious to most people. "It's the heads, it's the room, it's inside a room it's outside, it's mics, it's the hardware!" Jeesh, listen and use your ears.

hmmm....crack you up? lol Like we are all intentionally not hearing it the way you do? lol Like we DIDN'T use OUR ears? Or maybe our ears just aren't up to your standards? .... is this a conspiracy? "LOL"... :D

Those first two manufacture's demos you posted sound loaded with eq and reverb to *me*. Just being honest, not trying to compete nor offend.

Full disclosure: I'm a Tama\Rogers guy. No drums in your race. Nothing to prove either way. I have birch, I have maple. I like them both.

You seem to be on a crusade about this. And that's fine with me-really it is.

But I would like to see three Sweetwater demos on those kits before I made a call as to how they really sound.....

But hey...more power to you man, I hope you find what you are looking for.

All the best,

Mongrel
 
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Darth Vater

Senior Member
For snares I actually prefer Birch because they're more articulate than Maple.

I'm more split on birch toms though. They have more articulation which is great but they usually lack the resonance and warmth of maple.
Very sensible. I actually use a beech snare for the same reason. Not on a crusade, and I can't tell sweetwater what kind of demos we need. I see birch as a recording kit that sits in the mix VERY unobtrusively and if that's what peeps are looking for then that's more than fine. Maple toms and kick drums on the other hand just seem to move the earth for me. I've enjoyed this discussion and yeah, I kind of like touching a few nerves in here on occasion but it's usually all in context of what we're talking about.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
OK here's a non-manufacturer video of a prolite. Some of you guys crack me up with how you invent these different variables to counter what is obvious to most people. "It's the heads, it's the room, it's inside a room it's outside, it's mics, it's the hardware!" Jeesh, listen and use your ears.

Well .... because variables matter. A lot. And comparing a Sonor Pro Lite (4mm shell with 2mm reinforcement ring) to a Yamaha RC (6mm straight shell) ..... apples to oranges, irreguardless of whatever wood is used. Then throw in the variable of different manufactures kits recorded in different rooms with different equipment ..... maybe a fair comparison would be, the same manufacturer, the same room and the same EQ ......
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
I'll be ordering my Sonor SQ2 kit this fall with birch shells.
DO IT ! You will love it. I've had alot of both high quality birch and maple kits. Birch is plenty warm enough. .. just add in some wonderful high frequencies that maple does'nt have and that is the sound. It's warm enough..but with added high's. (Maple is a little warmer but it just becomes unusable IMO with any heavy bass or guitar)
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
DO IT ! You will love it. I've had alot of both high quality birch and maple kits. Birch is plenty warm enough. .. just add in some wonderful high frequencies that maple does'nt have and that is the sound. It's warm enough..but with added high's. (Maple is a little warmer but it just becomes unusable IMO with any heavy bass or guitar)
Many thanks for the advice, Artstar!

I've been toying around with the Sonor SQ2 Configurator website, and your information on birch shell performance is spot-on with Sonor's website.
 
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