Birch drums. Why?

Groov-E

Silver Member
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.
The only way to pick a drum (any drum) is to try them in person and compare as many as possible.

My description of a drum sound is pretty subjective and would be a futile exercice.

The AHM I handpicked over Live and Stage Custom, Tama Starclassic and tama b/b, and ludwig CM after an A-B comparison at my drum shop. The AHM was my sound. Greatest tuning range and perfect at every dynamic range, I'll choke before these drums ever will, any day of the week.

The RCs I tapped on every drum then got offered to buy a demo, an opportunity I could not pass up. A great sounding kit, a bit more generic in a very good way because it is the exact sound non-drummers will expect on their recording. Tunes in a breeze, great tuning range, never overpowering.

A roadtrip to Drum Center of Portsmouth is a great way to pick your dream kit, they may even have the finish you want in in stock. Great excuse for a trip to the beach !
 
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Stroker

Platinum Member
The only way to pick a drum (any drum) is to try them in person and compare as many as possible.

My description of a drum sound is pretty subjective and would be a futile exercice.

The AHM I handpicked over Live and Stage Custom, Tama Starclassic and tama b/b, and ludwig CM after an A-B comparison at my drum shop. The AHM was my sound.

The RCs I tapped on every drum then got offered to buy a demo, an opportunity I could not pass up.

A roadtrip to Drum Center of Portsmouth is a great way to pick your dream kit, they may even have the finish you want in in stock. Great excuse for a trip to the beach !
Many thanks for the insight and solid advice, GE!
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
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.
If you want...... when you are ready to go forward.. Let me know and I will show you how to NOT get ripped off.. because it is very easy to get ripped on a high end Sonor or DW or whatever without knowing what the dealer is doing. They can be as nice as you want.. but that does'nt add up to over 1k difference.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
If you want...... when you are ready to go forward.. Let me know and I will show you how to NOT get ripped off.. because it is very easy to get ripped on a high end Sonor or DW or whatever without knowing what the dealer is doing. They can be as nice as you want.. but that does'nt add up to over 1k difference.
Consider it done! Many thanks for the offer!
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
Birch drums sound great. Maple drums sound great. So do mahogany and poplar. Bad drums sound bad. So do bad players playing good drums.
 

mike d

Silver Member
The wood plays a role, but so does the shell dimensions, shell construction, number of plies, bearing edge bevel, heads, lug construction and attachment... blah, blah, blah.
I know I could never make a blanket statement about wood type as applied to drum sound.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
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.
Well I really don't know what to say. I've only had the ludwigs for a short time. A large part of it is likely due to the rounded bearing Edge on Ludwig's. my 88 model Yamaha have a very sharp bearing Edge on the outside ply. Which supposedly gives it more attack and less tone. My Tamas have a relatively sharp bearing Edge also but not on the extreme outside ply. That bearing Edge is still towards the outside of the shell but maybe 2 Plies in. I'm still getting to know my Ludwig's I don't get to play them very much.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Well I really don't know what to say. I've only had the ludwigs for a short time. A large part of it is likely due to the rounded bearing Edge on Ludwig's. my 88 model Yamaha have a very sharp bearing Edge on the outside ply. Which supposedly gives it more attack and less tone. My Tamas have a relatively sharp bearing Edge also but not on the extreme outside ply. That bearing Edge is still towards the outside of the shell but maybe 2 Plies in. I'm still getting to know my Ludwig's I don't get to play them very much.
I thank you for taking the time to relay to me what you have, Sir.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I dunno - I've owned probably every wood and combo wood drum out there - and every kit I play sounds the same. When I want different, I go for different heads and that does more to the sound than the shell material does. I just like a solid drum. Right now my preference is the Pearl Reference which is a mix of woods and I love them because they can take all tunings with any heads. Sometimes I've had either an all-maple, or all-birch, shell that just wouldn't sound good, and sometimes you discover the bearing edge could be messed up or the shell isn't round. So I guess I'm of the camp that it doesn't matter what wood it is, it just has to be constructed perfectly (which they couldn't do up until the last ten years or so).
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I just don't get the fascination with birch shells. They just sound so dead and flat to me. Near as I can figure is that people who don't like sustain or projection play them. I've tried them side by side with maple kits and to me it's like coming in from the cold when I get back on a maple kit. Thoughts?

Funny how perceptions vary.
Yes - when I go from birch to maple "it's like coming in from the cold", but not because birch is 'dead and flat'.
More like birch is more bright, vibrant, alive, and with more high frequencies (cold) and longer sustain.
Maple seems warmer, mellower, has less high frequencies, and sustain is more easily reigned in.

I can't really speak as to projection though, as IMO, that depends more on shell thickness than type of wood.
If I'm wrong about that, I'm ready to be corrected.
 
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Darth Vater

Senior Member
Funny how perceptions vary.
Yes - when I go from birch to maple "it's like coming in from the cold", but not because birch is 'dead and flat'.
More like birch is more vibrant, alive, and with more high frequencies (cold) and longer sustain.
Maple seems warmer, has less high frequencies, and sustain is more easily reigned in.

I can't really speak as to projection though, as IMO, that depends more on shell thickness than type of wood.
If I'm wrong about that, I'm ready to be corrected.
You lost me with the "birch has longer sustain". That's just not the case.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
You lost me with the "birch has longer sustain". That's just not the case.

Very possible it was just the birch drums I've had.
I posted here several years back that they sustained like my cymbals and was looking for a way to shorten it.
A much more likely cause though would be the single ply heads I used on them.
 
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Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I own a Sonor bich kit. I like them they sound good. They sound different when I use coated Emperore's and then if I use Evans clear EC2 level 360 tom heads. Great rock drums.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
I own a Sonor bich kit. I like them they sound good. They sound different when I use coated Emperore's and then if I use Evans clear EC2 level 360 tom heads. Great rock drums.
May I ask what finish/wood/wrap your kit consists of? Both exterior and interior?
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
May I ask what finish/wood/wrap your kit consists of? Both exterior and interior?
I thought you were getting a DW kit?
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
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 ......
This post from Harry highlights the fact that there are MUCH bigger variables than birch vs maple. The accompanying video also shows how little difference there truly is on similar drums recorded the same way. The birch and maple kits sound 99% the same, and if there is any real difference in sustain, I can't hear it. It would only be head sustain, anyway.

I like birch drums. I like maple drums, too. I can make either one sound good, and sound basically alike, given similar construction.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I'll be ordering my Sonor SQ2 kit this fall with birch shells.
Sonor SQ2s are my dream kit. 😮 I'm very jealous.

Have you considered saving a bunch of money and getting the SQ1s instead? SQ1s will sound virtually identical to the SQ2 birch, just without all the finish options.

You REALLY should consider Maple SQ2s though...because unlike Maple kits from other companies, they have the best articulation I've ever heard out of Maple...it's as if they put the articulation of Birch into the Maple shells. Lots of resonance, and yet fast notes won't sound muddy.

I'd score the SQ2 Maples at 9/10 or 10/10 in every category you can think of like Tone, Warmth, Articulation, Resonance, you name it. Except Price. Price gets a 2/10, haha.

Here's an example of Maple SQ2s
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
This is a peculiar thread.

Some people: Don't be too hung up on wood species because construction, microphones, rooms, recording eq etc.

Other people: Yes, but wood species...
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
I thought you were getting a DW kit?
Originally I was, but as with life, plans change.

The purchase of the Sonor SQ2, 10th Anniversary Cast Bronze Snare Drum was a turning point for me, and I best leave it at that.
 
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