Birch drums. Why?

Darth Vater

Senior Member
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
Patrik is notorious for his HIGH tuning. Most SQ2 Maples won't sound like that. Your suggestion of the down range SQ1's to Stroker is very sensible. Same goes for Prolites if looking for maple or Vintage Series for beech. If you have a keen eye and wait for some sales, you can get a great kit in those ranges and save about two to three thousand over a similar spec SQ2 provided you can "get by" with the available finishes and pre-spec'd sizes. My take on SQ2's is that you're either mad at your money or you have too much of it. There are some beautiful SQ2 kits though I can't justify the expenditure.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
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
Don't be jealous, I've played cheap junk my entire life, and seeing my retirement dream next year getting closer and closer, it was time for me to get off the pot and get on with it.

I recall when I first became a member of DW, and how Thunder42, gave me the best advice. He said, take your time, don't be in too big of a rush to settle on what you think is your dream kit, and his words still resonate with me today. Thanks Thunder42, if you're reading! :)

Honestly, the big push that set this entire ship afloat, was ordering one of DCP's 10th Anniversary Sonor SQ2 Cast Bronze Snare Drums. I had been swaying between a DW Collector's Series kit and something else for the longest time, and now that a Sonor drum is being prepared for me and will be in my possession sometime this summer, the obvious became apparent for me, time to buy a full Sonor kit.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
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
Can't tell you how much I appreciate you input and advise on this! Many thanks! This topic has been a real plus for me as far as gaining more insight and knowledge into the world of shell fabrication and woods used.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Patrik is notorious for his HIGH tuning. Most SQ2 Maples won't sound like that. Your suggestion of the down range SQ1's to Stroker is very sensible. Same goes for Prolites if looking for maple or Vintage Series for beech. If you have a keen eye and wait for some sales, you can get a great kit in those ranges and save about two to three thousand over a similar spec SQ2 provided you can "get by" with the available finishes and pre-spec'd sizes. My take on SQ2's is that you're either mad at your money or you have too much of it. There are some beautiful SQ2 kits though I can't justify the expenditure.
Appreciate your words on this as well, Todd! Believe me, I'm leaving no stone unturned. I've given myself until September to nail this down, so with all of the additional advice and suggestions coming to light in this session, I'll be looking at every possible option.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
I've spent the better part of the evening perusing Youtube for quality videos on Birch and Maple Shell kits, specifically Sonor and DW kits, and it became clearly apparent to me that not all Birch Shell kits are equal.

For the longest time I've had the sound of DW Birch Shell kits in my head, and after tonight I can hear a distinct difference between Sonor and DW, but more importantly, a difference in the sound characteristics of Maple and Birch Shell kits by Sonor. Maple for the win, at least for my ears it does.

As I mentioned in an earlier entry of mine, this chat has been incredibly educating for me. Big thank you to all who participated!
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I have a both birch and maple kits:

1990 Tama Granstar II - 7ply, 9mm birch shells in power tom sizes (1" under square) w/ a more rounded over bearing edge.
2017 DW Collectors Maple Standard - 6ply, 4.23mm maple shells w/ 3ply, .706mm reinforcement rings in F.A.S.T. sizes (3" under square for most toms) w/ sharp 45 degree bearing edge.

So before even adding heads and starting tuning these drums have different thicknesses, different woods, different depths, and different bearing edges. On the sliding scale of what these kits sound like, there may be a point where I could get them to sound alike (read: not the same) but I haven't tried and these 2 kits are so far apart in sound profile that I'm not sure I'd like whatever the most similar tone between the two would be.

I picked up my first Collectors kit in 2013 and going from power toms to more traditional sized toms was the biggest adjustment to me. These are two entirely different animals and as such have completely different sounds, even running the same heads. I truly enjoy the tone and sound from each kit and I'm certain 98% of the differences (in my 2 kits) come from shell size and what tuning sounds best for each.

In an unmic'd situation, I can't hear the differences between woods. I know there are people who swear they know what wood a drum is when they hear the drum -of which I'm skeptical because A) of all the other variables that go into a drum's tone, and B) The number of popular/mainstream woods is mostly limited to maple, birch, mahogany, bubinga, and poplar (and you could narrow that down even more), it's hard to guess wrong when your choices are slim to being with. And if you're one of those people who makes such claims, don't be offended. My ear palette isn't detecting the same notes of chocolate, earthiness, or fruit that yours are. ;)

What I have noticed though is that I can notice a difference between power toms and standard toms -but that's whole different discussion. :)
 
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Xcelerationrules

Junior Member
I buy drums for the he'll of it.
Have maple, birch, and ash.
Just picked up a used 6 piece Tama superstar with diecast hoops for $500.
The hoops are worth that.
By changing the heads, you can have any sound you like.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
My Premier Artist Birch is my funk snare. Killer bite. A maple snare could never do that. Our next big gig is two one-hour sets. The last half of last set is all funk dance tunes from way back. I'll be switching to my birch snare for that 30 minutes !!
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
My Yamaha Birch Absolutes are the most incredible-sounding drums I've ever played. Nothing close to dry and dead; the birch responds quicker, so the note comes out faster and clearer, and fast tom runs never lose their crisp attack, yet still carries the fundamental pitch straight into your chest cavity, and they have more than enough sustain. Makes most maple kits sound slow and dull in comparison; the only kit I've played in the last six years that has lived up to those Yamahas are old-school Gretsches. I'm sure a ProLite would hold its own too.
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
My Yamaha Birch Absolutes are the most incredible-sounding drums I've ever played. Nothing close dry and dead; the birch responds quicker, so the note comes out faster and clearer, and fast tom runs never lose their crisp attack, yet still carries the fundamental pitch straight into your chest cavity, and they have more than enough sustain. Makes most maple kits sound slow and dull in comparison; the only kit I've played in the last six years that has lived up to those Yamahas are old-school Gretsches. I'm sure a ProLite would hold its own too.
Interesting observations. I feel the same way about my Birch Absolutes but I am admittedly, biased. 🙂 My brother loves them too and he's owned some crazy good kits in the past.

Oddly enough, I'm tossing around the idea of picking up some Gretsches next year. I want to know what the fuss is all about.
 
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