Describe the SONOR Sound Please...

Brandtwi

Member
Everyone knows about the Gretsch sound and if you've played a lot of Ludwig Drums you get to know their unique sound, but what about SONOR?

I was looking at getting a used Sonor Phonic Rosewood kit in standard sizes and I am wondering what they sound like? I checked out Youtube - not too much there. Steve Smith's SQ2 kit sounds really good. There are no shops in New Orleans that carry them & not many drummers play them down here. What I like in a drum sound is Big loud & resonates forever. I like to feel it vibrate my body.

Can anyone describe for me what the better Sonor drums sound like?
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
The AQ2 sound vintage. Not vintage Ludwig, more vintage Slingerland. Wide tuning range. Musical. You hear a nice musical note.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That's hard to do because I can get like 500 different sounds from the same drum by altering the heading, tuning and muffling.

If drums only made one sound then this task would be much easier. You may not get any useful information, because of the many differing tones that can be had from a drum, coupled with peoples perceptions of the drums they are hearing in a certain space (the room is plays a big part in a drum's tone)

Researching the tonal properties of Rosewood, finding out which bearing edge profile makes the sound you like, deciding on 2.3mm, S hoops or die casts, researching the method Sonor uses to make shells, finding out the number of plies (more plies= more glue) may be more useful than asking for others perceptions on a drumset that not a lot of people own.

Basically speaking, you should be able to get most sounds from most drums. It just takes knowing how to extract the sound you want from the drum.

Drums are like cars, they get you from point A to point B. Some do it in style, some do it economically, but they all do it.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Rosewood Phonics are german beech wood shells with rosewood veneer. If your looking for a big round sound with sustain you might like the Sonor Vintage series kits which have beech shells and a 30* bearing edge. As with any expensive line of instruments, you should really research the company website, youtube, and in this case, look into a chat forum that deals specifically with Sonor products. They make drums with beech, birch, and maple shells. All of which can be bought in various thicknesses. Try here for owner testimony and if you're looking for answers regarding to specific product lines.

http://www.sonormuseum.com/forum/index.php

Try here for Sonor history.......

http://www.sonormuseum.com/

My answer to what is the Sonor sound? #1) The groan you'll here when you see how much you have to pay for them. #2) The happy voice you hear in your head when you discover that they just may be some of the nicer drums you've ever played. I'm a BIG fan of their maple shell drums, both vintage thin shell and medium shell. In fact I just purchased a new Sonor Prolite Stage 3 kit yesterday (on sale of course, lol) to go with my existing Delite set.

Here's my idea of the Sonor sound. First video is of Thomas Lang showing off on a Sonor Delite kit. (thin maple shell w/ rerings). He's being a screwball here but listen to the drums.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9bFPsVtXgY

This is a video of a Sonor Designer kit (Circa 2001 I think, my fave, but discontinued unless you go SQ2 maple medium custom.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WDtWJviCgs

I'm a maple guy so you'll have to poke around for others with regards to the beech and birch offerings.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
I hear the unique Sonor sound when I listen to recordings of Jeff Watts and Jack DeJohnette. Sonor makes a nice sounding drum. I just never cared much for their hardware unfortunately, otherwise I would have purchased them by now.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
Everyone knows about the Gretsch sound and if you've played a lot of Ludwig Drums you get to know their unique sound, but what about SONOR?
Hi Brandtwi..... I've owned ALOT of German SOnor.. and the best way, IMO to describe them.. ONLY once you have them tuned right.. is "tympanic" with a "ping" characteristic I don't get with other drums. It just adds to a responsiveness and feel that makes them very very satisfying.

By far the MAJORITY of vids I have seen DO NOT capture this. You really have to spend time with a German made kit and play with the tuning.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
First time I played some Phonics I recognized that punchy, Joey Baron-type sound and had to get some. Tuned higher they have a unique thing going that I don't know how to describe-- maybe listen to some 70s Jack Dejohnette. No idea how that pertains to other Sonor models.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
I only know two sets intimately.
I love these drums.

Phonics tuned low are warm and open. Almost no strange overtones. Think of the Journey sound. They blend into the mix. You almost can't tell they're there but you know what you hear.
Think of Sarah Bairelles Love Song. That's how they sound. Even though I don't know what drums those are on that song.

Phonics tuned tighter have a short, dry tympany bark. Higher overtones come out at higher tunings but can have a nice dry and open sound if tuned just before they get choked.

Sonorlites are very open, powerful and warlike at lower tunings and the overtones go down into the lower tones. At higher tunings, they are glassy and open and have a nice decay to the bend. Very tympani-like at a softer volume. The openness carries. The floor tom is explosive with not a lot of articulation at softer playing. The mounts cause them to be finicky when tuning. You have to tune them on the stands or they'll sound like crap. They have a very nice distortion when played hard and have a strong fundamental. A very big sound. Very loud and very dynamic.

Jeremy posted this link on the Sonor site. i think it's a good representation of the Sonorlites.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3nzIAvxAag
 
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JustJames

Platinum Member
Drums sound like...drums.

That great Gretsch sound? That's that great Gretsch marketing!

Heads, tuning, muffling, room, mic choice, recording gear, processing...these are all things that you hear.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Drums sound like...drums.

That great Gretsch sound? That's that great Gretsch marketing!

Heads, tuning, muffling, room, mic choice, recording gear, processing...these are all things that you hear.
Ridiculous. If that were true everyone would be playing Pearl exports or yamaha stage customs. As someone who buys/sells drums for a hobby, I can tell you that there are HUGE differences in drums when set up with same heads, same room etc. My buddy and I did a comparison set up with a Ludwig Classic Maple and his Yamaha Recording Custom a couple weeks ago. They couldn't have been more different if one was round and one was square.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
. My buddy and I did a comparison set up with a Ludwig Classic Maple and his Yamaha Recording Custom a couple weeks ago. They couldn't have been more different if one was round and one was square.
To an expert ear. It takes experience and some natural ability to hear subtleties like that.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
No, you need someone to play the drums who knows how to hit a drum to hear the obvious differences..

When a mediocre amateur hits a drum, they will all sound (kinda) the same..
That’s an interesting point. I guess the way to take the player out of the equation is to drop a tennis ball on the drumhead, right?
 

trickg

Silver Member
How do they sound?

The toms go, "DDOOoooouuummm!"

The kick goes, "KHUUUDD!"

The snare goes, "KRAAACKK!"
 
My buddy and I did a comparison set up with a Ludwig Classic Maple and his Yamaha Recording Custom a couple weeks ago. They couldn't have been more different if one was round and one was square.
Yeah. Did the Ludwig sound different from the Yamaha, or did your buddy's kit sound different from yours? Whenever I played on other people's drum sets (as long as they knew how to tune), I really was excited about their drums sounding fantastic to my ears. But it could have been almost any kind of drum, the result would have been nearly the same. It's mostliy a combination of tuning habits, head choice, different room acoustics, that my ears are not used to.

Not that different drums don't sound different, but do manufacturers put a handful of stardust into their shells to sound special? I don't think so.

I had a Sonor Lite for ages, and compared to my new Vintage Series kit, they don't have very much in common apart from the company name written on the badge. Both great sounding kits though.
 
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