Is Yamaha Stage Custom an upgrade over Sonor Safari?

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I gigged with a 16" Sonor Safari bass drum for several years, and I got nothing but massive complements on the tone. A decently tuned 16" bass drum, a well placed decent BD mic, and a good PA can create Any bass drum tone. Any.

I used to have a Sonor Bop kit (18" kick, 12" rack, 14" floor, and steaming pile of dog excrement for a snare drum).

That set sounded awesome out front, but sounded like garbage sitting behind it. I could never get used to it, so I ended up trading it for a set of Pearl Sessions in bigger sizes. I felt more "at home" with the Pearl.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I wonder how many people who diss 16" bass drums actually gigged with one with PA support.

I gigged with a 16" Sonor Safari bass drum for several years, and I got nothing but massive complements on the tone. A decently tuned 16" bass drum, a well placed decent BD mic, and a good PA can create Any bass drum tone. Any.

Agreed. I play more gigs with a Breakbeats kit than anything else lately, and the BD tone sounds great.
Check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juGzheC2NLY
 

gish

Senior Member
Agreed. I play more gigs with a Breakbeats kit than anything else lately, and the BD tone sounds great.
Check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juGzheC2NLY

Your kit sounds great in that clip. I've heard plenty of small bass drums mic'd at larger venues, so I know how punchy they can sound. Yours had a thickness to the tone; care to share your head choice/ tuning? Also, these little kicks can obviously sound much larger mic'd through a big PA, but was wondering what your take is on the throne tone from a small kick in a large room and what your setup is to hear that kick better in a big room.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
Nice job! That’s a bigger crowd than I would ever play in front of, and the 16” BD and whole kit seem to be holding their own. I guess the lesson is - a 16” BD can do what a larger BD can do, but depending on the venue, it may need to be miked.

Thanks! Yes, I was impressed from the start the sound of with this little kit, and the 16" kick can hold its own if miked - it's needed with this rock band.

Your kit sounds great in that clip. I've heard plenty of small bass drums mic'd at larger venues, so I know how punchy they can sound. Yours had a thickness to the tone; care to share your head choice/ tuning? Also, these little kicks can obviously sound much larger mic'd through a big PA, but was wondering what your take is on the throne tone from a small kick in a large room and what your setup is to hear that kick better in a big room.

Thanks! This is the stock batter head (which is a Remo UT PS3 - I have a 'real' PS3 waiting for when it wears out) and an Aquarian Regulator reso. I tried a few combinations but this was my favourite. Reso is JAW, batter is a little higher.
The kick sounds pretty good from the throne in my practice room, but when gigging with a PA the monitor does help to hear the kick a little better - but this is the case for my other kick too (22"), not just the 16".
 
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el roso

Member
It's an upgrade if it makes you want to play it more or if it matches the sound in your head.

Personally, I'd probably be more interested to play the Sonor. Stage Customs are well made, but I see them everywhere.
 

Jml

Senior Member
It's an upgrade if it makes you want to play it more or if it matches the sound in your head.

Personally, I'd probably be more interested to play the Sonor. Stage Customs are well made, but I see them everywhere.

Just curious - why Sonor over the Yamaha? Do you have a small bop kit?
 

Jml

Senior Member
Two other things I’ve thought of while ruminating about my decision - one which is usually discussed and one that isn’t. The more discussed issue is size and transporting these drums. A 16” is generally going to be lighter (and obviously smaller) which makes it easier to move around and fit in your car. The less discussed issue is tom placement with relation to the bass drum. I have my 10 inch tom right over my bass drum and it’s level with my snare. A tom over a 20” BD will be higher and “harder” to get to, ergonomically speaking.
 

el roso

Member
Just curious - why Sonor over the Yamaha? Do you have a small bop kit?

Hey man, thanks for the question.

The smallest kick I have is a 20x14 and there are times I prefer that over a 22 or 24. Depends on the room, the gig and how many stairs I need to climb.

I've had a Yamaha SC and thought it was well made, well priced, and sounded great. I just found it a little boring. I don't mean to insult anyone as they are excellent drums and will do 95% of what you need but I like the feeling of being excited to play the instrument when I sit on the stool.

I would pick the Sonor mostly because it's different and less common. Are you really asking if I'd pick an 18 over a 16?
 

Jml

Senior Member
Hey man, thanks for the question.

The smallest kick I have is a 20x14 and there are times I prefer that over a 22 or 24. Depends on the room, the gig and how many stairs I need to climb.

I've had a Yamaha SC and thought it was well made, well priced, and sounded great. I just found it a little boring. I don't mean to insult anyone as they are excellent drums and will do 95% of what you need but I like the feeling of being excited to play the instrument when I sit on the stool.

I would pick the Sonor mostly because it's different and less common. Are you really asking if I'd pick an 18 over a 16?

Yeah I guess I’m asking if you’d pick the 16 or the 18. Because the smallest BD you have is a 20, so now I’m really curious. I would have assumed you’d say skip the 18” Yammy and get a “real” kit with a 20” BD or bigger.
 

thebarak

Senior Member
I have kind of had both recently. I had a new Yamaha Stage Custom in 2016, and the quality was exceptional, but for me the sound of this birch kit was just too loud and too rock 'n roll. Mine was the five piece with the 20" bass.

Then I had a Sonor Jungle kit, (16" diameter bass as long as a tunnel), which is like a much older version of a Safari.

The modern Sonor Safari is in my opinion a lower quality kit than the Yamaha Stage Custom. You could probably break or damage the Sonor easier. The Yamaha is very strong, and has top notch hardware, and is therefore an upgrade in that sense, but an important part of the answer depends on your intended musical genre and desired volume level.

These two kits do not make a good direct comparison because they are just so different.
 

el roso

Member
Yeah I guess I’m asking if you’d pick the 16 or the 18. Because the smallest BD you have is a 20, so now I’m really curious. I would have assumed you’d say skip the 18” Yammy and get a “real” kit with a 20” BD or bigger.

I'm not sure but I think if I made the decision to go with a smaller bass drum, I would think that once you get down to those sizes, the difference between a 16 or an 18 would be minimal especially if you mic it. With tuning, damping and playing I can make my 20 sound pretty close to my 22 and vice versa. Are they the same depth cos that can make a difference too.

I'm certain there would be a difference but I think you'd be talking small variances to the ear of someone at a gig once you add the sounds of the rest of the kit and the band.

The only way to tell is sit behind it and play it!
 

el roso

Member
Yeah I guess I’m asking if you’d pick the 16 or the 18. Because the smallest BD you have is a 20, so now I’m really curious. I would have assumed you’d say skip the 18” Yammy and get a “real” kit with a 20” BD or bigger.

I don't think the diameter of the bass drum defines whether it's a real kit or not. For me it comes down to feel first, if it feels good I can usually get it to sound good but it the feel is off I can't get in the pocket.

I would not want to suggest that this is not a REAL kit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SRlVsDGtMU
 

newoldie

Silver Member
I don't know if this was mentioned, but the Sonor Player kit has a 20 x 12 BD and has gotten the job done on gigs for me with and without mics (w/out, small gigs). Good balance between compact and traditional sizing and is inexpensive.

I also use it for practice, since the shallow BD depth allows a more compact space. The 8 x 10 mount tom and 14 x 12 floor tom also produce plenty of sound when needed, with the right heads added from stock.

Nothing's broken on it, hardware is very sturdy- I even bought it used, just replaced the heads w/Remos, mostly single ply. BD needed a PS3 to get the deep sound, the Evans Emad clear didn't quite resonate as well as the PS3 did.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I'm not sure but I think if I made the decision to go with a smaller bass drum, I would think that once you get down to those sizes, the difference between a 16 or an 18 would be minimal especially if you mic it. With tuning, damping and playing I can make my 20 sound pretty close to my 22 and vice versa. Are they the same depth cos that can make a difference too.

I'm certain there would be a difference but I think you'd be talking small variances to the ear of someone at a gig once you add the sounds of the rest of the kit and the band.

The only way to tell is sit behind it and play it!

That’s what I’m thinking. So is there any advantage to having an 18” over a 16” bass drum? Seems I’d likely have to mic either one except for small venues.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I don't know if this was mentioned, but the Sonor Player kit has a 20 x 12 BD and has gotten the job done on gigs for me with and without mics (w/out, small gigs). Good balance between compact and traditional sizing and is inexpensive.

I also use it for practice, since the shallow BD depth allows a more compact space. The 8 x 10 mount tom and 14 x 12 floor tom also produce plenty of sound when needed, with the right heads added from stock.

Nothing's broken on it, hardware is very sturdy- I even bought it used, just replaced the heads w/Remos, mostly single ply. BD needed a PS3 to get the deep sound, the Evans Emad clear didn't quite resonate as well as the PS3 did.

Yeah sometimes I kick myself for not getting the Players Kit. Same as Safari except for the BD. Can’t find just the BD for sale.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I have kind of had both recently. I had a new Yamaha Stage Custom in 2016, and the quality was exceptional, but for me the sound of this birch kit was just too loud and too rock 'n roll. Mine was the five piece with the 20" bass.

Then I had a Sonor Jungle kit, (16" diameter bass as long as a tunnel), which is like a much older version of a Safari.

The modern Sonor Safari is in my opinion a lower quality kit than the Yamaha Stage Custom. You could probably break or damage the Sonor easier. The Yamaha is very strong, and has top notch hardware, and is therefore an upgrade in that sense, but an important part of the answer depends on your intended musical genre and desired volume level.

These two kits do not make a good direct comparison because they are just so different.

Hmmm. The SC with 20” bass drum “too loud and rock and roll”? Interesting.
 
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