SONOR phonic/lite

Billy Boy

Junior Member
can you guys give me a brief discourse on these lines of sonors from the 80's? I am considering trying to buy a new (used) kit and along with Yamaha RC's - these top my list. only thing is i am having trouble finding a lot of info on these drum lines. I know the sonorlites were a lighter birch shell and the phonics were beech/rosewood? either way they seem very elusive and hard to come by... anybody own a set of either of these lines of drums??? if so - POST a pic!
 

RickP

Gold Member
Something else to take into account regarding the Sonor Lite series is that the name Lite is misleading - they were lightweight for Sonor shells which at the time were very thick shells.They are still thicker than your usual Birch shell made today.

The Phonics were Beech shells and they had metal bass drum hoops.Some people find this not to their liking. Personally it doesn't bother me at all. The Phonics uilized real interior and outer veneers in some nice wood such as oak; rosewood etc. Thick shells and very well made.

My favourite drums from this period made by Sonor are the Hilite series, 100% maple shells with rubber insulators that separate the metal parts from the shells.They did not have a lot of finishes but they did come available with copper plated hardware which looks really cool.


The new Beech shelled Ascent series drums are excellent and just really great sounding and a real bargain pricewise.Sure they are not made in Germany but is that really a huge issue ?
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
Something else to take into account regarding the Sonor Lite series is that the name Lite is misleading - they were lightweight for Sonor shells which at the time were very thick shells.They are still thicker than your usual Birch shell made today.

The Phonics were Beech shells and they had metal bass drum hoops.Some people find this not to their liking. Personally it doesn't bother me at all. The Phonics uilized real interior and outer veneers in some nice wood such as oak; rosewood etc. Thick shells and very well made.

My favourite drums from this period made by Sonor are the Hilite series, 100% maple shells with rubber insulators that separate the metal parts from the shells.They did not have a lot of finishes but they did come available with copper plated hardware which looks really cool.


The new Beech shelled Ascent series drums are excellent and just really great sounding and a real bargain pricewise.Sure they are not made in Germany but is that really a huge issue ?

Rick, you are more or less right about most of that.. BUT.

The Lite's were actually right at average thickness. 6 mm toms, and 7 mm kick.. which , for example, is what Yamaha has used on almost everything since the early 70's.

I owned the HiLites also, and they are supposed "Italian Maple". haha. I don't buy into anything great going on with whatever that wood was,.. but. they are average sounding maple drums. That's it. not bad, not astounding.

Regarding the Ascent. Remember. nothing more than a thick, beech, Mapex shell. That is what they are. There is no Sonor engineering, and when they hype CLTF.. That is just Cross Laminated , betting on, Tension Free., which is what EVERYBODY uses.
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
The Lite was Kurillian birch..
Pretty sure the sonorlites were made of Scandinavian Birch....

They are still thicker than your usual Birch shell made today
The Sonorlite shells were 7mm (bass & snare) and 6mm (toms) so I don't think they are thicker than most birch kits today...

BillyBoy I had a Sonor Phonic Plus (9 ply beech) kit back in the 80's...they're nice kits!..and the Sonorlites are as well..If I had to choose between the two (phonics or sonorlites)..I'd go with the sonorlites...
 
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Artstar

Platinum Member
Pretty sure the sonorlites were made of Scandinavian Birch....



The Sonorlite shells were 7mm (bass & snare) and 6mm (toms) so I don't think they are thicker than most birch kits today...

BillyBoy I had a Sonor Phonic Plus (9 ply beech) kit back in the 80's...they're nice kits!..and the Sonorlites are as well..If I had to choose between the two (phonics or sonorlites)..I'd go with the sonorlites...
I followed Sonor literature for years with the Scandinavian. however , I found out the true label is Kurillian or Karelian.
 

pcastag

Senior Member
I've owned quite a few different kits in both varieties and currently own two phonic kits and an sq2 with lite specs ( thickness, innerply of scandi birch). The phonics have a punchier sound, depending on if you gt a plus ( square sizes) or standard, they also tend to tune a bit higher due to the thickness of the shell, but can be tuned low as well.The lites have the classic thin birch sound, lots of attack, nice low end, they tend to like a lower tuning and will choke up a bit at higher tensions. Perfect for funk and rock, lots of people have played jazz on them but to my ears phoncis have a more classic jazz sound. In short, if you want a nice high tight sound or low thuddy punchy sound go for the phonics, if you want a more modern sound with more attack go for the lite. The phonics are also extremely heavy, my 18" kick weighs considerably more than my sq2 20" in birch.
PC
 

scorch whammin

Gold Member
The phonics are also extremely heavy, my 18" kick weighs considerably more than my sq2 20" in birch.
PC
Agreed!...I had the square sized phonic plus kit (24X18,14X14,15X15,16X18,18X19)..man were those drums HEAVY!..great sounding kit though!
 

gaz farrimond

Senior Member
ok, what is the best line of drums that sonor has ever produced & what time period were they from?
The best line?

I've owned most Sonor lines from mid 60's kits to early 2000's: My personal favourite is the Phonic (Late 70's to late 80's) and I prefer the standard sizes over the square size Phonic Plus, but Sonor's most underrated line IMHO are the Force Maples (1990's). Funnily enough, although I like the Force Maples, I didn't get on with the Hilites.
 

Artstar

Platinum Member
The best line?
but Sonor's most underrated line IMHO are the Force Maples (1990's). Funnily enough, although I like the Force Maples, I didn't get on with the Hilites.
ABSOLUTELY ! I had my F.M.s set up right beside my Hilites. Much better wood used on the FM's.. IMO. They just sounded better all around.

Hilites had slighty better metal parts..
 

AirborneSFC

Gold Member
+1 for the S Classix. I had one, sold it, and bought another because I enjoy their sound that much. I even played a medium shell thickness SQ2 that I loved.

These days if I had a choice for a beech shelled Sonor kit it would be a vintage beech shelled kit.
 
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