Sonor SQ2: birch or maple? Shell thickness? Seriously need advice!


Platinum Member
Way too many long posts in this thread to read, so I'll get straight to my point. If you are gunning for a Birch Sonor kit you absolutely have to try the Birch infinites. Oh my... They are lovely sounding drums and 1/3rd the price of SQ2's. Still German made with Finnish Birch. Its like a "poor man's" birch SQ2. Actually, it's the "sensible man's" birch SQ2.
Throw one more into the ring Ludwig Classic Maple. In addition to my two Sonor kits I have 2 sets of the Ludwigs. They fit the bill exactly to what you in versatility. They are modern Ludwig sound. Put vintage emperor coated Remo heads on them and you get that 70's Ludwig sound. Put some clear g2's on them and they sound modern. They really respond well to head changes, are full customizable and cost half the price.


Gold Member
I own 3 Sonor kits, all in different species and there is a difference.

My SQ2 Medium Maple - warm, lots of sustain, great for live performances
S-Classix Medium Birch - punchy, lots of attack - excellent for recording
Ascent Beech (Chinese) - great for all-around playing, this is my go-to kit for bar gigs. Its easy to mike and the engineers seem to be able to dial it in quickly.



Junior Member
So many good tips on here... this is good and bad because in some ways I feel more secure about what I want, and then other ways I am starting to come around to think about my future kit differently. I am still thinking birch will be the right wood in regards to the inherent shorter decay and controlled mids. This will be primarily a recording kit. I also found a YouTube video from The Drum Loft showing a Birch Designer kit which sounds like medium shells (based on the characteristics of Hazelwood7's post) and they sound incredible, very in line with what I imagined they would sound like. With Remo coated ambassadors, too, thank goodness! The more I'm learning about shell thickness I'm leaning towards a medium shell all the way around. Of course, then I found out about the medium and heavy beech kits and WHOA!

I had a pretty wacky thought, and I hope someone here will either tell me I'm insane and to never do this, or tell me it's possible and could sound great. But... what about a medium birch kick and medium beech toms? This is hypothetical of course, but I wonder if it would sound super weird and unbalanced, or maybe each wood would bring out the best qualities of the drum. By Hazelwood7's logic (such a helpful post, thank you!) the logic says shell thickness determines color of sound the most, followed by wood choice.

So hear me out - if all shells are medium they will have a balance to the volume, projection and fullness, right? But different woods will give the desired color characteristics for the drum. A birch kick would have more controlled mids and slightly more low-end, and attack. The beech toms would have slightly less attack and low-end but more low-mid punch and roundness. These are the basic characteristics that I myself would be typically eq-ing the drums for in the studio anyway. It's always better to have to do less in post than just bringing a great natural sound through the mic. So... is it a ridiculous idea?

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
I tell you what. Sonor launched a drumset some years ago that had a maple kick, birch toms and a beech snare. Sonor said that this is the best combination ever to get the best out of each drum. Guess what: Almost nobody bought the drumset. A huge flop. Because it doesn't make things easier or lets the drums really sound better.

If you want a drumset for recording primarily, I'd go for birch. It's proven, it's the sound engineers darling in the studio. You can't really go wrong with birch.
I don't remember them ever doing that. What was the series ??
They never did that as far as I know. That was not thier philosophy.

I love idea and mixing woods is totally fine. Your choice of woods and shell thicknesses sounds like an awesome set.
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Staff member
Sonor Hybrid X.

I know of several drummers here in Germany who bought the drums and sold them shortly afterwards because they didn't like the sound at all after a few weeks/months.
Possibly one of the worst bass drum captures I've heard in a while. Pretty much resting the mic on the resonant head doesn't exactly help.


Platinum Member

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I really like the Birch Infinite's I own, they're all birch 9ply shells. The toms are 6mm and the bass drum 8mm with 45 degree bearing edges.

I also like the sound of thin maple shells of their Prolites (not sure their ply/thickness).

If I did Sonor again, it would be the vintage series beech but that's a different sound all together.
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drumming sort of person

I like Sonor's drums, but I detest their tom mounts, both aesthetically as well as functionally. They may be one of the worst I've ever had to try and adjust.

I really like the rims on their latest vintage series, but they're not available on any other series. The other problem with Sonor is their limited size offerings, unless you opt for SQ2.

If I were getting Sonor, I would ditch the tom mounts and install Yamaha mounts.

As for shell wood/thickness, I would never EVER buy birch drums again. I absolutely HATED the sound of Yamaha's Recording Custom bass drums. Worst ever. Stick with maple, mahogany, oak or beech. For thickness, I would opt for thin or medium.

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
I absolutely HATED the sound of Yamaha's Recording Custom bass drums.
I bet that there are a few songs out there that you like - and that were recorded with an RC. Those drums were just too popular in studios. :D

What I don't like about Sonor is their "in-your-face" branding. The logo is to be seen really everywhere. It just annoys me. But the tom-mounts are okay. Not really cool but they work.


Platinum Member
What I don't like about Sonor is their "in-your-face" branding. The logo is to be seen really everywhere.
Pretty much the same for all drum companies - every Yamaha, Gretsch, Tama, Mapex has a logo on every drum, and embossed in the hardware. Some have big square badges too. Google images for any of these drums, and all the badges are out there to see.
I bought a used Sonor and the quality of the drums and ease of the mounts would encourage me to not hesitate buying another.


Junior Member
The Hybrid X, yeah I never heard of those... interesting. I can see why they didn't do too well, but also it seems like they were marketed as more of a mid-range kit, not made in Germany but in Asia? They don't seem to have the same quality or value as, say, the Newports or Birch Infinites or other limited-edition runs. They do not sound good from what I can hear. Even beyond that awful kick recording there. The reason they sound bad to me is just because they sound tacky, not because of the wood mixing. When I listen to high-quality recordings of high-end Sonor kits they never sound like that!

I think maybe they flopped with that idea because a) they weren't actually high-end Sonors - Artstar mentioned they were made in China? - and b) because there isn't enough of a market for that kind of wood configuration. Most people want one sound, like the "maple" sound or the "beech" sound. But I don't think the fact that those kits did badly means one can't mix wood.

As a matter of fact
- this will interest you, drumming sort of person - but the original Recording Custom kits had maple kick drums. You must have bought one of the new RC kits that have birch kick drums? But all classic recordings you hear of Steve Gadd, for example, he was playing a maple kick with birch toms.

I'm definitely torn. At this point I am pretty set on medium shells. They seem to be a good medium volume/medium versatile sound (duh!) and I still like the idea of an all-birch kit for the reasons that have been mentioned multiple times by Wave Deckl, Florian, myself and others. But I also really like the idea of beech toms and birch kick, or maybe even a maple kick with beech toms. I really thought I knew what I wanted, lol. I guess I want everything. Maybe I'd better narrow it down a bit :)


Junior Member
Also I hear you on the over-branding, I think that goes for most drum companies (and most companies in general, these days). Hard to escape.