That's Not What I've Been Told! Drum Sound Physics

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
In keeping with the fine tradition of analyzing scientific theoretical philosophy that this forum does, I found a heavy dose of information on shell design we all can discuss. Truth told I'd love to have a set of rosewood thick shell Phonics.

 
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kdh

Junior Member
Our seamless walnut snare shells are 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Now I need to build a thick walled seamless walnut kit. "Wallnut" series.😁
 

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Frank Godiva

Active Member
C7859311-E7A2-4ACA-AC40-67D24B2FE798.jpeg6B55B7A6-389E-42D0-9F10-60219104DA1E.jpeg

Inside outs are beautiful at 11mm while Signatures are 12mm

That catalog and Link philosophy was always a topic of discussion over at the Sonor Museum.

Its always funny when guys complain about the tom mounts. It chokes the drum they say. It doesn’t let the shell resonate and they install RIMS. That’s because it’s designed not to vibrate and rob energy from the head.

In the 70s Sonor’s had Full Vibrating Shell on the drums; but the 80s was total opposite with Sigs, Lites, and Phonics. But the market didn’t like it. Isolation mounts with suspended toms is what Sonor went to in the 90s with Designers totally abandoning this entire design philosophy.

Great video explaining what even many Sonor owners just don’t understand about the 80s models.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
I'm still a thin shell whore. I like my thin shelled Guru tone better than the 7.5 mm Pearl shells. So my real life experience runs counter to what this guy is saying. I guess a Stradivarius body sounds best when it's rigid. Not. He says some energy goes into the shell...but IMO that energy isn't lost. IMO it goes toward shaping (according to the drum material) the resolved tone of the output.

I'm not on board with a lot of what he says.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Awesome collection Frank. Not to derail the subject of shell thicknes and resonance but do you know what Chester Thompson was using in his instructional videotape? They look Phonics with Scandi birch but I can't tell.
 

Frank Godiva

Active Member
Awesome collection Frank. Not to derail the subject of shell thicknes and resonance but do you know what Chester Thompson was using in his instructional videotape? They look Phonics with Scandi birch but I can't tell.

I’m not sure about the exact VHS your referring too but CT was famous for having one of the largest Signature kits to grace the stage. He liked RIMS.

Drums:
Acording to Sonor is the Signature Series Special Edition for Chester Thompson a 1 of 1 kit. Sonor made only a few Signature Special Edition Sets. They are very rare. A 14 x 8 Snare reach up to 6000 US$. It is the only one kit which was made from 8“ till 18“ with PureCussion Rims (No Mount NM). The Drumset is a step beyond the original Signature Series. The Sonor Special Edition (SSE) has 12-ply maple shells and African Bubinga wood exterior finished in a high-gloss lacquer. Chester ́s kit has inside Canadian maple. All other Special Editions Sets were made mostly with Italian maple. Comparing to a regular Sonor Signature has the ply beech wood with Bubinga and without a high gloss Lacquer.

Also the Sonor Signature Special Edition metal parts are isolated from the shell using Sonor’s unique “APS” Advanced Projection System which Sonor transferred from HiLite to the SSE. Toms and floor toms are equipped with seamless Megahoops.

Drums:
22“ x 18“ Bass Drum left NM
22“ x 18“ Bass Drum right NM
14“ x 8“ Snare Drum SSE (spare Snare) – the bell brass Snare is available separate
8“ x 8“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
10“ x 10“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
12“ x 12“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
13“ x 13“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
14“ x 14“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
15“ x 15“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
16“ x 18“ Floor Tom
18“ x 18“ Floor Tom

 

kdh

Junior Member
I do love my Noble and Cooley CD Maples.
I would consider those to be thin shells. Toms and bass drum are beautiful sounding. The snare not so much. Glued in re-rings made from an 8 ply 1970s maple Pearl shell, cut new edges, snare beds and added COB 1950's Ludwig hoops. 6.5x14 8 lug drum. Sounds way better now.
Hard to tell to difference between this drum and any other vintage 3ply Ludwig I have. Thin or thick we can love them all. If a drum sounds good, it sounds good. I had a fairly thick Slingerland kit from the 70s. It had that magic.
Maybe it was the flame maple interiors.
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
Doesn't anyone remember how Bob Gatzen described the shell types and the sound they produce?. When he got to the thick shell Sonor type his description was spot on. I'll be back..amazingly fun thread.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
… energy goes into the shell...but IMO that energy isn't lost. IMO it goes toward shaping (according to the drum material) the resolved tone of the output.

I'm not on board with a lot of what he says.

If you are not on board then you just aren’t understanding yet. Think about it … when tones (waves) mix they can either add or subtract. When they add the most they can add to is to double (+3dB) assuming they are equal in intensity (which they are not). But when the subtract, they can subtract to infinity.

Now when we are talking about a wooden shell (solid, staved,ply … doesn’t matter) the frequencies it can “resonate” are ALL multiples of the dimensions and there are a lot of harmonics of those dimensions going on. Some of those harmonic frequencies will be “in phase” with the fundamental of the head and add if exactly in phase and some will be out of phase and cancel. Mother Nature shapes most tone by subtraction.

so whether or not you are on board, that’s the way it it ;)
 

indedrum

Senior Member
He is talking about resonance and sustain as the same thing, but they are inversely related. He actually does a good job explaining the physics of drums, but from the perspective that the sound that everyone wants is the big open and sustainy tones of thick heavy drums. That works for some, but many drumers prefer warmer, rounder, shorter (resonant) sounding drums, which is absolutely supported by thin shells, round edges and lighweight hardware. I also think most drum companies already are making thick, heavy drums, which give the sounds he's after, and very few are taking the thin/lightweight approach effectively.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
If you are not on board then you just aren’t understanding yet. Think about it … when tones (waves) mix they can either add or subtract. When they add the most they can add to is to double (+3dB) assuming they are equal in intensity (which they are not). But when the subtract, they can subtract to infinity.

Now when we are talking about a wooden shell (solid, staved,ply … doesn’t matter) the frequencies it can “resonate” are ALL multiples of the dimensions and there are a lot of harmonics of those dimensions going on. Some of those harmonic frequencies will be “in phase” with the fundamental of the head and add if exactly in phase and some will be out of phase and cancel. Mother Nature shapes most tone by subtraction.

so whether or not you are on board, that’s the way it it ;)
Allow me to rephrase. I greatly prefer the resolved tone of a thin shell as compared to a thick shell. In fact the thinner the better to my ear. Which doesn't agree with the video. Facts don't carry much currency where my ear is concerned. I played a set of DC drums and those shells were no thicker than a US quarter. They've always stuck in my mind how much I liked the tone. I've had thick shells before and I didn't prefer them. Maybe my ear is messed up and I can't hear what he's talking about
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Facts don't carry much currency where my ear is concerned.
This is what it really boils down to. I have a poster on my studio wall that shows a cross section of the inner ear. The slogan at the bottom says, "Your ear is the only endorsee that matters".

I've learned to live by this for most of my drumming "career". The fact of the matter is, the instrument has to please ME and my ear. If it doesn't, then back on the shelf it goes.
While his facts about sound & shells are obviously spot on, if it doesn't please me, then the facts are moot. Just because something is sonically good doesn't mean it's good to me.
 

Totigerus

Active Member
I’m not sure about the exact VHS your referring too but CT was famous for having one of the largest Signature kits to grace the stage. He liked RIMS.

Drums:
Acording to Sonor is the Signature Series Special Edition for Chester Thompson a 1 of 1 kit. Sonor made only a few Signature Special Edition Sets. They are very rare. A 14 x 8 Snare reach up to 6000 US$. It is the only one kit which was made from 8“ till 18“ with PureCussion Rims (No Mount NM). The Drumset is a step beyond the original Signature Series. The Sonor Special Edition (SSE) has 12-ply maple shells and African Bubinga wood exterior finished in a high-gloss lacquer. Chester ́s kit has inside Canadian maple. All other Special Editions Sets were made mostly with Italian maple. Comparing to a regular Sonor Signature has the ply beech wood with Bubinga and without a high gloss Lacquer.

Also the Sonor Signature Special Edition metal parts are isolated from the shell using Sonor’s unique “APS” Advanced Projection System which Sonor transferred from HiLite to the SSE. Toms and floor toms are equipped with seamless Megahoops.

Drums:
22“ x 18“ Bass Drum left NM
22“ x 18“ Bass Drum right NM
14“ x 8“ Snare Drum SSE (spare Snare) – the bell brass Snare is available separate
8“ x 8“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
10“ x 10“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
12“ x 12“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
13“ x 13“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
14“ x 14“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
15“ x 15“ Tom Tom No Mount – RIMS
16“ x 18“ Floor Tom
18“ x 18“ Floor Tom

Are there any German speaking bros out there that can confirm that Chester Thomas purchase receipt?
Was that 50,000 euros for a sonor drum set? 🤯
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Allow me to rephrase. I greatly prefer the resolved tone of a thin shell as compared to a thick shell. In fact the thinner the better to my ear. Which doesn't agree with the video. Facts don't carry much currency where my ear is concerned. I played a set of DC drums and those shells were no thicker than a US quarter. They've always stuck in my mind how much I liked the tone. I've had thick shells before and I didn't prefer them. Maybe my ear is messed up and I can't hear what he's talking about
Certainly everyone has their preferences. The video maker has his, you have yours and I have mine. I think what you have to look at is what factors contribute to that sound and the video is explains those clearly. What you choose to do with them is a personal choice … but that’s how they get there :)
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Are there any German speaking bros out there that can confirm that Chester Thomas purchase receipt?
Was that 50,000 euros for a sonor drum set? 🤯
Chester paid that much for them? Who knew backing up Genesis and Phil paid that well?
 

Totigerus

Active Member
Chester paid that much for them? Who knew backing up Genesis and Phil paid that well?
I'm not sure. I'm still waiting for a German speaker to clarify.
I knew Sonors were pricy, but hot damn!
 

Bozozoid

Platinum Member
Does anybody have ears like mine?. Over a 20 to 25 year period of listening to recorded music every now and then a drum sound jumped out at me. I thought nothing of it other than I love the sound of those drums!..hey..lets stop at Taco johns. 4 or 5 times a sound hits me and I'm becoming intrigued..this is over many many years. They all sounded similar..how could this be?. When I zoned in on all of the sounds from certain tunes I looked the drummers up and what they endorsed at the time. This is the part that may bring out the doubters. I was amazed to learn that every..single..sound that made me take notice (all) came from Sonor phonic users. Tommy Aldridge..Steve Smith..Robbie Bachman..Russ Kunkell..on various recordings had this sound that killed me and it was all on Sonor phonic drums wether it be from standard..power or square sizes that sound was there. I'd heard tons of great drum sounds over 30 years but the Sonor sound (phonic) blew my circuits. It (is) identifiable. After hearing that sound it was phonics or nothing for me.
 

Totigerus

Active Member
Does anybody have ears like mine?. Over a 20 to 25 year period of listening to recorded music every now and then a drum sound jumped out at me. I thought nothing of it other than I love the sound of those drums!..hey..lets stop at Taco johns. 4 or 5 times a sound hits me and I'm becoming intrigued..this is over many many years. They all sounded similar..how could this be?. When I zoned in on all of the sounds from certain tunes I looked the drummers up and what they endorsed at the time. This is the part that may bring out the doubters. I was amazed to learn that every..single..sound that made me take notice (all) came from Sonor phonic users. Tommy Aldridge..Steve Smith..Robbie Bachman..Russ Kunkell..on various recordings had this sound that killed me and it was all on Sonor phonic drums wether it be from standard..power or square sizes that sound was there. I'd heard tons of great drum sounds over 30 years but the Sonor sound (phonic) blew my circuits. It (is) identifiable. After hearing that sound it was phonics or nothing for me.
The closest that I can relate to that is that, SOMETIMES I can hear how Paistes are different than all the rest. SOMETIMES. (slightly more buttery top end frequencies)
 
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