Wow! 10th Anniversary Sonor SQ2 Cast Bronze...

Stroker

Platinum Member
Quite an investment, but a gorgeous, and I’m sure amazing sounding drum. It’s even better that it’s not intended to be a closet queen... Congratulations!!
Many thanks!

The drum is everything one can ever imagine a snare drum to be, and more. It really is a world-class instrument all the way around.

What a waste it would be to keep a drum of this excellence under lock and key, to reserve it for but an occasional glimpse.
 

fl.tom

Senior Member
Congratulations Stroker. This snare would be a pinnacle of sound, design and beauty for me as well. Great to hear it’s meeting and exceeding your expectations.

For your planned SQ2 kit, what sound characteristics/qualities drew you to the Birch shells? And, do you plan on varying shell thickness for any of the drums?

I believe you were initially attracted to Maple a few months ago (when deciding on Sonor over DW) so just curious what changed your mind. My current Sonor is thin-shell birch and I’ve played maple as well before so sincerely not trying to put you on the spot.

Knowing you were also looking for input on the configuration, my only suggestion would be bass drum depth considerations.

For your intended use, the 22” & 24” diameters seem to be a good fit. I have a 20” & 22” and could easily be swayed to 22” & 24” and still have versatility. And part of that versatility for me is tuning options... from both heads tuned the same pitch to a 4th or 5th apart within a fundamental range of about 5-7 semitones.

Similar to toms, I also rely more on head rebound than pedal rebound so I usually have a light spring tension on most pedals. As such air volume is an important factor and I tend to choose 20” - 24” BD depths based on overall air volume rather than just larger diameters = larger depths or everything at a 14” depth.

If you have a similar playing and tuning approach, I’d humbly recommend swapping the depths on the bass drums to 22x16” and 24x14”. These have volumes within 300 cubic inches of each other (~6079 ci & ~6330 ci respectively) and by using primarily only tuning I’m able to vary their sound from more punch to more boom while still maintaining good head rebound.

Just a suggestion though, there’s certainly other philosophies and approaches to selecting depths.

Again congratulations on your snare, and best of luck with your SQ2 design and order,
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Congratulations Stroker. This snare would be a pinnacle of sound, design and beauty for me as well. Great to hear it’s meeting and exceeding your expectations.

For your planned SQ2 kit, what sound characteristics/qualities drew you to the Birch shells? And, do you plan on varying shell thickness for any of the drums?

I believe you were initially attracted to Maple a few months ago (when deciding on Sonor over DW) so just curious what changed your mind. My current Sonor is thin-shell birch and I’ve played maple as well before so sincerely not trying to put you on the spot.

Knowing you were also looking for input on the configuration, my only suggestion would be bass drum depth considerations.

For your intended use, the 22” & 24” diameters seem to be a good fit. I have a 20” & 22” and could easily be swayed to 22” & 24” and still have versatility. And part of that versatility for me is tuning options... from both heads tuned the same pitch to a 4th or 5th apart within a fundamental range of about 5-7 semitones.

Similar to toms, I also rely more on head rebound than pedal rebound so I usually have a light spring tension on most pedals. As such air volume is an important factor and I tend to choose 20” - 24” BD depths based on overall air volume rather than just larger diameters = larger depths or everything at a 14” depth.

If you have a similar playing and tuning approach, I’d humbly recommend swapping the depths on the bass drums to 22x16” and 24x14”. These have volumes within 300 cubic inches of each other (~6079 ci & ~6330 ci respectively) and by using primarily only tuning I’m able to vary their sound from more punch to more boom while still maintaining good head rebound.

Just a suggestion though, there’s certainly other philosophies and approaches to selecting depths.

Again congratulations on your snare, and best of luck with your SQ2 design and order,
Many thanks, FLT!

What sound characteristics/qualities drew you to the Birch shells? Having spent untold hours listening to videos on YouTube, comparing both maple shell and birch shell kits, birch shells shined through for me in the end. Punch, power, and clarity, to my ears, birch shells encompass all.

As for ordering my SQ2 kit with varying shell thickness, yes, I'm in the final stages of nailing-down that aspect of my order.

I believe you were initially attracted to Maple a few months ago (when deciding on Sonor over DW) so just curious what changed your mind? Indeed, maple was my initial choice for shell selection, however, the sound of birch shells grew on me and I believe birch is going to be the kicker for me in the end. The purity and projection that birch generates is my kind of sound.

As for choosing Sonor over DW, as with any selection process, it came down to good old-fashioned integrity and dedication on the part of each company, and of course, quality, sound, and craftsmanship. Sonor, came out on top. My very first email to Sonor, was answered by none other than, Mr. Karl-Heinz Menzel. That told me everything I needed to know about Sonor, and when I received my Sonor SQ2, Cast Bronze Snare Drum, that solidified my decision as to which drum-maker I was going to run with.

Extending a deep thank you to you for presenting your knowledge and insight into bass drum depths! Greatly appreciated, and officially added to my worksheet.

Will be posting an update as to my SQ2 order in the weeks to come.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
My current Sonor is thin-shell birch and I’ve played maple as well
How do you like your thin shelled birch Sonor kit?

What made you transition from maple to birch shells?

What sonic differences do you notice the birch having over the maple, or vice-versa?
 

fl.tom

Senior Member
Thank you sir. I sincerely appreciate it. The comment about maple and DW was really only meant to clarify the reason for asking and the timeline, but thank you for addressing that as well.

So your Sonor journey started off with an email from Karl-Heinz Menzel -and- your self-signature snare? Nothing like taking it to the next level by first walking the red carpet, eh? Priceless. Will be sure to look for the “Stroker” signature snare and drum kit in future catalogs. :D

It sounds like your and my hearing perceptions of Sonor’s birch shell constructions are similar. Punch, power, clarity, and projection are all there. Though I do hear aspects of these in their maple configs as well. To be fair, I’ve often found wood species in many ply drums to only be a minor factor, if any, in overall sound. But... when you find drums that bring out those differences, and you can make an apples-to-apples comparison, they can be apparent.

How do you like your thin shelled birch Sonor kit?
Thanks for asking. Succinctly, “love it.” Clear heads and appropriate tuning, and it sings like the Vienna Boys Choir. Coated heads, and Bonham or Paicey thunder. Controlled, and the perfect focus for recording. It’s very versatile and has some of the best sustain of any wood ply kit I’ve ever played... including the often coveted 90s Premier Genista which also has undersized birch shells. Admittedly, I’ve never had a Kumu or any other boutique ply or solid shell kit so this assessment is humbly limited to most major brands.

You may also appreciate to know I’ve found them to blend very nicely with Paiste Signatures, 602s and 2002s. Potential sonic bliss?

One thing I do need to be careful with is what single ply heads (clear or coated) I use. Like with other thin shell drums, there is a tendency for them to sound “papery” to me. Some folks like the sound (“It sounds more like a timpani.”) so this is definitely more personal preference.

What made you transition from maple to birch shells?
I actually didn’t have any Sonor kits at the time, but had others, most relevant here a Tama Starclassic Maple. I was interested in getting another Sonor and was looking at either ordering a SQ2 with thin or vintage shells, or buying a Delite (2nd gen, round badge, vintage shell) to save money. (The Delite was the precursor to the Prolite and identical to it with the exception of the TAR mount (3-point vs 4-point), badge and finishes.) After a good bit of listening research, I realized that neither maple shell option sounded different enough from what I had to justify another kit. I thoroughly enjoy the Tama Starclassic and wasn’t about to get rid of it so I started listening to the Sonor beech and birch shell configurations. Before long, my previous appreciation for birch was reignited and the thin shell proved to be a sound I didn’t have.

So the situation was really more one of not duplicating rather than transitioning. And the reasons for going with birch instead of beech are what you noted above along with the next reply...

What sonic differences do you notice the birch having over the maple, or vice-versa?
In a word, I would say, “growl”. It seems as birch is often said to be brighter or more cutting, which are both indeed true, but I tend to hear more of a “throaty” characteristic from the scooped mids. This may not always be desirable in snares, or even kicks, but I find it an especially appealing quality in toms. Of course hearing and perception are very individualistic so YMMV.

Extending a deep thank you to you for
presenting your knowledge and insight into bass drum depths! Greatly appreciated, and officially added to my worksheet.
You are quite welcome sir, and a true gentleman. If it turns out to be of some help, great. If not, it may be for someone else.

Thank you again for sharing your experience thus far and look forward to you posting more about your Sonor quest.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
You're a comic in disguise, FT! Many thanks for infusing my Sunday morning with a little cheer! (y)

I'm sucking up and loving every word you're saying! Paiste, just so happens to own my soul. Have a series of 2002's, a Master, and will be filling in the gaps in the months to come, so am delighted to hear your take on sonic bliss through the marriage of Sonor and Paiste.

I've been reveling in the sound and magic of Simon Philips as of late, and the Tama Starclassics he plays are irresistibly splendid in every way, which leads me to my next point, diecast hoops. Related to Sonor, the only aspect I am not 100% pleased with is the absence of diecast hoops on their toms, but knowing the company has been doing what they've been doing since 1875, I'm placing my trust in their expertise and hardware choice.

It's drummers like yourself that truly help orient me, so many thanks to you for your meticulous breakdown and insight into this.

A truly superb read!
 

fl.tom

Senior Member
You're a comic in disguise, FT! Many thanks for infusing my Sunday morning with a little cheer! (y)

I'm sucking up and loving every word you're saying! Paiste, just so happens to own my soul. Have a series of 2002's, a Master, and will be filling in the gaps in the months to come, so am delighted to hear your take on sonic bliss through the marriage of Sonor and Paiste.

I've been reveling in the sound and magic of Simon Philips as of late, and the Tama Starclassics he plays are irresistibly splendid in every way, which leads me to my next point, diecast hoops. Related to Sonor, the only aspect I am not 100% pleased with is the absence of diecast hoops on their toms, but knowing the company has been doing what they've been doing since 1875, I'm placing my trust in their expertise and hardware choice.

It's drummers like yourself that truly help orient me, so many thanks to you for your meticulous breakdown and insight into this.

A truly superb read!
Haha. You are too kind. Thank you.

I knew you were a fellow Paiste aficionado so those comments were specifically injected for you. Definitely threw away any sense of objectivity there, but it was truthful bias. :cool:

Long time fan of Simon Phillips as well. Believe your time is being well spent!

Regarding die-cast hoops, I used to have a more hard-line stance with DC vs TF, but it has significantly softened over time. As you noted, Sonor has (among others) certainly done their homework. And the SQ2 options for shell material & thickness can be leveraged. Without reservation, I would sincerely not give any concern to TF hoops on their toms. Overtones from their wood shells are typically very pleasant and not overly wild.

Also, when you get to selecting shell thickness, this anecdote of self-inflicted pain may help relieve a little stress...

For my initial config, I spent a good bit of time trying to determine ideal thickness for different drums. Attempting to balance what I had experienced with that of different recordings and research by others, I treated it as an engineering problem. Not to the point of paralysis by analysis, but definitely belabored over it.

I then found a good deal on a preconfigured kit with thin toms and medium bass. Looked at my notes, listened to a recording, tossed my notes and rolled the dice. Was tickled pink when it arrived.

Bottom line: Don’t spend a lot of time with it!

Best regards!
 
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Stroker

Platinum Member
Haha. You are too kind. Thank you.

I knew you were a fellow Paiste aficionado so those comments were specifically injected for you. Definitely threw away any sense of objectivity there, but it was truthful bias. :cool:

Long time fan of Simon Phillips as well. Believe your time is being well spent!

Regarding die-cast hoops, I used to have a more hard-line stance with DC vs TF, but it has significantly softened over time. As you noted, Sonor has (among others) certainly done their homework. And the SQ2 options for shell material & thickness can be leveraged. Without reservation, I would sincerely not give any concern to TF hoops on their toms. Overtones from their wood shells are typically very pleasant and not overly wild.

Also, when you get to selecting shell thickness, this anecdote of self-inflicted pain may help relieve a little stress...

For my initial config, I spent a good bit of time trying to determine ideal thickness for different drums. Attempting to balance what I had experienced with that of different recordings and research by others, I treated it as an engineering problem. Not to the point of paralysis by analysis, but definitely belabored over it.

I then found a good deal on a preconfigured kit with thin toms and medium bass. Looked at my notes, listened to a recording, tossed my notes and rolled the dice. Was tickled pink when it arrived.

Bottom line: Don’t spend a lot of time with it!

Best regards!
(y)

Appreciate your insight on hoops. Must confess, the whole diecast vs trifle flange hoop quandary has been gnawing at me for weeks, though after reading your entry I feel I can lay it to rest.

Marvelous of you to share the shell thickness of your kit. Many thanks for that! I do like it.

Special thanks to you for your polished replies. Very refreshing and of exceptional help to me. A notable member and peerless asset to this forum you are.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Diecast subtract frequencies to focus the sound. I used to be a big diecast fan but not any more. TF lets the toms sing all the way, to my ear anyway.

I wouldn't fret over TF's. They are the better choice if you asked me.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Diecast subtract frequencies to focus the sound. I used to be a big diecast fan but not any more. TF lets the toms sing all the way, to my ear anyway.

I wouldn't fret over TF's. They are the better choice if you asked me.
Many thanks for weighing in on this, Larry!

Appreciate and highly respect your expertise.

Grandiose thanks to you and FT! (y)
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I agree with the others, triple-flanged is the way to go!

Die-cast hoops can work great for certain drums like USA Customs because they counteract the warmth of the shells by adding more attack. That's my theory anyway.

But in my opinion, die-cast hoops usually have a slightly more aggressive sound. Kinda like the sound of a Ludwig Keystone X relative to the Classic Maple. More bite, maybe a little less warmth. That's good or bad depending on your preference.

In terms of resonance, die-cast are kinda like pre-muffled heads and triple flanged are like unmuffled heads. You always have the option to apply moongel to triple-flanged toms, if you know what I mean.

IMO, Sonor drums generally don't need die-cast hoops because their tone is so pure to begin with and they don't have unwanted overtones that need to be stifled.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
When talking TF, they are far from equal. 1.6, 2.3, 3.2. I can’t say TF is more open than cast, as a blanket statement. Most of the top brands have thick TF hoops that can easily be in the same realm audibly as cast. On my snares I love cast. I dig the Gretsch 302 hoops (DF) on my toms too. While a bit more flexible and open than cast, they aren’t as stiff as say DWs TF hoops. My old TF hoops were just pathetic and can’t even be compared to anything of higher quality.

I would have to go with, it depends.
 
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fl.tom

Senior Member
(y)

Appreciate your insight on hoops. Must confess, the whole diecast vs trifle flange hoop quandary has been gnawing at me for weeks, though after reading your entry I feel I can lay it to rest.

Marvelous of you to share the shell thickness of your kit. Many thanks for that! I do like it.

Special thanks to you for your polished replies. Very refreshing and of exceptional help to me. A notable member and peerless asset to this forum you are.
Wow. Thank you for the very generous and gracious compliments. You and others here are notably more deserving of them. You always treat others with the utmost dignity and respect, and it stands out. My sincerest thanks to you for your many enjoyable posts and contributions.

While the Thin+Medium shell thickness setup ultimately worked for me, I believe my initial UPID had something like small toms = Vintage, med toms = Thin, floors = Medium, bass = Heavy. And years later, I heard a kit that was almost inverted with med toms = Heavy, floors = Thin, bass = Medium so it’s definitely personal.

And if you feel like you reach a stalemate, at least shying away from extremes like Heavy small toms and Thin bass drums should provide favorable results.
 
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fl.tom

Senior Member
Diecast subtract frequencies to focus the sound. I used to be a big diecast fan but not any more. TF lets the toms sing all the way, to my ear anyway.

I wouldn't fret over TF's. They are the better choice if you asked me.
As a general rule of thumb, I agree Larry. It just can’t be used a hard fast rule.

As AzHeat astutely noted, there are notable differences in thicknesses/weights and designs of both TF and DC hoops.

Additionally, drums like Gretsch USA Custom, Tama STAR, Tama Starclassic, etc. have what are commonly classified as heavier DC hoops and they all have very musical voices.

Conversely, I’ve played other upper-level kits with 1.6mm & 2.3mm TF hoops that have had unwieldy voices and were difficult to tame to a more musical palette with heads & tuning alone.

So letting some drums sing openly isn’t always desirable and why some manufacturers incorporate DC hoops in their design.

Fortunately, we have a lot of options to choose from nowadays.
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
And let us not forget the Yamaha DC hoops that are made of Aluminium and are super light (sometimes even too light on occasions where zinc DC hoops are maybe more preferred).

I love a zinc DC on top and a 1,6 on the bottom. Crack and tone combined.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Years ago I did a comparison recording of TF vs DC. I used just one tom, a 10" DW, recorded it with both TF and DC...on the batter only... and posted it here.

The gist of it is I could not tell the difference in the recorded sound between the different hoops. At the time. I want to re-listen to it and see if my opinion changed.

Check it out:

 

Stroker

Platinum Member
I agree with the others, triple-flanged is the way to go!

Die-cast hoops can work great for certain drums like USA Customs because they counteract the warmth of the shells by adding more attack. That's my theory anyway.

But in my opinion, die-cast hoops usually have a slightly more aggressive sound. Kinda like the sound of a Ludwig Keystone X relative to the Classic Maple. More bite, maybe a little less warmth. That's good or bad depending on your preference.

In terms of resonance, die-cast are kinda like pre-muffled heads and triple flanged are like unmuffled heads. You always have the option to apply moongel to triple-flanged toms, if you know what I mean.

IMO, Sonor drums generally don't need die-cast hoops because their tone is so pure to begin with and they don't have unwanted overtones that need to be stifled.
Fantastic read, IBPH. Many thanks for it!

It's been a real learning experience for me, delving into the many aspects of ordering a custom kit, and members as yourself have been incredibly instrumental in educating me along with the way.

Can't tell you how much I appreciate having members as yourself on my side! (y)
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
When talking TF, they are far from equal. 1.6, 2.3, 3.2. I can’t say TF is more open than cast, as a blanket statement. Most of the top brands have thick TF hoops that can easily be in the same realm audibly as cast. On my snares I love cast. I dig the Gretsch 302 hoops (DF) on my toms too. While a bit more flexible and open than cast, they aren’t as stiff as say DWs TF hoops. My old TF hoops were just pathetic and can’t even be compared to anything of higher quality.

I would have to go with, it depends.
Superb insight, AZ!

Extending my appreciation your way for you taking the time to share your experience and knowledge!
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Wow. Thank you for the very generous and gracious compliments. You and others here are notably more deserving of them. You always treat others with the utmost dignity and respect, and it stands out. My sincerest thanks to you for your many enjoyable posts and contributions.

While the Thin+Medium shell thickness setup ultimately worked for me, I believe my initial UPID had something like small toms = Vintage, med toms = Thin, floors = Medium, bass = Heavy. And years later, I heard a kit that was almost inverted with med toms = Heavy, floors = Thin, bass = Medium so it’s definitely personal.

And if you feel like you reach a stalemate, at least shying away from extremes like Heavy small toms and Thin bass drums should provide favorable results.
Don't sell yourself short, FT, you're more than well deserving of such my friend. (y)

The more I think about a thin/medium thickness configuration, the more I like it.
 
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