Sonor SQ2 - Birch, Beech, or Maple?

Frank Godiva

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Thanks, that’s good to know. I came really close to buying a set of SQ1s but then I got a sweet deal on a Vintage series kit and already have an SQ2 in medium beech, so didn’t really need a third kit. I’m actually wondering if there’s a huge difference in sound between the SQ1 and, say, a heavy beech SQ2.

the short answer is no

and thats what SQ2 is all about; all the shell layups can be found in previous or current lines

your personal sizes, finish, lugs… sure

your dream looking kit; but it’s gonna have that traditional Sonor sound based on something they have made in the past.

Maple - Signature SE, HiLites, Force Maple, Designers, Delite, Prolite
Beech- Sigs, Phonics, Teardrops, Champs
Birch - Sigs, SonorLites, Force 3k, Sonic Plus

something else to consider when getting inner and outer veneer… it counts toward the total ply count; meaning that a thin beech shell is 2 ply veneer and 2 ply beech. ALPI is the majority of the finishes and that’s made from poplar. That means your thin beech shell is half poplar.

that didn’t happen back in the Link era. A 9ply Phonic shell was 9plys of beech. If it had say Rosewood inside and out, then it’s 9plys of beech plus 2 plys of Rosewood.

SQ2 birch heavy is basically SQ1 which is basically a Force 3000.

the F3k was basically a birch Phonic with power toms, same amount of plys…

SonorLites were birch Teardrops at 6ply with power toms…. 6ply 6mm

3982E835-C7DD-4D59-AEF4-2E44F9FD366A.jpeg
 

Steech

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the short answer is no

and thats what SQ2 is all about; all the shell layups can be found in previous or current lines

your personal sizes, finish, lugs… sure

your dream looking kit; but it’s gonna have that traditional Sonor sound based on something they have made in the past.

Maple - Signature SE, HiLites, Force Maple, Designers, Delite, Prolite
Beech- Sigs, Phonics, Teardrops, Champs
Birch - Sigs, SonorLites, Force 3k, Sonic Plus

something else to consider when getting inner and outer veneer… it counts toward the total ply count; meaning that a thin beech shell is 2 ply veneer and 2 ply beech. ALPI is the majority of the finishes and that’s made from poplar. That means your thin beech shell is half poplar.

that didn’t happen back in the Link era. A 9ply Phonic shell was 9plys of beech. If it had say Rosewood inside and out, then it’s 9plys of beech plus 2 plys of Rosewood.

SQ2 birch heavy is basically SQ1 which is basically a Force 3000.

the F3k was basically a birch Phonic with power toms, same amount of plys…

SonorLites were birch Teardrops at 6ply with power toms…. 6ply 6mm

View attachment 531331
Yup, agree with everything you wrote, but you left out the “secret” Sonor line and the one that’s actually my favorite - the Ascent. Basically SQ2 shells that if you’re lucky to find you can pick up for less than a grand. I very stupidly sold my Ascent bop kit about a year ago and am still kicking myself for doing it.
 

Frank Godiva

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Yup, agree with everything you wrote, but you left out the “secret” Sonor line and the one that’s actually my favorite - the Ascent. Basically SQ2 shells that if you’re lucky to find you can pick up for less than a grand. I very stupidly sold my Ascent bop kit about a year ago and am still kicking myself for doing it.

I left that out for 2 reasons. Anything made at the KHS factory and was not hand made at Aue is just not the same animal. All German made shells have a single black stamp date code inside. The Ascents have a red stamp meaning the shells were made at KHS; the Mapex factory. The shells are not as undersized as Phonics or SQ2 that are made in Germany. The undersized shells are the Secret to all the Sonor German made drums. They have all been baked in the same ovens since the mid 60s.

The Ascent series was very nice and the beech came from the EU. These were basically Asian made Phonics with Force hardware. The lugs were prone to breakage especially on the snares under high tension. Shells do not have that timpani like feeling and sound. Still the best line they ever made in Asia by a country mile.

you want heavy beech, get a Phonic which is thicker then the SQ2 heavy option

From Sonor FAQ website under Service

“Where is SONOR sourcing it's wood for the drum shells?

For ProLite, SQ², some Artist-, and Signature Snares SONOR uses Maple from North American and Canadian sources. SONOR uses Beech from Germany and Birch from Scandinavia.
The Beech used on Ascent series is from Germany. “


ADC3B519-630C-483C-9EAB-E3AE1B070D18.jpeg
ADCAA226-167C-4169-87E1-9BD51A051304.jpeg
 
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mgdrummer

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I’ve gotten hip to Sonor over the last couple of years through Mike Gallus of Mike’s Drum Shop. I’ve had the chance to play a handful of SQ2’s in medium & heavy beech (Mike’s personal kits) and medium & heavy maple, as well as spend some time with the birch SQ1’s and the vintage maple Prolite’s. Truth is I could gig with any of those kits I’ve played, they all sound phenomenal.

Last year around this time I was able to spend some time with the medium beech kit and I was very impressed with the toms. They had the attack of my birch Premier Genistas and the fatness & warmth of my Signias. Recently I’ve been spending time with a set of vintage maple Prolites and I’m finding those to simply be “more” of everything that my Signias are. More attack, more clarity, more bottom end and there’s a greater “width” to the sound that I can’t describe any other way. I felt the same way in comparing the older Sonor S Classix birch to my Genistas back when those were available.

I think those smaller sizes you’ve chosen will sound great in the vintage shell thicknesses regardless of which wood species you choose. Or, maybe consider going vintage or light on the kick/floor and medium or heavy on the smaller toms. Several friends I know have done this with their SQ2’s to get the lowest fundamental pitches out of the larger drums and get higher fundamental pitches out of the smaller toms.
 

peter

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...
something else to consider when getting inner and outer veneer… it counts toward the total ply count; meaning that a thin beech shell is 2 ply veneer and 2 ply beech. ALPI is the majority of the finishes and that’s made from poplar. That means your thin beech shell is half poplar.

that didn’t happen back in the Link era. A 9ply Phonic shell was 9plys of beech. If it had say Rosewood inside and out, then it’s 9plys of beech plus 2 plys of Rosewood.
View attachment 531331
Thanks for that.

Yes, I'm not considering any of the veneers... Would get white sparkle or an RAL white exterior finish, and natural interiors. Note, the black lacquer interior finish is not available on the vintage shell.

I've found that fancy finishes don't really make me enjoy the drums any more than more typical finishes, plus I prefer a less busy, more understated aesthetic. Ebony and Scandinavian Birch are lovely though.

I left that out for 2 reasons. Anything made at the KHS factory and was not hand made at Aue is just not the same animal. All German made shells have a single black stamp date code inside. The Ascents have a red stamp meaning the shells were made at KHS; the Mapex factory. The shells are not as undersized as Phonics or SQ2 that are made in Germany. The undersized shells are the Secret to all the Sonor German made drums. They have all been baked in the same ovens since the mid 60s.
Yes, the under-sizing of shells is very important to me and a big reason I would only consider the German drums.

Right now I'm leaning towards towards Beech (my original favorite). However, their decision to make their flagship Prolite series vintage maple shells seems to also tell you something. Plus, I'm loving the tones in the below clip (20/16/14/12/10 in Medium Maple). They've got the toms tuned a bit higher than I would, but I LOVE the balance of punch and warmth on the bass drum. The whole kit sounds like it feels so good.
 
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bpaluzzi

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However, their decision to make their flagship Prolite series vintage maple shells seems to also tell you something.

FWIW, Prolite isn't their flagship. SQ2 is the flagship, and Prolite is one of their 3 professional tier series -- Prolite is their maple pro kit, Vintage is their beech pro kit, and SQ1 is their birch pro kit.
 

Rhyma Hop

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The undersized shells are the Secret to all the Sonor German made drums.

there are a couple other things going on IMO.. because for example.. when I owned Premier .. which are easily as undersized as a Sonor shell.. if not more.. they don't sound like the Sonor's I owned.. MG drummer above also mentioned they are two different things and he has probably been on the most kits from both manufacturers.
 

Steech

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I left that out for 2 reasons. Anything made at the KHS factory and was not hand made at Aue is just not the same animal. All German made shells have a single black stamp date code inside. The Ascents have a red stamp meaning the shells were made at KHS; the Mapex factory. The shells are not as undersized as Phonics or SQ2 that are made in Germany. The undersized shells are the Secret to all the Sonor German made drums. They have all been baked in the same ovens since the mid 60s.

The Ascent series was very nice and the beech came from the EU. These were basically Asian made Phonics with Force hardware. The lugs were prone to breakage especially on the snares under high tension. Shells do not have that timpani like feeling and sound. Still the best line they ever made in Asia by a country mile.

you want heavy beech, get a Phonic which is thicker then the SQ2 heavy option

From Sonor FAQ website under Service

“Where is SONOR sourcing it's wood for the drum shells?

For ProLite, SQ², some Artist-, and Signature Snares SONOR uses Maple from North American and Canadian sources. SONOR uses Beech from Germany and Birch from Scandinavia.
The Beech used on Ascent series is from Germany. “


View attachment 531336 View attachment 531337 View attachment 531338
Very informative, thank you! I had no idea that KHS was in the picture way back then in 2010/2011 when the Ascents came out.
 
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peter

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FWIW, Prolite isn't their flagship. SQ2 is the flagship, and Prolite is one of their 3 professional tier series -- Prolite is their maple pro kit, Vintage is their beech pro kit, and SQ1 is their birch pro kit.
I guess I don't really know my ship...

To be clear, by "vintage" I'm referring here to the SQ2 shell construction of thin 2-ply (4 mm) shell w. 1-ply (2 mm) re-rings, not the series.

And SQ2 is unfortunately the only way to get the shell sizes I'm after.
 
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Cauldronics

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I’d probably just get a Sonor Vintage kit if I wanted their vintage shells, and save a few bucks. The SQ2 will cost a lot more for the same sound.

You get far more customizable options with the SQ2 but the Vintage kits look great to me and they already look vintage.

That said I’m very happy with my old Phonic kit and it’s heavy beech shells.
 

Rhyma Hop

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I’d probably just get a Sonor Vintage kit if I wanted their vintage shells, and save a few bucks. The SQ2 will cost a lot more for the same sound.

You get far more customizable options with the SQ2 but the Vintage kits look great to me and they already look vintage.

this is where it get's confusing.. THe SQ2 Vintage is a very thin shell with rings..... THe Vintage Series is a medium 6mm shell.. no rings.
 

JDA

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here's the 108 page catalog


(don't see the mention rings there but sure..it's somewhere. else. some where over somewhere other somewhere maybe somewhere configurator
 
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