Yamaha PHX owners: Tell me about your drums?

Treviso1

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Yamaha PHX owners: Tell me about your drums? How you like them? How are they different from what you have played and owned before? What finish do you have and what sizes do you have? Thank you.
 

JulianFernandez

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Steve loves his PHXs... Plenty of vids on his channel to check them out; or stop by houseofdrumming and ask the man himself... ;)

 
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RickP

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Some of you may be aware I have a Phoenix kit on order. I have had a few opportunities to play these drums and tune them up now and I am still really impressed with these drums. The bearing edges are incredible, very smooth and precise . The lacquer finishes are typical Yamaha excellence. Many people have concerns about the weight of these drums. These are not that heavy, in fact they weigh considerably less than a comparable Pearl Reference or Reference Pure kit.

The sustain and attack on the PHX series is incredible, yet they are extremely sensitive. This really impressed me because it runs contrary to the stereotype of the thick shell drum idea. The drums sound consistently excellent . The bass drums have a lot of depth and punch. They play much larger than their diameter would suggest. I have only played these bass drums with the stock PS3 batter and resonant side and I could see myself playing these wide open with no additional muffling because the sound is so pleasing . Nice blend between resonance and attack.
I plan to swap out the stock clear Ambassador batters on the toms for coated Ambassadors. I have played with both on the PHX kit and I preferred the sound with the coated Ambassadors.

I had some misgivings about the hook lugs, but these are unfounded. They hold tuning very well and they are a far better design than Yamaha's original hook lug design. I like the look of this lug as well. They fell very solid and well made as well.

The kits come in a number of finishes that are not on the website. I attached a picture of the PHX catalogue finishes below. I understand that they will also do custom finishes as well on the PHX series. The drums come in three types of finishes. Textured ( a thin lacquer finish where the grain of the burled ash outer veneer can be felt), gloss lacquer ( the standard Yamaha Lacquer finish) and Matt ( a satin type finish). The kits with the outer veneer of burl ash are more expensive than the maple outer veneer. The Burl Ash has more finish options standard. You can also order drums in fades, bursts or solid finishes. I chose a Turquoise Burst gloss lacquer finish ( see pic below).

The PHX series are the only Japanese made drums made currently. They are made in the Yamaha manufacturing facility in Hammamatsu Japan by three craftsmen. The prototypes and some endorser
Kits have traditionally been manufactured here prior to going into production. These drums are not cheap, it then there are a number of models from other manufacturers that are as expensive (Tama Star) or more (Craviotto, Guru).
 

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zenghost

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For anyone window shopping, here is some representative list pricing for the PHX series:


Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 9.39.42 AM.png


As Rick indicated, the Ash exterior is more expensive.


Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 9.39.19 AM.png
 

Rich K.

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The Steve Holmes solo was amazing.

Wow...those are some pricey drums.
 
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RickP

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Zenghost has provided MSRP pricing a dealer should be able to cut a better deal than those prices.
 

TDM

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Not an owner, but I've played and tuned up PHX kits a number of times. At one point, I was interested in buying these drums, but after paying them for a while, I just didn't see much benefit. They sound okay and they have the modern "Yamaha sound", but there was nothing that distinguished them (sonically) from any other Yamaha drum. Ultimately then, though I wanted to like them and I went several times (to local shops) with intent to purchase, I passed on them. Currently, I'm much more impressed with the new George Way kits and some of the C&C stuff because these two drum lines really bring some different thinking to the table - simplified drums; very open, warm, and organic sound. Though Ronn Dunnett continuously chafes in various ways, I must applaud him for the new George Way line. Those George Way drums are some of the best sounding kits I've ever heard and they are super light weight, too.
 

TDM

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RickP,

A small thread hijack, though still on topic. About the PHX hook lugs. I've got these on my Yamaha MCA kit. Though I hated the hook lugs when I first got the kit, I'm almost a semi-fan of them now.

It's important to note that I consider single point lugs inherently flawed. There are few benefits to single point designs and the negatives (loss of built-in aliment, potential shell deflection, potential lug pull-out, when properly designed the lugs still require two holes but only one hole is used for attachment, etc.) outweigh the benefits considerably. The main benefit of single point designs is for the manufacturer. Quite simply, single point means half as many fasteners, which translates to reduced hardware costs and reduced assembly time and costs.

Focusing on Yamaha and Yamaha's PHX lugs / hook lugs. Yamaha uses single point designs in all their high-end drums. Of all the single point designs I've seen, the hook lug is preferable because it offers several features that somewhat counteract the problems associated with single point lugs. These features are... (1) Suspends the bulk of the lug casing above the drum and off the shell, thus removing tension rod splay forces from the shell. (2) Lug base is now a vertical shape that provides built-in anti-inward shell deflection. (3) The hinging that provides suspension for the bulk of the lug also helps minimize shell deflection and pull-out problems. That hinge provides a point of force redirection. Thus, if the tension rods splay and pull slightly inward or outward, instead of that force being applied similarly to the shell, the hinge helps redirect the force in an upward manner, thus somewhat reducing the inherent problems of a single point of attachment.

All-in-all then, if you're going to have single point lugs, I think the Yamaha PHX lugs are possibly the best deign I've seen. Keep in mind that Yamaha's traditional-looking lug options for MCA, BCA, and current high-end lines (Live Custom, for example) are still single point designs. These designs have with the same problems as other single point lugs - in other words, they don't offer the improvements of the hook lug design. So basically, with Yamaha high-end, you're stuck with single point lugs so I say choose the better design rather than the poorer one, and that better design is the PHX lug / hook lug.

Yamaha's hook lugs do take time to learn how to use during head changes and during initial tuning. However, once the drums are tuned up, I've not had any problems with the hook lugs. The lugs hold tuning and additional tuning is the same as with a non-hook and/or two point design. Another plus with the hook lug is all parts requiring maintenance (cleaning, greasing, replacement, etc.) are accessible without the need to unscrew the lugs from the drums. For maintenance needs, the hook lugs are a great improvement over traditional designs.
 

zenghost

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I'm going out on a limb and say deflection on those PHX 11-ply shells will not be an issue. :laughing6:
 

TDM

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zenghost said:
I'm going out on a limb and say deflection on those PHX 11-ply shells will not be an issue. :laughing6:
Very true! I was thinking more about Yamaha's thinner-shelled drums, like the MCA kit I've got. Also, for accuracy, the number of plies isn't so important. It's shell thickness and strength that is most critical in the deflection arena. However, you are correct. Those PHX shells are thick and strong!
 

jkuhl

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Being a current phx owner and having owned a kit in the past I feel qualified to answer. These shells are the most explosive sounding shells I've ever had the opportunity to play. I sold my original kit and went heavily down the German SONOR road. The German SONOR stuff was the closest I ever came to dethroning the PHX as the best sounding ply kit I've played. They're huge sounding, sensitive and very warm drums that give back more than any series I've owned or played. The kicks are the true gem of the series and my current 18x14 smokes any 20 I've owned and could easily hang with most 22s. My favorite line of drums and I've owned and played a ton of high end kits. You have to play one to believe it.
 
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RickP

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jkuhl said:
Being a current phx owner and having owned a kit in the past I feel qualified to answer. These shells are the most explosive sounding shells I've ever had the opportunity to play. I sold my original kit and went heavily down the German SONOR road. The German SONOR stuff was the closest I ever came to dethroning the PHX as the best sounding ply kit I've played. They're huge sounding, sensitive and very warm drums that give back more than any series I've owned or played. The kicks are the true gem of the series and my current 18x14 smokes any 20 I've owned and could easily hang with most 22s. My favorite line of drums and I've owned and played a ton of high end kits. You have to play one to believe it.
J,
What took you so long to chime in ? :D
 

Jamie

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I own a set and I am very happy with them. Responds very well to head combination changes. Right now I have ambassador coated on the reso and emperor coated batter for a round warm vintage sound. Through emperor clears on and they remind of the attack of a Brady kit. Like Jkuhl said, the only thing that comes close is the german Sonor stuff. Thats why I have a set of Delites as well. However, they sound very different. The downside is weight. I also found that Remo heads seam to work best for the kit. But haven't spent a ton of time trying out others. The hook lugs are quick for head changes and I have not had one problem. I have had the kit now for about 4 or 5 years. Doubt I would ever sell them but I have said that about other kits. Definitely the longest I have held on to a kit other than my Sonor Designer that I miss so much.
 

jkuhl

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J it's funny that you mention designers. They were the first kit that I set up along side my first PHX that made me do a double take. All other kits were weak by comparison. The designers were a very refined sounding kit where the PHX are beastly. The maple designer shell is my favorite SONOR series, they are truly fantastic drums.
 

TDM

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jkuhl said:
Being a current phx owner and having owned a kit in the past I feel qualified to answer. These shells are the most explosive sounding shells I've ever had the opportunity to play. I sold my original kit and went heavily down the German SONOR road. The German SONOR stuff was the closest I ever came to dethroning the PHX as the best sounding ply kit I've played. They're huge sounding, sensitive and very warm drums that give back more than any series I've owned or played. The kicks are the true gem of the series and my current 18x14 smokes any 20 I've owned and could easily hang with most 22s. My favorite line of drums and I've owned and played a ton of high end kits. You have to play one to believe it.
Hmmm. This is the kind of headspace I warm myself (and others) to avoid when buying drums. It's great to like a certain kit or manufacturer, but when I find myself saying "these are the only drum that sound *this* good... or, the drums must come from manufacturer xxxx because they make the best drums", I know it's time to take a step back. These days, there are so many well made and great sounding drums. My favourite drums come from all price points and lots of different manufacturers: budget, low-end, medium, upper-end, high-end, etc. Case in point, I mentioned the new George Way kits earlier on. These drums cost a mere fraction compared to PHX and yet I think you'd be hard pressed to get as warm a tone from the PHX as from the GWs. This isn't to say the PHX don't bring their own thing to the table. They do. But, be careful of falling into the "these drums are the ultimate and nothing else will do" trap. At that point, you've lost reason and you're in fanaticism mode. Fanaticism rarely makes good decisions. Case in point, an 18 inch bass drum does not sound like a 20 or 22. Period. It doesn't matter who makes it. The 18 in question may sound very good, but I doubt it's able to defy the laws of physics! :)
 

JCKOriollo

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Id love to do a Phoenix vs. sonor. Vs craviotto shootout. Now who wants to send me their kit for a week.
 

jkuhl

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@TDM . I'm sure it sounds that way but I'm basing my findings from real world A/B scenarios. When I had my first PHX 10 12 16 22 I always had another high end kit set up right next to it. Among these were my original Yamaha Maple Custom with the square lugs, a BCAN, New Classic, 90s Jasper shelled Broadkaster, Tama BB, Precision Keller kit, SONOR designer maple light, SCLASSIX, vintage radio king and a few others that are currently escaping me. There was no trickery or psychological bias in effect. The PHX kit was just warmer, bigger sounding and more satisfying to play. Again it wasn't until the maple light designer made its debut that I had to do a second take. I wasn't alone during these comparisons and the consensus between half a dozen other musicians was inline with my own assessment. Having owned several other 18s from Gretsch and 20s and 22s from a bunch of other maunfacturers I can safely proclaim that the PHX kick isn't like a typical 18.It has more bloom, resonance and can fill a room unlike any 18 I've owned. I went several years without a PHX and found myself constantly comparing every other kit to them. You're experience was different and I can appreciate that, and have no problem with your opinion. I know how I feel and every time I play my kit the feeling is reinforced . The PHX can't be all things to all people but for me it's the closest thing to a perfect sounding and feeling kit I've ever touched.
 

jkuhl

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JCKLudwig said:
Id love to do a Phoenix vs. sonor. Vs craviotto shootout. Now who wants to send me their kit for a week.
Josh I wish you lived in the Philly area because I would def lend you my kit for a shootout. Shipping it is another story.
 

JCKOriollo

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jkuhl said:
Id love to do a Phoenix vs. sonor. Vs craviotto shootout. Now who wants to send me their kit for a week.
Josh I wish you lived in the Philly area because I would def lend you my kit for a shootout. Shipping it is another story.
Totally understand lol I was just being funny. Shipping kits would be expensive!
 


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