Topic: How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?  (Read 6696 times)

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_andygumm_

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Premier artist maple and artist birch around about $200 apart, I play rock music and was wondering if I should go all out and buy the maple or would the birch be fine?  I like a good full tom sound, and nice punchy bass drum.  Would I be able to tell a noticable difference between maple and birch?

_andygumm_

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2003, 03:55 PM »
anybody?   ;)

dtxrx

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2003, 04:26 PM »
you'll hear a difference.i think that maple is better,others will say that birch is different not worse.you should just get two similar toms and try them yourself.i think maple has more sound(highs,lows,mids)and greater resonance.someone else will say that birch has greater focus and attack.just try them yourself.only you know what you're looking for.the birch drums will definately be nice but i'd go for the maples.you'll be playing them for years so the extra $200 is nothing.

alanwatkinsuk

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2003, 06:07 PM »
I have absolutely no experience of kit work but on snare drum I think birch has a sharper, cleaner attack up to a point.....and by that I mean that if it is really "heavy" work (and, for me, that means playing against 80-120 other people) they don't seem to me to come over the top anywhere near so easily.

Playing Johann Strauss against 40 people....birch is beautiful but not in something like Mahler (in my opinion).  The benefit of the sharper, cleaner attack loses out to volume.  It seems to me also that birch is best on smaller snare drums and the deeper you go, the less the benefit of sharper, cleaner sound but that's just my opinion based on NOT a vast amount of experience and in a one dimensional field as well.

I can't relate that to rock work at all, nor to toms or bass drum but I do agree (I think we ALL agree) that you should try out both and let your ears help you decide.  Only you know what is a great sound to you.

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins

Doedrums

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2003, 07:39 PM »
A lot of this will depend on your choice of heads.  If you will be doing mostly umiked gigs, then maple might be the way to go.  Although birch cuts through better, maple does have more resonance.  I have a birch kit and played an unmiked gig.  They cut through without any problems.  Listen to the kits and buy the one you like the most.  In the end it won't be that much difference.

Offline Mark Schlipper

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2003, 09:30 PM »
dtxrx pretty much nailed it.  everyone can give an argument for or against either.  the key is in what you want.  they sound different and you can hear it if you listen and there arent portnoy wannabies on dw thats set up in the room.  take a couple mid sized toms into a quiet room and hit 'em.
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felix

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2003, 06:02 AM »
There is a big difference in sound if you ask me.  So much that I can hear it on record.  For example yesterday we were listening to the new nickleback cd and I said to my wife..."this is a maple snare I think and these are definitely maple drums."

I opened up the cd and voila Ayotte's were in the credits.  I was impressed with myself LOL.

Birch drums are very sharp and as my sound man put it to me this weekend "crisp"  I think it's the way to go for me.  I get lots of sustain out of my toms but they are on RIMS and have clear heads.  If I liked heavier heads a maple drum would probably be the way to go.  I like the edgy sound of birch...it fits me and the music I like to play.  If I was in a more ambient or laid back situation I would go with maple.  Hell if I was a more laid back, warm person I would go with maple.  But the wood fits me, cutting with lots of presence.  I dig it.

_andygumm_

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2003, 10:25 PM »
ill be doing some studio work, and probably 99.9% of my gigs will always be miked.  i play hit the drums pretty hard if that matters at all.

Critter29

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2003, 08:22 AM »
Andy -

I've had Premier Genista's in the past. I don't know all the particular's(i.e. bearing edge, shell depth and width) on the new Premier line but, what I do know is, birch has a limited tuning range and shorter decay thereby making it more controlled whereas maple has a wide tuning range and longer decay.

Alot of guys like birch, particularly in the studio for the characteristic reasons I mentioned above. It just has a very focused sound. On the flipside, maple is much broader in terms of overtones, tuning ranges and overall sound projection. In other words, it's friggin loud. LOL  ;D

Both woods offer diversity and they are both great. it just depends on your tastes and what you're looking for. Take an entire day and travel around to different drum shops and experiment around. Have fun with it. Good Luck! ;D

felix

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2003, 09:37 AM »
I never heard of birch having a limited tuning range.  Why is that?

I never heard of maple having more overtones either or being louder than birch.   Where did you hear that?

Most commonly I hear more people say maple has more sustain and the mids and low mids are more present than birch which seems to have more highs and hi mids in it's character.

As far as loud/attack all the birch drums I have played and heard had more cut/attack than maple; which to my ears makes a softer, warmer, smoother sounding drum.

Offline Tony

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2003, 10:12 AM »
Based on our (Felix and I) previous discission early in my Cafe career, I am staying out of this debate  ;D  
The techniques, though they play an important role in the early stage, should not be too restrictive, complex or mechanical. If we cling to them, we will become bound by their limitation.  Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.

felix

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2003, 10:24 AM »
Oh I don't care, jump in.

I just don't hear it consistently...there is a always a variable...wrapped tubs, heavy heads, thin heads, whatever.

Did any of you guys remember the tama grandstar line?   I think those were mostly birch.  Those things were just so loud (and awful sounding).  They were very punchy.  But they had a very different character than the Yamaha recording customs I have played which to me sound very different than maple customs.  I used to play maple custom yamaha and pearl kits all the time.  I mean like everyday for a couple of years.

The sustain thing I have been noticing more in the maple snares as opposed to the birch ones.  That fact keeps popping up.  I like maple in a snare drum big time these days.

There was also an interview on another forum a member read (I know, convincing argument) that Steve Smith has a set of sonor birch and a set of sonor maple Designers (my coveted drumset of choice).  He says the drums sound very similiar with the maple having more sustain.  He later said both the kits sound awesome.  But I knew that already  ;D

Critter29

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2003, 10:49 AM »
Quote
I never heard of birch having a limited tuning range.  Why is that?I never heard of maple having more overtones either or being louder than birch.  Where did you hear that?

Think about it. Birch is a softer wood. It absorbs the sound more thereby controlling the overall projection and sustain.

On my Premiers, my toms were quite limited in their overall tuning range, especially the lower tuning ranges. They would tend to sound flat and just didn't put out any volume. I never thought of them as bright that's for sure. I always had to tune them in the medium to high tuning ranges for them to get any sustain and tone. As for my Pearl's - the sky was the limit. I could tune them in any range and it didn't affect the overall volume and sustain.

An imporatnt thing to note here too would be Premier's maufacturing process back in the early to mid 90's on  Genista's. The shells were cut smaller than the actual size of the drum. The same type of concept used on tympani's which I suspect in my case, might have been some of the problem with tuning ranges because of the way the drum head would seat on the shell. Just my opinion of course. :) I don't know if Premier is still doing this process or not?

Quote
As far as loud/attack all the birch drums I have played and heard had more cut/attack than maple; which to my ears makes a softer, warmer, smoother sounding drum.

I agree, if we're talking about snare drums, particularly birch snare drums - they are loud and crisp but, as far as toms thats another matter altogether. Bass drums too. Birch, IMO, and in my experience just seems more controlled to me.

One more thing, I can't say that all birch drums are like this either so, if what I said earlier was a generalization, let me rephrase that. lol ;D Manufacturing and engineering play a huge role in the way that a drum performs. All of my comments are based on my experience with my Premiers.   ;)

felix

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2003, 11:53 AM »
*yawn*  (If you love your job you never work a day in your life)

Quote
Birch is a softer wood. It absorbs the sound more thereby controlling the overall projection and sustain.

Hell, you might be right.  Unfortunately there is a lot of soft maple out there.  In fact there are a bunch of different maple and birch species.  Then there are differences in growing.

Here are the N. American Birch specs.
http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/HardwoodNA/htmlDocs/betula1.html

And heres your maple with hardness scales for both
http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/HardwoodNA/htmlDocs/betula1.html

Growing conditions have a lot to do with a tree's density as well.  I've heard European species of birch and beech are much harder than north american maple, although I can't verify that.  And I've heard that asian and tropical mahoganies are soft.  Who knows anymore where the stuff is coming from.

So all this just freaks me out.  

felix

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2003, 12:02 PM »
Here's a flooring test I found which is interesting:

Check out the jarrah spec:

http://www2.fpl.fs.fed.us/TechSheets/HardwoodNA/htmlDocs/betula1.html

Offline Louis Russell

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2003, 12:21 PM »
I was impressed with myself

I know exactly what you mean Felix, sometimes I amaze even myself. ;D

Seriously, there is a difference, sometimes its easy to hear and at others its more difficult.
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Offline Mark Schlipper

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2003, 12:24 PM »
heres another thing to consider which backs up felix's point that "there is a always a variable...wrapped tubs, heavy heads, thin heads, whatever."

what if you had two drums, all other elements being the same, but one with 4mm birch shells and the other with 8mm maple ... which would be more resonant?  how about both with 6mm shells but the maple has a polyurethaned interior and the birch is raw, which would project more? i could go on for days here.

in the end both woods have some inherant qualities that can be shaped with manufacturing techniques to resemble something else.  so if youre comparing a birch and maple kit from the same lines, like our thread initiator is, then all you can do is hit 'em and pick the one you like best.
Making bad art.  Saying stupid things.  Implimenting my master plan to be forgotten when I'm gone and forgettable while I'm here.

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felix

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2003, 01:41 PM »
ArRRRRRggghhhh
*starts pulling out hair*

That is exactly what I'm going thru.

Let's just talk about sonor designer toms.

designer maple lights have 6.7 mm thick shells- this equates to about .263" or a little over a 1/4 inch

the birch toms are 5.0 mm thick or .196" so the maples are about 1/16 of an inch thicker

I like the classic maple sustain, but I don't like the warm quality to it.

I like the birch cut and high end, but I've heard deader birch drums and I hate that also.

Unfortunately I don't think there is a drumshop in the usa where there are two of these kits set up to next to each other.

What should I do?  Buy a dw?


Paul L

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2003, 01:55 PM »
This is an interesting topic, as some of you know from my other posts.  My engineering nature tends to make me want to quantify & understand differences.

However, I really wonder how much the wood type contributes to the overall sound vs. the manufacturing process.  As it was mentioned, there is a big variation in wood densities from one maple to another.  And I believe that some maples are less dense than some birch.  So I don't believe it's valid to say that ALL maple drums sound warmer than all birch drums.  Also, would you expect that a given manufacturer will use exactly the same (maple) wood all the time?  I don't think so.  There are too many variables in the supply chain!

Drummers are kinda like wine connoisseurs...   ;D

Offline Mark Schlipper

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Re:How much sound difference will I get between maple and birch?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2003, 10:14 PM »
What should I do?  Buy a dw?

heathen! of course not!  ;D

were i in your shoes id buy the birch.  it probably leans closer to your tastes and should be more easily tweaked to the sound in your head than the maple.  and its not like its going to sound bad ... its a designer.
Making bad art.  Saying stupid things.  Implimenting my master plan to be forgotten when I'm gone and forgettable while I'm here.

The Luna Moth
me
Perish the Island

 

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