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Yamaha Phoenix Series

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1 Yamaha Phoenix Series on Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:51 am

Would you pack these into your car and into a club for the cost of almost $9,000.00?
That is not likely, who did Yamaha make these drums for anyway?

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2 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:17 am

If your a professional on a high level then it's a sound investment. But to drag around to clubs..No

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3 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:35 am

In other words, an endorser that gets them for free or if a high end recording studio purchases them.

Working drummers that pay for their own kits will not be bringing a kit like this to a club,
especially when you are not even insured for theft or damage.

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4 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Working drummers that pay for their own kits will not be bringing a kit like this to a club,
Working drummers that pay for their own kits will not be BUYING a kit like this, period!
Beautiful set of drums however, no doubt.

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5 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:59 pm

I don't normally do this but this time I can't resist: These drums will NOT play themselves, people. If you are not willing to understand them in terms of physical makeup and musical projection then you will lose your investment should you expect to sound better with them and want to buy this drum set. As well as they are made they will make you sound that bad if you don't know how to project through them because you have no "history" of their make up to fall back on. They are not for musicians who choose to or need to pad them down and stifle their projection. They were made to speak freely. There have been musicians who played with a minimum of muffling but could control the projection of the drums so that they worked within the personality of the band and in this way made the drums fit that band's musical personality. This is not easy to accomplish and something that we all should focus upon when we perform. This is another way to project our personality through the kit and to the listening audience. But, this comes from understanding the make up of your drum set be they Phoenix or Sonor, etc.......... learn about every part of the drum set and how they function and you will be a better player for it. From Phoenix on through the other trade names, YOU play them NOT the other way around.


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6 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:24 am

I hear you, B.  My personal observation for myself is
I don't have to pay $9,000.00 for ANY set of drums to
get my point across. But if I did happen to spend that
amount of money on a kit I sure wouldn't cut it's sonic
capabilities with tape and Richie rings or even heads that
contribute in anyway in cutting back the sound character.
I don't do that with the drums I play even now.  

Outside of a 1/4" rectangular cut of Moon gel on the snare
drum and some slight baffling in the bass drums, my drums
are allowed to resonate freely!

Of the kits that I own I have two sets that I consider head and
shoulders above the rest.  A 6pc Tama Starclassic birch and a 7
piece ddrum Special edition Dominion maple.  Wonderful sounding
drums that feels very natural to play.  I paid $800.00 for one and
$900.00 for the other and they don't play themselves either.  So
you see why I'll never fork over 9g's for ANY manufacture's set of

The honest truth is, throw some decent heads on almost any set
of drums with an adequate miking setup and they're going to sound
pretty darn good considering one's understanding of tuning

Putting stick to head, I have NEVER heard a set of cans that warrants
that kind of mark up over another kit, drum for drum.  I have no doubt
that the PHX. line is an awesome set of drums.  But 9 grand for 6 pieces,
$1,500.00 a drum (assuming hardware is not included)??!! Shocked affraid 

Drop the price about 6.5 gs or give me an endorsement deal.  Otherwise,
keep em! No

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7 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:07 am

I am in accord. Last line of the day "You play the drums. Don't let them play you! understand what you're working with and will be much better for taking the time to study your gear. The investment is in the knowledge not the dollar sign."


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8 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:51 am

LOL! If dollars didn't matter, I'd own a PHX.
"A drum is a drum, is a drum", is definitely not
true! You can tell when quality and craftsman-
ship has gone into a product and I know this is
the case with the Phoenix concept. I've always
been one to try and get the best I can afford, B.
And I can't afford a set like that.

As you say: "Let's see what tomorrow brings." Wink 

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9 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:45 am

In a way, Yamaha has put their best foot forward and made the best that they could conceive of at the time. Remember, the PHX was released at least one or two years before the announcement that there would be no more Yamaha drums EXCEPT PHX, as we knew them.............I also remember receiving emails regarding snare drums for sale to endorsers at close out sale prices long before the announcement that a major change would take place and a new drum set would be available from a factory in China. I think that PHX is the "yardstick" that Yamaha wants the industry to judge it's character and ability to create while the new stuff comes on line so, this is what we see and what we talk about............... Expensive yes but, clearly competitive with anything on the market right now in terms of musical instrument manufacturing.

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10 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:56 am


I shouldn't, but I must, for the sake of clarity and qualification.

A drum IS a drum, IS a drum. It is a cylinder with bearing edges and two membranes (sometimes one). My own observation and experience has been if you take a tom from any series of drums, low, mid, or high end, from all manufacturers, put the same heads on them, and tune them to the same pitch, 1/4" maple, or birch, combination plies, or plastic, or composite, etc, the drums from each manufacturer will sound so close to each other no one can notice the difference up close, let alone 25' away or more. Nuances may be present, that most drummers would not even hear.  Thinner or thicker shells will render tone differences, volume differences, but I am speaking of keeping everything the same, drum to drum, manufacturer to manufacturer.

Hoops may alter tone. Lugs and positioning may alter tone. Obviously mounting alters tone. Otherwise, call me stupid, but a drum is a drum is a drum. And having heard just about everything out there in person or on recordings I have to stand by my own observations. Almost all manufacturers, whether major or small custom, get their maple shells from Keller, or birch from Eames. Those who make their own shells still have to use the same trees as everyone else, the same glues, same plastics, the same fiberglass or whatever.

The actual thing that warrants price differences are hardware and finishes. The finer the finish, the longer it takes, the more it costs.

I admit to not hearing PHX drums up close. I've heard them otherwise. They sound like a drum. Not a drum worth the price tag. The veneer comes from the same trees as anyone can get from any dealer on the planet. The finishes used today are smarter, by way of toxins, but things become industry standards. Everyone uses them if they choose to. I say the same about DW and everything else out there that I have heard that carries huge price tags.  

I saw Billy in clinic in Maine, late 90s. The Yamaha rep came out first and laid a big gig on everyone about the special nature of the drums, and especially the finish, which supposedly allowed the drums to speak better than other finishes. I sat about 15 rows back. They sounded like drums to me, nothing any better than anything else out there. Billy did his four stick thing, and all the rest, and played the best press roll I ever heard for it's cleanness and precision. But the drums, were drums, were drums.

As an owner of manufactured drums, and as a maker of maple shelled drums, all I know is hype, hype, hype saturates this industry.

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11 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:09 am


One set of drums cut from one tree, grains running naturally. In my communications with Rich a set of shells for the kit I'd build would be $6000. Just the shells. I have not heard these drums in set configuration, but the concept is certainly a different one. He's got a 9pc set he made which DW put their stamp to for $12000. One of kind set. Worth it? To the person who bought it, I suppose. Unless these drums sounded like a marimba (and that is what you want), I can not justify the price tag. But Rich does what no one else on earth does. That parks him in a special category of drum makers.

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12 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:35 am

But you see, that's what makes people people..................You hear what you hear in that drums are just drums no matter the brand and the overall makeup of the instrument and forget the price tag. I'm good with that.......When I play a drum and from MY side of the, player's side of the drum set, I hear that drum in a different way than you would hear it if only because I am relating to the sounds emanating from the drums and thus the whole drum set on a personal basis. It is NOT just about components that make up the drum it's about the player and again, we are all different and act and react in our musical surroundings both generally and specifically on a personal plane. Therefore, I find some drum sets more agreeable to me for my personal tastes and play one or the other based upon what I feel most comfortable presenting my musical ideas through at that time as a contributor. Based upon my personal musical approach to performing I am seeking ultimately to blend and be supportive of the total band platform as I hear and internally envision it. The rudiments and technical applications take a back seat to how they are used to create the ideas that I devise in real time and ultimately contribute to the musical concept of the band as a unit. That in part starts with understanding what I am playing and how to utilize the instrument (my drums) to get my ideas across. For this, some drums are much better, for me than others.


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13 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:16 pm

My daughter plays violin. She has owned various violins. When she ultimately purchased a very expensive, custom made instrument I heard a volume difference instantly. The maker does some different things with his sound box. My daughter will say it plays easier than any she has ever owned. Guitarists, other string players will make that observation. Pianists, as well.

I would be interested to know, manufacturer, to manufacturer, drum size to drum size, same heads, same pitch - what makes one drum set easier to play than others? Or what characteristics of the drum, itself, draw a player to DW, or Ludwig, or Yamaha, or Premier, etc? If you remove hardware, and finishes, lug styles, etc, and just look at and listen to the drum, what is it that draws someone to say this set works for me better than others? Aside from what bearing edges a company uses, degree of angles, what can a drum have, company to company, that makes them different from each other?

Billy, most of us have owned multiple drum sets over the years. Certainly you have had options most of us have never had to own a very wide variety of kits. I would love to know exactly what it is that attracts you to Yamaha now, having been with Tama for awhile, and other companies instruments you have played? What happens on your side of the set that is unique to Yamaha's drums? Not the hardware, etc, but just the drum, itself? Mounting has to be considered, of course but, the isolation hardware out there from all companies accomplishes the task of maximum freedom. What is the preference you experience with Yamaha that you would not with DW, or Gretsch, or Custom shop drums?

I believe you would sound like Billy Cobham on any set you played - beginner's to state of the art. The voice you have carved out would come through on anything you played, which, to me, is the greatest issue any drummer or musician can entertain and seek after - the personal voice that comes with life applied to the instrument.

I have seen endorsers say "These drums are the best I have ever owned. They are fun to play." I have never understood what that means. An 8x12 tom from any manufacturer, mounted freely, same head choices and tuning, will have the same ratio of sympathetic vibrations between heads as any other drum of the same make. Play a roll on any drum with the same stats and ease of play should be exactly the same. That is just science. If you remove finishes and hardware, what makes the difference? Rods and lugs may work more smoothly. Hoops may be more rigid for better tension. Mounting hardware may be more stable or road-worthy. But all things being the same and equal, company to company, I fail to see anything that can make one drum different or better than anyone else's. If medical condition of one's hearing comes into play, even that would remain the same, drum to drum. Not drummer to drummer, but drum to drum.

Not trying to be argumentative hear. I believe this subject is a very necessary one in today's marketplace. It also figures into my own pondering of going into business for myself; something I have stayed away from simply because of saturation and I do not believe I can make anything different than anyone else, drum to drum. I could only address cosmetics which does not effect sound. Wraps might take away some resonance, but there again, John Goode be exposed because any drum made, ANY drum made, with lugs attached and heads on and tensioned will have no discernible tone when thumped with fist or mallet. It is all hype.

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14 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:38 pm

If you put up a Ludwig floor tom right next to a DW floor tom, same heads, tuning etc- They most definitely sound different.
I can't understand how you say all drums sound the same. I know you build them so that's why it's insane to me that you can't hear a difference between wood or plastic shells...or whatever the material..

I know you have many kits that you have built, but why? If they all sound the same?

It's the player that directly makes the sound and tone come out of a drum...in his hands, heart, and intention. Every player has his own touch, and different shells, materials, lugs all working together may produce the sound that the player connects with in relation to HIS art.

I would think all drums should sound the same if you had them all played by the same robots..with no feel or spirit behind each note, with the same attack on every hit..

Take a hammer and nail..drive the nail into the wood..listen to the tone..then have your friend do the same thing, same wood, and listen to the tone..everything affects sound. the approach, different mass of the hands themselves, what your thinking about as your doing it will affect the tone...it is the intangible that you are not seeing here I believe.

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15 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:14 pm

The attack of the drum head - the angle of attack by the stick, the arc of the stroke the amount of pressure applied to the surface of the drum will be different with every player. Some drummers play into the drum and leave the stick on the head much longer before withdrawing it from the drumhead making for a more dampened tonal characteristic. I 'sting' the drum and choose to let the drum resonate more while I play with a stroke that seeks to only make the head vibrate and the drum's resonation combine to issue as much tone as possible because I know how to control the tonal personality and overall musical integrity of the drum that I play. Others choose a different route and are successful in their own right.
Drum sticks, grip (French or German approach) generally speaking will determine how your drum will sound. This is only the beginning of introduction of the human factor and why we all sound different. Throw in the type of music and the ambient environment in which the music is performed and you are presented with quite a few variables to deal with. This is a general overview of my thoughts on this subject as the depth of interest is bottomless. There is sooooooo much more to consider in the argument that drums will be drums no matter who plays them if you base them on how they are made in general. They are very, special instruments and can be what we choose to make them. They don't play themselves.


Last edited by boomer on Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:44 am; edited 3 times in total

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16 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:45 pm

First off in my belief that the drum is a drum is a drum concept is false,
please notice that I immediately mentioned quality and craftsmanship.
That in itself will make a drum or set of drums sound different from one
piece to the next....  Asaph, you seemed to disregard the statement I
made concerning this.  Okay fine...

Now with that being said, I have said before and will say again (and I'm
just talking of the tangible here) that different woods are going to give
you a different sound, PERIOD!!!  I have more than several sets of drums
and each kit has it's own unique character not just because of the manu-
facturing process or the way I play them but also and simply because of
the make up of woods types in their natural form.

Of course who plays them and how they're played is going to make a difference
but that's not what I'm talking about here.  If you build a computerized robot to
consistently strike 10 different drums of different wood characters you're going to
get 10 different personalities...  Heck, you'll get it even if it's the same wood, size,
number of plys, same heads, etc. as I believe that each drum is like a finger print
in that no two are exactly alike.

DL. makes some excellent points in the questions he posed to Asaph.  Why all the
different combinations of drums and drum sets if they all sound the same? Just
have one kit and be done with it.  All those drums and they all sound the alike,
and/or don't have characters that you recognize that makes them unique.  Then
what's the point?! scratch 

Of course, a drum is a drum IS a drum when it comes to a drum sounding like a drum.
You hear someone hit a drum, of course you're going to recognize it as such.  But the
buck stops there and goes to a whole different dimension when when adding the
quality of tonal character and projection into the mix.  Like D.L., I can't understand how
someone of your knowledge and know how of the manufacturing of shells cannot hear this,

But then, I guess one really has nothing to do with the other in that the building of a
drum has nothing to do with how or what the builder is able to hear and decipher from
the materials used in the process.

In the end, a drum is a drum is a drum?.....  Not the ones I sit behind!

Last edited by D. Slam on Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:31 am; edited 2 times in total

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17 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:14 pm

One more thing I want to add.  I don't really care about
all this Lake Superior woods, Bubinga and the like.  I believe
these circumstances have their place but it's still is not the
the absolute of one being better than the other, or is the
deciding factor in what someone is going to like.  Much of
the cost in these instances are based on excavation,
processing or just the rarity of the wood itself.  But who's
to say that someone would not like the sound of a pine shell
much better?

Whatever works or doesn't, for an individual, I'm just saying that
different wood types offer different shell sound characteristics.
However they may be enhanced through the manufacturing and
refining process or through the method and technique with which
one plays the various wood types is something else to discuss.

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18 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:52 am

Okay, maybe one more thing....

John Goode be exposed because any drum made, ANY drum made, with lugs attached and heads on and tensioned will have no discernible tone when thumped with fist or mallet. It is all hype.
I have to say that though I cannot say scientifically that it works,
shell timbre matching makes sense to me and here's why:

When the bare shell is thumped to determine it's pitch and tonal qualities
the idea is to find a relative matching smaller or larger shell of either a higher
or lower pitch.  All the shells that are thumped in bare form will wind up with
hardware on them which in my view makes them all relative still.

Yeah, of course its not about the drum resonating when the shell is thumped
once all the hardware is mounted.  You don't play a drum like that anyway.
The idea is to find the relative sonic nature between a SET of bare shells, and
work from there.  

Finished shells with all the lugs, heads, hoops and mounting hardware will still
resonate.  Thus, as I see it, matching the shell timbres pitch wise makes perfectly
logical sense to me as hardware or no, the shells are still relative to one another.  

Again I cannot say that it works absolutely, but it makes good sense to me and I
believe it has some merit and bearing.  At the very least, I can understand their
reasoning behind the method.

But the drums are still too damned expensive for me to mess with. affraid

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19 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:50 am

BUMMER. I just lost an entire post because I was logged out before I was finished. I wish I got a warning. Well, I'm not going to try again. I will say I agree with much written. It misses my main point, though - all things being equal, drum to drum, manufacturer to manufacturer. Each player will play drums the same will they not? It's a moot point to the discussion. Unless Billy will say he'd play Ludwigs different than Yamahas, all things being equal.

If Yamaha helps Billy create better, or makes or inspires him to play better, how, why? What is Yamaha doing that is so different from anyone elses drums out there? That is what I am trying to put into play here. I am tired of all the hype in the drum industry. I'm tired of seeing all the Carmine Appices jumping from company to company with ads stating how great these new drums are. I have come to believe it is far more about business and endorsement contracts than sound.

DW puts a 3/16" round-over bearing edge. Some do sharp dble 45s, or 45/60, or whatever. Nuances. Obviously plastic has a different sound profile than wood, etc. Again - all things being equal. This is not a synthesizer here. It's a drum. As I have stated before my sets often contain drums of varying woods and plies. I cannot tell any difference from behind the set. I know no one else can, especially when I ask them as an experiment.

I have experimented over the years with plies, depths, and cosmetics. Again, I like shallow toms and kicks. Others want the punch of deeper drums. My point is, all things being equal, a maple tom will sound like a maple tom manufacturer to manufacturer. No one does anything different to truly sound different. Ford scrapes their inner plies almost mirror smooth to cause better reflection of sound waves. Nuance. I have done the same well before I knew they did. The point is, Ludwig senior stated the inner ply is where all the action takes place. I have come to absolutely agree with that.

Don, take a tom and hang it without heads. Timbre is gone. White metal pressed to the shell renders natural resonance moot. No one tunes the same either, so what is the point of timbre matching? Is that why so many drummers sound the same today? Everybody is tuning to what they believe is the relative pitch to the shell? Hype, lads! Hype.

Last edited by Asaph on Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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20 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:55 am

If Ludwig, or DW, or Sonor, or Pearl or Tama, or DDrum, or Mapex, or Premier, or Gretsch, or any of the dozens of custom makers out there gave me a drum set I would take it. I just would not expect it to sound much different or better than anything I make myself - all things being equal.

Sorry for the delay, btw. I have intermittent web access at present.

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21 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:32 pm

Don, if I'm ever in San Francisco I'll have to go to your home and listen to all your sets and see what you hear that is so different, set to set.

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22 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:17 pm

Don, take a tom and hang it without heads. Timbre is gone. White metal pressed to the shell renders natural resonance moot. No one tunes the same either, so what is the point of timbre matching? Is that why so many drummers sound the same today? Everybody is tuning to what they believe is the relative pitch to the shell? Hype, lads! Hype.
I gotcha, man.  That's your stance... Cool, I just don't agree.

I'm not one to get into "the drum company" thing.  I don't have
an endorsement so I play what I want.  As a result of that I have
many sets by different drum makers.  Here's what I DO know:

As a result, every set I have has it's own unique character.
Different woods, different sizes, heads, plys, density, bearing
edges, etc.  I CAN hear this in EACH of my kits.  The fact that
you cannot is your and your issue alone.  Don't tell what me
what I cannot do simply because YOU cannot do the same!

As to the timbre thing, again, drums are not played by thumping
the shells with the fist without hardware and heads on them, we
all know that.

I repeat that the focus is to find a relative SET of bare shells that
I personally believe remains relative after the fact that they're no
longer bare.  Whether it's scientifically sound or not I honestly can't
say.  But to me the procedure makes sound sense.

As far as no one tuning the same, DW stamps the recommended pitch
inside each drum that they feel is relative to THAT drum in particular.
Whether or not the one who acquires a particular set of drums adheres
to the tuning recommendations is up to them.

In quoting Forest Gump: "And that's all I have to say about that."

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23 Re: Yamaha Phoenix Series on Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:36 am

Well, as I mentioned, I have asked other drummers and musicians if they can tell differences between the sound of individual differing drums. They cannot. It isn't just me.

Heads definitely change sound profile. Mounting, does, as well. Bearing edges are nuance. I have wanted to see for a very long time a drum magazine take the same size drum of the same material, if plywood - same basic ply configuration (mm thickness), mount the same heads on all of them and then do a simply test for sound character and see what the result is. Maybe someone has. I'd be very interested to see the results.

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