Birch Vs Maple Drums Head To Head

Birch Vs Maple Drums: Ultimate Comparison

In this comparison review I’m going to be comparing Birch Vs Maple drums side-by-side to find out which is best. I’m going to be looking at all different aspects of the sound plus the cost to help determine which is the winner!

Introduction

Maple and Birch are two of the most popular woods used for drum sets. Both Maple and Birch are used to create some of the finest sounding professional drum sets and neither is strictly better than the other. What it comes down to is personal taste from the resonance and timbre of the wood!

When you are looking to buy a new drum set it is important to use your ears to determine what you like the sound of. Birch and Maple, amongst other woods such as Poplar, Mahogany, Beech and more all have different qualities that provide the drums with an individual tone.

The type of wood, the plies in construction, shell size, type of drumhead and tuning all contribute to the drum’s overall sound produced.

Each type of wood has its own characteristics, tonality, EQ and timbre. This is what makes some woods a far more popular choice in drum manufacturing compared to others. The rarity and cost of manufacturing will affect the price point of the drum set, and this is also worth taking into account when looking to invest in a new drum set.

Without further ado, let’s look at the differences between Birch vs Maple drums!

Birch Drums

Birch is one of the most popular choices of wood in drum set manufacturing. Birch is a dense hardwood that is more common than Maple, and offers a balanced projection with a variety of high, mid and low tones. Birch is renowned for its bright and punchy characteristics, with a snappy attack and shorter sustain.

Much like Maple, Birch is used for premium and intermediate level drum sets. So there really is not a huge difference between the two types of woods when it comes to which is a more premium option. Because both types of woods are used in top of the range drum sets.

In terms of sonics, Birch has a more aggressive and brighter tone compared to Maple. It also has a very good level of projection, with enhanced lows and highs that really creates a beautiful drum sound. Birch is also renowned for its crisp tone and enhanced high end that cuts through music really well with a bright projection.

Another great thing about Birch wood is that it has a fast vibratory pattern and it’s very expressive. It’s wonderful presence and projection makes it the perfect choice for drum sets in the recording studio. It speaks with a very clear tone and has a short sustain, offering a focused and bright sound.

Maple Drums

Maple is another dense hardwood that makes up a large proportion of drum shells and drum sets around the world. Maple has quite a long lasting vibratory pattern that means it has a longer sustain than Birch wood, and it can also be manipulated depending on the number of plies and thickness of the drum shell.

Maple is the premium wood choice of countless drummers and manufacturers because of it’s balanced and warm tones with enhanced lower frequencies compared to other woods. Some other woods such as Mahogany and Bubinga also offer a strong low end, but Maple has an even distribution of middle and high frequencies too.

The reason why Maple is so popular is because it has a perfectly balanced tone. The sound is very clear and warm and it supports a wide tuning range, making it a great all-purpose choice for all styles of music and applications including live and studio.

In terms of the characteristics of the wood tone between Birch Vs Maple – Maple doesn’t have as bright or snappy a tone as Birch. It has a louder, bassier and warmer sound that’s arguably the better choice for live music, whilst Birch is often specifically chosen as a studio-ready drum sound.

Birch Vs Maple Drums Price

Birch wood tends to be less expensive in price compared to Maple. But quality Birch shells are still expensive and therefore a premium choice compared to other hardwoods such as Basswood or Poplar.

Both Birch and Maple drums are expensive, and what you can expect to pay depends on other features including the number of plies, the quality of hardware, where the drum set was built etc. USA built drums are going to cost more than drums built in the locations such as Taiwan and China.

Overall, you can expect to pay a little more for a Maple drum set, and there is also a greater range of choice of Maple drum sets compared to Birch. However, some of the most expensive drum sets available are in fact Birch, including the Yamaha Recording Custom Studio Birch.

Verdict

I absolutely love both Birch and Maple wood drum sets. I love the sound of Birch drums having a focused, bright, short and crisp attack. Birch drums have a very musical sound, and they were alays traditionally used in recording studios.

Maple however has now become the more desirable choice for premium drum sets. This is partly due to marketing, but also because of the versatile and balanced tones Maple has to offer. Maple drums offer smooth highs, mids and lows and they have a wonderful resonance and sustain that allows the drums to truly sing.

Maple offers stronger lows and mids compared to Birch, and this makes them great for all round applications. Birch has boosted high frequencies plus fast sustain ratios that causes a higher pitch and greater attack velocity.

Choosing between Birch vs Maple drums is tricky, but in terms of versatility and range of drum set options available for today’s drummers, I’d have to say that Maple wins!

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