Around 2009 I reviewed Sonor’s SQ2 kit. I liked those drums. They were my first time playing a high end Sonor kit and a bit of an expectation going forward was set. That line of drums has a definite sound to it and it was one of the best kits I’d ever tried to that point in terms of sound.
Move forward a number of years to 2017 and Sonor introduces the SQ1 line.
The SQ1 birch shells are manufactured in Sonor´s German factory on a production line basis, rather than the SQ2’s bespoke format. This is one of the factors that makes the SQ1 line a bit more affordable, along with there being only set sizes and finishes available.
The shells are made using Sonor’s CLTF Cross Lamination Tension Free process and have Optimum Shell Measurement (OSM), meaning they have slightly narrowed outside shell measurements and 45’ bearing edges for optimized shell contact.
Bass drum shells are 10mm and toms and snare drums 7ply/7mm. All of the drums come with Sonor´s TuneSafe system preventing tension rods from loosening, providing maximum tuning stability and fairly heavy triple flanged hoops. The snare drum comes with Sonor’s DualGlide snare system and has a very nice quick release mechanism.
One point of note with these drums is the tom mounting system. This mounting system eliminates any metal-to-wood contact on the toms and floor toms through the use of rubber lining and bushings.
All drums come fitted with Remo heads; coated Ambassadors on the tops of the toms and snare with clear Ambassadors on the bottoms. The bass drum comes with a clear Powerstroke 3 on the batter side and an unported Fibreskyn on the front.
The SQ1 line is available in four finishes Cruiser Blue with Natural Walnut hoops, Hot Rod Red with Natural Beech hoops, Roadster Green with Natural Walnut hoops and GT Black with Natural Beech hoops.
The full range of drums available in the SQ1 line are toms: 8×7, 10×7, 12×8, 13×9, 14×13 (FT), 16×15(FT) & 18×17(FT). Bass drums are available in three sizes, 20×16, 22×17.5 and 24×14. Snare drums are available as 14×6.5.
The review kit I was sent consisted of a 14×6.5 snare drum, 10×7 and 12×8 mounted toms, 16×15 floor tom and a 22×17.5 bass drum in the GT Black finish. The core of the kit is the 322 configuration (12/16/22). Also available is the 320 configuration – 20×16 kick, 12×8 and 14×13 toms – and the 324 configuration 24×14 kick, 13×9 and 16×15 toms.
There’s very little not to like about these drums.
The hardware is good and solid but the drums themselves aren’t overly heavy. The tom mounts allow the drums to resonate fully.
The drums are very easy to tune and seem to keep that tuning as well during harder playing. They sound great under different tunings and project nicely with a nice punch and low end at lower tensioning.
I left the stock heads on for the video and kept the full front head on the kick. The toms and snare were unmuffled, while the bass drum had a Protection Racket pillow inside it touching both heads.
The sound of the snare and toms I think is pretty self explanatory; they’re clear and full. Because the bass drum had a full front head, under the microphones, it lacked some clarity but there was still plenty of low end and thick sound.
Visually, I’m not the biggest fan of the natural coloured hoops, but I can see what was intended there and it does still have a fairly classic look all the same. The flat black I do think looks cool though and the chrome hardware offsets against the black shell very nicely.
All in all, I very much enjoyed having these drums around to check out. The quality and design features are very much in the Sonor higher end traditional while being at the more affordable end of the spectrum.
If you want a high end Sonor kit but can’t quite stretch to the cost of an SQ2 or Prolite, these are worth checking out.
More over at – http://www.sonor.com/instruments/drums/sq1-series/