Recently, we have been sent a sizable parcel from the official Sonor distributor in our country – the Musik Meyer company, containing a Sonor AQ1 drum kit. Already when unboxing and tuning the kit, it was clear we were in for quite a treat.
We’re testing a Sonor AQ1 Dark Blue Sparkle Stage Drum Kit
1. The test
The test was carried out in our own recording facility. The kit is comprised of two rack toms, a floor tom, a snare and a kick drum, which were fitted with Remo UT Pinstripe heads. During the test, we also used the following cymbals: 15″ Zildjian K Sweet Hi-hat, a 23″ Zildjian A Custom 25th Anniversary Ride and a 21″ Zildjian A Custom 25th Anniversary Ride 23″. Our tester performed to a loop chosen from a Loopmash VST in Cubase.
The testing drummer was once again Max Psuja, who has recently been the head of our news room. As a former employee of the Avant Drum Shop and a great drummer, who has collaborated with artists such as Kumka Olik, Holak, Lilly Hates Roses and Yoachim, he was perfect for the role of a laboratory technician.
2. Basic specification of the drum kit tested here:
- Manufacturer: Sonor
- Model: AQ1
- Kit elements: 10″ x 7″ and 12″ x 8″ rack toms, 16″ x 15″ floor tom, 14″ x 6″ snare, 22″ x 17,5″ kick drum
- Finish: Dark Blue Sparkle
- Material: 100% Birch
- Character: Bright with clear attack
- Tom mounting system: Smart Mount DTH
- Hardware included: Sonor 5000 (hi hat stand, snare stand, bass drum pedal, two boom stands)
3. Product and sound
The set presented itself very well just at first glance. Attention to detail is noticeable and the finish looks very nice – the glitter is subtle and fits nicely with the dark blue shade of the wrap. The aesthetic badge with the company’s logo and model name is a very nice accent. The hardware included in the set, from the tom holder to the stands, gives the impression of being stable and very functional. Its design, as is usually the case with Sonor, is very consistent and well-thought-out. Tuning the toms was not a problem and the snare drum strainer worked flawlessly. Particularly noteworthy, in our opinion, is the kick pedal that works smoothly and efficiently responds to various dynamics and subtleties during the performance.
The sound of the drum set can be described as bright and modern with a clear attack. The toms were tuned to showcase the widest tuning range possible – from a 10-inch tom tuned relatively high, to a floor tom which was tuned as low as possible. It quickly turned out that the drums work great in all registers and are very responsive to changes in tuning or damping. The same is the case with the snare drum, which also did not cause any problems in handling and sounded full, bright and with sharp attack, which did not overwhelm with the amount of overtones but rather encouraged to play rimshots to fully experience its character. The sound of the bass drum fits well with the rest of the kit, complementing it with a strong bass and, similarly to the other elements, a bright and focused attack. In our opinion, the drums in this configuration will fulfil their role very well in modern types of music, from Fusion, Gospel, R’n’B to Metal. Drummers who prefer softer sounds should turn their attention to smaller configurations of the same models, taking into account the change of drumheads to, for example, coated single ones to soften their relatively sharp attack.
Sonor AQ1 kits are available in four finishes – two wrapped ones and two in high gloss lacquer. The finish on the kit we tested is Dark Blue Sparkle (wrap), which could be described as glossy livid. When bathed in stage light, it will present itself very well. The remaining three are: Woodgrain Black (wrap), and high gloss Piano Black and Piano White.
OUR VERDICT: 5/5
- Very well crafted
- Bright and sharp attack
- Wide tuning range
- Magnificent look
- Good snare drum
Drummers and Drummerettes! It’s time to put the Sonor AQ1 Stage drum kit to the most important test of all, i. e. the en.beatit.tv viewers’ test! Exclusively for you, we give you Max Psuja!