We reviewed SONOR Drums’ new SQ1 in Mixdown last month and gave it a big thumbs up. Now, Frank Boestfleisch, the drum and marching instruments product manager at SONOR, gives the run down on what the kit is and where it sits in the SONOR Drums mix.
Firstly, why birch? The new SQ1 stems from the company’s former Birch Infinite series and fills the void of having no current Birch offering. “As we already use maple wood on the ProLite and beech wood on the Vintage series, it was clear for us that we wanted to develop a birch wood based drumkit,” says Boestfleisch. “In the prototype phase, we also tested different birch-based shell compositions like birch/beech or birch/poplar shells, but the results of all our blindfold tests with different drummers were that pure birch shells worked best. Another decision after our tests was to put coated Ambassadors on top of the toms and floor toms, which cut a little bit of the birch shell´s typical sharp attack and let them sound rounder and warmer.”
Another strategy SONOR has adapted for the SQ1 is configuration options. “We wanted to offer today’s drummers the best possible flexibility,” Boestfleisch says, explaining that the SQ1 is offered only as three-piece shell sets – Bass Drum, Floor Tom and Rack Tom. “This way, it’s easy for the customer to expand the kit in every direction for the set up they desire.” SONOR offers individual drums to complete set-ups as necessary.
Boestfleisch adds that the SQ1 features great innovations – some new and some common to SONOR drums. Sound Sustainer mounts are used on the rack toms as well as the floor toms. “The idea for the new mount comes from vibration dampers adopted from the automotive industry,” Boestfleisch explains, relating the dampers to engine bay mounting. “The only connection between drum shell and tom holder is the rubber bushing, which is vulcanised on the shell side to three attachment screws and at the outside to the mounting plate for the bracket”. Boestfleisch adds that the only connection between the wood shell and the metal tom bracket is rubber. “The Sound Sustainer mount has a very small footprint and doesn’t hide the shells. It’s a really smart suspension system.”
Boestfleisch also notes that all of SONOR’s MIG series drums feature Optimum Shell Measurement (OSM). “All our shells are slightly undersized in diameter, so the drumhead sits perfectly on the bearing edge instead of being cramped at the collar – much like a timpani.”
The new finish concept for the SQ1 series draws on colours and finishes from classic cars and motorcycles. The four matte lacquer finishes are Cruiser Blue, GT Black, Hot Rod Red, and Roadster Green. The SQ1 also gets a cool Remo Fyberskin as a resonant head with a uniquely positioned logo.
Boestfleisch continues by adding how the SQ1 differs from its closely named older brother, the SQ². “Contrary to the custom and very individual SQ² drum system – with endless amounts of options, the SQ1 is a regular drum series,” he says. “However, there are many parts we also use from our SQ² series on the shell fitting for the SQ1 such as lugs, bass drum & floor tom brackets, dual glide snare strainer, and 2.3 mm power hoops.”
The new SQ1 sets out to achieve a greater attainability for the customer. “Our goal was to develop a ‘made in Germany’ drum kit that was priced below all our other current MIG series,” Boestfleisch says. “In the SONOR hierarchy, the SQ1 sits just below the Vintage series [SQ² – ProLite – Vintage – SQ1].”
After our review last month, it’s clear to see the guys from SONOR are kicking goals with the new SQ1. Hearing Boestfleisch’s thoughts on the new kit just drives home that the SQ1 has been conceptualised and devised by people that just like playing drums. It’s truly a player’s kit.
SONOR are available in Australia through drumpartner.com.au.