I DON’T EVEN NEED TO HEAR IT…
First impressions? The looks – definitely the looks. Damn, it’s a nice thing. The particular example I got to check out was a striking silver sparkle 5-piece kit – 22×18” bass drum, 10×8”, 12×8” toms, 16×16” floor tom with a 14×5.5” snare drum.
The finish on the drums is exceptional as is the hardware and fittings. The Vintage all maple shells are 4mm/9ply (6mm/12 ply for the bass drum) and feature 2mm reinforcement rings for strength and a vintage vibe. All shells feature the Sonor Cross Laminate Tension Free Process (CLTF) and Optimum Shell Measurement (OSM), which has a slightly narrow outside shell measurement to ensure a great head contact.
The bass drum featured the Advanced Projection System (APS), which incorporates rubber isolation on the tom mount to minimise direct contact between wood and metal, whilst promoting sustain. The same APS is also on the bass drum spurs and floor tom legs. Speaking of bass drum spurs, the legs on the bass drum are potentially the sexiest objects ever. It’s nothing new to Sonor, but the curved legs simply fold under the bottom of the bass drum. Memory locks put things back exactly as before and the spurs themselves can easily convert from rubber to metal by turning the foot. Sonor have even thought about the clawed lugs that have rubber inserts to prevent scratching the hoop and the tension rod is recessed to minimise damage/snagging in cases or bags.
All the drums feature Sonor’s TuneSafe lugs that are designed to prevent tension rods loosening or the need for lug locks. This kit didn’t have the ‘Sonor only’ design tension rods, meaning you can use any drum key you desire, which I prefer. The toms were attached to the bass drum through another extremely well designed item. The tom holder features tom arms with 360 degree adjustment, but the rod itself actually has the ability to slide through the ball joint, meaning you can literally move the drum anywhere you want, including back and forth giving you the ultimate and precise positioning.
OK, I WANT TO HEAR IT NOW…
From the moment I started playing the Prolite, I was immediately impressed with how much presence and low-end frequencies I could hear. The thin shells really speak with an instantly favourable, sustained and controlled sound. There’s a real focus to the tone of these drums. Even the bass drum has the same controlled sound regardless of how much dampening is inside. I tried tuning the toms at a variety of tensions. Sonor claim that the thinner vintage style shell has an amazing tuning range. They’re totally right. Even the 10” tom, tuned way down sounded awesome. As the tension increased, so did the note and sustain. I mentioned the word ‘focussed’. There are little overtones, which allows for wide open tuning. If you want to focus even more, a little dampening does the trick perfectly. I just loved the presence of this kit. It feels expensive – a quality instrument that would actually challenges you to produce the sound you want.
So, as mentioned, the Prolite could be looked at as a nice combination of the stunningly modern SQ3 and the Vintage series with its thinner shells and old school sound. The Prolite, for some will be the ultimate drum kit. Looks hot, sounds unbelievable and can stand up to any gig. If you’re after a pro kit, you need to check out the Prolite – full of features, heritage and an amazing sound. So good.
For more details on the range of Sonor products, head to drumpartner.com.au.