The AQ2: Did Sonor Screw Up?

RichFaulk

Active Member
By "screw up" I mean, did they make a kit that is too good for the money? Three months ago I sprung for an AQ2 Studio. Loved it immediately and bought a Martini to go with it so I could have lots of flexibility in terms of kit size and config. Also added the 16" floor tom from the Stage set. All in price: $2500. If I wanted this kit (8/10/12/13/14/16/14s/12s/20b/(14b, not using currently) in an SQ2 it would cost probably 8-9 grand (edit: I checked, it would be 10k+). Sure, Maple is not Birch or Beech. Sure, it was made mostly in China. But the sound! I put Emperors on everything and every tom sings beautifully. I use a tiny bit of muffling because I play in a confined space, but otherwise its totally unnecessary. The 14" snare is tuned low and has a great barking crack with ZERO unwanted ring. The 12" is tuned high almost like a popcorn and I use it as an effect snare. Every drum holds its tuning until you decide the change it. At this point, I feel like the SQs are purely prestige drums, unless you're dead set on having a Sonor in some other wood/finish.

How much longer until Sonor figures this out and discontinues the AQ2 line?
 
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Griener

Member
I bought the "AQ2" bop kit to rent to a jazz club as a house kit.
The build quality is so much better than the usual Gretsch Catalina that these clubs usually have.
Even after two years of intense gigs with changing drummers, I haven't had to repair anything.
The drums sound great and nothing breaks.
Meanwhile, a Gretsch Catalina in another club here in Berlin is almost a ruin.
 

RichFaulk

Active Member
To clarify: I'm not saying SQs aren't worth the money. Its just such a cool thing to have a more or less professional quality kit available to amateurs for a price that doesn't require tapping into your home equity. I'm sure the SQs are objectively better in many respects, but $4,000 better? I don't know. I'd love to hear from any SQ fans/purists who have played an AQ2 and what their thoughts are. Is the SQ 3-4x better than AQ2?
 

River19

Senior Member
There is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to many things, drums are no exception. There is a vast difference between an $800 kit and a $3000 kit........but a $3000 and $5000, $6000, etc. Diminishing returns.

IMHO I'm not sure Sonor really WANTS to sell a ton of SQ2s. They WANT to sell the AQ2s and the drums in the sweet spot of the market and they are comfortable their offerings compare favorably to their competition. The SQ2s are aspirational. The 911 is aspirational for many car lovers.....the 911 existing sells the crap out of Caymans, Boxsters and Macans all the way to the bank.
 

RichFaulk

Active Member
You could make the same argument for the Yamaha Stage Customs compared to the Yamaha Recording Customs .
I've never played Yamaha but googling the price point of each they do seem like similar situations.
The 911 is aspirational for many car lovers.....the 911 existing sells the crap out of Caymans, Boxsters and Macans all the way to the bank.
That's a really good point. And if Sonor's margin on the AQ is higher than the SQ (which supposedly gets a lot more labor attention in manufacture) then it makes sense. I still wonder how long this kit line (which seems almost too good to be true to me) will stay in production and how fast they'll be snapped up off the used market (and at what premium).

P.S. I know I sound like I've been paid by Sonor, but I'm a totally unaffiliated unpaid fanboy.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
The PDP maple Concept is no piker either.
I saw a bop kit for $729 and was blown away at fit and finish.
 

RichFaulk

Active Member
The PDP maple Concept is no piker either.
Once I found out that Sonor had started making a real mid-range kit, I had my heart set on it. But looking at this PDP Maple Concept, it definitely would have been a contender. Looks like you can pick up a full 7-piece for around 1500.
 

petrez

Senior Member
The intermediate kits today (from all the brands) are usually right up there with the best in regards of sound, frankly, I don't see what is so special about the AQ2's in that sense (and that's not in any means to talk them down, just that close to all the big name companies offer equally great kits for the same money). Tama Superstar Classic or the new Starclassic Performers, Pearl Session Studio Select, Gretsch Renown, Mapex Armory and Saturn etc. Just depends on your own needs and expectations. I just recorded my bands latest album with an older Mapex Pro-M kit, all maple shells, lower/mid price class at the time they were new. Sounds to me every bit as good in a completed mix/master than any high-end kits I've used before.

So I would not say that Sonor screwed up, they just kept up with all the other contenders. They would have screwed up if they didn't offer a great intermediate kit in that price range, when all the others do... I've owned a Sonor Force 3005, 3007, Essential Force, they also had the Select Force and Ascent (Beech shells) in the segment under the german made Sonors, all great sounding kits for the money.
 

RichFaulk

Active Member
they just kept up with all the other contenders.
I'll admit I've had irrational stars in my eyes for Sonor since I started drumming in high school. My first kit was a Pearl Export and I played it right through high school and college, after which I spent about 10 years not drumming at all because I had no place to put a kit. Eventually I gave the Export away to a friend of mine's daughter because he had been storing it for me. I was basically out of the loop on drums for the last 10 years and when I dipped my toe back in and found out Sonor made a kit that I could afford that wasn't for beginners, I never really even considered competitors. Having confessed that, I am extremely pleased with the choice.
 

Frank Godiva

Active Member
The intermediate kits today (from all the brands) are usually right up there with the best in regards of sound, frankly, I don't see what is so special about the AQ2's in that sense (and that's not in any means to talk them down, just that close to all the big name companies offer equally great kits for the same money). Tama Superstar Classic or the new Starclassic Performers, Pearl Session Studio Select, Gretsch Renown, Mapex Armory and Saturn etc. Just depends on your own needs and expectations. I just recorded my bands latest album with an older Mapex Pro-M kit, all maple shells, lower/mid price class at the time they were new. Sounds to me every bit as good in a completed mix/master than any high-end kits I've used before.

So I would not say that Sonor screwed up, they just kept up with all the other contenders. They would have screwed up if they didn't offer a great intermediate kit in that price range, when all the others do... I've owned a Sonor Force 3005, 3007, Essential Force, they also had the Select Force and Ascent (Beech shells) in the segment under the german made Sonors, all great sounding kits for the money.
+1
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Back on track here .... I think Sonor HAS screwed up but it's not because of the AQ2. I'll expand on this when I get back from Vegas on May 2nd. When it comes to German made Sonor the ground is shifting beneath our feet!
 
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