We review products independently and our recommendations are genuine. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Sonor is one of the most luxurious and high-end drum brands available. The German-based drum manufacturer is renowned for designing exceptional drum kits, with some of the best craftsmanship and drum set designs.
Sonor has an incredible lineup of drum kits that vary in quality and performance. They offer a long list of compact drum kits, but they have many top-quality full-sized professional kits as well, which the company is most famous for.
In this guide, I’ve reviewed and compared Sonor drum kits according to sound quality, value, versatility, and design features. I’ve also listed kits that vary in price, ensuring that every kind of drummer can see Sonor kit options to fit different budgets.
In a Rush Round Up
- Best Sounding Kit - Sonor SQ2 Maple Drum Set
- Best Value Package - Sonor AQX Stage Drum Set
- Best Professional Pick - Sonor SQ1 Drum Set
- Best for Jazz - Sonor AQ2 Bop Drum Set
- Best for Portability - Sonor AQX Jungle Drum Set
Sonor Drum Set Reviews
Sonor SQ2 Maple Drum Set
The Sonor SQ2 line is Sonor’s highest-quality offering. While it’s mostly a custom drum kit line in which drummers can order their own builds, a lot of already-built SQ2 kits are sold at different drum stores.
This specific SQ2 Maple shell pack is an amazing option to consider. The drums sound incredibly balanced, giving you musical tones in whatever tuning you choose. The quality of tone you get is far superior to most drum kits out there.
The quality of tone you get from the drums is thanks to Sonor’s Cross Lamination Tension Free and Optimum Shell Measurement processes.
The drums also use Sonor’s 2.3mm Power Hoops which aid in tuning and give the drums incredibly clear and articulate tones.
The rack tom on this kit has Sonor’s Total Acoustic Resonance mount. It allows the tom to resonate as freely as possible but also has an option to allow you to control the resonance yourself.
The sheer innovation of design is what makes the Sonor SQ2 Series one of the best drum kits in the world. If you want the cream of the crop from Sonor, this is just the ticket.
- 4-piece shell pack
- Maple shells
- CLTF and OSM shell construction
- T.A.R. tom mount
- Immaculate construction quality
- Amazing tones
- Versatile tuning range
- Beautiful finish options
- Doesn’t include a snare drum
- Very expensive
Sonor AQX Stage Drum Set
The Sonor AQX Stage is an excellent affordable drum kit that borders on mid-tier when it comes to quality. It’s supposedly an entry-level kit, but its build quality is superior to most beginner drum kits available.
The poplar drum shells have plenty of low-end beefiness, and the included snare drum is musically responsive to different styles of playing.
All the AQ lugs on the drums have Sonor’s TuneSafe pieces, which prevent them from loosening over time.
This Sonor AQX kit includes a full set of hardware and cymbals, making it a great option for drummers buying their first drum set.
The 1000 Series hardware stands are all double-braced, and the hi-hat legs can be swiveled, which is ideal for double pedal playing.
The cymbals that come with the kit are made by Sonor. They’re B8 cymbals, making them sound much better than the brass cymbals that come with other full drum kits.
The Sonor AQX Stage feels incredibly solid to play on. The shell construction is evidently good, and all the drums feel like they will last decades of playing.
The downside of the AQX Stage is that it costs quite a bit more than the other full drum kit options on the market. However, the better quality is worth the cost.
- 5-piece drum set
- Poplar shells
- Includes hardware and cymbals
- Surprisingly good snare drum
- Sonor 1000 Series stands are very sturdy
- The included cymbals are superior to most that come with entry-level kits
- TuneSafe lugs are a fantastic feature that you’ll find on all of Sonor’s professional kits as well
- More expensive than most full beginner drum kit packages
Sonor SQ1 Drum Set
The Sonor SQ1 is another top-tier professional drum kit from Sonor, but it’s much more affordable than their SQ2 kits.
The SQ1 has birch shells that give it an extended attacking sound. However, it remains very versatile in its tuning range.
The drum shells are made with the same Cross Lamination Tension Free and Optimum Shell Measurement techniques as the SQ2 kits, making the SQ1 kit feel incredibly luxurious to play on.
One of the standout features of the kit is how easy it is to tune. The TuneSafe lugs also ensure that the drums stay in tune for extended periods.
The Sound Sustainer tom brackets are a feature that is unique to the SQ1 kit. It’s a design that allows the toms to be mounted in a way that increases their volume compared to toms from other kits.
Overall, the Sonor SQ1 is an amazing drum kit that is worthy of all professional settings. The attack and volume you get from the drums make them particularly good for live stage performances.
- 3-piece shell pack
- Birch shells
- Sound Sustainer tom brackets
- More affordable than the Sonor SQ2, with many shared features
- Very lively and impactful tones
- Sound Sustainer tom brackets are an impressive feature
- Excellent dynamic range
- I experienced some issues tuning the bass drum and floor tom
- No snare drum is included in any of the SQ1 shell packs
Sonor AQ2 Bop Drum Set
The Sonor AQ2 Bop is one of Sonor’s most popular compact kits. With an 18-inch bass drum and 14-inch floor tom, this small kit is a great option for use in tighter spaces.
It’s also ideal for drummers who want a portable-sized kit to take to gigs.
It has 7-ply maple shells that give the drums incredibly warm and pleasing tones. The rack tom is attached using Sonor’s SmartMount, which allows it to resonate as much as possible.
The snare drum sounds surprisingly good, considering that snare drums are typically the weak point for smaller drum kits.
Lastly, the natural wood hoops are a great touch on the bass drum, adding depth to the kit’s appearance. Overall, it’s an amazing kit to use to play jazz or for easy traveling.
The Chinese UT Remo drumheads it comes with aren’t great, though. Changing those should be the first step after buying this kit.
- 4-piece shell pack
- 7-ply maple shells
- Natural wood bass drum hoops
- Amazing quality in a small package
- Very musical sounding snare drum that features 10 lugs
- Great for small stages and transporting to gigs
- Small sizes make it ideal for jazz music
- Stock UT Remo drumheads aren’t great sounding
Sonor AQX Jungle Drum Set
While most Sonor drum kits cost over $1000, the brand’s AQX Compact line gives you some great options for beginner drummers that cost less.
The AQX Jungle kit is an even smaller option than the AQ2 Bop, making it a great budget option that also works brilliantly for kids.
The kit has the same poplar shells as the AQX Stage, but they’re smaller and higher pitched. The die-cast lugs make the shells feel much more premium than the price will have you believe.
One of the best things about this kit is the included cymbal arm that you can mount onto the bass drum. This arm eliminates the need for a full cymbal stand, making the overall footprint of the kit even smaller.
The 13-inch snare drum has a very tight cracking tone, making it work well in hip-hop and electronic music settings. However, it lacks a lot of tonal depth, so it’s not the most versatile.
- Lightweight drum set with a small footprint
- Very affordable price tag for a Sonor kit
- The included cymbal arm that mounts to the bass drum is an amazing addition
- Die-cast lugs provide a premium feel
- Small sized shells are not the most versatile
- The included snare drum lacks tonal depth
Sonor Drum Kit Buyer's Guide
Sonor has an amazing lineup of premium-sounding drum kits on offer.
While the quality of their larger kits was unattainable for many drummers for a good while, their latest AQX and AQ1 kits have closed the gap quite a bit.
If you’re wondering whether to choose a Sonor drum kit over any other brand, you should learn exactly what all the kits offer and how their features affect your playing experience.
The great thing about Sonor is that they sell amazing-sounding drum kits for all budgets.
The build quality stands out on all Sonor kits, even their most affordable ones.
The reviews above show you a few of the best Sonor kits to pick from. The guide below will explain how to pick one that will suit you the best.
Things to Consider When Buying a Sonor Drum Kit
- Consider your budget: All of Sonor’s currently available drum kits, besides the AQX compact kits, are expensive offerings. So, be aware that Sonor is a brand that requires a fairly high budget for most of their products.
- Choose a shell type: The main types of shells that Sonor use are maple, birch, beech, and poplar. All their bottom-tier kits are made from poplar, while maple, beech, and birch are used in their higher-end kit options.
- Think about a snare drum: Sonor’s SQ1 and SQ2 shell packs don’t come with snare drums. You’ll need to buy a snare separately if you get one of those.
- Determine what hardware and cymbals you need: The AQX Stage and Studio are the only kits from Sonor that come with hardware and cymbals. You’ll need to buy these separately if you get any of the brand’s other shell pack options.
Features to Look Out for in Sonor Drum Kits
Sonor kits are very well-known for their construction quality.
When looking to buy a Sonor kit, you should look to see how the shells are made and what hardware they’re put together with. These factors will influence how the drums feel and sound.
All Sonor’s kits have their famous TuneSafe lugs, meaning Sonor drums are typically quite easy to tune.
However, the more expensive options have much better design features.
In Sonor’s top-tier professional kits, you’ll find design technology like the Cross Lamination Tension Free and Optimum Shell Measurement being used to create the shells.
These processes make the drums sound a lot better and increase their durability.
The higher-priced kits also feel so much better to play because of their superior construction quality.
Choosing a finish that you like is an important part of buying a drum set that you love. Each Sonor line has a series of finishes unique to it.
Regarding the number of finish options, the AQX kits have three, the AQ1 kits have four, the AQ2 kits have five, the SQ1 kits have four, and the SQ2 kits have dozens of options.
Higher-priced kits have more finish options available.
Something to note with finishes is that the wraps on the drums are seamless on the higher-tier kits.
On more affordable kits, you can see lines on the shells where the wraps start and end.
Lastly, you’ll find the most variety of finishes on the high-end Sonor kits, whereas the lower-end ones have a single theme.
Shell Sizes and Sound Quality
The shell sizes vary quite drastically across many of Sonor’s drum kits, so make sure to check the exact diameters and depths before you buy one.
Sonor has compact kits in the AQ2 and AQX lines. The AQX Jungle, Jazz, and Micro are the most lightweight kits that Sonor offers, but they also have the lowest-quality sounds compared to the other available kits.
The AQ2 kits are slightly heavier, but they come in similar shell sizes. They cost a bit more, but their maple shells sound a lot better.
The shell sizes between the Sonor AQX large kits and the Sonor AQ1 kits are mostly the same, with the AQ1 drums being the better-sounding option.
The SQ1 and SQ2 kits have a wide range of shell sizes, depending on which versions you buy.
The SQ2 kits are the better-sounding option here, but the difference isn’t as noticeable compared to the other kits I just mentioned.
When it comes to shell sizes, smaller shells have higher-pitched tones while larger ones have a lot more depth. That’s why compact kits aren’t good options in certain settings.
Sonor Drum Kit FAQs
Why are Sonor Drum Kits Expensive?
Sonor drums are expensive because they are built in Germany with premium quality components. The labor and materials Sonor uses for their drum kits are expensive.
Affordable kits from most other brands are made in cheaper countries where labor and materials don’t cost as much, like Taiwan or China.
This is the same reason why high-end DW and Gretsch drum kits are so expensive. They’re made in the US.
Which Famous Drummers Play Sonor Drums?
Some of the biggest and most well-known drummers that play Sonor drums are Benny Greb, Jojo Mayer, Jost Nickel, Chris Coleman, Steve Smith, and Gavin Harrison.
All those drummers have played big roles within many of the products being produced by Sonor, such as signature snare drums and giving input for new drum kit ideas.
Benny Greb’s signature snare drum has been one of the most popular signature snares in the world for over a decade.
Which Other Drumming Brands are From Germany?
Meinl is the other major German brand apart from Sonor. This is why so many drummers who play Sonor drum kits play Meinl’s cymbals as well. The two companies tend to complement each other quite well.
Does Sonor Offer Entry-Level Drum Kits?
The AQX Stage and Studio are the only drum kits that Sonor offer that come with both hardware and cymbals. In the context of Sonor’s product lineup, these kits are considered entry-level.
However, they’re much more expensive than most entry-level kits from other brands. They also have much better cymbals, pushing them more to intermediate status.
The Sonor AQ1 kits are another option to check out. They have birch shells that sound much better than the AQX’s poplar shells. They come with a set of hardware but no cymbals. These kits are sold at similar prices to the AQX kits.