Best Budget Bop Kit?

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
If you are using in-ear monitors and already have a decent snare, check out the Sonor Bop kit.

I had one. The snare was garbage, and it sounded bad (to my ears) from behind the kit; however, out front it sounded really good.

I'm sure they are pretty cheap by now on the used market.
 

RickP

Gold Member
Another vote for the Sonor AQ2 series. I bought the pictured Safari model kit for use in rehearsals with my Big Band and small or dodgy room gigs. It is a great sounding kit for an excellent price. I highly recommend swapping out the Remo UT heads that come on the kit for regular Remo USA Ambassador heads. Other than that , I have really enjoyed playing this kit.
 

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Artstar

Platinum Member
Another vote for the Sonor AQ2 series. I bought the pictured Safari model kit for use in rehearsals with my Big Band and small or dodgy room gigs. It is a great sounding kit for an excellent price. I highly recommend swapping out the Remo UT heads that come on the kit for regular Remo USA Ambassador heads. Other than that , I have really enjoyed playing this kit.
That is nice ! They did'nt skimp anything it seems... they put the suspension mount and FULLY finished bass hoops.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Another vote for the Sonor AQ2 series. I bought the pictured Safari model kit for use in rehearsals with my Big Band and small or dodgy room gigs. It is a great sounding kit for an excellent price. I highly recommend swapping out the Remo UT heads that come on the kit for regular Remo USA Ambassador heads. Other than that , I have really enjoyed playing this kit.
Looks like my original Sonor Safari-they really are a great kit (though mine sits in a corner collecting dust). I love the punchy lil kick- it's a cannon, and the toms sing. The snare is mehh but Ok enough to use. i put those Pearl air suspension rubber feet on my floor tom legs-mainly more height but it gave it more zing. Still looks like brand new even though I left it in an orchestra practice room and it got beat to death. Bringing it to gigs or trying out for bands I would often get looks like "what you going to do with that baby kit?" but the little kit impressed people every time (always got comments of surprise how good it sounds for its small size). So did you buy the double mount for the cymbal and tom or did it come with it? Looks like it comes with it-it all seems to match. Man I like that improvement over mine-it does have the same tom mount, but no parallel cymbal mount.
 

RickP

Gold Member
Looks like my original Sonor Safari-they really are a great kit (though mine sits in a corner collecting dust). I love the punchy lil kick- it's a cannon, and the toms sing. The snare is mehh but Ok enough to use. i put those Pearl air suspension rubber feet on my floor tom legs-mainly more height but it gave it more zing. Still looks like brand new even though I left it in an orchestra practice room and it got beat to death. Bringing it to gigs or trying out for bands I would often get looks like "what you going to do with that baby kit?" but the little kit impressed people every time (always got comments of surprise how good it sounds for its small size). So did you buy the double mount for the cymbal and tom or did it come with it? Looks like it comes with it-it all seems to match. Man I like that improvement over mine-it does have the same tom mount, but no parallel cymbal mount.

Everything pictured came with the kit. I did not purchase the snare, as I have a Benny Greb signature snare that I use with this kit. The sparkle lacquer finish is really well done, edges are nice too. The 16" bass drum has surprising bottom end and I play it wide open.
 

singing drums

Senior Member
...i like the canopus rfm series bops (especially the BDs which are round/full sounding with great tone)...if you are patient you could get a used kit at almost a "new budget bop kit" price since canopus kits (unfortunately) do not hold their value on the secondary market...
 

dragonfly66

Member
Here is a video of a shoot out of some bop kits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdUOTIKmtas&t=47s.

The only super budget bop kits that have an 18" kick drum is the TAMA Club Jam ($399) and the Sound Percussion Labs Street Bop (which is on sale for $169 on MF right now, but regularly $299). The rest in that price range have 16" or 14" kick drums. The TAMA Club Jam looks sweet, but like you, that maple sound is addicting which points me to the Sonor AQ2 series. Much pricier, but you get better sound and quality it seems. I've owned the SPL Street Bop and was not satisfied with the sound even after tuning and new heads. It is Birch/Basswood ply. The kick drum though, sounded very powerful with an EMAD2 on batter and EMAD Ebony on the reso.

I have the Gretsch RN2 Kit 10/12/14/20 and I love it! At first the bass drum I thought was lacking in attack, boom, loudness. I'm 5'2" and chose this kit because it was the best fit for me. So I had to make this 20" kick drum work. I went searching for what others have done to make a 20" or smaller drum sound better. It already sounds better after having only put my kick on a riser and tuned lower. I've included the list of what I found from different sources across the internet, including on this forum. As someone new to drumming it was helpful to me. The comments below are from other people so when you see "I" that is some random drummer on the internet, not me. I found that there were differences of opinions in my research and you'll see that in the comments below, especially in the "Heads" section.

Things that could cause you NOT to hear the volume or low end of a bass drum.
  • Seated on your throne. How the drum sounds behind the drums is not how it sounds in front.
  • The tuning isn't right.
  • Mental thing when going from a larger drum, 22" 24" to a 20"

TUNE TO LOWEST PITCH
Tune to the lowest possible pitch, batter always tuned lower than reso. The Just Above Wrinkl technique is good to use here, with the reso a little tighter.

RAISE DRUM
Raise the spurs until the front hoop is about 2-3 inches off the ground, tops. You can also use risers to lift the entire drum off the floor, i.e. Evans Dixson riser, which definitely gives it more boom.

WOOD BEATER w/ PATCH ON BATTER HEAD
  • 16"/18" bass drums are typically associated with bop sounds, but they can actually get quite fat with a patch and/or felt strip and a wood beater.
  • AF Patch OR Falam Slam OR Mole Skin or some sort of patch on batter head - I feel the AF Patch moves with the head better, because of it's design.
  • Wood provides much more volume, much more attack. Just make sure you have a decent patch on the kit.
  • About beaters:
    • plastic (sounds like metal drum slap)
    • felt (lowers the frequency)
    • wood (lowers frequency, but still slappy and louder)

BEATER PLACEMENT
  • You can get more boom out of a 20 by placing the beater a couple of inches above the center of the head-- opens it up a good deal. More overtones.
  • Adjust angle of kick using the spurs to get the right beater response.
  • If you need a bit more response for the beater, tighten the batter side a little more than the rest.

DO NOT PORT THE RESONANT HEAD
A lot of the “bass” portion of what you hear is based upon the surface area in the center of the drum. That surface area is a diaphragm working much like a speaker radiator might work, in that it will aid in moving air. Remember that pitch is dictated by the tension and the surface area in movement. So if you remove a large center portion, you lose a large portion of the bass reinforcement that gets emitted by the heads movement and tension usually has to increase to compensate for the removal of the center area. Adding holes does not increase bass content as might be the case on a tuned vented speaker cabinet would.

MINIMAL TO NO MUFFLING
  • I don't use any muffling other than what is designed in the head, i.e. EMAD, EQ3.
  • You don't want to put pillows or towels in the drum, because it will lower your volume and perceived low end.
  • My favorite with 20" is only resonant head muffling

HEADS
  • Use dual-ply heads - Dual ply heads are lower pitched by nature.
  • Evans Heads - The 360 head, lay flatter against the bearing edge better then REMOs.
    • Evans EMAD 2 (one 10mil, one 7mi - 17mil total thickness) for batter head - Dual ply with the dampening ring. You get the full volume out of the drum with minimal muffling. You may need something small to help with resonance if the resonance is still out of control, but you will need less with the EMAD head.
    • EMAD 2 on the batter side and a thick single ply on the resonant side might do the trick. The thick resonator will vibrate slower and thus capture most of the bottom end
    • The EMAD is a single ply of 10mil thickness
    • The New EMAD Onyx is a single coated ply of 10mil with an improved dampener... which is odd because the Onyx is the thickest head Evans makes for toms at 15mil (two-7.5 mil plies)
    • The GMAD is a single ply of 12mil thickness (thicker for longevity for hard hitters, has more timbre producing qualities.)
  • Remo Heads
    • The Powerstroke 3 is good for sound projection.
    • Remo Powerstroke 3 (PS3) batter + Evans EQ3 (6.5mil) coated with no port reso with nothing inside the drum and it has no problem keeping up with amplified vocals, guitars, and bass in a bar.*This is closest to what I have now, PS3 on batter and a coated Gretsch with muffle ring on reso.
    • Wide open - A PS3 coated batter and PS3 or similar reso. If too boom-y can tighten the reso a bit more or place a small hand cloth between the kick pedal and the batter head.
    • Try running a Powerstroke 3 batter (with beater patch) with an Ambassador-weight (1-ply 10mil) reso and a 4 inch port. No internal muffling. Tune to "JAW" (Just Above Wrinkled) and you should be able to get a nice punchy rock sound out of that drum with just a touch of boom. If you want more boom - skip the port.
    • Muffled with hole - PS3 coated, Evans EQ pillow, PS3 with hole or similar reso with hole.*
  • Lose the PS3 and use Ambassador-weight (1-ply 10mil) batter and reso. Or maybe Controlled Sound. That will get you the most boom.*
  • Do not use Aquarian Superkick II or Powerstroke 3, those heads just choked the 20" drum completely.*

MIC IT UP
If you slap a mic on that 20, with barely any EQ the low end in a drum monitor can be mind blowing. Every venue you play at, slap a gate, compressor and EQ on that thing and it will sound like a cannon. I find the volume unmic'd is a bigger issue than the low end.
 
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TomR

Junior Member
I was impressed with Tama's Imperialstar Bop kit, which isn't made any longer. I found two kits at my local GC that were in new condition. I bought one for about $200 for gigs that require an extra small kit. It sounds really good.
Here's a demo video from Sweetwater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0jCc10FaDs
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I would avoid the TAMA Club Jam. In my search for a small budget Bop kit I bought one of these. It was very toy-like. The snare had major lug splay. The Sonor AQ2 is in a totally different league.
 

Rolltide

Well-known member
What are your though
Another vote for the Sonor AQ2 series. I bought the pictured Safari model kit for use in rehearsals with my Big Band and small or dodgy room gigs. It is a great sounding kit for an excellent price. I highly recommend swapping out the Remo UT heads that come on the kit for regular Remo USA Ambassador heads. Other than that , I have really enjoyed playing this kit.
what are your thoughts on the snare drum provide?
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I had a sonor bop kit with an 18. It was punchy as heck. I miss that little kit. I could shred on that thing. Wish I didn't sell it. It was cheap too. Tune an 18 as low as you can and play with the head choices, VERY small port or no port. They sound fantastic, but a tad quiet.
 

SirSwingsAlot

Well-known member
Gretsch Catalina club all day. I’ve struggled with my 18” Catalina bass drum but discovered it’s all in the tuning ;) and the rest of the drums are very warm and resonant. Who are some players whose sound you want to emulate?
 
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