Drums out of round and bearing edges not flush - Sonor AQ2 Safari - Questions

dragonfly66

Member
I've had a Sonor AQ2 Safari kit for a few months and love it. I love the compactness of this kit. It sounds good especially the the bass drum. The 10" tom and ride are mounted off the bass drum. I have the crash mounted on the hi-hat stand.

When I first got the kit I simply did the Tom "Beat Down" Brown method of tuning the drums, which is to press in the middle of head and tighten until the wrinkles go away. The kit sounded good. Last week I thought I'd switch out the heads and do some tuning with my TuneBot. I have some Evans G2 Coated/G1 on the toms and Remo Controlled Sound X/Ambassador heads on the snare. I kept the original heads on the bass drums because it sounds like a beast and didn't want to mess with it.

The toms tuned up ok. The bass drum was a little harder to get all of the lugs to the same pitch. The snare was complete ridiculous. There were several lugs that were just so far off than the rest I thought, "something isn't right." So I measure the snare and it is not round. It was off by as much as 1/4" at one point. You can see all of the measurements here, https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1GzkueSRPnefhNmR1rZLpiiEbayR6v6ts?usp=sharing. In addition the bearing edges were not flush. That is also demonstrated in the photos. I sent this information to Sweetwater and they are getting an RA from Sonor to replace the snare.

So now I'm paranoid and I go back and check my two toms. The 10 tom is round. The 13 and bass drum are mostly round, both are off by 1/8" in one spot. Both the toms and the bass bearing edges do not sit flush against a flat surface. None of them is as bad as the snare though. The toms are tunable as is the bass drum, meaning I can get all of the lugs within 1 hz of each other even though the bearing edge isn't even. However, though the lugs rings at the same pitch if you touch the head you can tell the tension is looser on certain lugs to accommodate the inconsistencies in the bearing edge.

I realize that bearing edges are usually not perfect at this price point and I've read many times that if the head spins and you are able to tune it and it sounds good (which is the case with the toms and bass drum) then don't worry about it. While I can spin the head on the snare drum it is so clearly out of round you can't truly center the head and with the unevenness of the bearing edges the disparity in the lug pitches is too great to overcome.

I haven't been playing drums very long so just want to make sure I'm understanding what is acceptable and what isn't.

My questions:
  • How much out of round is acceptable?
  • How much unevenness is acceptable on the bearing edge?
  • I live in the Southwest where it is awfully dry, would that dryness have caused this?
  • Is there anything else I might be missing?
 
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beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
That is a pretty new kit right? I'd email sonar and also where you bought it. That wouldn't happen in a few months of being dry. Canadian winters get pretty dry and i have left kits in the garage before.

Do you have any pictures? maybe with a straght edge beside the edge or tape measure?

did you do the light test on a glass surface?
 

dragonfly66

Member
It is relatively new, but I've had it for a few months now. I did contact Sweetwater about the snare and actually called back today about the other drums. The drum tech at Sweetwater said the tolerance of drum round is up to 1/4". He said the bearing edges can be bad even on more expensive kits and wanted me to send photos to send to Sonor.

The only pictures I've taken so far are of the snare, which are in the link above. I have to take photos of the other drums.

The light test I've done on my counter. Because I am not completely sure my counter is level, I used this method, http://recordinghacks.com/2009/08/22/how-to-test-drum-bearing-edges. So really what I tested is how the bearing edge looks in a single spot on my counter as it was turned and noticing the differences in that one spot. My counter is next to a window so I didn't use a light inside, I was able to get at eye level and see if light was coming through. As I said above, every single drum had light coming through in different spots, the snare just happened to be the worst.
 

dragonfly66

Member
Well the snare was out in one spot 1/4" and Sonor decided that and the bearing edge issue warranted a replacement. The 13 tom and 16 bass drums aren't out more than 1/8". The 10 tom is round.
 
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beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Sonor is pretty good. I know thy gave a guy around these parts a new kit as the wraps had an issue on the one he bought.

Pearl is another company that stands by their products and have helped me over the years.


Almost worth taking photos day 1 when you get a kit, or heck doing a check instore before you take em home.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
If you don't get the proper satisfaction from Sweetwater go straight to Sonor/KHS Industries in Mt Juliet, TN. Document your calls to both Sweetwater and Sonor. Just for reference, I had an issue with some bent tension rods on an old stock new Delite kit that I bought 2 years ago. I went through the dealer (drumcenternh.com) for the fix and got a whole set of new ones direct from KHS about a week later. I'd put some more heat on Sweetwater in your case. They tout their customer service and in house tech support as a main reason to shop there.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I did contact Sweetwater about the snare and actually called back today about the other drums. The drum tech at Sweetwater said the tolerance of drum round is up to 1/4". He said the bearing edges can be bad even on more expensive kits and wanted me to send photos to send to Sonor.
I call bullshit straight away there. That's not a drum tech that's a salesman talking out of his arse.

Sonor are pretty hot on quality control, I'd go direct to Sonor, they are brilliant with any issues, just have your receipt to hand.

I had a dodgy perfect balance pedal a few years back and Drumshack in London really dicked me around arguing the toss that it was faulty, turned out it was a common fault. (under warranty) Sonor replaced it straight away from their distributor.
 

dragonfly66

Member
The new snare is on it's way, should have it Friday. The support tech was terrible at communicating. I had to call my sales rep to get information on where things were. I called in the last time and talked to a different support tech and he was able to send an urgent email to Sonor. I think the issue was the first support tech is just lazy or overworked. Everyone else I've worked with at Sweetwater seemed to be much more responsive.
 

V-Four

Senior Member
Yes, good luck with 1/4" out on a 10" tom!
Yes, that would not be good indeed..


However:
... The 10 tom is round.
;)
(I'm just here to help.)



Almost worth taking photos day 1 when you get a kit, or heck doing a check instore before you take em home.
Hmm, I guess I shoulda done that when I got a new set few years ago. I did check "flatness" (which was all good) when I changed heads, but never checked outa roundness. (of course, they tune just fine, so, I guess I have no reason too). ;)

T.
 
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brentcn

Platinum Member
You’re going to notice a snare with bad edges and/or out of round, sooner than a tom or bass drum, because there is a higher tension applied to the heads. Vintage Ludwig’s vary widely wrt edges and roundness, but good examples tune up well.

Not sure what you’re expecting from a low-level, made-as-cheaply-as-possible-not-in-Germany kit, even if it does say “Sonor” on it. Low level snares are going to be hit and miss (mostly misses). The replacement snare on its way may be a dog as well. Just keep returning until you get a good one. It’s the same for Gretsch Catalina, Ludwig accent, etc. Count yourself lucky that you’re getting a replacement.

This is one of the most important reasons to pay good money for drums: consistent quality.
 

dragonfly66

Member
I got the new snare today and we are all good on roundness, within 1/8". The bearing edges are not level but none of the drums are. The key is that now I can easily tune this snare. I did notice the throw was super stiff on the new snare so I swapped the throws, because the throw on the other snare was smoother.

I'm all good now!

Not sure what you’re expecting from a low-level, made-as-cheaply-as-possible-not-in-Germany kit, even if it does say “Sonor” on it. Low level snares are going to be hit and miss (mostly misses). The replacement snare on its way may be a dog as well. Just keep returning until you get a good one. It’s the same for Gretsch Catalina, Ludwig accent, etc. Count yourself lucky that you’re getting a replacement.

This is one of the most important reasons to pay good money for drums: consistent quality.
I had no expectation of perfection, but I do expect to be able to tune a drum and that was the problem that lead me to check the roundness and evenness of the bearing edges. Noticing that both seemed far more off than an expected tolerance, I contacted Sweetwater and they contacted Sonor and I now have a new snare. I'm not lucky, just smart enough to pay my good money for a kit from a company that stands behind their products, even if they are not made in Germany.

As you pointed out, this new snare could have been bad too and I was honestly worried about that. While the shell on this new snare is acceptable, the throw was awkwardly stiff and thankfully I still had the other drum to swap it out. I do think I had higher expectations for this kit than I should have, because I was really upset by the bad snare. I had to keep telling myself this is not unusual in the price range. This kit though serves its purpose well, in that it is very compact and sounds as good to me as my larger kit.
 
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