Recommended Heads for Sonor SQ1


Junior Member
Hey everyone,

I just got an awesome 4 piece kit of Sonor SQ1's. (12/14/16/22 birch)I got lucky and found them in mint condition used. I would like help in getting the recommended heads top and bottom. Sonor Drums are the greatest sounding drums in the world (once you find the right heads [and tuning technique]). I have a Sonor SClass kit I bought in 2002 brand new (10/12/14/16/22 Maple).

Most of these kits ship new with an ambassador bottom and an ambassador coated top, and Sonor recommends this application, but I never got the full sound out my SClass going with that. In fact I was pulling my hair out trying to find the sound I knew these drums had in them. I finally hooked up with a Portland dealer back then who told me the only heads for SClass were Diplomat bottoms (6 mil) and Emperor Tops (double ply dry). He was pretty close. I was able to make those drums finally sound amazing. I did one better and stopped using 2 ply altogether and put clear ambassadors on the top (10 mil), and I've never heard a kit sound better. But these sound like well tuned cannons going off. Perfect for heavy rock like Iron Maiden, Or believe it or not, the old Journey live sound (Steve Smith).

I bought the SQ1 in hopes of having that same sweet deep tone, but more along the expectation of birch (maybe a little more gated). So my guess to start with would be close to the same type of setup, but in the interest of not buying 4 heads to figure out one drum, I thought I'd ask if anyone has been down this path and has any suggestions.


Junior Member
First off, great score!

Without having played a SQ1, when I hear birch I tend to go EC2. My (much cheaper) birch kit has UV2s atm and I love them as well, nice tone and very durable. You just have to get used to the different feel.


Senior Member
Congrats on your SQ1 kit. I got one myself a couple months ago. Mine is 10/12/14/16/22. The kit sounds pretty good with the stock heads, but I recently changed the top heads to Emperors and I like it better. They sound better at lower tunings. With the stock single-ply heads (Ambassador), I had to tune the 10" tom rather high in order to get it to sing, but with the Emperors I was able to tune more normally and still get some resonance. That being said, I do find that the SQ1's seem like like being tuned up a bit higher than my other kits. I've currently got them tuned about 2 semi-tones higher than the tunings I normally do, and they sound very good.


Silver Member
On birch shells, I like double ply coated (Emperor, G2 or Response 2), on the toms. It mellows a bit the attack.


Well-known member
Can only recommend trying the Emperor Suede (not: White Suede) on your Birch drums. Either with Ambassador or Diplomats as resos. They are the perfect middle between clear and coated and sound delicious on my BLX.