Sonor AQX Jungle First impressions/ mini review

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
A few weeks ago I got this urge to buy a micro kit after playing a Canopus bop kit. Usually when some things hits my “wanted” list, I become obsessed until I get it (this is how I ended up with 50k worth of gear during the pandemic… it’s a problem I know).

Any way I was down to just 2 kits.. a 6 piece Sonor SQ1 kit and a 6 piece Alesis Strike Pro electronic kit, so I had room for a small kit and I stared looking and ultimately bought a Sonor AQX Jungle kit, brand new for 300 bucks!!! I was not concerned about what kind of wood it was made of, in fact I kinda wanted a poplar kit to try and get the best sound I could from it.

Any way, it arrived last week. Ships as a 4 piece with 16” kick, 10” rack & 13” floor Tom. It also shipped with a 13x6 snare but I’ve yet to play it.
Immediately after buying it I swapped every head on the kit. Evans caftone on front of kick, emad on batter and then coated vintage emperor on Tom batter (Evans genera reso on bottom)..

After tuning it up… I was blown away by how good these cheap inexpensive drums sound! The kick drum has so much thump and the feel is so much better than my 22x17 kick on my SQ1 which has a ported reso. The toms sing yet are dry enough to be articulate and I never thought a 13” floor Tom could sound so good, but it does.

I have coupled the kit with my Benny Greb 2.0 brass snare and with Meinl Foundry Reserve hats & crash, it’s absolutely gig worthy and maybe even studio friendly in some cases. I still want a more jazzy drier ride then my Meinl 21” Polyphonic but man this kit kills for 300 bucks!!!

What’s even nicer is.. it ships with a bass drum mounted cymbal arm for your Ride cymbal and I have my 18” crash mounted off my Pearl Redline hi hat stands. So it’s just 1 stand on the floor!!

Any one else played these inexpensive compact drums from Sonor? It’s hard to fathom how they even make money. I know they are made in China and are made of poplar.. but even then, it feels like an insane steal at 300-400!!

I’m going experiment with clear heads at some point as well. But found, I’m lost in the joy of playing them and being inspired to play different because of the kit size.

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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I have not played the Sonor, but get the exact same enjoyment from my Midtown. Same sizes, same wood, same blown away impression. I added a 16" floor.

That's a very pretty kit. The red sparkle looks fantastic.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
These small kits are quite cool. A buddy of mine has one of the older Jungle kits. They started out with Birch shells. Went to Maple/Mahogany/Maple. Then Canadian Maple/Chinese Maple. And now Poplar. (maybe some combo I missed?;)) His snares has tambourine jingles in the shell. Seeing Will Calhoun playing one at a NAMM show (1999/2000?) ...... we were both like "Damn, those little drums sound good" !!! Will and rhythm section brother Doug Wimbish were doing a drum & bass thang at the Trace Elliot booth. Right there, I got sold on these little sized kits.

Since I'm more a Yamaha guy, I picked up a Manu Katche Jr kit (first issue). Philippine Mahogany shells, 10x7, 13x12, 16x16. I too, don't use the snare that came with the kit (12x5?). I use either my Pearl Omar Hakim 13x5 ..... or one of my Yamaha Musachi's. Pretty much identical sizes to your Sonor. Your rig looks killer !!!
 

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wildbill

Platinum Member
That's a nice looking mini kit - love the red sparkle. Eight lugs on a 16" bass drum, puts the Yamaha stage custom bop kits I've had to shame.

Small sets are fun and easy to play. I've got a lower limit of 18 for a bass drum though. I tried a 16 and it just didn't feel right for me.
Could be some kind of bias I have though.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
That's a nice looking mini kit - love the red sparkle. Eight lugs on a 16" bass drum, puts the Yamaha stage custom bop kits I've had to shame.

Small sets are fun and easy to play. I've got a lower limit of 18 for a bass drum though. I tried a 16 and it just didn't feel right for me.
Could be some kind of bias I have though.


I initially wanted an 18” kick. But man, this 16” kick with an EMAD on it thumps!

But what I really love is the way it feels.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Effortless (y)

Yep. So much so that it makes me want to get a 20” kick for main kit.

Feels like you can make any size kick drum thump and really it’s all about how it feels
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Yep. So much so that it makes me want to get a 20” kick for main kit.

Feels like you can make any size kick drum thump and really it’s all about how it feels

Now you're gettin' with the program. :ROFLMAO:

I go with 20's mostly for tom placement. There's a trade-off in sound compared to larger, but it's well worth it to me.
Mic'd up and run through a board, even that small difference can pretty much disappear.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I owned and gigged the 14" kick set. Excellent build quality. But I tell you what they were heavy. They were not really any easier to gig with than an 18" or 20" kick. Plus the 14" - and I've also played backlines with the 16" AQ - those kicks were not very tunable. Medium or Medium-High was about it. I eventually sold them and bought a used minty DW FF, which is much lighter and also much more tunable. Cost about same used as the Sonor new.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
I owned and gigged the 14" kick set. Excellent build quality. But I tell you what they were heavy. They were not really any easier to gig with than an 18" or 20" kick. Plus the 14" - and I've also played backlines with the 16" AQ - those kicks were not very tunable. Medium or Medium-High was about it. I eventually sold them and bought a used minty DW FF, which is much lighter and also much more tunable. Cost about same used as the Sonor new.


I owned the DW design series which I believe has the same shells as the DW frequent flyer kit and that kit gave more more tuning issues than any other kit I’ve owned. I actually the PDP concept maple was a much better value. Honestly after that DW kit and the DW collectors series maple snare, I’ll never buy DW drums again. I do love most of their hardware (airlift series is super nice) though

I guess I Care more about portability than the actual weight. I want less pieces and less foot print but in terms of weight I don’t mind. Also the kick drum has yet to creep away so I imagine the weight has its benefits.

As for tuning, im not a jazz guy. I’m mostly tuning medium. But the kick drum was the least issue of all the drums. I tried with both a Powerstroke 3 coated & emad clear, and both sounded and felt huge for being just 16 inches. 10” Tom has been hardest in getting the way I want, but once I went from vintage coated ambassador to vintage coated emperor and added Evans Genera reso on the bottom, they’ve sounded and tuned up better then any sub 1500 dollar kit I’ve owned (PDP CM, design design, Pearl export, Tama hyper drive) but they also aren’t anything like my SQ1 and my old Ludwig classic Oak. Both those kits are next level
 

graysonator

Well-known member
A few weeks ago I got this urge to buy a micro kit after playing a Canopus bop kit. Usually when some things hits my “wanted” list, I become obsessed until I get it (this is how I ended up with 50k worth of gear during the pandemic… it’s a problem I know).

Any way I was down to just 2 kits.. a 6 piece Sonor SQ1 kit and a 6 piece Alesis Strike Pro electronic kit, so I had room for a small kit and I stared looking and ultimately bought a Sonor AQX Jungle kit, brand new for 300 bucks!!! I was not concerned about what kind of wood it was made of, in fact I kinda wanted a poplar kit to try and get the best sound I could from it.

Any way, it arrived last week. Ships as a 4 piece with 16” kick, 10” rack & 13” floor Tom. It also shipped with a 13x6 snare but I’ve yet to play it.
Immediately after buying it I swapped every head on the kit. Evans caftone on front of kick, emad on batter and then coated vintage emperor on Tom batter (Evans genera reso on bottom)..

After tuning it up… I was blown away by how good these cheap inexpensive drums sound! The kick drum has so much thump and the feel is so much better than my 22x17 kick on my SQ1 which has a ported reso. The toms sing yet are dry enough to be articulate and I never thought a 13” floor Tom could sound so good, but it does.

I have coupled the kit with my Benny Greb 2.0 brass snare and with Meinl Foundry Reserve hats & crash, it’s absolutely gig worthy and maybe even studio friendly in some cases. I still want a more jazzy drier ride then my Meinl 21” Polyphonic but man this kit kills for 300 bucks!!!

What’s even nicer is.. it ships with a bass drum mounted cymbal arm for your Ride cymbal and I have my 18” crash mounted off my Pearl Redline hi hat stands. So it’s just 1 stand on the floor!!

Any one else played these inexpensive compact drums from Sonor? It’s hard to fathom how they even make money. I know they are made in China and are made of poplar.. but even then, it feels like an insane steal at 300-400!!

I’m going experiment with clear heads at some point as well. But found, I’m lost in the joy of playing them and being inspired to play different because of the kit size.

View attachment 106800View attachment 106801
What happened with your Classic Oak kit?
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
What happened with your Classic Oak kit?


I decided to sell it.

Just couldn’t afford the space to keep 2 high end kits. Ended up going with the Sonor as I have more shells and money invested.

That said… I miss it already
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
Great review Justin, thanks for sharing it. Nice kit!

I am surprised how good these little 16 inch kicks can sound, and most of my recent gigs were with a 16 inch kick (Breakbeats). They are so much fun to play.

I notice your kick is right on the floor, while I see a lot of 16" kicks with risers (including mine). Meanwhile it looks like your pedal beater is hitting pretty central on the head. Did you have to adjust the pedal at all?
 
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