Sonor Performer Plus drum kit
Another issue, another budget kit. This time it's Sonor who are trying to catch the eye of the first time buyer with their new Performer Plus kit, a development of the Performer series which wins the Reviewers' Delight award for the simplicity of its conception.
Clutching your inheritance/paper round money you march purposefully into your local music shop and with the prerequisite cry of "Oi! Nobby!" and ask the assistant for a £980 drum kit. The Performer Plus consists solely of the items listed above and nothing else. More dedicated ravers can avail themselves of two more toms (10x9 and 14x12) and a stand, but otherwise that's your lot.
The shells are beautifully finished inside and out, perfectly round and resplendent in the currently fashionable lacquered finish (which is more delicate than a plastic wrap but which does less damage to resonance). Straight out of the box they sound fine, with a bright, clear fundamental tone and few annoying harmonics. In this respect the choice of heads seems perfect. Hoops, nut boxes and tom holding mechanism are all the same as those used on higher grade Sonor drums and are hard to fault.
Dotted throughout the Performer Plus kit are small cosmetic alterations designed to make it look different to its brother kits. But why the bass drum tuning rod holder found on other Sonor drums should here be replaced with an old fashioned, Cuban-styled claw, I can't understand.
Nor can I offer a logical explanation for the replacement of all the wing nuts on the hardware (derived essentially from the Phonic range) with primitive-looking alternatives. If Sonor are actually trying to make the Performer Plus LOOK cheaper intentionally, they have succeeded.
The bass drum pedal is a belter in all respects, although buyers might be advised to get a wooden beater and a click pad unless they intend a career in hotel lobbies or Working Mens' Clubs, for which the supplied felt beater is ideally suited. It's tremendously sturdy and well balanced with variable angle adjustment for both footplate and beater, strong nylon strap and good hoop gripping mechanism.
Like the bass drum pedal the hi-hat looks like the Phonic version with a replacement, grey footplate. Again it's strong and creep free, the non-adjustable spring set at a fair-to-tight tension. No memory lock here (or elsewhere) but the twisting bottom cymbal tilter is a beaut and the top cymbal clutch a clever inverted design.
No obvious flaws in the snare drum stand either which is another simple, functional device. The 6/2 metal snare is seamed (unlike the higher grade Sonor versions) but still produces volume aplenty. If you want a sound like Al Jackson used to get on those old Al Green records you might be in trouble with this drum, but for the modern sonic attack of, say, Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer it's ideal. Thumbs up, too, for the two bits of string snare straining method. It works and it's easy to fix.
If you want to start playing and want a safe buy which will encourage good habits (the pedals), good sound (the drums), and last the pace (good stands) this kit will do nicely. Certainly as good as the Pearl World Series kit in all departments with the exception of the name plate which is horrible but hardly a handicap. Fabulous.
Review by Andy Duncan
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