Hands-On Review:Force ’07 Series Drums
By Michael Parminter
Classify these as good times for drummers. There’s never been such an abundance of well-put-together, affordable drum sets available to players before. All the good choices out there, though, can actually make it more challenging to sort through the options.
Anyone who’s into drums knows that the Sonor name has always been highly regarded by players, so I was stoked when Musician’s Friend invited me to try out the upper tiers of Sonor’s Force Series, the 2007 and 3007. The Force Series was introduced in the ’90s as a more easily affordable alternative to the higher-level Sonor lines, and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.
Change is good
This year the whole series has been significantly redesigned and overhauled. Critical tooling equipment was transported from the Sonor mothership in Germany to their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in China, a move calculated to achieve the highest possible quality-to-cost ratio.
The woods used in the shell construction of the series have evolved. The 3007 Series all-maple shells are a 9-ply, 7mm design, with middle layers of Asian maple sandwiched between inner and outer plies of Canadian maple. Many of the world’s finest drums are made of Canadian maple, prized for its rich, warm sound and long sustain.
The 2007 model drums were a dark-horse hit at this year’s NAMM show. These drums have birch shells, currently in vogue with a lot of players for their aggressive attack, enhanced punch, and slightly darker character.
The lugs have been upgraded with a design that’s both functionally and aesthetically superior to past models. The ’07 Series lugs are modeled after Sonor’s German-made Delite and SQ2 series, with an internal tune-safe system that keeps the lugs from detuning as standard lugs are apt to do, especially when played by heavy hitters.
Also new is the move to slightly shallower, so-called "FAST" tom shell sizes—gone are the cannon-like deeper shells of the past. This change gives the drums quicker attack, more versatile tone, and a wider tuning range.
Sonor has long touted the strength of their shells, demonstrating this in one memorable ad by showing a headless rack tom shell lying on its side with a big brutish fellow standing on it. The secret to the great strength of the shells lies in Sonor’s proprietary cross-laminated, layered design.
To ensure the rack toms’ sustain is uncompromised, the tom mounts use Sonor’s TAR (Total Acoustic Resonance) system to minimize the contact between the shell and the mounting hardware.
When you play an exceptional set of drums there’s an emotional connection, an intangible quality, a wholeness that adds up to more than the sum of the parts. As I lugged the four boxes containing the 2007 and 3007 sets into my home studio, I wondered if I would be forging such a connection with these kits.
As I removed the drums from their boxes, the high quality of the shells was apparent—the inner layers were flawless, and the bearing edges (essential to good sound) were unflaggingly precise.
The ’07’s exterior surfaces are now finished using a new wax/gloss process that makes these drums exceptionally beautiful. After assembling the 3007s and giving them a quick tuning, I had to just stand back and soak in the visuals—the Midnight Fade finish glowed like molten sapphire, allowing the beautiful grain patterns to show through just enough to let your eyes slow down and enjoy the ride.
When it came to playing the 3007s, I wasn’t disappointed—I wasn’t even in the same zip code as disappointment. These drums sang like Pavarotti. Each tom resounded with a deep, clear fundamental note; was clean on the attack; and had the characteristic warm resonance of maple. The matching wood snare was both sensitive and powerfully punchy, never sounding choked or flat, regardless of how hard I hit it. The 22" bass drum sounded splendidly fat, and the 16" floor tom growled like a bear.
The resplendent Amber Fade 2007s were also a feast for the eyes and ears. Their birch shells made them a little harder-edged and quicker on the attack than the 3007s, with punchiness worthy of a kung fu master.
The hardware, while plenty heavy duty enough to stand up to the slings and arrows of outrageous touring, has a slightly rounded, retro look that gives the set a classy, timeless appearance. Heavyweight, easy-to-grip wing nuts allow you to adjust the mounted toms easily to any position via the ball-and-socket-type tom holder. The bass spurs, floor tom legs, and cymbal stands are all capped with beefy, vibration-dampening rubber feet.
Apparently the 1007 and 507 sets are, in most respects, very comparable to their Force Series siblings that I tried, save for basswood construction and on the 507, a metal snare drum and different lugs.
Force to be reckoned with
Sonor hit all the right notes this time around with their Force Series. Nothing about the Force sets I had the pleasure of playing intimates any kind of corner cutting or compromise, representing a great value for the dollars. They have the sound and look of drums that are the result of enlightened, thoughtful design and execution. Write it down: the Force is irresistible!
Features & Specs:
Force 3007 Stage 1 Set
- 9-ply maple shells
- Tune-safe lugs
- TAR (Total Acoustic Resonance) mounts
- 22" x 17-1/2" bass
- 12" x 9" and 13" x 10" toms
- 16" x 16" floor tom
- 5-1/2" x 14" matching wood snare
- One hi-hat cymbal and 2 mini-boom stands
Force 2007 Stage 1 Set:
- Same as 3007 with birch shells
Force 1007 Stage 1 Set:
- Same as the 3007 with basswood shells and one mini-boom cymbal stand
Force 507 Stage 1 Set:
- Basswood shells
- Covered finishes and one mini-boom cymbal stand