Ahead Armor soft drum cases
To drummers, Ahead will be a familiar name, widely known for its amazing aluminium sticks, superb black-on-brass snares and, most recently, the addition of selected hardwood snares.
The US-based company is now branching out into drum defence with its new Armor cases, which, it says, "set a standard for strength and security".
For review, we have a set of Armor soft cases, representing complete protection for the whole kit. The largest is the 22"x18" bass drum case, and there are also 10"x8" tom, 12"x9" tom, 14"x14" tom and 14"x6½" snare cases.
"The proof of the pudding would be in throwing the drums around and leaving them out in the rain."
With the exception of the round snare case, each model in the review set features a teardrop-shaped design - or 'TruForm', in Ahead-speak. This is said to correspond to the true contours of the drum and mounting hardware - specifically for toms with a RIMS-type mount, for example.
This allows just enough room for the drum to nest snugly into the premium-grade Sherpa fleece lining.
The protective outer layer is manufactured from 600-denier polyester, which is tightly woven and double-stitched at each seam to give a watertight seal - making each case waterproof.
The effects of impact and the much-needed subsequent shock absorption are managed by the exclusive Ahead DX-Core. This inner layer is designed to hug the drum, employing two sheets of high-impact foam for added protection.
Ahead has patented its 'DynaZip' system, where the zips traverse the diameter, starting and finishing at the lower portion of the case. This results in an ultra-wide aperture, where the case lid lifts almost entirely away and gives plenty of room to manoeuvre the drum into position.
The proof of the pudding would be in throwing the drums around and leaving them out in the rain to see the results. But we're not willing to put our kit through this!
We are, though, prepared to take the drums in and out of the cases and compare them to another well-known brand.
Getting each tom and snare in and out of the cases is a breeze; the zips operate smoothly, making sure the drums are quickly put out of harm's way.
Placing the bass drum in its case is a little more awkward, because when the case is undone fully it loses its rigidity. We found that keeping the zip positioned at the top of the case helps the bass drum slip in a little easier.
In terms of looks, it's largely going to be a matter of choice. But, at present, these cases are available only in black - so if you fancy another colour, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Well made. Waterproof. Lots of protective padding. Zip system makes getting toms and snares in and out easy.
Only available in black. Putting bass drum in the case is awkward.
There are some useful, innovative design elements with these cases. They appear extremely well-made and robust, ultimately giving protection for the whole of your precious kit.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.
Country of Origin
600-denier polyester outside, DX-Core with Sherpa fleece lining
AR1822 22"x18" bass drum case, £75; AR5010 10"x8" standard tom, £33; AR5129 12"x9" standard tom, £35; AR2012 14"x14" floor tom, £44; AR3006 14"x6½" snare drum, £38