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.
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.