Sonic Reality - Hugh Padgham Big Fill Kit - Review


  • The kick is advertised as “fat”, but I find it to be more tight, punchy and focused. Direct Kick In and Out mics, allows more tonal options than the Epik kits. Good beater attack.

  • The snare also feels/sounds tight, has good definition and enough low/mid fullness. It has a great rimshot crack which helps flams to pop out. Not a super ringy snare, but there are a few nice resonances that round out the tone and will get pulled up in the mix with compression.

  • You get 5 ambient mic channels, including an Amb3 and 2 compressed room mics (Euri 1176 + SSL LMC). Imo, the ambient mics are special and what really makes this kit come alive, whether you use the compressed mics, or not. I chose to use those, as they added character and didn’t have as much low-mid mud to clean up.

  • If you like toms and lots of them, then this kit has got you covered. There are 7 toms in total, including a third Floor Tom that is really deep and rich sounding. My favorite one. Not too much high-end “snap” on their own, but full sounding and the ambient mics are what give you the attack. Each tom includes a bottom direct mic, as well as top mic. They don’t require a lot of dampening either.

  • Includes direct cymbal mics. Really nice sounding crashes and another ride with a great Bell articulation. Very nice Hi Hat that is also well recorded and has some sizzle, but balanced with fullness.


  • As has been mentioned by others, the 2 presets included won’t load for me and crash BFD3. Still unclear whether this is an installer problem, or with BFD3 itself. But with no presets, or kit presets (not included), the only way I could get started with this expansion was to start from zero and add each kit piece manually. Then, save a preset so I could have something to work with. As I mentioned in my other reviews, not a dealbreaker for veteran users, but newcomers might find it annoying and say, “Where the hell is my kit?”.

  • I can hear something like white noise with the China cymbal when decaying. Maybe just a bad sample, or it could be the rivets (not sure if it even has them) sustaining? You probably won’t notice it unless it’s in solo, but I think I was able to reduce it with some notching eq.

  • Edit: I made a mistake initially, by saying that the SR Epik kits have no snare bleed going into the kick, but in fact they do.
    This kit definitely does not have bleed into the kick that I can hear. Not a huge deal, as I normally tend to bring down the bleed anyways, but a little bleed really does help to glue the kit together. The upside of not having any snare bleed in the kick, is you can compress it all day and not have to worry about it bringing up the snare.

  • Compared to the SR Epik kits, this one doesn’t have as many alternate/special articulations, especially for the cymbals and Ride. The Toms do have alternate artics, but I honestly couldn’t hear much of a difference between the normal hits.

  • I wouldn’t call this a “con” because it’s a great snare, but you only get one, whereas some of the other Sonic Reality kits may have a few choices for snares.

Verdict: 9/10

Final Thoughts:

This is an awesome sounding kit. There’s a lot to love and not so much to nitpick on. It’s my favorite of the 3 Sonic Reality kits I’ve tried so far and it kind of took me by surprise. Upon listening to the demos on the website, I wasn’t sure if it was a sound I’d be into, but like a lot of drum kits, with a little tweaking and creativity, you can create a sound that works for you. The ambient mic choices allow you to blend any combination to create a huge room sound, or dial it back for something more subtle, but they are some of the better ambient mics I’ve heard and you will want to crank them for sure. This is a fun kit to play with and I highly recommend it.

Hugh Padgham (68.0 KB)


Nice review! Watching the video, the Kim sounds pretty fat to me but with a solid thud. Me likey. Overall kit sounds solid.

1 Like

Thanks @Appledude. The unprocessed kit definitely has a lot of low-mid/mid buildup, more than say fat low end below 150Hz. You can really hear that honky 500Hz, especially in the ambient mics. Yeah, I’d say the kit as a whole, has an overall punch and attack to it.

This kit sounds amazing i must say. Thank you kindly for making this review and audio examples. Much appreciated. Kind regards, Dado.

Thank you @Studiostriver. I’m glad users are finding these reviews helpful. It’s been a fun learning process trying to put videos together and obviously tinkering with BFD3.

1 Like

thx for this info. still looking for a tom sound with top/btm mics for a project, the SR demo didn’t do anything for me (not a fan of “barking toms”), but might give this a closer look.

@SoundMILL Horsepower has bottom mics, but only 3 toms.

Awesome review! Thank you! Sonic Reality should do something nice for you since they’ve made some money off of me due to your reviews. Lol

Any chance you could share the midi that you used for the demo? That is a great clip for auditioning different drums

Thanks @blacksoxsound. Allen at Sonic Reality has been very cool and helpful trying to sort out issues with some of the kits and provide some backstory to their creation and his involvement with getting the installers to work with BFD3.

Which kit(s) did you wind up picking up btw?

Yes, just below the video above, there is a download link for the preset that has the groove palette. I believe they are just grooves that come stock with BFD3. I may have tweaked a couple to swap some kit pieces and articulations. The other reviews I did also have a preset to download.

thx, 3 toms is enough (as long as one is a floor), have that, went back and rechecked them but the btm mic sound was pretty weak. i suppose I could work on it, can’t remember if there were possible phasing issues, making a note to re-check the original reference first to make sure i’m on the right track

@Fender_Bender Thanks for pointing out the links. I missed them somehow.

I grabbed the Seibenberg and Morgenstein kits after your reviews. Probably going to pick up Padgham too while it’s still on sale. I think the groove you used and preset you created was far more convincing than the samples that Sonic Reality had on their website. Especially when you dialed back the room a little bit.

Thanks again for a great review!

1 Like