2Box’s Speedlight kit takes an unconventional but flexible approach to electronic percussion.
My first (and only) review of an electronic kit from Swedish company 2Box was for Sound On Sound back in February 2011, when I checked out the company’s first foray into the world of electronic percussion: the DrumItFive. It was certainly a quirky kit, with its bright orange pads and functional, utilitarian design.
Since then, 2Box have focused more on their Open Sound Architecture modules than full kits, with a redesigned DrumItFive MkII and the more recent DrumItThree module. The Speedlight kit is a return to the past and combines pads, cymbals, rack and hardware with a DrumItThree module in a mid‑priced package.
Fighting for attention in an already crowded sector of the market, the Speedlight kit boasts the world’s first drum module with an Open Sound Architecture and a Universal Trigger Interface. But is that enough to set it apart from the pack... and what does it even mean?
As its name suggests, the 2Box kit arrives in — you’ve guessed it — two boxes! The first box contains the bulk of the hardware and the second contains the pads. This makes constructing the kit a little easier, as you only need to deal with one box at a time, but I have to say that building the kit wasn’t the simplest of tasks. The manual looks like something from Ikea, and the way in which some elements fit together is also reminiscent of the modernist Scandinavian retailer. Having said that, when constructed the rack is very solid, stable and fit for purpose. The poles are an all‑metal construction and fit together using familiar clamps. However, I found that some of the fittings were a little tight, and it did require a fair amount of force to locate the poles.
Small aluminium arms connect the snare and toms to the rack and allow for just enough adjustment to position everything comfortably in place. Two cymbal stands locate securely into the top of the two main uprights of the rack. These are very solid chrome affairs, but the boom arm is quite short, and there is no additional adjustment at the top of the boom to angle the cymbal.
Setting it apart from its direct competitors, and putting it in line with more high‑end electronic kits, the Speedlight ships with an optical hi‑hat rather than the fixed pad and wired pedal typically found on kits in this price range. The hi‑hat fits onto a regular hi‑hat stand which is also included with the kit. Completing the kit is the DrumItThree module, which ships with a mounting spigot that enables it to fit neatly on its own rack arm, close to the hi‑hat.
The original 2Box DrumItFive I reviewed back in 2011 was definitely a striking‑looking kit, with its uniquely designed bright orange pads. While they certainly worked perfectly well, I was pleased to see that the pads on the new Speedlight kit have a more conservative black and chrome design.
The kit comprises three 8‑inch tom pads plus a 10‑inch snare pad, all identically constructed using a familiar black plastic tray to which the trigger is mounted. The single‑ply 2Box‑branded mesh head is held in place by a standard drum hoop, enclosed by a protective rubber surround. All the pads are dual zone, meaning that you can trigger different sounds by hitting the head or the rim.
The kick‑drum pad is a more basic affair, featuring a solid rubber pad mounted on a metal stand. Spikes are provided to secure the drum to a carpeted surface, but any drum of this size and weight is prone to movement and the Speedlight kick is no exception. It’s not a criticism, more an acknowledgement of physics! I would have expected a mesh kick‑drum pad on a kit in this price range, as they offer a more natural playing experience, as well as creating less physical noise, but...