Direct Drive Pedals; good, bad, ugly?

Pimp-a-diddle

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Is it just me or did someone come up with a brilliant idea to re-market the Ludwig Speed King with more bells, whistles, and gizmos?
Hell, the day I upgraded my Speed King was one of the best drumming days of my life. It was like, "I have a REAL pedal now"!

So what do you guys and gals think of these? Didn't Axis kind of kick this trend off?
 

tris66

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Can't give you an intelligent response. I'm still wondering why direct drive pedals are so much more expensive than their strap and chain counterparts. What the $&*^@ is with that?!
 

cutaway79

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Can't give you an intelligent response. I'm still wondering why direct drive pedals are so much more expensive than their strap and chain counterparts. What the $&*^@ is with that?!
I'm guessing there's more precision work that would need to be done to make a good, solid direct-drive linkage with bearings and all, than goes into making a chain.
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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And yet they feel the need to charge ungodly sums for a product that has yet to be fully developed?... Whatever. I love it when the market eats up this kind of thing; I can get my pedal of choice( nylon strap with chicken beak cam )for a song and dance!
 

1up2dn

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i'm not sure of an advantage of direct drive....if it had a short toe clip so you could lift the pedal as well as push it that may be advantageous...
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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Well I'm just wondering if anyone has made the switch and if so, what advantages/disadvantages are they experiencing? I shared a rehearsal space with a drummer who bought an Axis pedal when they first came out, and I absolutely HATED that thing. It felt SO unnatural and I would have had to basically "start over" with my BD technique to make it work.
 
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RickP

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I for one prefer Direct Drive and strap drive models over Cain drive pedals. For lower volume genres where I do a lot of feathering I like a strap drive pedal. For louder styles I like the Direct Drive most. The Direct Drive has an action that does not get any slack like you can with strap or chain drives.

My bass drum pedals in use are :
Sonor Perfect Balance (strap) - both models
Axis X Longboard ( Direct Drive)
Yamaha 900 series double pedal ( Direct Drive).
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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I for one prefer Direct Drive and strap drive models over Cain drive pedals. For lower volume genres where I do a lot of feathering I like a strap drive pedal. For louder styles I like the Direct Drive most. The Direct Drive has an action that does not get any slack like you can with strap or chain drives.

My bass drum pedals in use are :
Sonor Perfect Balance (strap) - both models
Axis X Longboard ( Direct Drive)
Yamaha 900 series double pedal ( Direct Drive).
Nice Nobles! I love wood fades. I've never been much of a chain drive fan outside of the DW sprocket cams. I tried their "accelerator" sprocket the other day which is a half sprocket and closest to a "chicken beak"-cam in the chain lineup at DW. It actually felt really good and if I can't find a Tama flexi-glide strap pedal, I may just go with the DW. I DO love those Tama foot boards though. The extra weight combined with a smooth action pedal just works for me. I don't know if I could ever achieve "Slipnot" double bass speed with one, but since that isn't my style anyway I'm not particularly concerned about it.

I'll check out some of the direct drive stuff just to give it a go, but I can't justify the price point at this time.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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And yet they feel the need to charge ungodly sums for a product that has yet to be fully developed?
"Fully Developed"??

FYI- the direct-drive concept has been in use for many decades. Speed King, Ghost, Slingerland YellowJacket and several others even before that employed what's now known as "direct-drive", although that term wasn't used back in the day it's still essentially the same concept.

Along with a generation of 'old-timers' I grew up on Ghost & SpeedKing pedals in the 60s & 70s, many of us still dig that pedal feel, and they needn't be expensive unless you wish to pay it. There are plenty of perfectly fine DD pedals out there that are affordable, the Gibraltar Intruder Direct-drive model and G-Class model, to cite a couple examples.

BTW~ Who is "they" which you mention above?
 

TheBeachBoy

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Every pedal, regardless of drive, is going to have a unique feel. If you swapped out the direct drive of the Axis to a strap, you still may hate the feel. I personally don't like the feel of the DW5000. It could be an adjustment of the cam or spring, but my experience with them has only been sitting-in, so I couldn't make any changes. I may like them better if I could make some changes, but then again I don't like a split footboard.

My favorite pedal is the Speed King. I've been using that for 15+ years and it feels like an extension of my foot. I'm not sure if it's because it's direct drive, because of the compression springs, the throw and return feel, or a combination, but it works great for me. Every foot is different, so at least we have a ton of options. If you like a strap or chain drive over a direct drive, go for it. One style is not inherently better than the others.
 

jtpaistegeist

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After playing a DW9002 for a dozen years, I decided to buy a new expensive Pearl Demon Double. I tried all kinds of settings, beaters, long and short foot boards, springs etc.. I could not get it to feel right to me no matter how I set it up. It felt either too light, or too heavy, and I could never generate the power as easily as my DW.

I sold the Pearls and bought a new style DW9002 with the extended footboard. Also got the Trick linkage at the same time with along with my preferred Tama Cobra Felt Beaters. I now have for me, the best pedal I have every played. Love the XF, and the linkage makes these extra sturdy.
 

rummy

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Started out with a chain, but soon I upgraded to a Yamaha direct drive. I love the feel and the power I get out of it. I have tried some high end direct pedals like Axis and Trick, but I come back to my Yamaha.
 

cutaway79

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I feel like I get more power, almost like a whipping action, with chain or strap drives. The direct drive pedals I've tried (Demon Drive, Axis A, Trick Pro-1V) feel a little more precise because of the controlled return of having a rigid linkage, but I've never been able to really get that "whip" from direct drive. They seem to give up a bit of power in trade for speed. Just my .02.
 

Pimp-a-diddle

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"Fully Developed"??

FYI- the direct-drive concept has been in use for many decades. Speed King, Ghost, Slingerland YellowJacket and several others even before that employed what's now known as "direct-drive", although that term wasn't used back in the day it's still essentially the same concept.

Along with a generation of 'old-timers' I grew up on Ghost & SpeedKing pedals in the 60s & 70s, many of us still dig that pedal feel, and they needn't be expensive unless you wish to pay it. There are plenty of perfectly fine DD pedals out there that are affordable, the Gibraltar Intruder Direct-drive model and G-Class model, to cite a couple examples.

BTW~ Who is "they" which you mention above?

Comment comes from the following, recorded posts:

"Can't give you an intelligent response. I'm still wondering why direct drive pedals are so much more expensive than their strap and chain counterparts. What the $&*^@ is with that"?!

"I'm guessing there's more precision work that would need to be done to make a good, solid direct-drive linkage with bearings and all, than goes into making a chain".

So unless "they"( manufacturers )feel they have discovered the be all/end all in direct drive linkage, it's somewhat safe to surmise that more R&D may be needed to create a complete and more realized product. And though there are inexpensive alternatives out there( PDC, Gibraltar ), the whole thing comes off to me as a marketing gimmick, a re-birthing of the Speed King etc., a pedal which no one was clamoring for en masse and which I personally was THRILLED to be liberated from back in 1986.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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Okay, except I guess I just don't get the gist of your rant here about DD pedals.

I mean the choices are plentiful now, and naturally there's the good ones.. and the not-so-good ones, just like any other piece of gear or product.

Personally I don't see increased research & development of direct-drive pedal design as being an urgent priority in the drumming world, and maybe I'm unaware there's an issue, but if their feel isn't particularly your bag then fortunately there are numerous alternative drives available for sending a beater into a drum head.
 

cutaway79

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Is it just me or did someone come up with a brilliant idea to re-market the Ludwig Speed King with more bells, whistles, and gizmos?
Hell, the day I upgraded my Speed King was one of the best drumming days of my life. It was like, "I have a REAL pedal now"!

So what do you guys and gals think of these? Didn't Axis kind of kick this trend off?
That's kind of like saying "Isn't a Ferarri just a Model T with bells and whistles?".

I mean, they have some similar parts. But with time came innovation. I'm not a direct-drive guy myself, but the stuff that's out there now is miles ahead of a Speed King, as far as build quality and feel customization. And there's only one of the new direct-drive pedals that uses a compression spring (though a different set-up from the SK entirely) like the Speed King. That's Trick. Which, again, wasn't my cup of tea, but as far as quality goes, it's quite a piece of machinery.

I think Axis was the company that brought a lot of focus back to the direct-drive pedals, starting in the '90s. I think they were also the first fully machined pedal that I remember seeing.
 

cutaway79

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Comment comes from the following, recorded posts:

"Can't give you an intelligent response. I'm still wondering why direct drive pedals are so much more expensive than their strap and chain counterparts. What the $&*^@ is with that"?!

"I'm guessing there's more precision work that would need to be done to make a good, solid direct-drive linkage with bearings and all, than goes into making a chain".

So unless "they"( manufacturers )feel they have discovered the be all/end all in direct drive linkage, it's somewhat safe to surmise that more R&D may be needed to create a complete and more realized product. And though there are inexpensive alternatives out there( PDC, Gibraltar ), the whole thing comes off to me as a marketing gimmick, a re-birthing of the Speed King etc., a pedal which no one was clamoring for en masse and which I personally was THRILLED to be liberated from back in 1986.
There are still quite a few drummers out there who love Speed Kings. If direct-drive pedals don't work for you, they just don't work for you. Same as 7A sticks, or 26" bass drums (or direct drive pedals) don't work for me.

So are you saying that unless the pedal companies can come up with what you feel is the ultimate, perfect direct-drive system that works for you, the whole concept is a gimmick ripped off from Ludwig, and they should all just stop making the pedals? That's quite a conclusion you've come to.
 
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ian.thomas

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I for one prefer Direct Drive and strap drive models over Cain drive pedals. For lower volume genres where I do a lot of feathering I like a strap drive pedal. For louder styles I like the Direct Drive most. The Direct Drive has an action that does not get any slack like you can with strap or chain drives.
Same for me. I grew up playing Speed Kings and Ghosts in school, so direct drives have always been my go to, but I do have a Yamaha strap from the '80s that's just as good.
 

VintageUSA

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I feel like I get more power, almost like a whipping action, with chain or strap drives. The direct drive pedals I've tried (Demon Drive, Axis A, Trick Pro-1V) feel a little more precise because of the controlled return of having a rigid linkage, but I've never been able to really get that "whip" from direct drive. They seem to give up a bit of power in trade for speed. Just my .02.
Agreed 100%.
Generally, the high-end DD is better for speed; the chain/strap is better for power.
I see a lot of the metal thrash fast double-bass players using the Trick DD type pedal and supplementing with triggers.
I play classic rock and prefer the Speed Cobra with a classic felt beater............a familiar sound.
 

BennyK

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I owned an Axis or two, Pearl Demon Drive and got rid of them - too many adjustment variables . My go to pedal for @ 17 years is a Yamaha Flying dragon direct drive which is usually in my hardware case . The Ludwig SpeedKing is on my rehearsal kit and you know what ? it's catching up as my favored pedal . Nowhere near as fast and responsive as the Yamaha, but its got this ' thing' I really feel comfortable with , plus a has knock- out wallop my other pedals didn't have . Ghosts have a feel just to weird for me, but it could be what you're used to .

I've come to believe that a pedal should be as fast as you are , not faster, or it starts playing you instead of the other way around .
 


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