DW 5000 AD4 Pedals
DW 5000AD4 Pedals
Once upon a time, a long time ago, if you had a drum kit, then it was fairly safe to say that you had a bass drum pedal and accessories made by the same company. If you played Premier kit, it was a Premier pedal and Premier sticks and brushes, if it was a Ludwig kit, then you probably played a Speedking and WeatherMaster drumheads. Life was simple.
Then people started to use the ''wrong'' pedal and accessories. ASBA Caroline pedals and the aforementioned Speedking were used by drummers who played Premier and Arbiter and Ajax. John Bonham used Promuco sticks with his Ludwig drums. The ''third party'' accessory started to rear its head.
Of course, nowadays, we don''t think anything of using a bass drum pedal from one company, drums from another, sticks from another and a rack from another. When I was 14, my first ''not Premier'' accessory was a first generation, second hand DW 5000 pedal and I thought I was so cool. I almost expected my school friends to whisper as I walked past in the corridor ''He''s got a Drum Workshop 5000 pedal, you know''. Of course, as it was, they probably whispered something much less complimentary... but that’s school life for you.
I should point out that after my initial use of the 5000 I never went back. I started to use other pedals, and even when I worked in a rather large drum shop after college and could get things cheaper, I wasn''t tempted to reacquaint myself with the 5000.
So, the box that turned up had the latest 5000AD4 single and double pedals and on first inspection, apart from an obviously chunkier build, there wasn''t too much difference. Yes, the pedals have obviously ''grown up'' but they still retain the DNA of the original 5000 pedals. They only come in double chain versions now rather then the skinny single chain of the original, but a single chain would look rather underpowered on such a chunky modern pedal. I''m not going to describe the 5000 pedals as they have pretty much become the ''industry standard'' and pretty much everyone reading this review already know what they look like and what their reputation is (plus you can see the photos). The pedals are instantly recognisable with their red plates, red detailing (nice anodized shaft) and 101 beater (which in my opinion is one of the best sounding beaters on the market).
To put it simply, these pedals work. They work very well - they are smooth, quiet, and sturdy. Knowing DW I think they may be disappointed if I don''t mention the new features (so I will later) and on a similar point, I think these pedals are one of the least hyped products that DW make. And rightly so, for the reasons I mentioned at the top of this paragraph – if it works and it''s good, it doesn''t need hype.
The pedals come in both Turbo and Accelerator formats. These names signify the shape of the cam which the chain pulls. The Turbo has an even pull regardless of how far the pedal has been pressed whereas the Accelerator has an uneven cam to make the pedal feel light to start with and then gradually the resistance builds as does the speed of the beater as the cam turns. I was sent the Accelerator versions and if I were playing in loud gigs and needed to play loud, consistent doubles a lot, then this would be the perfect pedals for that. The Accelerator pedals lean towards maximum volume, maximum thump and speed, but, in my opinion, lose something in the subtlety and finesse (feathering on the bass drum just didn''t feel under control enough when compared to my ''usual'' pedals). Having said that, this is where the Turbo pedals should shine, but as I wasn''t sent those, I couldn''t do an A/B comparison.
The build quality is superb and its obvious that the pedal has been updated and refined as suggestions have been made. The pedals are silent (unlike my original version 25 years ago) and absolutely nothing rattles, moves where it shouldn''t or behaves strangely. One thing that did slightly concern me is the fact that DW possibly have a slight insecurity problem - the single pedal has the DW name or logo written, stamped or embossed 17 times on it and the double pedal has another seven on top of that, and this isn''t including the little sticker with the patent numbers on it. Surely this is overkill by anyone’s standards. There''s even one in the middle of the double pedal cross bar which looks up at you every time you lift your feet. Maybe DW think that we might just forget what the pedal is. Either way, DW, it''s OK... we tend to know what we are playing. Relax.
So, what are the new features? Well, the most impressive and useful one to me is the Tri-Pivot Toe Clamp. OK, so the name may be a mouthful, but its really rather good. I use bass drums of many different sizes and some pedals struggle to go from a 16” to a 28” without a lot of tweeking. The Tri-Pivot consists of three rounded pads which swivel around 360 degrees and tilt up to around 30 degrees off horizontal. Two of these pads are on the frame where the bass drum hoop would rest and the third is on the tongue of the clamp which tightens onto the top of the hoop. These swivelling pads allow hoops of almost any size (12” anyone? I tried it, it works) to fit with minimal adjustment. The pads also allow for bass drum angling, so that a steeply angled drum will not pull the pedal off the floor or damage the hoop. The swivelling pads will self-adjust for any size or angle.
The base plate now has a rubber bottom rather than a Velcro/rubber/combination from previous models. The rubber has just the right softness to grab hard floors and works very well but you''ll still want to use the spikes on the frame on you bass drum spurs if you are playing loud.
The other new feature is the Dual Spring Rocker which means that the post on the frame where the spring adjustment attaches to also now swivels with its own little bearing, which means that less energy is wasted and the spring always pulls in the most economic way. To check it wasn''t more hype, I did clamp the spring adjustment rocker so its couldn''t move to see if it made a difference and, unbelievably, the beater did swing fewer times than when it could move freely. Science 1, Doubting Drummer 0.
The double version has a single post frame on the left which helps when moving your foot to and from the hi hat pedal. On the subject of left feet, there isn''t (at the moment) a left footed version of this pedal which might slightly annoy the 10% of drummers who might play one. The double comes in a smart semi hard case which holds everything safe and easily accessible. The right frame of the double has a split post to hold the left hand beater assemble which, just like the single, is sturdy and solid. Other detail is just like the single.
To sum up, its not so easy writing about an industry standard that does the job. These pedals work great, they feel good (although the Turbo model is probably more my style) and the chunky build wont let you down. Regardless of what you usually play, they feel ''right'' and only one of my students didn''t get on with it enough to want to change back to another pedal. They look great, the accessories (double pedal bag, 101 beater) are great. DW''s insecurities aside, they should be very proud of the AD4 pedals. Still the industry standard? I think so.
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