I am so happy to share this next review, as it’s the first from Drum Gear Review’s new contributing writer, Mark! After seeing Mark’s brief review of the Perfect Balance Pedal on one of my favorite drum-related message boards, I reached out to see if he’d be interested in putting together a little something for the site. He thankfully agreed, and had this extended review to me in just a few days. If you enjoy this article, please let Mark know in the comments section.
While you’re here, don’t forget to register for our Diril Cymbals Giveaway (follow the link for instructions). Contest runs until October 8, 2012!
Perfect Balance Pedal
by Mark M.
The last thing I needed was another bass drum pedal. I had read some reviews of the Sonor Perfect Balance pedal designed by Jojo Mayer, and during a visit to the local drum shop, couldn’t resist the opportunity to take it home. If the pedal was half as nice as it was packaged, I’d be extremely impressed. And it is!
First impressions of both the carrying case and pedal; classically simple!
Clamping it on took a bit of work, but once it’s on, it’s solid. Having a T-screw type hoop adjustment vs requiring a drum key to tighten the counter nut would have made it a bit easier as using the included drum key can be a bit awkward, and definitely slowed the process down for my clumsy fingers. I use multiple kits from gig to gig depending on what the music calls for, so this will be a bit of an extra hassle, as the pedal will have to be re-set for each bass drum. If you only use one kit, the folding option makes set-up and tear down a breeze, and also allows it to fit nicely into my hardware bag. Any extra time initially taken to get the pedal properly attached is well worth it, and will save you a lot of time in the end.
The video below shows Jojo explaining the features of the pedal, including tips on how to correctly attach it to the bass drum hoop. I would highly recommend watching this video prior to attaching the pedal, as over-tightening may cause damage to the attachment assembly.
I was warned that this pedal was quite different from the DW9000 that I predominantly use. I was unable to try it out at the shop, and after the first 5 minutes of play at home, my mind was made up; this was not the pedal for me.
I like a fairly stiff pedal, and even with the spring tightened all the way, it was way too soft and loose feeling for my preference, and not as powerful as I had expected or needed it to be. After an hour of playing, I was starting to get a bit more comfortable with it, but it still fell short of my expectations.
Pondering my experience with the pedal while watching TV later that night, I thought I’d give it a second chance and play around with it a bit more to see if I could get it dialed in.
I started by moving the cam back a bit, resulting in the beater being further away from the drum head with my foot off of the pedal, but after moving the cam back, the pedal seemed to want to bottom out. In order to overcome this, I shortened up the strap by about 1/8 to 1/4″. If you do decide to do this, I’d be prepared to order a replacement strap in case you are still unhappy with the feel and need to return the pedal.
What a difference!! With the minor adjustments I made, the pedal felt extremely fast and responsive, and had the power that was previously missing.
I’ve played and owned many of the best bass drum pedals out there, such as the DW 9000 and 5000, Taye XP-1, Pearl Demon Drive, and Iron Cobra, and for me, this is by far the smoothest, and best feeling pedal I have ever played. I now understand what it means to have a drum pedal be an extension of your foot.
The Perfect Balance pedal greatly improved my technique, and with a lot less effort, allows me to play patterns I wasn’t able to with other pedals. My beater strikes are now cleaner and more precise. The Perfect Balance pedal is exactly that for me; perfectly balanced.
Apart from having to use the provided drum key to initially clamp the pedal to the drum hoop, I found the pedal surface a bit on the slippery side. Something I didn’t notice until my first gig. I always wear shoes when playing a gig, but at home, I usually play in bare feet for no other reason than being too lazy to put on my shoes.
After the first song, I ended up taking my shoes and socks off so that I could have a bit more grip and control. To get past this, I may need to play it a bit more at home while wearing shoes, or try applying some sort of grip to the top of the pedal board.
As mentioned, Sonor does provide a drum key as well as an allen key for making adjustments. I like to keep these with the pedal in case the need for adjustment arises while on a gig, so right now they just sit loosely at the bottom of the carrying case. Having a separate pocket in the carrying case to store them would have been preferred.
So, what has the purchase of the Perfect Balance bass drum pedal done for me personally? It has inspired me to work on new bass drum patterns and has me hitting the practice room a lot more these days with a newfound enthusiasm.
Any piece of drum gear that does that for me is definitely worth the investment!
4 thoughts on “Sonor Perfect Balance Pedal by Jojo Mayer”
Great review…I love it too! “natural extension of your foot”…used to have problems with alternating singles between hand and right foot, not due to foot drag, but mind drag. This pedal reads your mind!…no latency…..love it….the sweet spot between the old Gretsch floating action style, which now feels wimpy in comparison and you had to have half your foot on the floor off the pedal to get any oomph, and the new generation which have better bearings, but are too heavy for me…this is the best of both worlds…..now…..to raise the heelplate…!
I am wondering, Is the pedal made in Germany or where ever. I used to be a Sonor endorsee, but never really liked their hardware. Seemed way too over-engineered, and way too expensive. (not that I cared) In the early 70’s Billy Cobham introduced me to Tama’s hardware, I never looked back. As a old Camco player, the DW 5000 brought back fond memories. As my Tama hardware wears out, I’ve been replacing with DW 9000 series. R.I.P. Bonzo!
I tried the pedal out yesterday, at Guitar Center, and liked everything about it except two key points: First, the foot board bottomed out either due to length or the strap stretching. This can probably be fixed with some adjustments, but like I said, I was just trying it out at the store. Secondly, I have a hard time buying a pedal from a high-end company like Sonor, with Jojo’s name on it, and flip it over to see it’s made in China. WTF?
I purchased the Sonor pedal about a month ago and found it to be very disappointing. The box was fantastic and I used it to ship it back. Problems; the pedal board was very stiff ( some lubricant fixed that) the rubber grips came off after the first removal so every time I moved my set I had to made sure I didn’t lose them, and finally the locking mechanism kept unlocking during moderate play. I believed in the concept and trusted sonors reputation. And spent some good money