Much like a golf club is the natural extension of the body to a golfer, so too is the drum pedal (or pedals) the natural extension of the body to a drummer and for that reason, to fully exploit a drummer’s capabilities it would be wise for one to seek the best extension he or she can get. When it comes to drum pedals and particularly double pedals, Axis Percussion has cornered that market with their Caliber X double pedals.
For a variety of reasons, these pedals are superb and I will start with the pedals’ aesthetics themselves. The Caliber X pedals just look different than most and I have learned over the years that for many of us even though we want performance, features, and reliability, the appearance of a product is usually the first thing we tend to notice and be drawn to. As to this product’s appearance, these pedals pass with flying colors; they are striking in appearance.
Second, as to the design of these pedals, they have been carefully engineered for drummers. They are made of aircraft grade aluminum and there are no chains or straps; these pedals utilize a “direct drive” design that is not only highly reliable but this feature also comes into play when we get around to talking about the pedals’ performance a little later on. Axis describes their technology as follows:
“MicroTune Spring Tensioners and Deep Rockers * * * end up with what we’re considering, a stripped down racing pedal that stays glued to the bottom of your foot. This combination delivers more stroke power and beater velocity, [and] easy and exact spring tension capabilities.”
The Caliber pedals also feature a second spring on the master pedal assembly. This spring uniquely contains the “swing” of the slave beater to avoid it from rocking back and forth after usage. This feature is particularly needed if the drummer is active with his or her foot between the slave (left) pedal and the high-hat or another foot driven application.
My favorite feature in terms of design is the docking mechanism which attaches the main or master pedal to the bass drum hoop. I found that my bass drum was held more securely with the Caliber pedals than with any other double pedal brand. Gone was any “fishtailing” of the master pedal where on some surfaces in the past my pedal would begin to slightly swing outwards and away from the bass drum. As to the slave pedal, I found that Axis used superior material on the bottom of that pedal that alleviated any sliding or movement of the slave pedal which was a problem that I had experienced in the past on certain surfaces with other pedals.
Third, from an “operational” viewpoint, these pedals were designed with the drummer in mind and although that statement might seem overly self-evident, consider this. The tension adjustment on these pedals is not obscured. In other words, it is not found virtually underneath the foot pedal like it is on most models and makes.
Instead, the tension adjustment on the Caliber X is facing the drummer and it can be manipulated in seconds with a drum key. The viability of the mechanics on these pedals are readily visible with a quick glance. Gone are the days of trying to look at virtually the ground to see if your tension assembly has come undone. Furthermore, the adjustment of the pedal tension is effortless with the quick turn of a drum key. Also gone are the days of trying to contort your fingers to turn a metal nut clockwise or counterclockwise all while trying to test the tension setting of a pedal.
For those of us who rely on a double pedal, it is also worth noting that Axis has moved the tension adjustment of the “slave” pedal to the slave pedal itself. In other words, the tension adjustment is not on the main or master pedal and that not only helps alleviate a congested appearance but is also makes adjusting tension on the slave pedal even that much easier.
“One of our customers loved the ease of the tension adjustment so much that while he was performing with his Metallica tribute band he was able to adjust the tension between songs. That was big for him.” Joe Hardy, AR, Axis Percussion
Making these pedals drummer-friendly is, in my opinion, a huge consideration if you consider that for many working musicians like myself, many of these adjustments are sometimes made in the dark and with little time to make them. The Axis solution to make the adjustment via a lug nut is very thoughtful and it certainly gives me peace of mind.
Fourth, let’s get to what everyone really wants to know; how is the action on these pedals? Frankly, as far as a double pedal goes, I think this pedal offers the fastest and smoothest action that I have ever experienced. If you play double bass or double pedal the least you should do is try these pedals. Additionally, I want to dispel another notion that at times has been linked to Axis pedals; the idea that they are ideal for heavier forms of music that is very double bass driven. That is far from the truth. These pedals have a use in every form of music from jazz to rock to hip-hop.
Finally, I want to talk about versatility. I was surprised to learn that these Caliber pedals are not just ordinary double pedals. They actually can be disengaged and used as two single pedals on a double bass kit. In other words, the use of these pedals is not limited to a single bass kit. I really thought this feature was outstanding and frankly, it is very attractive because it obviously eliminates the need (and expense) of buying two single pedals for those times when the player decides to use two bass drums.
In the end it would be much quicker to talk about the negatives of these pedals as opposed to the positives since there are so many more of the latter. Indeed, I found very few negatives, if any. I highly recommend Axis’ Caliber X double pedal for all the reasons that I stated above. Frankly, I felt to some extent that as far as double bass work went that the pedals kind of played themselves if that makes any sense. These pedals are beauties, light weight yet rugged, and they offer the proverbial bells and whistles that the pedals of many competitors lack. They also function as two single pedals or one double pedal. I just love that flexibility. I should also add that I play in a dance band and that I constantly work so when I put these pedals to the test they covered everything from Sinatra to Poison. I found their application and use to be spot on and considering some of the artists shown on Axis’ roster, I am in good company.
I can’t see why any drummer would not want to, at the very least, try these pedals and exploit the Axis advantage in their favor. Doing so will make you a different “Caliber” of player for sure.