Re: An ironic observation
I agree with you for the most part.
A lot of modern pedals I find have cams and other features that are designed to accelerate the speed of the beater to hit the head quicker, but I find I get far better results using a lighter footboard, beater and a balanced cam, which is a combo a lot of old pedals went with.
I think it's greatly a matter of technique though... If you're a hard hitter and you bury the beater most of the time, modern pedals will most likely probably cater to you feel and volume wise. When I was playing heavyhitting music a few years back, my modern pedals felt great to me, but I eventually started playing with a lighter touch and play both heel up and heel down and rarely bury the beater. I can't imagine sticking those pedals as they are on my kick anymore. Likewise, with my perfect balance pedal, I find I get far more control out of it, but at the same time, hitting hard heel up and burrying the beater gets me much less volume and feel odd. (Partially due to lack of kick muffling mind you)
So I think the many pedal designs straying from vintage designs these days are justified, because they probably are catering to a majority of drummers out there, since the industry seems to be getting progressively louder and more heavyhitting.
Their price tags though are definitely NOT justified. If you like a pedal, it probably is more money friendly and logical to find out what it is you really like about it, the combination of cams, footboards, beaters, etc. that work for your general playing style, kick drum size and such, and then yeah DIY with a cheaper pedal and replace the hardware.
The trouble sometimes though is finding the parts and pedals you want.
If you have the oppourtunity to obtain a vintage pedal, and play with technique that complements the physics behind it, then yes, I think it's quite ironic going with a more expensive pedal.
Sorry, that was a long-winded opinion, haha....