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  #1  
Old 04-06-2013, 08:21 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

This thread is dedicated to that wonderful gentleman, Henri, aka MAD

For those who have followed my "adjustable bass drum beater" thread, this is basically an extension of that, but I wanted to start a new thread, because there's not a whole lot of dedicated info about the Sonic Hammer. So seeing as the words "Sonic Hammer" is part of this thread title, this is for the people in the future searching for info on this particular product.

When I got it and evaluated it my studio, it seemed to check all my idiotic "logic" boxes. It allowed me to keep the beater shaft at the angle that my infallible (not) "logic" told me should be ideal. It was weighted more evenly than my DW beater, which I have been used to for 10 years now. The surface striking area of the SH, even though it looks smaller, actually touches more of the head on initial contact than my DW beater, because it is totally flat, not radiused. So on paper this is a superior beater right?

Wrong. I learned that my precious "logic" is very deceiving. Just because I think something "should" be better, well that just wasn't so in this particular case. So at the risk of looking even more like an idiot, I will just flat out say that I was way off on this.

The real acid test of a piece of equipment is at a gig, and last night I did my first gig with the SH, in a room that required me to hit as hard as I prefer. In other words, I didn't have to "keep it down", the room was big enough with plenty of people. I play unmiced 99% of the time and have to adjust the way I hit for each room, as a lot of us have to.

The fact that the SH wasn't nearly as top heavy as my DW beater...I thought would be a good thing...that I wouldn't have to work as hard. I'm a heel down player who uses full rebound on every stroke, I don't bury ever. So yea, no, it actually made me have to work harder to get the same power and oomph as my DW beater. The weight just wasn't there at the hammer. I played it for 1 and a half sets and off it came. I was immediately much happier with the power of the "top heavy" DW beater that I have conditioned myself to since 2003.

So there's my logic hard at work failing me. Lol. I'm such a tool, but like Edison, before he actually succeeded with the lightbulb, and when someone commented to him "Tom, you failed to make a lightbulb...he said, "Oh I didn't fail, I just found 10,000 ways that didn't work". Lol. Not that I am comparing myself to Edison, but I do like that attitude. So in the future I will consider how fallible my precious stupid "logic" actually is.

All that glitters ain't gold. I found out through this experience that I like a top heavy beater, it just packs more ooomph. I had to work harder with the "non top heavy" SH to equal the bass drum punch I am used to. I guess it's like a boxer going to lighter gloves. In theory it should be easier, but at the point of impact, the extra weight makes a considerable difference.

So that's pretty much it. Thanks for letting me sound like a tool and allowing me prove it beautifully, publicly, for all to chuckle at...
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Thanks for the review, Larry.

One issue you didn't touch on too much was feel. I was curious how that flat face affected the feel and rebound of the beater, especially on quick doubles.

What was your take on that, volume issues aside?
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
Thanks for the review, Larry.

One issue you didn't touch on too much was feel. I was curious how that flat face affected the feel and rebound of the beater, especially on quick doubles.

What was your take on that, volume issues aside?
It felt lighter, which translates, for me, to wimpier. It didn't smack with the authority I am used to. It would take some time to adjust to this beater, but in the end, I don't think the final result would be superior sounding to my DW beater. So in my mind, it wouldn't make sense to try and adjust to this thing. I like the punch that the weight of the DW provides. The feel...I was working harder for the same punch. That's about the best way I can describe it. Another thing that bothered me was...because the hammer is adjustable, there is a portion of the hammer rod, that on the rebound, struck the top of my unshoed foot. (I play in socks) So that was uncomfortable. I have a tender spot on the top of my foot today from where it hit, nothing major, but who needs that? I could cut the excess length off, but no, they just do not cut it for me. They might be good if you want to play really lightly.

If anyone wants them.... I bought 2 of them, I will give them away. You just send me a SASE with enough postage to cover a little over one half pound of package (they weigh 126 grams each) and they're yours.

PM me if anyone want's them for the cost of shipping. I paid 29.99 each, and I have 2 of them up for grabs. You could probably get 2 of them for less than 10 dollars postage, just guessing here.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:20 AM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

with the a long boards i had my sonic hammers dialed in nicely..... you loose some power with the beater being close too the skin making them VERY fast, but defiantly lighter feel.

with triggering i found them to be extreamly fast as you can adjust the distance nicely, but they are so light and fast they are hard to control.

i ended up switching back to my big wood beaters on my axis pedal.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

I listened to the recording of one and a half sets I played with the SH and it sounded like the drummer (me) didn't play the bass drum with the proper authority. Which has NEVER been an issue on any of my previous recordings. The last half of the night, according to the recording clearly had the bass drum tone I am used to hearing. The lighter hammer makes for a wimpier tone. It was too easy, not in a way I liked, and I had a hard time adjusting. Hey miced up, there's no issue, but I'm never miced, basically speaking. So I need a heavier beater for the punch.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

In my view, 90% of the time, raw simplicity is the best solution. I'm rarely a fan of complicated setups of anything so I'm not surprised that you found the Sonic Hammers lacking. If you need a very light feel (for triggering) or are under microphones, then there isn't an issue but acoustic volume is important for most of us. I've been using an old-fashioned round felt beater for about a year now and I'm very happy with it. Even the standard DW beater (which I own) is too complicated for me.

As for Edison inventing the lightbulb? That depends which side of the Atlantic you're on!
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Quote:
Hey miced up, there's no issue, but I'm never miced, basically speaking. So I need a heavier beater for the punch.
Well, yeah, that's a pretty big caveat. Baseball players don't walk up to the plate with a drum stick in their hands either. Up to a point, more weight gives you more power. Lighter is better for playing quicker, not louder.

What about the playability or feel, whether having the beater shaft parallel to the head mattered. Can you comment on whether the beaters met any if the other requirements you specified in the other thread? Other than the fact that lighter beaters don't give you the raw power you want, how did they work? I am a little surprised you're giving up so quickly, though. You can add weights to the beater and trim the shaft slightly, if the beater worked well in other ways.
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2013, 10:26 PM
milesmetkodrums27 milesmetkodrums27 is offline
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

If you're playing heel down, there's no way you can get enough sound out at an unmic'd show.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

I agree with Larry...played the Axis for about a week and sold it...far too light and not enough power behind the beater....switched to Trick Pro 1-Vs with the Dominator beater and all is right with the world.


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Old 04-10-2013, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Quote:
Originally Posted by milesmetkodrums27 View Post
If you're playing heel down, there's no way you can get enough sound out at an unmic'd show.
Sure I can...I don't play stadiums lol. Seriously some of the rooms I play, I am holding back. It's the rebound that pulls the round tone from the kick, heel up or down. And to be fair, the heel does go up sometimes, but it's down over 90% of the time, rather than up most of the time. I always have ample kick tone, in the rooms I play.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soupy View Post
Well, yeah, that's a pretty big caveat. Baseball players don't walk up to the plate with a drum stick in their hands either. Up to a point, more weight gives you more power. Lighter is better for playing quicker, not louder.

I didn't realize I would sacrifice the volume punch. I thought it was all about velocity. Now I know that beater mass affects tone.

What about the playability or feel, whether having the beater shaft parallel to the head mattered. Can you comment on whether the beaters met any if the other requirements you specified in the other thread? Other than the fact that lighter beaters don't give you the raw power you want, how did they work? I am a little surprised you're giving up so quickly, though. You can add weights to the beater and trim the shaft slightly, if the beater worked well in other ways.
Truthfully, the beater shaft parallel with the head did not matter for feel, I was more interested in having the beater hit the head on a flat angle, to save my heads, and for a hopefully punchier tone. That was the real impetus for a parallel beater shaft, longer head life, better sound. As for your question about how do they work....the only thing I can say is that they are faster, which I did not need, I don't do lightning footwork, and I didn't like it faster. It felt too easy and they didn't punch through like I like. If the volume was there, I could get probably get used to the feel. But it seemed like I was actually working harder....for less volume. That's why I'm giving them away lol.

The whole point was to work less for the same punch, not work harder for less punch. I didn't like how the adjustment rod hit the top of my foot sometimes, I play in socks. I did like how the hammer pivoted on a ball. Because if your pedal was on anything but a 90 degree angle in relation to your bass drum as sometimes happens, you could tighten the hammer just enough so it would adjust automatically to any wacky angle your pedal might move to. The head angle would adjust the beater angle. The damn thing just had no balls.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Quote:
Originally Posted by milesmetkodrums27 View Post
If you're playing heel down, there's no way you can get enough sound out at an unmic'd show.
What a weird thing to say.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

i have never liked the sonic hammer beaters. always took them off my Axis pedals. Axis now has the A21 pedals which gives the pedal more power with the 21 degree angle which gives the pedal more oomph imo. The A21 pedals come with marksman beaters which are much better than sonic hammers imo. Although Axis still offers the AL-2 with the sonic hammers i much more recommend the A21's over the standard AL-2's.
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Your other thread got me thinking about things on my bass drum as well.
I didn't comment because I wanted to see how it all played out, since I was late to the party anyway.

I wondered how you said you wanted (a must have) the bass drum almost "flat", but you have it up enough to keep the hoop off the floor so it's in line with the pedal underneath).
I get that, but wondered if it was one of those "things". I freely admit I have SEVERAL of those "things" :-)

The tilt I have on my bass drum is higher than most, but it brings the head and beater into the position I like.
I don't necessarily "like" the bass drum tilted that far, as far as the look, but it works (and nobody but ME cares about how it looks in real life haha!).

I (initially) thought you could bring the beater forward a little and if the foot board is not what you want, take the small screws out of the chain/FB front, raise the link one slot and put the screws back in. I think the DW pedal has that kind of thing for the chain--the Eliminator does, and that's what I did.

Anyhow, I use the same DW plastic beater you do. I like the results too, but I'll do you one better on the "thing"--I ONLY use the OLD DW bater with the more angled part going into the felt head area.
I heard and felt a difference between that one and the newer style (of course DW changed it!). I bought the 4 or 5 the shop had left so I'd never have to think about it again.
It gets a nice fat sound, with punch, articulation etc, etc.... I also put a beater shaft weight under the beater head. It's tiny, but I like how the throw feels on my Eliminator pedal.
LOTS of action, and I don't have to play the pedal hard either. I also don't bury the beater.

Well, you had a good experiment, and at least it wasn't a huge amount of dough... I have a couple of those too :-)...
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

This whole thing started because my shin was getting fatigued on hard driving shuffle patterns on the kick. What I thought seemed logical....wasn't. Falling flat on the face again, but wiser for the fall.

My beater is from 2003 when I got my DW 5000. I don''t know when they changed the beaters. The front of my bass drum reso hoop is raised up exactly the same amount as my pedal lifts it up at the batter hoop. For head longevity. This requires the beater to hit it flatly though, which it never did, and another reason to try and re-think things. So basically I'm back at where I started lol. But I'm used to it and a bass drum batter head lasts me at least 2 years, so no worries. I'm getting the sound I want, the sound I've always had. My precious shin will just have to get fatigued sometimes lol.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

You'd have the "old" beater then.

I noticed that one of my beaters seems to have rubbed "flat" where it hits (main pedal) too.

Sometimes it's "the little things" that make a difference. If you use a store bought patch, maybe try and make your own beater patch out of a scrap of a used head?
Maybe that will help with the feel (and your shin) over long periods. It also sounds great, like no patch at all.

I've done this for ages. I originally got it from Hunt Sales after seeing his bass drum, and loving the sound he got. I use a piece (3" x 4") of Coated Ambassador. I can change it whenever I want, and it brings back that "new head feel". It also feels great. I also bring a patch (with tape attached) whenever I have to play on a different kit. I tape it on, & take it off when I am done.

It's 10 mil too, so you never have to worry about going through a head!
I get at least 5 years out of a bass drum head (standard, Coated Ambassador).

Just a thought.

Have fun experimenting!
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Larry, uou're playing unmic'd, need a loud sound, play with a heavy, powerful stroke, while playing fast shuffles heel-down? No wonder your shin hurts! Your leg is heavier than your foot and your thigh is stronger than your shin, so you have a lot of untapped power in your leg. Mix in some heel-up and some heel-toe into your technique and that might help with your shin.

Have you tried wood beaters as well? Probably harder on your heads, but might give you more thump than felt...
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:46 AM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

the Thery behind the sonic hammer makes sense. its to prevent the pedal going past 90 degrees. with the proper spring tension and settings you can get em to hit pretty hard. on that note.. i switched to my wood beaters and its MUCH harder hitting. I used to add small beater weights even to get louder hits....... a regular axis al-2 can hit VERY hard at the right settings.

and also.... you don't need to hit light to trigger.. I hear stuff like this all the time and it makes me laugh. when people don't understand triggers they just picture a drummer playing very fast tapping super light..... i have the sensitivity quite low when i use triggers . this way i get to lay into my kick.. can hit nice and hard, I love the sound of a triggered kick playing deathmetal as it really cuts threw the mix
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
This thread is dedicated to that wonderful gentleman, Henri, aka MAD
I feel honored Uncle Larry, thank you my friend :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
So at the risk of looking even more like an idiot, I will just flat out say that I was way off on this.
You certainly don't look like an idiot Larry, the theory you explained in the other thread made sense, even if I guessed that the benefit if any, would be negligible in terms of feel.

But I did warn you that a different beater weight could affect the feel and the sound of your strokes, even with the same technique being used and the same pressure power.

At the end of the day, we'll hit our snares and toms heads at an angle with our sticks, seems kinda logical it happen with the beater on the BD batter heads.

There's way of reducing the fatigue you're experiencing by adjusting the "whole setting", and by "setting", I don't mean just the pedal, I did a thread on this topic, I don't know if you've seen it, here it is http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=93800, everything is said in the OP, you need a "setting" which allow you to cover all style and dynamic level, effortlessly and in in relaxed manner, like you do with your hand/stick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
So that's pretty much it. Thanks for letting me sound like a tool and allowing me prove it beautifully, publicly, for all to chuckle at...
Not chuckling here... ahem... but honestly Larry, you had to go the whole way with your concept, it is the only way for sure to understand and know what works for you or not, you're simply wiser than before now :)
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I play in socks.
So that's why you play exclusively heel down :) I think you'd benefit from introducing some heel up playing for that relentless doubles stuff, just as much as I'd benefit from introducing more heel down for the open bass drum stuff.

Yet I play fast Bossa nova heel down - go figure :)
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:48 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Product review: Axis Sonic Hammer (bass drum beater)

socks and heel down is a combo screaming less power...... i do socks but play heel up... when i'm wearing shoes I can put the beater threw the head it feels like
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