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  #1  
Old 02-18-2013, 11:43 PM
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Reggae_Mangle Reggae_Mangle is offline
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Default NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

My new pedal arrived today. Got it out of the box, set it up and jammed for hours. Here are some pictures.









1) My initial reaction after unboxing the pedal was positive. Well-made, solid. I've heard a lot of criticism about the lack of a footplate, but it seems mine is a later model, which has a foot plate. It's a single sheet of metal, but latticed, to keep costs and the weight down, I imagine. It looks very sleek, very professional, I don't understand the complaints that it is ugly. Turning the two single pedals into a double was a cinch and I am sure the reverse holds true as well. Interesting find: when I opened up the cover plate on the master pedal to convert to a double, I noticed some red-looking lubricant (?) in the spring cavity. It looked like it was glow-in-the-dark, intriguing. The demo vids I've seen don't show anything like that.

2) The spring mechanism is promising, but I noticed that if you loosen it too much, it comes out completely! I was lucky to stop in time and put it all back in (the right way I hope, the innards are not to be messed with as per Trick Percussion).

3) There were four strips of velcro in the box, which was handy, as when I first tried the pedal, even the master pedal was slipping and sliding, because my e-drum kickpad couldn't hold it in place. However, I think that a few more strips are necessary for each pedal. This is because if I fasten a strip at the front and one at the back of the pedal on the base, the pedal becomes unstable, because the strips don't run from one edge to another and hence it can tilt toward either side. Fortunately, I had some pedalboard tape with me to rectify the situation, but it would be nice if Trick perhaps gives enough velcro to keep the pedals stable.

4) The feel of this pedal is definitely on the heavier side. I attribute this to it being a longboard as well as the compression spring, which gives the pedal a feel akin to an Iron Cobra with a Cobra Coil, rather than an Eliminator. Action was very smooth, I had some initial worries about noise from the pedal, but tightened all nuts and it was all good.

5) I hurt my knees playing. Love new gear, but I couldn't get the double kick to sound like squat. Adjustments were a PITA like all pedals, but the one advantage is that the spring tension is easier to fix on this pedal. Just playing the single kick was very rewarding. Plan to adjust my seating position and reposition my drumkit tomorrow, besides some more tweaking, including a change of shoes.

What I do for love of music... Watch this space.

- Reggae Mangle
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Last edited by Reggae_Mangle; 02-19-2013 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:49 AM
risewiththefallen risewiththefallen is offline
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Congratz on the new pedal.Good choice. I am surprised you find them heavy, these are the lightest pedals i have played. Btw the pedal should not make any noise, mine are,completely silent. Good luck with them.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:54 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

It's hard to get the big picture when you have to scroll. Can you maybe downsize the pics a little?
Hopefully, the pedals turn out to be what you were wanting.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Another 682Drums head user! Was considering Tricks when I went for a pedal upgrade. Let us know if things get any better with it down the track (once you've had time to break it in).
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:10 AM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

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Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
It's hard to get the big picture when you have to scroll. Can you maybe downsize the pics a little?
Re-sized (smaller) pictures will also add a degree of better sharpness of the images to the viewers.

Dennis
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Apologies! I clicked some new pictures with a smaller size. Thanks for the suggestion. Got an extra one of the spring innards, looks gruesome... yet has the same attraction as one of those wounds... You know the kind!

@risewiththefallen: I actually found the feel to be a little heavier than my Pearl Eliminators out of the box. I'm not talking about resistance when being played. Just a different feel from the footboard. They are completely silent after I tightened down everything! It all started when I made an adjustment :o

@wildbill: I wrestled with them all day and then about an hour ago, a glimmer of hope. It must be the direct drive mechanism, coupled with the compression spring. Very unusual. After hours of frustration, I seem to have hit upon a nice setting, .

@toddmc: 682Drums mesh-heads are pretty cool, this is the first set I got, but coming from the stock mylar heads on my Alesis kit, there's a world of difference in playability. Their e-trigger cone conversion is pretty nifty, the dynamics on my dinky e-kit have improved dramatically.

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

And a clarification: making adjustments on the pedal is actually easier than I thought, mainly on account of the fact that I don't have to get off my drum throne and grovel on the ground. Sure to be invaluable on stage and situations where you're trying to impress :)

Still looking for optimum set-and-forget, so it's a burning issue!

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:08 PM
risewiththefallen risewiththefallen is offline
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Glad you found settings you like! They take some time to get used to. O about the red lube, i have that too so no worries about that.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:59 PM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

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Originally Posted by Reggae_Mangle View Post

Apologies! I clicked some new pictures with a smaller size....

Much easier to get a feel for it with the new pics. That's a strange internal mechanism. I'd have to get my hands on one to really tell how it works.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

I too found the adjustments a PITA when going from the DW9000 single to the Dominator double. I think much of that had to do with going from a regular board to a long board. That was frustrating at first - my biggest learning curve.

My main gripes were that there were no spikes, so you have to have a nice rug and position the velcro wisely. The heel part of the foot plate is narrow to fit velcro there. Trick should have included ENOUGH velcro for this. The included velcro is quite industrial and effective. My slave pedal does stay anchored amazingly.

There are rubber tips that press against your bass drum hoop that wear out eventually (I've heard). I haven't seen these yet on their website? I just placed a thin rubber pad inbetween hoop and pedal. I swapped out the beaters and use the heavier DW beater.

A very precisely engineered pedal. The wrenches fit tightly onto each bolt. Super easy to adjust tension on the fly. Wickedly smooooooth. The axle is nicely engineered with huge U joints. Plus they're only $130 if you ever need a replacement. Have heard excellent things about their axles.

Overall, excellent pedal.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

I tried this pedal briefly in store. A bit hard to play single foot doubles for me so it wasn't my bag but it felt more like a weapon than musical equipment. Seems like a very high quality piece of gear.

My advice on getting used to pedals is to play rather than think really hard about the settings, as it's easy to get confused or disappointed when you over analyze.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Those pedals are nice! What made you go for those as opposed to the Pro-1V?
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

The primary consideration was price! But it's still extremely pricey! I had to make sure I wasn't buying some sort of watered down pedal.

While narrowing down on the pedal, I noted comments that it was essentially the same thing as a Bigfoot. I also noted comments that the compression spring hindered playing due to resistance at the end of the stroke. The complaints about the lack of spikes and the lack of a footplate were also noted.

The major difference with the top of the line pedal was the absence of an "adjustable cluster" to change the footboard feel and the sliding bass hoop clamp mechanism.

The latter feature didn't really make much of a difference to me: I figured they had designed it in a way that the hoop clamp was positioned far enough ahead to prevent the drive from grinding against the drum head. Didn't seem like I was wrong as far as my e-drum kickpad, I'll put up some pics!

The adjustable cluster on the other hand seemed like an interesting feature. But since the Dominator "cluster" seemed to be locked into a "middle position", I reasoned that not having one would just mean one less doohickey to drive me nuts! Someone needs to make me a non-adjustable, custom pedal!

While there's no difference between the Dominator footboard and the Pro-1V Bigfoot, the Trick Detonators on the other hand feature a traditional shortboard with heel plate. I've been taking stock of a lot of amazing drummers playing longboard pedals for a long time and a lot of the older players also seem to be migrating to them. I'm not an experienced drummer, having taken up drumming at the "out of prime" age of 28, when ideally I should have built the required muscle knowledge by now. So I figured why not try out something radically different. Compression spring and longboard, check.

I'll admit, it was a bit of a risk going with a smaller manufacturer -- albeit one with a competent reputation -- and I'm not too sure whether it has paid off just yet. There is a learning curve with direct drives too,

But as far as quality, I'm extremely happy with the construction, it's very reassuring to look at and have underfoot. I think as a result of being machined, it seems even sturdier than my Pearl Eliminators, which were rock solid pedals in their own right.

In that respect, it seems every bit a top-of-the-line pedal. But I went with it instead of the real top-of-the-line pedal because of the price. Confusing? I hope no one gets reservations about this pedal because I sound wishy-washy about them after splurging. I am truly excited to have these things in my possession... The review is still underway!!

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Week 1 is up and I really feel this pedal is beginning to grow on me. I'm still not 100% acclimatised to it's workings... Here are some more pictures!





The funky looking drive-shaft. Notice the two different ends (sorry, the end got lopped off a bit on one). What makes it special is just how fitted it is to the respective ends of the .
pedals. Super snug, I imagine the design lends itself to zero latency while using the slave. I haven't noticed any lag in the slave. This does not mean it doesn't feel different from the master pedal. You get a subtle feeling about the additional weight being moved. But it doesn't manifest itself in the form of a lag when you play the pedal, pretty much a 1:1 relationship between the board and the beater.

That's one good thing about being able to split the thing into two singles, something I didn't factor in when buying this pedal (for $599, gasp, I can't breathe). As a guy used to playing on a single bass drum, splitting the pedal into two singles and playing double bass was one of the fun-nest things I've done on a drumkit. There is something very different about playing two singles versus a double pedal... You might have known it, but I didn't!

I've pottered about with both combinations, two singles and the double pedal and it is really cool to have the option to go with either.



Had to experiment a bit with the velcro installation on the pedals and this was the optimum solution I could come up with using minimal velcro. I hope someone from Trick on their friends do report back to them on the need for providing a little more velcro in the box, I'm sure it'll go a long way toward swaying potential customers. Even more so on account of the common complaint that without spikes it slips and slides all over the place.
I haven't tried the pedal on anything other than a carpet (hmm, something to try out, I guess!), but it clings really well, so well that the carpet moving is a bigger problem than the slave pedal sliding around. I have a jam coming up this weekend and I'll report on my experience in a different environment in due course.

The hoop clamp mechanism seems solid and reliable, but I havent been able to try it on anything other than my electronic drum kick pad which has a rather obnoxious hoop to clamp on to :D





Pardon the dust, I need to get a vacuum of some kind. But that little hump is supposed to be the hoop! Hey, it does the job as far as triggering goes, so why complain? There were some initial hiccups with respect to the hoop clamp though. Initially, my pedal was not stable on the ground, as a result of the supplied velcro not being adequate. I'm really harping on that, aren't I! Mr Mike Dorfman of Trick Percussion should do something! A small section in the manual on appropriate placement of velcro would also be of use to those in awe of their new purchase and wanting to get the most out of it on Day 1.



Just look at those things sitting behind my humble kit with only four cymbals! I like the colour, but I have a feeling that as time goes by, the pedals could lose some of their shiney quality as they develop playing scars and nicks. But what pedal doesn't!

Going to abstain from any commentary on the playability of the pedals, I really want to put up a short video demonstrating how the compression spring and tension system works on the Dominators. I keep thinking "Moeller method" to myself while playing, it really is something to play a quadruple hit with a single foot or sequences of triplets using heel-toe. Though I imagine that my triggers must be fooling me into thinking I'm onto something new and wonderful.

Heh, I keep thinking I'll be world-renowned as...

- Reggae "Trickfoot' Mangle
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

More velcro and a carrying case would have been nice.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

^^ Oh yeah, a carrying case would have been great, I wish it was included! The cases that are made for these pedals are super expensive, I plan to buy a bag and pad it up instead. Might invest in one of the carrying cases down the road, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to keep it safe for the time being.

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

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Originally Posted by Reggae_Mangle View Post
^^ Oh yeah, a carrying case would have been great, I wish it was included! The cases that are made for these pedals are super expensive, I plan to buy a bag and pad it up instead. Might invest in one of the carrying cases down the road, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to keep it safe for the time being.

- Reggae Mangle
About $100. It's gotta be super padded, climate controlled with velvet inside (not really)

Some options I'm looking at:
Tool box from hardware store
Square snare drum case for at least 6 1/2 deep drum. That funny end cap that bolts to the axle on the main pedal sticks out.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review



I travelled with it today using this. She got through the day a-ok! A rough n'tough bag, some 1" foam and it was extremely snug. Could carry my sticks, drumming shoes and tools with ease.

I think I need a different type of drum carpet, something fuzzy, not like the one I using now which is just a simple woven mat. The jampad where I set them up had this simple blue carpet that the pedals just stuck to like glue.

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Oh, man! One of those days... I am grinning from ear to ear! I think my investment has paid off! Still got to do a demo video, I'm not the greatest drummer in the world, but this pedal makes me feel above average :)

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niBMcjGzJY0

Here's a video demo. I held my phone in my hand and recorded, so nothing complicated or technical. No use of hands though (except laughably at one part), so hopefully bonus points for demonstrating how easy it is to balance on these pedals :D

I hope the quality of the audio is sufficient to demonstrate how nice these pedals are for playing fast. I wasn't really blazing, it's around 1.30 am here. Other than the pedals, this is a good demo of the excellent Hellfire mesh head mod on my Alesis DM10 kick drum, it's awesome not to wake up the neighbours... Not! :P

If everyone's nice, I'll make a "proper" video this Sunday if I can. Maybe play along to a track I'm working on ;)

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niBMcjGzJY0

Here's a video demo. I held my phone in my hand and recorded, so nothing complicated or technical. No use of hands though (except laughably at one part), so hopefully bonus points for demonstrating how easy it is to balance on these pedals :D

I hope the quality of the audio is sufficient to demonstrate how nice these pedals are for playing fast. I wasn't really blazing, it's around 1.30 am here. If everyone's nice, I'll make a "proper" video this Sunday if I can. Maybe play along to a track I'm working on ;)

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

A better video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4YKFOJmxyA

- Reggae Mangle
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:25 PM
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Default Six month review

Six months are up and I thought it would be a good idea to update this review. Over this period of time, I can honestly say I've had a love-hate relationship with the Trick Dominators. It finally got to the point of selling them cheaply.

The first month with any pedal is always (or should be) a honeymoon period. This is even more so with something like the Dominators, where you've dropped a massive wad of cash and feel the need to justify it. Any issues with the pedal are glossed over. All our worries can be tweaked away with the turn of an allen key.

I've always felt any review by anybody within this honeymoon period should be suspect, since we all feel the need to show off or rationalise the money we spent. At $599 + shipping + customs, I wasn't ready to give anyone a chance to say my pedals sucked. Or say so myself.

With respect to my own review: I moved on to the Trick pedals from a Pearl Eliminator chain/belt drive pedal. Unfortunately, I could never do a proper A/B comparison between the two, because I sold the Pearl before I bought the Dominators. So I could only rely on my residual memories of the Pearl when trying to do a comparison. These were definitely better... Right?

There's always a significant transition in feel when switching between these kinds of pedals, which can be attributed to the "elasticity" of a chain linkage or a woven strap vis-a-vis a chunk of metal as a linkage. I immediately started out playing fast and boy, did it feel faster than the old Pearl. Perhaps this was due to the shine factor of a brand new pedal versus a two-year old piece. And perhaps it was true. At any rate, I honestly believed it was.

In month two, I started to really get into the feel of the pedal. And it was about this time that I started running into resistance in the dream-like state I was in. During running double bass, I would suddenly feel a pedal move in a different way. I would be unable to play speedy single pedal patterns. All the notes would be blurred together and lose definition. I'd grin and tweak and start all over again. New settings, new feel. I'd lock on to something for a while, then switch to something else in the same day.

By month three, I was ready to get rid of the infernal Dominators. This was a rip-off. I had been cheated. The compression spring technology was faulty. Trick CEO Mike Dorfman was evil. I needed to offload these pedals quietly. Stealthily. Pawn them off to some unsuspecting sap. I needed a "real" upgrade, to a Pearl Demon Drive. Or an Axis longboard, George Kollias and Derek Roddy use those.

Of course, with anything as expensive as the Trick Dominators, it's difficult to make a second-hand sale. Even more so if you don't want to stomach a big loss. I started out with a small cut in the price. But eventually, I decided just getting rid of them would be sufficient. A couple of hundred dollars out isn't as bad as around $1000 out.

By month four, I realised this could take time. I kept looking out for potential buyers, but kept playing at home. I wasn't going to let these pedals keep me from my dream of being a good drummer. Stupid pedals, I kept on playing beautifully and then all of a sudden it would shake violently or stutter or choke and the music was gone and I was a loser that had spent mega bucks on defective technology.

In month five, everything changed. I stopped thinking about playing these pedals and started playing them. The constant switching of settings had stopped. My feet (I play barefoot) learnt how to anticipate the bounce of the beater and react in a way that the motion was not interrupted or momentum altered. I synchronised my body rhythms with the flow of the pedals and was no longer forcing my playing but playing naturally.

About a week ago, I started leaning forward a little when playing. A subtle change in posture, but the impact on my double bass playing has me looking at these pedals with a tinge of shame. I even feel sorry for Trick Drums, like my attitude has been a betrayal.

It's kind of funny how we sometimes get a lump in our throats after buying something, Buyer's regret can be almost painful, especially for those of us that can't afford something better.

Does buyer's regret get better with time? I'm not sure, but I have learnt a valuable lesson about pedals, something that is often repeated on these forums, but which I think needs to be repeated once more for emphasis in this review: give your pedals time with any setting. It takes time to acclimatize to something new. Don't blame your tools.

The Trick Dominator double bass pedal is hard to confuse with other products on the market. The compression spring technology isn't unique to the Trick family of products, but it has been updated to fit into the modern drummer's arsenal of tools. What does it bring that's new to the table?

For one, an optimal balance between speed and power: the metal beaters contribute to this somewhat, but the acceleration characteristics of the pedal and what I would describe as a "heavy" feel, but little in way of resistance.

Second on my list of positives would have to be a mix of "pedal bounce" and "playability". The compression spring provides for a very swift and predictable return from the drum head, with little chance of the pedal returning slower. "Feeling" this bounce back and adapting my old style of playing to this mechanism, I am able to react more naturally and send the beater back into the head. This works particularly well for the heel-toe style of playing that I adopted when I bought the Dominators, but would work equally well for a motion in which the beater is swung back and forth using the Moeller technique. I find my off (left) leg seems more attuned to an appropriate Moeller application, whereas my good leg still needs work. Go figure. This has opened up new playing possibilities.

Third but not least, the versatility of having a single/double pedal set up should not be under-estimated. Among the pedals I was eyeing prior to my Dominator purchase, I was interested in a couple of models that could not be split into singles, my rationale being that most venues where I would be playing would not have a second bass drum. In hindsight, I now realise that having a separate pedal can be extremely liberating when playing double bass, while having a double bass configuration with minimal lag between the master and slave doesn't lose me gigs. Having a separate pedal has also worked well with my Alesis DM10 setup, which seems unable to handle double bass speeds in excess of 200 bpm on a single pad, as a result of which I was getting a lot of lost hits. Thanks to the Dominator design, I could split into two singles on two separate pads on separate inputs. Problem solved!

I hope this review is of use to someone looking at the Dominators. I plan to do one last update a year from now, with a holistic look at the pluses and minuses of the Dominator. Thanks for reading. And God Bless Mr Mike Dorfman, about whom I had a great many unhappy thoughts that were ill-deserved. Great product, great company Trick Drums and I am sure as word of mouth spreads around, a lot more people are going to realise that a $599 pedal like the Trick Dominator can actually feel like a $1000. You just have to play them like you mean it and stop pretending they will play themselves. Give them time, they will give you service.


Oh. And my Trick Dominators? They're not for sale.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Moral of the story; you can read 1000 reviews but you really just need to try your pedals in person before you buy them (it's hard to choose them even in those circumstances).
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please do not take this advice for it is among the worst given
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:54 PM
risewiththefallen risewiththefallen is offline
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Im going through the same thong right now. They felt great up until about a month ago, i was playing a cheap apex chain pedal and felt more comfortable on it. I've had the tricks for almost 11 months now. Im thinks of selling them. Im so confused lol.
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Give them some more time! I was really excited to put this together and tried to play faster than usual; Trick Dominator pedals rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Apk0...ature=youtu.be

I'm a two year old drummer and an absolute amateur, so you know you can do better ;)

More pictures:



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Old 07-08-2013, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

My heads are getting dented by the metal beaters :/ I need to change to something else I guess. This will be highlighted in my next review!
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pLAX...ature=youtu.be

Just a video demonstration of the pedal. I upgraded with the SB1 laser triggers this year, made sense to me. I'll put up a detailed review in a day or so. Hope you enjoy it.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Trick Dominator Double Pedal with SB-1 Laser Triggers - Review

Paying $599 for a drum pedal doesn't appeal to many drummers and for a good reason too. There's always been a variety of models available at lower price points, but professional reputations, such as the Pearl Powershifter Eliminators and Tama Iron Cobras.

But as times have changed, so have pedal designs. How many of us knew what a longboard or a direct drive design was capable of before icons like Derek Roddy and George Kollias burst on to the scene, playing faster and more rhythmically than we've ever seen in the last decade. And if you look at established players like Mike Mangini or Mike Portnoy, even these professionals have shifted to longboard designs like the Pearl Demon Drive and Tama Speed Cobra. The advent of pedals like the Axis AL2s meant that the bpm barrier could now be smashed on a daily basis.

This is my one-year review of another one of those $599 pedals, the Trick Dominators, which fit into the same price bracket as the Axis AL2s and the Pearl Demon Drive and are also direct drive pedals. I apologise if this review seems like it's geared toward speed demons. The points I discuss can be applied to a single pedal as well.

What you pay for

The Trick Dominator double pedal is essentially two separate single pedals that can be combined into a drive-shaft driven double bass set. Pedal construction is rugged, having been fabricated from aerospace grade aluminium. The engineering lines were smooth and I was hard-pressed to find any flaws in the manufacturing process. It's a solid mass and while I haven't dropped it, I don't think it could be destroyed unless there was excessive force.

A couple of aspects of the pedals need to be mentioned. Firstly, it's a compression spring driven pedal, as opposed to the expression spring that you see in almost all mass-produced pedals today, including the AL2s and Demon Drives. This means, when you push down the board, a spring is compressed inward and as you take weight off, it expand outward, pushing the board back into place.

One thing I noticed over the one year I had the pedals was that sometimes when I got back behind the kit after a day's rest, it seemed like the pedals were working against me. After a lot of antagonising over this quirk of fate, I came across a workaround: just loosen the compression spring a little, then tighten it back to the same position. The only logic I could put together to explain why this might work was that when a spring is held in a compressed position for a longer period of time, perhaps the energy build up is stored in its coils. Weird, but it worked for me.

Another striking feature about the pedal is the stock beaters, which are made out of aluminium and have a reassuring weight about them. While these beaters were extremely interesting and gave a comforting thwack when they bounced off a head, I eventually replaced them with Iron Cobra rubber beaters when I realised that the metal was damaging my bass drum heads. Perhaps some sort of patch would help, but when I made the shift to different beaters, I was looking at a bit more weight so I believe I made the right choice in switching. Nothing wrong with the stock beaters if you're playing on a house kit!

Thirdly, the latticed base board of the pedals is really interesting. The pedals are quite heavy, I'd say easily 3-4 kg each. The base plate is latticed, which takes off some of the weight. Neither the master, nor slave pedal has spikes; instead, the pedals come with velcro to keep them in place. I found the velcro sent by the manufacturer was insufficient, but it was easy enough to use some of my stock to rectify the situation.

Chasing the voodoo down

I find it most comfortable to set up my pedals with the spring tension maxed out and my drum stool elevated to a point where my feet rest firmly on the pedal, but do not constrict the return motion after I play a note. I devoted the bulk of my time learning heel-toe on this pedal, once I realised it was an energy-efficient way of playing at higher speeds. In this respect, the compression spring suits the style well. This is mainly due to the predicability of the way the footboard will return to zero position after you play a stroke.

I play heel-toe as RT LT RH LH. With a direct drive, your foot motions are translated almost instantaneously into pedal movement. So when I play, I'm able to predict the way in which the board is returning after I hit a stroke and after hitting another stroke with the other beater, a simple flick at the heel catapults the beater back into the drum head. It's not even an exaggerated heel-toe movement, more like playing heel down with a double pumping motion that comes from rocking back and forth on the ball of your foot. At slower tempos, I might even "swivel" on the base of my toes to keep rhythm.

The pedals have a reassuring weight. They won't depress unless you tell them too. I found this a limitation of the Pearl Eliminators I had, not due to any fault of theirs. My poor technique has left me with a lead foot.

Do take a look at the video I posted above. It should give you a good idea of how I've been able to acclimatise to these pedals in a relatively short period and I think it has helped me move into a different zone in terms of my drumming and what I believe I am capable of in a musical context.

The Trick Dominators are clearly capable of blistering speeds. I've been able to lock into speeds of at least 280 bpm, which I wasn't able to do with conventional techniques or conventional pedals. To be fair, I never tried. But the thing about the Dominators' longboard design is that it makes sense to use the additional foot space.

I will Trick you

Being a self-taught drummer, there were no rules to follow when I sat down to learn heel-toe. I saw a few videos on youtube and that was it. Since I don't endorse piracy, I didn't even watch the instructional videos put together by heel-toe stalwarts like Tim Waterson, though I know the name.

One thing I have been working on, based on my learnings, is that the technique lends itself to more than just straight forward double bass. Think about it: you have two feet effectively playing doubles. Suppose you stop playing doubles with one foot and play singles (watch that videos), while continuing to heel-toe the other. Now suppose you reverse the foot playing doubles and the foot playing singles, i.e. have them play the other pattern. Now play singles with both feet.

This opens up a variety of patterns for experimentation. And if you open your mind, more aggressive and intuitive playing could throw up better results. What is more, due to the nature of the heel-toe method, it is less energy-intensive as well, enabling bass pedal work to be sustained for longer durations of time.

Laser beaming hard

Just prior to my one-year anniversary with the Dominators, I ordered a pair of SB1 laser triggers from Trick for the princely sum of, surprise, another $500. When I finally received them and installed them on my pedals, a couple of things struck me.

First, there have been a few complaints about play in the drive shaft of the Dominators, This is primarily due to the space that is left on either side of the direct drive shaft where it connects to the footboard. But what I found is that this is intended by design, to facilitate shifting of the drive linkage further to the right once the laser trigger assembly is installed.

Second, the laser triggers are super cool and super quiet too. I initially tried them on my e-drum kit and was surprised at how responsive they were. Unfortunately, I also found that one of the triggers was more sensitive than the other, perhaps due to the cable I was using or some other external factor. Switching cables around had the expected result.

The biggest impact the laser triggers had for me, however, was the improved triggering. When I was using e-drum bass pads for triggering, I could never play heel up, because the minute I hit the pad, it would register double hits, buzz rolls, etc. At the same time, the sensitivity had to be set so that my heel-toe hits were not rejected. Finding a compromise was frustrating.

With the laser triggers, the problem was solved instantly. Since the trigger is only activated once when the beater stops, there no longer was a problem of double triggering or mishits. I later tried triggering on an acoustic drumkit and the results were even better. It justified the cost of the triggers for me and has allowed me to work on my heel up technique as well, interspersing it with heel-toe.

The bottom line

Trick Drums' Dominator pedals and the SB1 laser trigger accessory might seem like a frighteningly expensive investment in just a pair of drum pedals. But if you're looking at a top-of-the-shelf piece of equipment (this is actually Trick's mid-range pedal, with the top-of-the-line Pro-1V and Bigfoot costing $849) that meets professional requirements, you should consider giving them a whirl.
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  #30  
Old 03-20-2014, 06:36 AM
risewiththefallen risewiththefallen is offline
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

Hey man Excellent review, everything you said about the tricks is spot on. I just picked up a pair of axis al2s to compare to the doms. I honestly cant figure out which pedal is better, I think the sb1 system is better that the e kits though (I haven't tried either, just what I think from viewing both online)
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  #31  
Old 03-31-2014, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: NPD: Trick Dominator - Initial impressions, to be followed by periodic review

When I compared the two systems, I found the advantage of the SB1 over the hammer on the Axis is durability, I've heard about a lot of people snapping the hammer, especially when using the system on a drive shaft-driven double bass pedal. The downside is the cost, which is almost equal to the cost of the Dominator pedal. Also, I find that when I play in most of the jam rooms I go to, the pedals hit hard enough to obviate the need to lug my drum module for practice sessions, though I will use them in larger venues.

As far as reliability, I can't comment on the Axis, since I've never seen them except on youtube. The SB1 eliminated double triggering altogether on my humble e-kit. Because of the fact that it only registers a single hit when the beater stops moving, I've now started learning heel up as well, something I wasn't able to achieve with my electronic kick drumpad because I couldn't adjust it to be sensitive enough for heel-toe, while permitting harder hits from a heel up style. Highly recommend it.

If you can demo the two pedals, I'd strongly advise doing so before making a purchase.
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