Direct Drive or Chain Drive

MN02

Senior Member
I am sure there's a thread on this but let's get into it anyway. I have been playing a single chain DW 5000 double for fifteen plus years. It has held up very well but lately it starting to feel sluggish - even with new springs. I jar played the newer double chain drives and have demoed some direct drives. I definitely like the smooth quick feel of directs but as I am not a speed demon or metal player I worry they may ultimately prove one dimensional. I would love to hear from people who have switched either way and what your experience has been with directs and chains. Particularly from those who don't play speed metal. Thanks.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
i use my pedal for funk, jazz, pop, rock, afro cuban/latin(s), dance, death/metal/core
i would never in my life use another chain pedal

one question (no joke, i'm interested) just how do you think a pedal is going to make you one dimensional? either i'm missing a couple of chromosomes or that just doesn't make any sense
 

BigDinSD

Gold Member
Interesting post. I've always wondered what the pros and cons were of: Direct Drives vs Chain Drives?

I've gone from the DW9000 to a direct drive pedal, and am very pleased.

Anyone care to suggest?
 

scarlit

Silver Member
I own both direct and chain drive versions of the same pedal. Direct drive feels lighter under your foot and has a bit more rebound, even at low spring tension.The difference isnt nearly as night and day as people make it out to be, I can switch back and forth without any issues. Chains feel more solid under my foot and hits harder. I like the chains more. Feels more natural. For quick doubles and stuff, the DD is great, but I feel its more of a finesse thing. I like to lay into my pedals a bit, and the chains feel more solid.
 

MN02

Senior Member
i use my pedal for funk, jazz, pop, rock, afro cuban/latin(s), dance, death/metal/core
i would never in my life use another chain pedal

one question (no joke, i'm interested) just how do you think a pedal is going to make you one dimensional? either i'm missing a couple of chromosomes or that just doesn't make any sense

I didn't mean to suggest it would make my playing one dimensional - rather from the reviews I've read (which is a lot) the primary purpose behind the direct drive design seems to be speed. While I am definitely interested in more speed, I am concerned about how direct drive performs in other situations. Having never spent any significant amount of time with one I would just like some honest input from those who have put the time in with direct drives. For instance, how is the control and power factor in more mid tempo pop applications.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Feel mate....feel. That is the primary difference between a DD and a chain or strap driven pedal. DD's tend to be lighter and more immediately responsive. Now, that doesn't make them "better".....it makes them "different"......for better or worse is purely up to the guy playing them.

I switched to DD's about a year or so ago. It was a tough road initially as I found that any little inconsistencies with my foot seemed to be transferred directly to the drum head. Little foot waivers or flutters resulted in the beater striking the head due to the light and responsive nature of the pedals. Truth be known, I'm still getting used to them and much like yourself I don't need to blast at 6,000bpm either. But at the end of the day, they are definitely a piece of kit that it's essential you make your own mind up on because the opinions of others are simply not gonna cut it with respect to how they "feel" to you. :)
 

toddy

Platinum Member
i bought it because it wouldn't break
it's not about speed, like pocket says direct drive can be very unforgiving, if you have bad habits i doubt it will make things easier, probably the reverse

however if your foot technique is solid then it can make playing very efficient, that is the only thing i care about
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Personally if I had to choose between them, I'd prefer a direct drive. I won't have a chain on anything if I can help it.

I'll be in the market for one later this year so I'll keep watching these threads carefully.
 

Drummertist

Silver Member
i bought it because it wouldn't break
it's not about speed, like pocket says direct drive can be very unforgiving, if you have bad habits i doubt it will make things easier, probably the reverse

however if your foot technique is solid then it can make playing very efficient, that is the only thing i care about

But shouldn't all drummers strive for great foot technique? Perhaps it would be best to start using direct drives right away so that we find our weaknesses.
 

Agd8

Senior Member
I switched from chain drive to direct drive about 6 months ago, it's such a different way of playing.
The sensitivity, that immediate response and of course it's very unforgiving about your technique.
I had no idea how many bad habits I've accumulated over the years and I'm still trying to get rid of all of them.
My technique now is much cleaner and I find it easier to play just about everything so, I'm very happy I made the transition. I only wish I have made it sooner.
 
Last edited:

BigDinSD

Gold Member
But shouldn't all drummers strive for great foot technique? Perhaps it would be best to start using direct drives right away so that we find our weaknesses.

That would make sense. Most of us are not going to fix anything if it ain't broke - and you won't find any weaknesses until you try something else.

I would have went ahead and picked up a DW9000 DOUBLE pedal, since I started with their single pedal. I mean, I was getting great results, and building my skills nicely on it.
When I could no longer get the speed from a single pedal, I acquired a different brand of double pedal. Which was of course, a long board WITH DIRECT DRIVE.

MAN! Talk about an unforgiving, honest piece of equipment. You will hear anything that is not right. It's been about a few months, and it is so smooth and very responsive.
Pocket-full-of-gold 's post makes me feel much better, as it too has been a learning curve for myself.

With the chain drive, their was some play and flexibility. For example, I can do an 8th note triplet @ 136 bpm throughout a song (U2's Beautiful Day) with the chain drive. It's been a challenge getting a triplet that slow on the DD (using Heel-toe). But that's been the only challenge with it...
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I didn't have any trouble moving from my iron cobras to the demon drives. Overall I don't think it's a huge difference but I notice it's more responsive because there's a direct relationship between the beater and footboard, and that's the ideal isn't it? Your drum sticks have a direct relationship with your hands.

The footboard seems to lift more as the beater recoils from a hit, and that's a good thing because you're better prepared for the next hit.

I can play fast but I'm more into playing patterns involving quick bursts of speed and mixed note values.. I've just switched my demon drives from long boards to short boards because I realized short boards are better if you're not just playing flat strap speed metal. They require a little more effort but in return you get more power + volume.

I only mention this because alot of the direct drive pedals out there are long boards, so be wary you know what you're getting yourself into with those.
 

toddy

Platinum Member
But shouldn't all drummers strive for great foot technique? Perhaps it would be best to start using direct drives right away so that we find our weaknesses.

no? some people just wanna jam a few tunes
who am i to tell people wat they should or shouldn't do

some people like manual cars, and some would rather drive automatic
i don't go around telling automatic drivers that they should drive manual though lol

anyway... responsiveness depends on spring tension too, my pro-1vs are as tight as i can possibly get them
mainly so i can watch my mate try to play double bass and laugh with/at him
 

Dash Drums

Junior Member
Hello people! There is a company that give the solution to the problem of having a chain drive and need to pass to direct drive...
www.stompdrive.com
I'm waiting for the DW 5000 version! I think it's a good idea. They sell the TAMA IC's and SC's, pearl eliminator's and Mapex Falcon's version...
Have you tried them?
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I've played them all, chain, strap, direct... back to single chain (for) now.

Direct drive transfers the most vibration/impact shock, that's why they're perceived as not feeling as solid, whereas a chain doesn't transfer as much shock and feels more solid.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I've played them all, chain, strap, direct... back to single chain (for) now.

Direct drive transfers the most vibration/impact shock, that's why they're perceived as not feeling as solid, whereas a chain doesn't transfer as much shock and feels more solid.

What's your opinion on strap? I've played 30 years with chain driven pedals, and lately (4 months) I switched to strap, I feel a more direct sensation with more accuracy within the strokes, I bought a Mapex Falcon, so I'll have the options of chain, strap or even direct drive, but for now the strap suits me fine, for now. :)
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I have posted this in a few other threads but I feel that I could stand to mention it again here.

Up until recently I had been using an Axis short-board single pedal. I don't play anything in the metal vein. I would describe my band's style as Ragtime/Jazz/Blues/Punk so I lead quite a bit with my right foot.

Anyway, I got that Axis dialed in pretty good but it still never felt just right to me. Like I couldn't execute on the pedal what I wanted to play. About a month ago I swapped out the Axis for my Tama HP30 that a friend had lent me and never ask for again. I found the Tama to be more responsive and delivered more power.

Naturally YMMV but I just really like the feel of that Tama with its single chain drive. I'll have to try out a nicer chain pedal to compare from what I've tried already I prefer the single chain.

I'd also like to try a strap drive to see how it feels.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
A strap is basically a direct drive that's a little flexible.

A chain transfers the least amount of shock.

If you look at a chain, there's a lot of independent pieces connected together i.e. all the parts that make up the links. As a result there's micro spaces between each of these parts usually filled in by lube and dirt. The mechanical vibration has to travel through these spaces and that's the chains shock absorbing quality.

Direct drive there's only a couple of contact points, a strap the same only strap not as rigid and so will have a softer feel.

To me a single chain feels more powerful, maybe having to do with the pull/contact area is concentrated dead center of the pedal, whereas a double chain can spread the pulling load unevenly between the two chains. Double chains also add that extra weight.

If one were to do a tension failure test on a single chain, double chain and a strap, they'd find out the force needed to break any of them will far exceed the force any will ever encounter on a pedal.

So a double chain adding some extra assurance of strength is just silly, there's simply no need for a double chain strength wise. Its just a play on mental conditioning, not based on fact.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
A strap is basically a direct drive that's a little flexible...

Direct drive there's only a couple of contact points, a strap the same only strap not as rigid and so will have a softer feel...

The mechanical vibration has to travel through these spaces and that's the chains shock absorbing quality...

Thanks Les, so my initial sensation of the strap feeling more direct was correct, I dig your comment regarding the vibrations transmitted with direct drive or strap, upon testing the different driving mode and differents cams, etc. I noticed that I felt more vibration with the strap than the double chains, but further adjustement of footboar/beater/spring has reduced this sentation of vibration.

Since I'm using the strap, I also noticed that I've increased the spring tension, is that due to the fact that there's less friction on the cam than a chain?
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I love the pedals that have strap drives. I'm using a Yamaha convertible, strap/chain drive, I believe it's the 9315. I tried it with both drives but settled quickly on the belt. I also tried the Tama Iron Cobra with the strap and found it comparable to the Yamaha. I tried the DW 5000 version at my local drum shop, but it seemed as if the heel plate was a bit too high for comfort.

Dennis
 
Top