Reviewed By: Matt Lipstein, Drums and Percussion
Let me start by first saying that this pedal is definitely not for everyone. If you like the acceleration provided by an offset cam such as Tama’s Iron Cobra or the dizzying amount of adjustments of Pearl’s Eliminator Chain Drive this pedal is not for you. If, however, your first pedal was a vintage Ludwig Speed King or a Rogers Swiv-O-Matic and you have been searching for a way to get that “old school” feel with “new school” construction methods, then I present to you the Jojo Mayer Perfect Balance Pedal by Sonor.
The Perfect Balance Pedal is the culmination of a series of experimental prototypes by renowned drummer and clinician Jojo Mayer. While searching for a pedal with a vintage feel but modern construction, Jojo began constructing “Franken-pedals” by pieces together bit of different pedals. After settling on a prototype, he presented it to the engineers at Sonor for further development and eventual production.
This is the result:
Featuring a circular cam and ballistic strap drive mechanism, the pedal has a smooth and linear motion. This means that the pedal feels the same at all points of a stroke. While this concept makes sense to some, typical pedal construction today features some sort of assistive “kink” built into the cam. The oversized round came of the Perfect Balance Pedal yields a lighter, consistent and predictable feel. Another way of putting this is that your foot does all the work. You get what you give, which for me at least, is a welcome feature.
In addition to the cam, the Perfect Balance Pedal features an elongated footboard with a smooth surface to allow for freedom of movement during heel-toe operation.
Unlike some of the other “faux-longboard” pedals on the market I found the “sweet spot” to be near the top of the footboard instead of somewhere on the lower third. Heel-toe double and triple strokes required little effort to achieve.
My favorite set of features on the Perfect Balance Pedal has nothing to do with the way it plays, however. The folding mechanism combined with the self-mounting clamp and magnetic spring dock allows the pedal to fold completely flat for storage and transport. You can set the hoop clamp height to your bass drum and unfold the pedal to mount it to the hoop. This cuts down on setup and breakdown times and maintains a secure grip when mounted.
The pedal comes with a slick carry bag and its own hoop protector. When you add all these features up, you get a worthy successor to the likes of the Speed King and Swiv-O-Matic but built with the reliability of German Engineering. While its not for everyone, it may be for you.
If you have any questions about drum pedals or anything else in the drum world, give us a call at the store or fill out an Ask an Expert form. We are here for you!