Mapex bass drum pedals had always been a little hit and miss for me – until recent years. The revelation came when I tried the (then new) Falcon pedal. It was a total game changer for me and combined with some great snare/kit innovations, Mapex was firmly back on the map and in the pointy end of the drum world. Now, Mapex has released their mid-range pedal for the masses, and just because it sits beneath the flagship Falcon doesn’t mean it’s low rent. Enter the new Armory Chain Drive Double Bass Pedal.
The new Armory is a chunky, serious looking thing. From the moment you open the complimentary zip lock carry case and begin to unpack this new pedal, you get an immediate sense of quality. It’s weighty and very solid. The pedal comes covered with a black powder coating and green highlights. Some of the main features are double chain drive, retractable floor spikes, solid steel base plate on both pedals, ball bearing torque-free spring system, self-adjusting hoop clamp with a side-mounted adjuster, extended footboard and possibly my favourite thing – the same reversible (plastic or felt) beater as seen on the Falcon that allows you to actually interchange 10g or 20g weights. You literally remove the small weight from the centre of the beater and exchange with another to customise the feel of the pedal, without having to look at moving the height of the beater. It’s a great idea and still allows for a smaller surface area/ head on the beater itself. It’s great to see this option on this pedal and not just the flagship. Nice one Mapex!
Putting the pedal together is standard affair. Use the drum key to attach the linkage and tighten everything up. It’s refreshing to see both beaters remain at the same starting position when resting. It’s a reassuring start. There’s absolutely zero play in the linkage from the slave pedal to the main one. This totally promotes a more direct and responsive feel.
From first play, it feels great and comfortable. Out of the box, the tension on the springs is reasonably firm but not super tight. That said, the feel is slightly heavier but the response is awesome and the footboard just seems to stick to your foot. It’s fast too. You won’t be wishing for a quicker pedal and we haven’t even tried to adjust anything! I actually slacked off the spring tension just a smidge and it was even quicker. The action is very smooth and the rubber soles mean the left pedal in particular stayed put 100% of the time.
Now, in a slight coincidence, the pedal I took off the drumkit I was playing to try this new Armory was actually an older Mapex. The difference was chalk and cheese and although the feel and smoothness stood out rst a foremost, the one thing that really caught me was actually how much more power I could produce with the Armory. Really, it can combine a smooth, free owing action with serious power that gives great projection. This can be a very difficult thing to achieve in a pedal. The left pedal has a ever so slightly lighter feel to the right upon rst play but they’re ever so close to being the same and I think with a little bit of adjustment you’d get it just right.
Of course if you like to adjust things, you can get customising as you see fit. Beater height, footboard starting position and as mentioned earlier, that awesome interchangeable beater weight system. I was actually pretty comfortable with the 10g weights but if you like a slightly more top-heavy feel, you can put in the 20g’s and reduce the spring tension further. You’d get even more throw.
To be frank though, straight out of the box, the Armory feels great and would be very comfortable for the majority of drummers. But if so inclined, the options are there. There’s always the standard brands to go to when you buy your next pedal. I can now seriously advise that the new Mapex lines should be of very serious consideration. Maybe it was just me and maybe this Armory just suited my playing but it won me over. The black look won’t be to everyone’s tastes but the features, build quality and a fantastic price for a twin pedal will be. It’s certainly great to have a super solid midrange pedal option for players who don’t require the flagship but still need a workhorse that can cut the mustard. It’s a winner guys. On ya Mapex.
For more Mapex products, visit www.elfa.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Good tension level