Review: Evans Dixson Bass Drum Lift

A new device designed by drummer Arti Dixson and marketed by Evans caught my eye on Amazon, called the “Evans Dixson Bass Drum Lift” (or EDBL for short). As a “Vine” member, I was able to order it for basically zip in exchange for a review there, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Up front, this is a fairly long post as it’s not only a more detailed review of this product, but also the adventure it took to properly install it. It should interest not only drummers, but anyone who’d like to read about a bit of drum history and/or the mechanics of drums themselves. Plus, as an added bonus, there’s lots of pretty pictures too!

Let’s start out with Evan’s claims:

  • Lifts bass drum 2-3” off the ground for improved resonance and beater striking location.
  • Designed to work with bass drums ranging from 16”-24” in size.
  • Bass drum pedals clamp directly onto the lift rather than the drum hoop, avoiding hoop damage completely.

EDBL - Box

That all sounds great, a simple way to obtain additional resonance from your bass drum by getting it up off the floor, while also providing better protection for its rear hoop.

It made perfect sense when I first thought about it, since I use DW STM’s (Suspension Tom Mounts), for the same reason.

STM’s suspend toms from the tuning lugs instead of the usual method, where tom mounting hardware is inserted into the top of the bass drum and the toms themselves. That tends to inhibit resonance in both. Unlike that mounting system, STM mounts “float” the toms, thereby allowing them and the bass drum to resonate much more freely.

DW STM mounts
The DW STM system requires no hardware inserted into top of the bass drum, or toms.

But, I digress… Back to reviewing this bass drum lift.

For openers, I don’t buy into this “ideal striking position” business mentioned on top of the box, which translates into centering double kick pedal beaters as much as possible in order to obtain the same pitch from both.

EBDL - Top of box

Long before double kick pedals were available, drummers starting using double bass drums to obtain two different pitches (one perhaps around 1/2 step higher than the other), mainly in Jazz way back in the 1940’s. This adds great dynamics to the kit’s sound, and separate rhythmic patterns are much more distinguishable. Some notable drummers such Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Ginger Baker (Cream), and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) have used different diameter bass drums, for this very reason.

Ginger Baker.jpg
Ginger Baker drum kit in the Cream days, with 20″/22″ bass drums.

This practice of tuning double bass drums identically became popular when genres such as Thrash and Death Metal first emerged, beginning in the 1980’s. It helps a drummer to obtain increased kick speed, while still sounding like a single bass drum is in being played. However, it also completely eliminates the sonic improvements that double bass drums provide in the first place, as discussed above.

Lars Ulrich
Lars Ulrich of Metallica (Thrash Metal), AKA douchbag supreme.

Think about it in this way: Would you want all toms in your drum kit the same diameter and depth, and/or tune them all to exactly the same pitch? Of course not, because the dynamics of playing rolls across them would be totally lost. It’s no different with double bass drums or double kick pedals.

I always set my double kick pedal with one beater striking the exact center of the batter head, which places the other just a bit to the left in order to obtain that small but significant difference in pitch between the two. It creates a very positive effect on the overall sound of the kit, for all of the reasons I’ve already mentioned.


Here’s the official Evans demo video for the EBDL:


Wow, looks really easy, just drop it in and go, right? However, when you take into account everything else that must also be adjusted after installing it, nothing could be further from the truth.

Knee pads - The drummer's friend
If you’re on carpet, get those pads and socks on… You’re in for a lot of crawling around, and I don’t know anyone who enjoys rug burns on their knees.

For the sake of clearing up terminology used in the remainder of this post, here’s a basic diagram of how the lift is constructed, straight out of the box:

EBDL - Diagram

Some difficulties I ran into while installing this lift on my bass drum and kick pedal, some of the best gear in the business:

  • DW Performance Series 22″ bass drum (8-ply North American Hard Rock Maple)
  • Tama Iron Cobra double kick pedal

(Note: In the following photos, please ignore the original DW pedal clamp pad still affixed to the inside of the hoop.)

  • It seemed the inside of the lift cradle needed to be placed right up against the batter head ring under the drum, or the pedal clamp area would not protrude enough for the clamp itself to clear the outside of the hoop.

The goal then became getting the lift’s pedal clamp area to extend as far from the hoop as possible, while still providing a small gap from the inside of the cradle to the batter head rim. If that occurred, not only would it place unwanted pressure on that rim along with the hoop itself, but also have a detrimental effect on the drum’s tuning.

Initially, the best I could get was a clearance of less than 1/4″ between the pedal clamp and hoop. Worse yet it was actually sitting a bit underneath it. That’s way too close for comfort as far as I’m concerned:

EBDL - Pedal clamp too close for comfort
Pedal clamp way too close to the hoop for comfort.

I was finally able to obtain a bit more pedal clamp clearance from the hoop using small adjustments of the bass drum’s front legs, along with painfully minute positioning changes to the lift itself. Then, I added some adhesive padding to the front of the pedal clamp so no hoop damage would occur if it actually managed to make contact there.

EBDL - Padding added to front of pedal clamp
Arrow pointing to the location of padding I added on the pedal clamp.

Instead of actually providing enhanced protection for the hoop as claimed, here’s a more extreme example of this clearance issue, which would actually cause hoop damage due to this clearance problem:

Go back and watch the Evans product video, pause at about 19 seconds into it, then inch your way forward, slowly. You can see the bottom of the bass drum hoop contact the pedal clamp, bounce off, then actually settle on top of it. Now, no worries about marring the inside of the hoop, but you can bet the outside of it is going to take a big-time beating rubbing against that pedal clamp.

A screen capture of that moment:

EDBL - Hoop sitting on top of pedal clamp


Construction Concerns

  • Why use Velcro hook material in the pedal clamp area, when some sort of padded surface would have provided a better grip? That just makes zero sense to me, it may as well not even be present.
  • While the Velcro hook surface on the bottom of the lift is a great thing to keep it from sliding forward on carpet, it makes precise placement adjustments very difficult. I guess it’s a necessary evil, but getting the lift in just the right spot is a real hassle, and a game of far less than inches to begin with.
  • The Velcro loop surface on the top of the cradle is in my opinion much too thin. Since it’s the main area supporting the drum, I have to think it will wear down rather quickly possibly leading to yet more bass drum damage, this time to the shell surface itself.

Get Ready for Adjustments Galore

  • Extension of the front bass drum legs to match the height of the lift, which is absolutely required to “re-level” the bass drum shell.
  • Tom heights will need to be changed, likely to positions you probably won’t feel is quite as optimal, due to the lift raising the bass drum 3” off the floor.

If your kit is equipped with suspension tom mounts, the bottom tom hoops will now likely be sitting directly on top of your bass drum.

If it has conventional tom mounts, adjustments will still be necessary since your toms have now also been raised 3″ higher by the increased lift of the bass drum.

In both cases, your snare and floor tom heights will also need an identical adjustment, in order to match the changes you’ve just made to the toms on your bass drum.

Remember, the primary aim of this device is to provide increased bass drum resonance. The same thing could have been accomplished with half or less as much lift, which in all likelihood would have made these changes unnecessary, depending on the set-up of your drum kit.

  • On to yet more adjustments, this time to the pedal itself. I had to raise the beater heights to nearly maximum, in order for them to make contact at the same position on the batter head as they were prior to installing the lift.
  • After that, the beaters were able to swing back during rebound enough to strike the front of my calf bone, which needless to say is quite the painful experience if using anything but full felt beaters. So, yet more pedal adjustments, this time to move the starting beater shaft angles forward about 45 degrees while at rest. Naturally, this can potentially have a huge impact on how you’re able to play your pedals. 
  • Of course, once you’ve dealt with all of that and more, there’s the pleasure of having to reposition most if not all of your drum microphone mounts.

Adding confusion, there’s not a shred of documentation supplied, not that much is needed.

The one thing that baffled me for a few minutes was what the extra adhesive padding strip included was intended for. There’s not a word about it in or on the box, nor the Evans or Amazon web sites. No other choice, it’s Google time.

Extra padding strip

After searching for a while, I ran into a video on the Sam Ash web site explaining that this strip must be used when installing the lift under a 16, 18, or 20” bass drum as a replacement for the top of the cradle’s existing Velcro loop surface.

That set off a light bulb over my head. Why not try it on my 22″ bass drum anyway? It certainly should assist in taking care of those concerns I was discussing earlier…


Concern #1: Possible shell damage due to very thin Velcro loop cradle padding:

EBDL - Cradle with Velcro loop surface

Another look at the lift with the Velcro loop material replaced by the included extra padding strip, which is about three times as thick and made of much more rugged material:

EBDL - Cradle with Velcro loop surface replaced

Concern #1 solved.


Concern #2: Very little clearance between the pedal clamp and hoop.

This was also solved by the cradle pad replacement above. Previously only 1/4″, the clearance is now over double that amount. What a difference, as you can clearly see in the photo below.

EBDL - Improved clearance using extra padding strip
Arrow pointing out greatly increased clearance between the pedal clamp and hoop.

Concern #2 solved.


Finally, I got to play my kit to hear what (if anything) all of this struggle had accomplished. As far as enhanced resonance, it’s not a huge amount, although admittedly there is a noticeable improvement.

At this point, if you’re considering installing this lift on your kit, here’s the question you have to ask yourself: Is that bit of resonance improvement worth going through all of the hassle I just described?

Admittedly, depending on the set-up of your bass drum, kick pedal, and the rest of your kit, the installation process might work out more easily for you than it did for me. As with many things of this nature, your mileage may vary.


Oh, I almost forgot to mention: This product, which amounts to a hunk of plastic, has a street price of $40.

I wish I was smoking the same shit as those guys over at Evans, and I’d bet the farm that Arti Dixson is laughing all the way to the bank.


For additional information, visit:

Evans Product page

Amazon Product Page

2 thoughts

  1. This is the craziest review haha.

    I’ve used one of these on my personal kit and in my backline bag for nearly 10 years and haven’t had any problems with it at all.

    There’s no shell damage – and I have the velcro that’s been worn down by 10 years of playing (this was even before Evans bought them – which I was really suprised to see) – never ever had a pedal touch the hoop and CERTAINLY less than if I were clamping a pedal to the hoop – it doesn’t move around and I don’t exactly have a light foot – and the beater position is WAY sweeter with a single pedal. I have zero experience with it as a double pedal solution – but as a single pedal solution – it’s an absolutel must have for me on the road.

    Takes like 10 seconds to clamp on the pedal and another 10 seconds from a seated behind the snare position to lift the beater side of the bass drum up and slide it under – I always have the rubber shelf pulled as far towards me as possible. It’s consistent – simple – useful – portable and a BREEZE to set up. And if I need to angle the pedal towards me – there’s enough flex in the plasti be able to move it side to side for quick adjustments.

    Sound wise I’ve consistently felt like it had a little more thump – but that’s likely because of where it allows me to place the beater on the head – just like hitting any drum dead center does – I’m not sure if that really has to do with the “suspension” part.

    Plus I love that I can easily switch one pedal from an 18″ to a 22″ and not have to worry about any crazy adjustments other than simply moving the lift and my pedal over.

    Used it in the Queens and still use it today.

    -Nick Lucero

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  2. First, while I always appreciate feedback, there’s no need to be insulting. I don’t care if you’ve played for Led Zeppelin, we’re civil around here and I’d appreciate you keeping it that way. Thanks in advance.

    For drummers like myself who use suspension tom mounts and like them set fairly low, it would be impossible to install this lift without raising their height. Why? In the case of a 22″ kick drum, after re-leveling in effect you’ve just turned it into a 25″ and now have your bottom tom hoops sitting on top of the kick drum shell.

    At that point, there’s obviously no choice but to raise them, and in many cases (including mine) they’ll wind up higher than some drummers would prefer. Even if that isn’t a concern, it naturally follows that almost everything else will also require corresponding adjustments, to restore the positions of where things used to be in relation to the toms (not to mention the kick pedal itself, whether single or double).

    But I digress, since I’ve already detailed this and a whole lot more in my review.

    Once everything has been compensated for, of course it only takes about 10 seconds to reinstall it under your kick drum. However, that’s not the point of this article, which in large part describes initial installation.

    Perhaps you missed this:
    “Admittedly, depending on the set-up of your bass drum, kick pedal, and the rest of your kit, the installation process might work out more easily for you than it did for me. As with many things of this nature, your mileage may vary.”

    I would hope you realize as I do that your experience with this product doesn’t apply to everyone on the face of the planet, and you shouldn’t assume it does either.

    Jumping through the installation hoops I described and the resulting rearrangement of the overall kit isn’t worth the small amount of extra resonance produced, let alone paying $40 for a piece of plastic to obtain that slight boost. Once again, this is my personal opinion, and I stand by it.

    I’m glad using this lift works well for you, I really am. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

    Respect,
    – Craig

    Like

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