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User Review

Solid, high-value, quality drum pedal - Reviews Tama Speed Cobra HP910LS

I'm a professional drummer and I've been an avid user of Tama drums and hardware for over a decade already. I like Tama's drum products because of its great value, high sound and aesthetic quality, and its legendary durability.

I've owned and played different generations of Tama's Iron Cobra bass drum pedals. These "modern classic" pedals are the most reliable I've ever used, and they never broke down in the middle of a gig. I've tried and played different brands of drum pedals, but nothing came close to the solid feel, power and road-worthiness of the Iron Cobra.

Recently, the Speed Cobra line of drum pedals was introduced. These are Tama's response to the current trend of high-end, "unconventional" drum pedals, which are becoming popular in the market today. The Speed Cobras are pretty much like the Iron Cobras, but with added advancements. The most obvious new feature is the longer footboard (a.k.a. longboards).

Longboards have become a popular choice among drummers, especially with speed demons who enjoy playing fast, straight-ahead double bass grooves. And with the numerous foot techniques coming out in recent years (slide, heel-toe, swivel, etc), having a bass drum pedal with a longboard has its advantages for these different playing styles. I bought a Speed Cobra double pedal last year, and this is my first-ever set of longboard pedals.

The first thing that impressed me the most is its price. Compared to its counterparts (Pearl Demon Drive, Axis Longboard, Trick Pro 1-V), the Speed Cobra's price is much closer to the Iron Cobra price range. This is amazing value for money for a drum pedal of its class.

The next thing that impressed me is how well-built and well-machined it is. With the way it looks and feels, I can clearly say that this is built like a tank, just like its Iron Cobra siblings. I don't need to worry about this pedal breaking down during a gig. The Speed Cobra also has an elegant and understated look, which is something that I appreciate aesthetics-wise.

The Speed Cobra pretty much has the same adjustable features as the Iron Cobras. Footboard and beater angles can be easily adjusted with an allen wrench or a Tama Drum Hammer too, which are both included in the package. Right out of the box, with its stock settings, I quickly felt the smoother and faster response of the Speed Cobra. I am amazed with how easier it felt to play and execute quick doubles and double bass licks. What made the difference? Is this the effect of the long footboard? Or the angled, recessed setting of the chain drive? Or the weight-reduced sprocket? Or the Cobra Coil underneath the footboard? Or a combination of all these features? Kudos to Tama's designers and engineers for doing a mighty fine job.

It may sound too good to be true. But in my experience, it took me some time to adjust to the longboards and the new feel of the Speed Cobras. It must have been the many years of getting used to a conventional drum pedal. It took me a few weeks to get the hang of it. I'm not an advanced double bass player (I'm still working on my technique), but I guess it's case-to-case basis. Some drummers will love the feel of the Speed Cobras, and some will not. Just like most instruments, it's best to give it a test before deciding on purchasing it.

I like the smooth, long footboard of the Speed Cobra, which I find suitable for my footwork style (I don't like my shoes to grip on the pedal; I prefer sliding and dancing over it). The slave pedal responds as well as the primary pedal, and I find it easy to adjust and match with the latter.

After a few months of use, I realized two downsides. One, the felt of the stock Projector Beaters quickly wear out . I think Tama should come up with a much better-designed set of beaters that can take the power of the Speed Cobra. And two, I've read and heard about the springs of other Speed Cobra users snapping off. Fortunately, mine's still in good shape; but this is something to take note of.

Overall, the Speed Cobra is testament to Tama's penchant of creating functional, well-built and durable drum pedals. Just like its Iron Cobra siblings, these are solid, high-value, quality drum pedals. The new features took Tama's pedal technology levels up, helping us drummers enhance our playing. Despite a few minor cons, I think I'll be playing and keeping this pedal for a long period of time.