Prototypes Precision Coil

Peering Into Precision: An Inside Look Into the Development of Dixon’s Precision Coil Pedal

Precision Coil has finally arrived! After much anticipation within the drumming community, the finished product has now launched and hit stores worldwide.

We designed Precision Coil from the ground up with the idea of offering drummers something different than what they typically have to choose from in a bass drum pedal. Let’s take a look at what’s behind Precision Coil’s unique mechanism and how this design came about.

First of all, it should be stated that the quest to create the “perfect” pedal is a futile one. Just as how no two drummers will agree on the exact same configuration of parts to construct the perfect drum set, it is highly unlikely that any two drummers would feel comfortable playing the exact same bass drum pedal with precisely the same throw and rebound feel.

In fact, the most idiosyncratic (and inspirational!) aspect of the instrument is that, unlike the piano or the guitar, it is impossible to standardize the drum set into a generic, one-size-fits-all mold. Each component—sticks, heads, shells, cymbals, hoops, and on and on—is personalized to suit the individual drummer who plays them.

This was the conceptual basis behind the design of Precision Coil.

Sam Chen, head of the Precision Coil development team at Dixon, explains, “There are many great pedals on the market. We just wanted to provide something different and new for drummers to choose from. We observed that the conventional spring mechanism was not as efficient as it could be, so we began work on a more direct mechanism.”

Over the years, drum manufacturers have worked to minimize the excess motion and inefficient transfer of energy that is inherent in our standard rocking spring designs—and we have gotten pretty good at it. Meanwhile, drummers have worked to develop techniques that work around the shortcomings of the rocking spring mechanism, and many of them have certainly become jaw-droppingly good at that!

But we at Dixon asked the question, “If the mechanism we all accept is inherently inefficient, what kind of design would put some of that lost efficiency back on the side of the drummer? How can we create a more direct transfer of energy from the drummer’s foot to the pedalboard to the beater to the drum?” The answer was to do away with the rocking spring mechanism that has been the industry standard for so long.

Sam and his team began researching spring designs, torques, thicknesses, optimal number of coils, etc. and transferred their findings into several prototype builds. Prototypes were road tested by Dixon Artists and other professional drummers across several countries who gave feedback that was then put into the next round of designs. The whole process took about 18 months. View details of the development process and road testing below.

According to Sam, the most memorable moment of the arduous design process was receiving the results of laboratory testing by the Swiss inspection and certification company SGS, which confirmed that the team’s initial assumptions about loss of energy in conventional spring designs and superior transfer of energy with Precision Coil were correct. The idea to use fewer moving parts to generate a more direct linear motion was paying off.

Precision Coil - SGS Test Graph

Results of SGS’s comparison tests for linear motion.

Initially conceived as a single pedal, one of the more surprising parts of the design process was the realization that, with a bit of modification, the prototype could be expanded to accommodate a double pedal configuration as well. As Dixon U.S. Product Manager Jim Uding put it, “Precision Coil’s unique design validates Dixon’s ability to challenge as a truly innovative, full-line drum and hardware brand.”

Developing Precision Coil was not a quest to reinvent the wheel—we are still very proud of our full line of pedals featuring rocking springs. Rather, Precision Coil is meant to cater to drummers who are looking for a different kind of feel under their foot. A pedal that goes where their foot takes it and nowhere that it doesn’t. An ergonomic response that shadows the motions of their foot. A pedal that allows them to unleash the power of control.

For info on all things Precision Coil, head to http://precisioncoil.playdixon.com.

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