Pros: Smooth, Fast, Highly Professional
Cons: None I can see or feel
A very good friend told me about the Intruder 9611 Direct Drive double bass drum pedal. He endorses Gibraltar equipment though, so I naturally thought he was exaggerating its merits until he lent me his spare pedal for a couple of gigs. I was so impressed with his pedal, and as I was able to profit from a special offer, I bought one... and then I set it up for me. "Holy ....! (insert own expletive here).
As the name suggests, the pedal doesn't utilise the now ubiquitous method of chains over a cam to propel the beaters, but employs a cam with a solid, precisely shaped linkage that allows you to dose power while maintaining adequate feel. So whether you're pounding out monster metal or sliding quad fills into your prog-rock opus, the action should be tuneable to your needs. The model in the photo on this site has been upgraded, but retains the Intruder 9611 DD DB name.
The newer model has new footboards machined from solid billet aluminium, with strategic cut-outs that reduce excess weight and improve the look. It also has a revised hoop-clamp, and the substantial jaws firmly grip the bass drum hoop when you tighten the adjustment screw. The adjustment screw is a single piece, large section vertical shaft, with a substantial wing nut at the top, and is positioned forward of and just inside the right hand upright support.
The robust cast aluminium alloy uprights are also slightly curved to improve beater axle position, placing it further away from the bass drum head than normal straight uprights. Both the uprights and the rings that attach the tension springs to the axle have die-cast bearings. Inboard of the uprights are the two pointed pedal spurs that eliminate pedal "creep" under heavy play.
Springs are quickly tweaked to your desired tension by turning a large, knurled thumbscrew, and then you can secure the setting with a lower profile locknut.
The bottom stabilising plate is solid aluminium with a centre bead that eliminates flex and ensures stable operation. The base-plate also carries on-board tool storage for two different sized Allen keys and a standard L-shaped drum key, all of which are supplied.
Beater height, beater-to-head distance, and footboard angle are all independently adjustable with a standard drum key, and the beaters can even be repositioned laterally by regulating the Allen head setscrews with the supplied keys. The underside of the axle is knurled to ensure non-slip operation after adjusting positions. The spring attachment rings have fine-tooth gear clamps that are marked with three lines as reference points, so you can regulate beater distance without sacrificing the feel of a given spring tension, and the footboard angle is also regulated via a gear inside the drive to axle clamp. I found all adjustments simple and precise.
Playing the beast
I dialled in my preferred footboard and spring tension settings, adjusted the beater to head distance (I aim for around 5 inches), and in next to no time duplicated the master pedal settings on the slave pedal and... I couldn't believe it. The factory-set action had been reasonably light, but now it was immediately more sensitive, creamy smooth with rapid rebound. That unexplainable something, that only drummers know when they attain it - something akin to the golfer's "sweet spot" - had been achieved with minimal fuss and bother. The real surprise though, is the pedal's sheer speed. My pedal is a DW 9000, so I expected the Gibraltar to be slightly inferior, but frankly, only the price is inferior! The DW is a well designed pedal, but the Intruder pedals just feel more precise, and give power and sensitivity on demand.
I have lent my pedal to a number of drummer friends, and comments range from "Fluid", through "Amazing", and on towards stuff epinions won't let me write - and all for a third of what more "famous" pedals cost.
Whatever your style of play, whatever your skill level, you could do a lot worse, at any price.