Walk into your local drum emporium and you will more likely than not see rows and rows of Vic Firth drum sticks. But this iconic company offers more than just sticks, as we see here with its latest innovations - the Vic Firth Vic Kick Beaters.
The Vic Kick Beaters come in three flavours - the VKB-1 (medium hard felt radial head), the VKB-2 (hard maple radial head) and the VKB-3 (medium felt core with fleece oval head).
"Surprisingly loud and boomy, yet still with perfect note depiction, the VKB-3 produces a simply fantastic sound"
These sell for £27.95, £24.95 and £29.95 respectively. We have one of each to put through its paces.
A major selling point of the beaters is that the VKB-1 and VKB-2 are both dual-headed, with a flat beater surface and a more rounded surface, which Vic Firth refers to as radial. This means that with a quick turn of your drum key you can rotate the head for a completely different sound.
As logic would suggest we start with the VKB-1. We attach the beater to our chosen pedal and start with the beater in the radial position. We bury the hard felt beater into the bass drum head and are greeted with a stunningly articulate series of notes.
Moving across to the flat setting brings an almost identical tone to our ears, although perhaps with a smidgen more low-end into the mix. A great choice for rock and pop, without doubt.
Moving on to the VKB-2, we give the beater the same test and in sonic terms we find widely similar results. The harder maple make-up of the beater gives it a chunkier, rock edge to its tone. Again, we can't fault its performance, articulation is second to none and consistency is a solid five out of five.
The final of the three is the VKB-3. With its huge, fluffy fleece head we approached this one with some degree of trepidation. We needn't have worried, the sound from this beauty is an absolute wonder.
Surprisingly loud and boomy, yet still with perfect note depiction, it produces a simply fantastic sound. An extended test shows that the fleece is reassuringly strong and shows no sign of wear and tear after several hours' play.
We use each beater across three rehearsal session, and while the VKB-1 and VKB-2 were expected to be more suited to our rock set, it is the typically jazz-minded VKB-3 that makes the most lasting impression.