The original Pearl Eliminator is a classic design that has graced countless stages. The Redline is an updated version and it’s still a killer pedal. At $400 it sure ain’t cheap but after giving it several months hard use I can definitely say it’s worth the asking price. Most of the high-end pedals offered by the big brands are solid designs, but the Redline has a few smart features that make it stand out from the rest. The pricing is also very competitive compared to the other top-end models.
The Pearl Eliminator range has a number of variations, but my particular model is the Pearl P2052B Eliminator Redline. It’s the flagship belt drive version, and there’s also a chain drive version. I could write a whole article about chain vs belt, but you really need to just try both and see which you prefer. Personally I like the feel of the belt drive and prefer the smooth action it provides. The difference is quite small though. You can also buy chains and belts direct from Pearl and change them over if you end up regretting your initial choice.
Versatile switchable cam design
The Pearl Eliminator Redline offers the versatility of changeable cams. There’s four types of cams included with the pedal and you can buy another two designs from Pearl. The four types cover a huge amount of ground so I felt no need to buy the extra two types. Changing the cams changes the feel of the pedal by altering how rapidly the cam and beater moves forward. Switching over a cam can be done in 30 seconds once you get the hang of it.
Cam types breakdown:
Black Linear Action Cam: This is the standard design you’ll find on most pedals. It has a perfect circle shape and the action is balanced and smooth.
White Oversized Linear Cam: This is similar to the black cam but it’s even lighter in feel. If you value dynamic control over power this will match your style.
Blue Progressive Cam: This is an off-centre axis design, which has a light pedal feel but accelerates towards the end of the throw to give more power and impact.
Red Radical Progressive Cam: This is an extreme off-centre axis design, with a lot of power and impact. It really throws the beater into the drum without needing much push and is a favourite of extreme double kick players.
Purple Cam (aftermarket only): This is an off-axis design that is second only to the red cam in terms of how much it throws the pedal forward.
Yellow Cam (aftermarket only): This provides a slight inverse action, which is very smooth. It has the lightest feel out of all the cams.
Four pedals in one?
Pearl say the switchable cams make the Redline like four pedals in one. It’s a big claim but I have to agree with them. It really changes the feel of the pedal in a significant way. I was constantly tweaking my old pedal (a discontinued Gibraltar design) to try and get the feel right. After a bit of experimenting with cam types for the Redline I picked the red cam and haven’t needed to touch it since. I play some fast double kick passages with my band so I needed something with a quick response. The red has the fastest action, but despite that, I find I’m still able to play the dynamic jazzy stuff required for my work. If I was playing jazz full time I’d pick a different cam but it’s a testament to Pearl’s design that each cam is playable for a range of styles.
Tough design for gigging musicians
The Pearl Eliminator Redline double kick is damn near indestructible. Almost every piece is made out of high quality metal. The cams are hardened plastic, but they’re not in a particularly vulnerable position. They are also easy to replace or changeover if you do manage to break them. Basically you’d have to monstrously mistreat the Redline in order to break it. I would definitely be happy to take this double pedal out on tour. I would want to bring a few spare cams though, just in case one gets a direct hit.
There’s a carry case included with the pedal. It’s made out of tough fabric and has a hard plastic frame. It’s definitely enough to get the pedal safely to rehearsals and local shows. A touring musician would probably want a hardshell case but for the price we can’t expect everything. Also included with the pedal is two allen keys, a drum key and a strap for the case.
Facing up to the competition
Pearl also offer the Eliminator Demon Drive pedals, which are fairly similar to the Redlines but made in a longboard format. Extreme double kick players may be more interested in that design due to ease of using heel-toe techniques on longboards. The downside is that the Demon Drive pedals cost $200 more than the Redlines. For the rock, metal and metalcore material that I most commonly play, the Redlines makes playing the parts a breeze. You could also play more extreme material without any problems too.
The main competitors from other brands are the Tama Iron Cobra and Speed Cobra pedals, as well as the DW 5000 and 9000 pedals. The first three I mentioned are $30-40 more expensive than the Redlines, and the 9000 is $220 more. I tried out all three brands before buying, including the Pearl Demon Drives, and I preferred the Redline pedals. You might feel otherwise if you try them out, but for me there’s absolutely no reason to go for the more expensive pedals.
The verdict on the Pearl Eliminator Redline
The Pearl Eliminator Redline is arguably the best value high-end double kick pedals on the market at the moment. You get a top-quality, versatile product for less money than the main competitors. I intend to keep playing my Redlines until they fall apart, and given the construction quality that will probably be a very long time.
Drive System: Belt Drive
Manufacturer Part Number: P2052B
Pearl have updated a classic here and got it right all the way. The switchable cams are an inspired design choice that results in a versatile pedal.