Drum Workshop DW9550 Universal
|Features Usability Documentation & Product Support Price
Contact Info Overall Rating—Product Summary
The Drum Workshop DW 9550 Series Universal Remote Hi-Hat combines the latest hi-hat technology with DW’s excellent manufacturing quality. This new remote hi-hat stand is a first-in-class product with no other stand like it on the market today. It’s chock full of the latest innovations and provides the near-perfect pedal feel of DW’s standard hi-hat stands with the flexibility of a remote unit. The 9550 Universal Remote Hi-Hat is just one more example of DW’s ingenuity and dedication to improving the quality of drum and percussion hardware.
The traditional hi-hat stand has come a long way since its inception during the early part of the 20th Century. The first stands were cobbled together with miscellaneous, sometimes home-made, parts and components. Over time there have been many innovations to both hi-hat and pedal technology. Drummers have come to demand higher quality and more flexibility from of their hardware. This is partly due to the evolution of the modern drum set and its various parts.
Flipping through the pages of any drumming publication or a manufacturer’s catalog will show the innumerable drum set configurations that are possible with today’s hardware. Although DW is well known for their high-end drums, few know that their first manufactured product was a trap case seat. A short time later DW purchased molds, dies, and tooling machinery from Camco and set out to dramatically improve the bass drum pedal. Their kick pedal innovations raised the bar across the industry for quality and performance. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The DW 9550 Series Universal Remote Hi-Hat offers an example of the best technology that DW has to offer. This is not your average hi-hat stand, and with one look at it you’ll quickly realize that DW has raised the bar again. This new hi-hat system is an aggregation of three unique components: a 9000 Series Auxiliary Pedal, Universal Linkage Assembly, and a heavy-duty 9000 Series hi-hat stand.
The auxiliary pedal is the same 9000 series pedal that is used with the double bass drum pedals. This pedal has an extremely smooth range of motion thanks to the state-of-the-art ball bearing hinge design and free-floating rotor drive system – both DW innovations. The drive system is unique as it provides shaft rotation independent from the rotor.
Another patented innovation is the Floating Swivel Spring that creates a smooth down and up stroke of the pedal that is more efficient. We reviewed the twin chain-drive system, but the pedal can be easily converted for use with a nylon strap. The single post casting on the auxiliary pedal provides flexibility and ease of movement when placed next to other pedals.
Another great feature of the auxiliary pedal is the extension of the center shaft on both the right and left sides. This allows the stand to be set up on either side of pedal.
Linking the pedal to the stand is the Universal Linkage Assembly. This linkage is precision machined from aircraft-grade aluminum. The Universal Remote Hi-Hat comes with two different lengths of extension linkages each having the ability to increase or decrease the length with telescoping inner shafts on both ends. The shorter extension expands from nine inches to eleven inches and the larger extension from fifteen inches to twenty-two inches. These are the same type of linkages that come with the DW double bass drum pedals.
The hi-hat stand section is very similar to other 9000 series hi-hat stands, but minus the traditional tripod legs. Since those components are missing from the stand, DW provides the MG1 and MG2 clamps that provide a number of different mounting options. The bottom section of the stand has shaft mounting points on both sides that are used for connecting to the universal linkage extensions. As with the pedal, this allows for the stand to be set up on either side of the drum kit or either side of the pedal.
Yet another innovation from DW is the Lateral Cymbal Seat that allows for easy bottom cymbal angle adjustment. The Lateral Cymbal Seat feature is available on both the 9000 and 5000 series hi-hat stands (but not the 6000 series). Other features of the stand are memory locks, plastic tube insulators, large reset handles, cymbal space adjusters and heavy gauge tubing.
DW ships the stand a black nylon case the is used to transport the auxiliary pedal, extension linkages, mounting clamps, any anything else you can fit. Topping off this package is a high-quality DW drum key, the only tool you’ll need to put everything together.
DW 9550 Universal Remote Hi-Hat Features Summary:
When we first opened the package, we laid out all of the various components and for a moment felt overwhelmed – where are the assembly instructions? Not to worry though – if you are vaguely familiar with DW hardware (or other hi-hat stand assembly) it doesn’t take long to put the stand together. The toughest decision you will have to make is where you want the stand to be set up in relation to your drum set.
We evaluated the stand in three different positions. The first position had the stand set up just to the left of our primary hi-hats on a right-handed drum set configuration. Our intent was to have the stand act as an auxiliary hi-hat and outfit it with smaller twelve inch hi-hat cymbals. In general, this stand could be used with any size hi-hat or effects cymbals. In this configuration, the shorter of the two linkages was used to provide the shortest distance from pedal to stand as possible. The mounting clamps were used to attach the remote hi-hat stand to the main hi-hat stand.
The remote hi-hat was set just a fraction higher that the main hats and overlapping by an inch or so. If you are trying to picture this, the linkage was attached to the left side of the remote stand and extended over the main hi-hats pedal so that the auxiliary pedal was positioned to the right of the main pedal. It took a while for our brain to get used to this reversed configuration, but after a short period of familiarization we were able to move between the two pedals without much thought. We would have preferred an even shorter linkage option in addition to those that were provided, but were pleased with what was included.
Another configuration we used the stand for was a traditional right-side auxiliary hi-hat configuration. This placed the remote hi-hat cymbals just above the floor toms in our drum set. The auxiliary pedal was placed on the right, adjacent to the bass drum pedal. We used our right foot to alternate between the hi-hat pedal and bass drum pedal. This was a bit tricky to master and awkward at first.
The SM379 Locking Clutch was included with the stand, but we opted to replace it with a DW drop-clutch. This let us use the remote hi-hat in closed position without having to manually close and lock the top cymbal clutch while retaining the option to use the pedal for open hi-hat situations. We would have preferred that the stand package include a drop-clutch as we feel most drummers will use this remote with closed hi-hats.
The less obvious configuration is to use this “remote” hi-hat stand as a main hi-hat stand. Why would you want to do this? Well, it’s the perfect hi-hat stand for drummers with double bass drum sets! Double bass drum set drummers will be the first to tell you how difficult it is to finagle a hi-hat tripod so that it fits in the tight space in front of their left bass drum (again, in a right handed drum set configuration). Traditional tripod leg assemblies get in the way and are often folded up into the base requiring the drummer to stabilize the stand with clamps.
To test this theory, we set the Universal Remote Hi-Hat stand up as our main hi-hat in a double bass drum set up. We placed the auxiliary pedal to the left of the left bass drum pedal and ran the linkage extension over the bass drum pedal to the right to the remote stand. Again, it would be nice if there were a shorter extension option to allow the stand to be closer to the auxiliary pedal. That being said, the remote hi-hat worked perfectly as the main hi-hat. The mounting clamps attached the hi-hat stand to a nearby cymbal stand but could have also been attached to the drum rack we were using with our set. The lack of tripod assembly and pedal base plate allowed us to squeeze the stand into this tight spot; a task that would have been utterly impossible with any other hi-hat stand.
In each of these configurations the auxiliary pedal movement was smooth and effortless. It was a much more natural feel than cable-driven remote hi-hat stands. This was due in part to the direct linkage and superb motion of the Free-Floating Rotor drive system.
We did notice that the universal linkage worked best within 45 degrees of center. Meaning, you will want to prevent the linkage joints in the extension arms from exceeding larger angles. We found that larger, more extreme angles decreased the smooth motion of the pedal (but still offered decent performance). One small (and very nice) feature with the provided locking clutch for the top cymbal was a locking nut with the bottom felt screw. Once the bottom felt was adjusted the locking nut kept the bottom felt from coming loose during heavy use. This is a common problem with top cymbal clutches and we were glad to see DW address this problem.
This is a one-of-a-kind hi-hat stand with the closest competitor being the various cable remote hi-hats on the market. So, if you are looking for a remote hi-hat with the same high-end performance as a standard hi-hat stand, the DW 9550 Universal Remote Hi-Hat is second to none.
Documentation and Product Support
No documentation was provided with the stand. Although we’ve become accustomed to drums shipping without owners manuals or user guides, a product requiring complex assembly like this remote hi-hat should include some direction for assembly. However, the product photos online were of sufficient quality to provide some guidance during assembly.
The DW 9550 Series Universal Remote Hi-Hat ($499.00 MSRP) retails for approximately $300. Not a bad price to pay for such a serious piece of drum hardware.
Drum Workshop, Inc.
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