The Evans RealFeel and Vic Firth double sided practice pads are very similar but have some differences between them. Let’s take a closer look and see where they differ.

Feel and Playability

Both of these pads are very playable and offer a couple of good options between the softer and harder rubber surfaces on each side.

The soft, gray rubber surface on both pads feels very similar to me during play, but if I was pressed to point out a difference I’d have to say that Vic Firth feels just a slight bit more hard, and it sounds like a harder rubber. The Evans RealFeel gray pad has a textured surface and the Vic Firth gray pad is smooth. The rebound and stick definition feels about the same between both when played.

The hard, black rubber surfaces feel a little more different to me. The hard rubber on the Evans RealFeel pad looks porous like it’s made from pressed pieces of recycled rubber. The hard rubber on the Vic Firth pad is completely smooth. Both surfaces feel similar when I press on them with my fingers, but when played the Evans RealFeel pad feels just a little softer and more tactile, kind of like a cymbal pad on an electronic drum kit. I think it feels softer because of the porous nature of the material on the RealFeel versus the hard smooth rubber on the Vic Firth. The hard rubber surface of the Vic Firth pad feels more like an acoustic cymbal surface to me when I play it.

Evans RealFeel 2 Sided Practice Pad Angled
Vic Firth Double Sided Practice Pad Top Angle

Sound Characteristics and Volume Levels

We’ve already touched on the differences in the playing surfaces and sounds, but it’s better for you to hear the difference for yourself if you’re trying to decide between these two pads. Here’s a quick video demo of how each side of each pad sounds, along with a decibel meter to show estimated sound levels between the two.

Design and Build Quality

We are specifically comparing the 12 inch, double-sided version of each pad here, even though there are some variations available for each pad.

Both pads are very similar in size. The Evans RealFeel pad is exactly 12 inches (30.5 cm) in width from edge to edge and just a little over 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick. The Vic Firth pad is slightly smaller at about 11-5/8 inches (29.5 cm) in width from edge to edge and is about 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick.

In terms of weight, the Evans RealFeel pad is 3 lbs 10 oz (1.53 kg) while the Vic Firth pad is 3 lbs 6 oz (1.64 kg). They both feel about the same weight when held in hand, so there’s not much difference there.

The rubber surfaces are similar in thickness on both pads. The Evans RealFeel gray rubber surface is textured and the Vic Firth gray rubber surface is smooth. The Evans RealFeel black rubber is a porous pressed rubber, and the Vic Firth black rubber is smooth.

The wooden base on each pad offers some differences. The Evans RealFeel pad has an unfinished, unpainted pressed wood base and it feels a little rough to the touch. I’ve noticed that the rough wood can catch on certain types of cloth and clothing. The Vic Firth base is also a pressed wood, but it’s painted and smooth, with no rough feel to it at all. I personally like the base on the Vic Firth pad more than the Evans RealFeel pad.

The shape of the pads are a little different as well. The Evans RealFeel pad offers more surface area overall. The Vic Firth pad has a little less surface area and there is also a cutout on the pads to make room for the Vic Firth logo. This difference doesn’t really push me in either direction in terms of preferring one or the other personally, since the playing surface is plenty large for me on the 12 inch versions of each pad.

Evans RealFeel 2 Sided Practice Pad Bottom
Vic Firth Double Sided Practice Pad Bottom Angle
Evans RealFeel 2 Sided Practice Pad Edge Closeup
Vic Firth Double Sided Practice Pad Bottom Edge Closeup

Which One Would I Pick?

After spending a good amount of time with each pad, I’d could go both ways between these two. I like both pads and they offer me about the same in terms of playability and what I can do with them.

I’d pick the Vic Firth pad because of it’s smooth, painted base, it’s slightly smaller size, or if I simply was a fan of Vic Firth over Evans.

I’d pick the Evans RealFeel pad if I wanted to spend a little less, if I wanted a slightly larger playing surface on the pad, or if I was simply a fan of Evans over Vic Firth.