First off, Evans offers a few different sizes as well as one or two sided pads. You can get RealFeel practice pads in either a 12-inch, 7-inch or 6-inch size. As you would guess, the smaller, one sided pad is the cheapest at around $17, and the largest, 2-sided pad is the most expensive at around $30.
The 1-sided and 2-sided options both have a textured rubber surface that is designed to give natural drum rebound when playing. The 2-sided pads also have a harder rubber surface on the other side that is designed to be more of a conditioning pad which makes you work a little harder with less rebound.
If you are going to mount your drum practice pad in a snare stand, which is what many people will want to do since it gives you the most natural posture for practicing, you will want to get the 12 inch version.
Evans also sells a practice pad stand that is designed to mount the single-sided 6 or 7-inch RealFeel pads. Those pads/stand look like this:
Anyways, as you can see, there’s some options here. But we’re talking more specifically about the 12-inch, double-sided model in this review, which is what we like the most.
Feel and Playability
This pads do have a really nice feel. The top side rubber has a pretty good, natural rebound to it and you can practice on it and translate back to a real snare drum without issue. It’s described as a gum rubber. People who have used Vic Firth practice pads say that this pad from Evans has a little bit of a harder feel to it when playing, however similar response.
The action of the top pad is excellent and it’s easy to play the rudiments and other techniques like you would on any normal snare drum.
The bottom side is better described as a tire type of rubber, noticeably harder in texture and darker in color. It is a harder material and doesn’t have as much rebound to it, and can be described as a conditioning pad – an alternative to work your hands and muscles a little differently.
The top side is the most quiet of the pads. The rubber is covered with a light gray fabric which takes an edge off the tapping noise. It does get a little loud if you are really whacking it, but for normal to softer playing it is fairly soft compared to some other harder pads with hard surfaces.
The bottom side is noticeably louder than the bottom, and sounds much more like you are striking a hard surface.
If you are playing at home and trying to keep noise levels down for neighbors or housemates, you will likely use the top side most of the time.
Portability and Design
This 2-side, 12-inch pad weights in at around 3.5 pounds, so it’s not super light, but it is portable. It will fit in most normal size backpacks and weigh less than many laptop computers.
Overall, there is enough mass here to make this a sturdy, workable practice pad. The bottom pad has a texture that kind of helps to hold it in place when you place on softer surfaces during use. With the tactile bottom and the weight, it’s playable if you put it on a chair with a cushion or play it in your lap.
Some people who own this pad say they don’t like the type of wood that is used on these – it’s an unfinished, fiberboard type of wood that can be rough to the touch. Some even say they sanded theirs down a bit to smooth them out, which worked ok.
There’s not much that will wear out on this pad over time. The materials are solid, it’s well made, and people who own these say they hold up to lots of use and abuse over time.
- Very durable
- Has mass to it
- Great playing feel
- Wood feels cheap and rough to some
- Can have a strong rubber smell
The Evans RealFeel practice pad is a great option at a good price. You really won’t be unhappy with this one if you decide to go for it.
It’s great for beginners, intermediates and experts alike, and with it’s size options, you can get one that’s extremely portable. We can recommend this pad for any drummer.