Coincidences are funny things. Positive or negative, it’s amazing when the synchronicity of the universe makes itself so apparent. When the Bat Phone rang and it was Mr. Doerschuk, DRUM! Editor extraordinaire, on the other end proposing that I review Pearl’s new Convertible Flat Base stands, I had just thrown out my back, and was eyeing my hardware bag wearily, preparing for a local gig. Where the alignment of the stars comes into play is that the stands — of a vintage design known for lighter weight and, in my humble opinion, killer looks — came just in time, and I was able to hobble to the gig with a semi-lighter bag in tow. More on that in a bit, but let’s first take a look at this spiffy new addition to Pearl’s hardware lineup.
Back To Base-ics
Pearl’s new BC-100S is the latest flat-base stand to hit the market, and the good news right out of the gate is that this is not your grandfather’s cymbal stand. The flat-base trend started a few years back, and other companies have already gone down this vintage path. Most vintage flat-base stands work on the principle of a bottom wing nut holding the legs in place with the aid of some sort of metal disc locking mechanism. Not so with this new Pearl stand. The company was smart enough to augment the basic design of a flat-base stand with the magic of modern hardware science. Now you can get the looks of a vintage beauty (mostly) with the strength of modern hardware.
The stand itself is pretty basic, but the genius is in its simplicity. The legs are single-braced, yet long enough to provide serious stability. Pearl sent me a photo of the stand with a tom hanging off of it, and this was not a Photoshop job. I hung various objects — a tom, a boom arm with an extra cymbal, a dumbek, my one-year-old daughter — from the BC-100S. And as long as an object was positioned properly, mostly over the leg itself, there were no stability problems. Heck, this thing is more rock-solid than a lot of tripod stands I own. The stand’s big rubber feet certainly add to this stability (and to its good looks). The shaft utilizes rock-solid nylon bushing joints and nice, big, easy-to-adjust, UltraGrip wing nuts. The top of the stand features a geared cymbal tilter and a very handy, retractable knurled boom arm. The arm is not very long, but just long enough to adjust your setup when necessary.
Base-D On Science
The base of the stand is where the new meets the old. Pearl has a new, ingenious base attached to the BC-100S. The legs are attached in two places — at the bottom of the stand and where the legs meet the shaft — pretty traditional stuff. However, these attachments are not permanent. At both points — one with a wing nut, the other with a drum key-operated screw — the legs completely detach from the stand. This allows the user to configure the stand in one of two ways. Option one is the traditional, flat-base leg arrangement with the legs folding upward for storage and positioned near the bottom of the shaft when in use. Option two (and this is where Pearl has broken some new ground) is a traditional tripod base. How can this be? Simple. Take the entire leg piece off of the stand, flip it over, reattach it, and voila! The trick — she is done! The legs now slip on to the shaft in a traditional tripod configuration.
Why is this important? As any user of flat-base stands can tell you, if you have more than one or two in a confined space, making the legs all fit around one another is like a game of Tetris. Add your floor tom legs to the mix and suddenly placing multiple flat-base stands can be an exasperating experience. Pearl is really on its game, combining two styles of stand in one. It’s real-world innovation like this that makes the gigging drummer’s life that much easier.
Base-D In Real Life
For the test run, I took two BC-100S stands to a local, small establishment. The flippable legs made their value immediately apparent. I was stuck in a tight corner (aren’t we always?) and utilized the stand’s unique base. I used one stand in the traditional flat-base setting, while flipping the base into a tripod for the other stand. The two stands fit tightly near one another, which is exactly what I needed.
The stands are certainly solid. While setting up, I tossed one stand from the stage, feet first. It landed on the dance floor with a chaotic bounce, completely intact. Nice. However, this sturdiness is where the BC-100S stand’s only downside comes into play. The idea behind flat-base stands, besides being so darn cool looking, is a lighter weight piece of hardware. While the BC-100S is lighter than a heavy-duty boom stand, it is not as light as you would think a flat-base stand would be. I’m not saying this thing is made of lead, but it’s no feather either.
Pearl has done itself proud once again. The BC-100S is a wonderful addition to the company’s hardware line. The stands are incredibly sturdy and stylish. The only slight — and I mean wee, tiny, barely worth mentioning — drawback is the stand’s weight. It’s certainly not overly heavy, but doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of the lightness of a vintage piece. But hey, that’s part of its beauty too. This is most definitely not a vintage throwback. The BC-100S is a perfect example of a great idea from the past meeting the innovation of the present.
Model BC-100S Convertible Flat Base Stand $119
Geared cymbal tilter; convertible boom/cymbal stand with knurled boom arm; die-cast pipe joints; UltraGrip wing nuts; detachable, single-braced, legs/bolts; converts from flat base to tripod base.
549 Metroplex Dr.
Nashville, TN 37211