Electro-Harmonix Crash Pad (EH-5360)

Updated: 2005-11-09

If you do a search for Electro-Harmonix on the net you'll end up with thousand and thousand of hits. If you specify the search with crash pad there is mostly compiled lists of E-H stuff. Electro-Harmonix, best known for all their stomp boxes,  manufactured a small family of drum pads in the late 70's of which the Space Drum and the Super Space Drum are the best known. The rest were the Sonic Boomer, Rolling Thunder, Clap Track, Panic Button and the Crash Pad.

The design resembles many of the effect boxes designed for guitarists and the housing is the same, built to survive a nuclear blast so to speak. Instead of the on/off stomp switch there is a small leather pad covering the hole. Inside is mounted a small microphone close to or across the hole. The pad is then hit with something and the mic picks up the hit and acts as trigger for the circuitry. The sound of the crash pad is just that - a cymbal crash, and not that bad either compared with some of their other products. I've used it a lot for hihats and cymbals but also cheesier snares and similar. The controls have start and stop sweeping points, i e the "bend factor" as Simmons would've called it. Sweep time just controls how long it takes from start point to stop point and decay controls the length of the sound. Weirdest is the resonance knob. Resonance is OK to get that "singing sound" in a tom, but on a cymbal?! You easily end up with submarine "ping" sounds. ;) If you ever gets to own or even try one - don't expect sonic nirvana, this is a cheesy unit and I have no spectrum analyzer, but it sure doesn't go deep in the frequencies! It has as much bass as a 70's organ drum box. But it's still cool, in it's own cheesy way.

You can trigger the Crash Pad by hitting it (or dropping it!), sending a trig pulse to it or why not hooking a trig mic to a real cymbal and mix the stuff together? The inputs also include an aux input I haven't really figured out yet, but I think you can add another sound there which is added to the triggered sound from the Clap Track. There is a sensitivity switch but since I seldom bang the pad physically I never use that. Inside it's the standard E-H machinery. A simple circuit board that looks like it was assembled by monkeys or maybe an MIT freshman. There is lot of wires going here and there and then the sturdy potentiometers and an internal PSU.

I found my unit by luck online and did a bargain compared to what rare Electro-Harmonix stuff like this do cost online. Did you know there were a whole following of people collecting these weird boxes? Mine is in great shape and doesn't seem to have been played much. I trigger mine from a Kenton Pro-4 with a splitted Kadi out. Together with it's "brother" the clap track and their british "cousin" the Simmons Clap Trap they make up one hell of a cheesy disco drum trio! :)

As far as I know there is only one famous appearance of the E-H Crash Pad and that's in the start of the single version of Soft Cell's smash hit "Tainted Love".

Electro-Harmonix Crash Pad specifications; 

Housing type table top
Channels 1
Noise yes, that's the whole point! ;)
Filter Yes, some kind...
pad type leather surface, velocity sensitive
LFO none
Connections external trig in, aux in, output
Housing steel
Dimensions 200 x 170 x 55 mm
Weight 1 kg
Released mid to late 1970's I think...
Quantity produced a couple of hundred (fair guess)
Pros Rare, collector's piece, goodlooking
Cons Limited (soundwise), cheesy, expensive
Price? (bargain,
fair, horrible)
$50, 200, 350

Happy browsing and don't hesitate to drop me a line at: jesperXelectronic-obsession.se

Also please bear in mind that all pictures and texts are mine so, ask before you steal or write your own stuff and take your own pictures! Feel free to link to my pages...