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questions for e-drummers


Vito Corleone

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I've mentioned before I've been trying to get my drummer interested in an e-drum kit, and I think I'm finally making some headway!

 

We played a casino gig on Friday where it was required that we use their little Pearl e-drum kit. Not a great kit but any means, and he busted a ton of sticks that night--lol--but it DID get him more interested in the idea than ever before. He finally started to realize the potential.

 

So we went down to GC the next and looked at some stuff. The Roland kits were (as I suspected) far and away the superior choice. The questions revolve around how to get him into it.

 

1) He's still really attached to his acoustic kit. As much as he understands the advantages of a pad kit, he still wants to use his kit. So he's on this idea of using mesh heads and triggers. The idea sounds fine to me, but what are the disadvantages/potential problems to doing this?

 

My thought is it will, if nothing else, serve as a bridge until he decides a pad kit would be better? And also, there is the cost issue. He's not that willing/able to plunk down several grand on a full kit right now.

 

2) all they had in the GC was the TD9. It sounded pretty good but how much better are the 12 and 20? supposedly those have been discontinued and are going to be replaced by the new TD-30. Which looks awesome, of course, but IS pricey. Is looking for a used 12 or 20 a good option? What's the major differences between the two?

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...He's still really attached to his acoustic kit. As much as he understands the advantages of a pad kit, he still wants to use his kit. So he's on this idea of using mesh heads and triggers. The idea sounds fine to me, but what are the disadvantages/potential problems to doing this?

 

 

If reducing volume is a primary driver behind the desire to move to electronic drums - I'd be skeptical of a move to mesh heads and triggers. I worked for a bit with a drummer who used his accoustic kit along with triggers - and it actually contributed to volume issues - because the triggered sounds need to be pretty loud to be heard alongside the accoustic kit. Mesh heads will help bring down the volume of the accoustic kit - but it doesn't eliminate the resonance of an accoustic kit.

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If reducing volume is a primary driver behind the desire to move to electronic drums - I'd be skeptical of a move to mesh heads and triggers. I worked for a bit with a drummer who used his accoustic kit along with triggers - and it actually contributed to volume issues - because the triggered sounds need to be pretty loud to be heard alongside the accoustic kit. Mesh heads will help bring down the volume of the accoustic kit - but it doesn't eliminate the resonance of an accoustic kit.

 

 

How loud IS a mesh-head kit? Reducing volume IS one reason to move to electronic drums. Along with versatility and consistancy. (Without drums to soundcheck, how much soundcheck do we really NEED anymore?) We're all IEMs at this point and the drums are about the only thing left on stage making any real loud noise. (The guitarist and bass player still use amps, but they are turned pretty low.) And without drum mics, there isn't much on stage to pick up the acoustic drum sound.

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Mesh heads on an acoustic kit will kill most of the volume from the shells. Adding those and triggers will give you lots of options for sounds and volume.

The biggest issues I have with gigging with e-drums is snare response and cymbal sounds/sensitivity. Just not the same.

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Mesh heads on an acoustic kit will kill most of the volume from the shells. Adding those and triggers will give you lots of options for sounds and volume.

The biggest issues I have with gigging with e-drums is snare response and cymbal sounds/sensitivity. Just not the same.

 

Supposedly that is going to be something the new Roland TD-30 addresses really well.

 

But then you'd almost certainly need the pads that go along with it, I would think.

 

Yeah...the volume thing....hmmm.....

 

....after typing that post about no drum mics I just realized our drummer wants to continue to use his real cymbals, which would probably mean an overhead which, would probably mean----acoustic drum sounds in the mix. :facepalm:

 

Ey, yi, yi. No easy answers here...

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I cant answer the comparison question, but I have a TD-9 and my drummer would use it in certain circumstances. Regarding the triggers on pads, you will still have the cymbals, which may be a plus for your drummer. I love the E-kit. I think it sounds pretty damn good, better than a poorly tunes acoustic kit. It is so fast and easy to set up. I leave everything assembled except the kick pedals, kick pad and hat pedal. I can have it set up and "miced" within about 5 minutes after the trailer doors are opened. It takes up much less space on "stage" and works great with the IEM's. Outdoors or bigger bars I am all for the acoustic kit. Although the E-kit is fine there also. I think one obstacle for my drummer is the appearance, they are just not nearly as cool as an acoustic kit.

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I love my kit and haven't used my acoustic kit on gigs in about 9 years. The only time I do is usually benefits where it's a donated kit for the day. My drums are all mesh heads and the feel is very much that of a regular head. E-cymbals I had to get used to but it wasn't a biggie for me. As far as the module goes, I didn't like the interface or the stock sounds on the td-9 as much as the others. I would go with the TD-12 or TD-20 they do share a lot of the same sounds but the 20 is the "flagship" top of the line. The default sounds range from ok to great but the VEX kits make 'em even better. http://www.vexpressionsltd.com/

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Most drummers that played on acoustic drums most of their life don't like the feel of e-kits is the number one complaint I get.

 

 

My drummer didn't love the feel, but he's willing to adjust. We all, him included, loved the WAY the e-drums sounded through IEMs when compared to his acoustic kit---cleaner and more defined. We all agreed there were probably better sounds than the Pearl kit provided--but the potential was obvious.

 

The worst thing about the Pearl kit was the cymbals and the hi-hat. It was inconsistant in how different cymbals would ring out and cut off. But overall we all--the drummer included--thought the drum sound and the overall band mix was better through the IEMs than with using acoustic drums.

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My drummer didn't love the feel, but he's willing to adjust. We all, him included, loved the WAY the e-drums sounded through IEMs when compared to his acoustic kit---cleaner and more defined. We all agreed there were probably better sounds than the Pearl kit provided--but the potential was obvious.


The worst thing about the Pearl kit was the cymbals and the hi-hat. It was inconsistant in how different cymbals would ring out and cut off. But overall we all--the drummer included--thought the drum sound and the overall band mix was better through the IEMs than with using acoustic drums.

 

 

Another thought is you might go here http://stealthdrums.com/ and talk to this guy see what he would charge you to covert the drummer's kit into a e-kit.

You still need a module but at least the drummer doesn't lose the feel and you don't have to deal with the volume win win for both.

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My drummer tried a dozen different kits and the ONLY kit that he felt good playing was the TD-20. The other kits did not feel like a real kit and the bounce back on the sticks felt unnatural to him. The TD-20 feel alike an acoustic kit and if you spend some money on third party patches the kit can sound downright awesome.

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Ya know, a bit of an aside here, but I play with a drummer in a project who is fantastic. And he has a light touch. VERY light: plays the 'top' of the kit. Not much louder than speaking volume. You really don't have to raise your voice when he is playing.

 

And he refuses to play louder. His drums and technique aren't set up to sound good at bigger volumes. And he has AMAZING tone. GAWD his drums sound sweet. I play in a contemporary blues thing with him and he did the contemporary jazz thing I bitched about in another thread recently. After I learned to TURN DOWN....waaaay down.... when playing with him, I found out that volume and intensity aren't kissing cousins.

 

The guy has taught me that if a drummer does it right, you don't need an elec kit to keep volume down. And his playing has just as much INTENSITY and DRIVE as some one making "I have gas" faces and slamming the heads with 2b's.

 

The volume addiction is a hard one to break.

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Ya know, a bit of an aside here, but I play with a drummer in a project who is fantastic.

 

 

My drummer doesn't play with a heavy hand really. And he's very good at keeping the groove even when we've been asked to play at ridiculously low volumes. But at our "standard" volume, he IS playing loud enough so that it usually causes a not-so-pleasant bleed through with the IEMs. Not one I even really noticed that much, or recognized the source, until the night he played with the E-drums and everything was so super-clean.

 

I'd love for him to go to a straight pad kit because of all the convenience of set-up time, space in the trailer, etc. But he's not quite willing to go that far because he still loves the look of his kit. OK. He's entitled to that endulgance. My hope is that after a short while of playing a triggered-kit he'll get over the "look" thing and want to switch to pads.

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I will be upgrading to the TD-30 when it comes out and therefore I have a sweet TD-20SX system that I will be selling. No idea how much money your guy is wanting to spend but the kit is selling for $5k range used on ebay and I would sell it for around $4k.

 

It really does sounds sweet in a mix in a live gig environment: http://www.youtube.com/user/SpokaneBand?feature=mhee

 

My drums get more comments (good ones) than you would think. Pretty amusing how often I get approached at gigs about them.

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My drums get more comments (good ones) than you would think. Pretty amusing how often I get approached at gigs about them.

 

 

I don't doubt it. I personally think e-drums look cool and hip. But for others, old habits are hard to to break.

 

Knowing my drummer, once he had such a kit and started getting compliments on it, he'd probably start loving it as well. It's just getting him over that initial hump...

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The new sounds mostly. I am very happy with my current sounds (I tweaked them with VEX as Jeff mentioned above), but I have G.A.S. and a touch of OCD and I always like to get the latest and greatest when I can. New kit will set me back over $6k but if I can get $4k for my current kit it will lessen the sting. ;)

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I don't know if they had any Yamaha kits in stock there but it's something else the drummer may want to try. I prefer the rubber pads on the Yamahas, and think the cymbals sound and respond better, too. The Rolands had too much bounce for me. They also tend to be a bit cheaper, too. I use a DTXTREME III, not sure if they even exist anymore, but I've been gigging with it for over two years now with no issues.

 

For cymbals, you may want to look into the new Zildjian Gen16. They're real cymbals but with two small microphones and their own sampling module. I have no experience with them but have heard nothing but great reviews. They'll likely feel and sound better than the Roland or Yamaha options, but they require their own unit.

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The new sounds mostly. I am very happy with my current sounds (I tweaked them with VEX as Jeff mentioned above), but I have G.A.S. and a touch of OCD and I always like to get the latest and greatest when I can. New kit will set me back over $6k but if I can get $4k for my current kit it will lessen the sting.
;)

 

OCD aside :poke: are the new pads a big improvement over what you have now?

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I don't know if they had any Yamaha kits in stock there but it's something else the drummer may want to try.

 

 

They had a $600 Yamaha kit. He didn't even try it, although our guitarist actually owns that kit. Seemed a bit more of a "toy" than a pro kit to me, but I'm certainly no expert on this stuff.

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OCD aside :poke: are the new pads a big improvement over what you have now?

 

 

They claim they are better playability wise. Better rim shot triggering, better positional sensing, better sensitivity. Saw something from Roland saying the new pads are 20-25% of the playability improvement over the TD-20 series, the TD-30 module is the other 80%.

 

I don't have any issues with playability but I also have been playing Roland mesh kits since 2000.

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They claim they are better playability wise. Better rim shot triggering, better positional sensing, better sensitivity. Saw something from Roland saying the new pads are 20-25% of the playability improvement over the TD-20 series, the TD-30 module is the other 80%.

 

 

Yeah, that new kit sounds awesome. If it were ME, I'd just go-for-it and get the TD-30. But that's just how I do things.

 

My hope for now is to get my drummer into the best sounding/best playing module I can while still allowing him to keep his current kit and not costing him a ton of money without being something he's going to want to throw away in a couple of months.

 

If I had an extra $6K lying around I'd probably just buy the TD-30s myself and tell him "here---play THIS".... but an extra $6K ain't something in my wallet right now....

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They had a $600 Yamaha kit. He didn't even try it, although our guitarist actually owns that kit. Seemed a bit more of a "toy" than a pro kit to me, but I'm certainly no expert on this stuff.

 

Yeah, that's the case at my local GC (and all other local stores) as well. Yamaha's highest-end stuff is ridiculously good, and rubber pads have a lot of benefits that mesh ones don't -- you won't be breaking a head, for example, no matter how hard you play; they can identify where on the head you're hitting instead of just that it's being hit; there's no "hot spot" where the foam cone makes contact with the head (on some of the Roland kick drums, for example, you're not supposed to hit a specific spot slightly off-center, and those with double-bass pedals have run into problems with this in past iterations; I'm sure it's fixed now).

 

Plus they're damn pretty.

 

yamaha-dtx950k-kit-back-460-80.jpg

 

That kit isn't much less than the Roland, at $5400, but it comes with their hex rack too, probably my favorite of all the rack design ideas.

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My drummer didn't love the feel, but he's willing to adjust. We all, him included, loved the WAY the e-drums sounded through IEMs when compared to his acoustic kit---cleaner and more defined. We all agreed there were probably better sounds than the Pearl kit provided--but the potential was obvious.


The worst thing about the Pearl kit was the cymbals and the hi-hat. It was inconsistant in how different cymbals would ring out and cut off. But overall we all--the drummer included--thought the drum sound and the overall band mix was better through the IEMs than with using acoustic drums.

 

 

Well I defintley understand about e-kits in the IEMs. Mine sound awsome with Addictive Drummer in the headphones. As I mentioned earlier I have no complaints about the sound and usually every drummer that's ever played on them which has only been 3 since I bought them. Love how the Addictive Drummer vs what the TD-8 has to offer but they bitch about the feel.

Mainly the HH because the TD-8 doesn't support the VH12 HH that uses a real HH stand and lacks snare postioning like some of the other TD line does.

 

I did have a Tama kit but had to many neighbors complain about the noise and had to deal with cops and decided to sell off the Tama 3 years ago, and yet to ever have a cop ever come back and harass me about about being to loud. I rather not get harassed by cops just for playing music if you know what I mean.

Some cops are not as nice as others.

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