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Steviebone
KVRist
 
90 posts since 8 Sep, 2007
I'm looking for advice from professional drummers who have extensive experience playing both acoustic and electronic kits.

I have a studio with an exhaustive MIDI set up. I'm not a drummer but I need to understand how to best accomadate professional drummers using a MIDI drum set that goes directly to VST's bypassing any drum brain. I don't need or want any sounds.

Existing kit is made up of an array of triggers of various sorts plugged into multiple Alesis I/O's attached to hardware midi routing system. I am mostly concerned about the high hat and snares since those are the two most important and essential elements of playability and really the only thing that anyone has ever complained about in the past.

So I want to start by upgrading my high hat and snare, bearing in mind that I do not want to have to plug into a proprietary brain of any sort (with sounds), which rules out some models.

1. Which snare pads are the most 'playable'? And by that I mean how the drum head responds to the strike physically, irregardless of the sound generated/triggered.

2. Which snares offer the best sensing that can be plugged in without proprietary hardware?

3. I recognize my Alesis I/O's are somewhat dated. However a quick Google search did not turn up much in the way of current alternatives. Any suggestions?

4. Newer snare pads have positional sensing that modifies signal based on what part of the drum head is struck. Is it correct then that the trigger consists of a countuiously variable CC input in addition to the normal note on/off value?

5. Same question for the hat...


Thanks in advance for any input. It is greatly appreciated.
sascha
KVRian
 
997 posts since 1 Oct, 2001, from Berlin, Germany
This place is probably not the best source, I'd suggest to browse through the 'product' section on the vdrums.com forum, maybe this might already clear up itself.
However, being an e-drummer myself (using a heavily modified MarkDrum YES and a few DIY electronics and self-built pads from acoustic shells as well as low-volume acoustic cymbals with additional piezos), here's my take on the topic:

1. Roland pads are expensive but offer long-term reliability, triggering is spot-on, considering a 'good' module
2. Rule of thumb is, that smaller pads have better tracking, due to the shorter wavelength of the membrane. Sure, I'm talking mesh heads here. You wouldn't want to play on rubber surfaces, for the sake of ambient noise and hand/wrist sanity. If you're after great looks AND 1st-class triggering, check out Drum-Tec, they make beautiful snares. Again, vdrums.com is your friend.
3. Alesis Trigger I/O (now relabelled as DDrum ddti) is terribly flawed in terms of tracking reliability and latency. You can get away much better with a cheap 2nd-hand module. Check out an old Roland TD9 mk II, or TD 11. Fastest are TD30 and 2box Drumit 5, to my knowledge, but those are still expensive 2nd hand.
4. Positional sensing is Roland-exclusive, realized by using a mid-trigger and detecting the slew rate. Doesn't work with rim triggers, althoug hthose are better generally because they don't have the nasty central hot spot. Unfortunately, most Roland modules that offer positional sensing (TD25/30/50) don't always have seamless sample transitions. I wouldn't give too much attention to the modules here, but SD2/3 and AD2 could be nice in this respect. Yes, it's done via CC.
5. Hihat: do yourself a favour and consider a 'real' setup on a stand, like Roland VH11 or VH13 (the latter is expensive and louder, though). Cheap alternative is a regular pad and the Goedrum hihat controller below, or the latter with a low-volume practice cymbal (like Zildjian L80 plus piezo underneath).
Sascha Eversmeier
u-he | digitalfishphones | samplitude (past)
moshimoshi
KVRist
 
52 posts since 18 May, 2016
I would echo what sascha said, except for the last point - I've never been convinced by the Roland VH hat triggers - the moving surfaces clashing against each other can cause mis-triggering. I don't really see the problem with a static single hihat surface and there are less complications in my experience.

There are interesting choices for drum brains these days:

https://www.megadrum.info/
DIY option: https://sites.google.com/view/open-sour ... re/arduino

I've not tried either of the above though. I'm using a drumkat myself, its trigger->MIDI conversion is super fast.
sascha
KVRian
 
997 posts since 1 Oct, 2001, from Berlin, Germany
The VH11 is one-piece only, so there's nothing clashing (although the pad itself swings quite nicely). But you're right on the VH13, and what's even worse: Alesis Pro-X. I've once had the chance to play the new ATV kit, and its hihat feels great. The one I am using is the MarkDrum one, but it is proprietary (has its own ┬ÁC board inside, and all connections to the module is via a digital bus), and I developed an own hall-sensor circuit for it (magnetic-field based, similar to 2box). I was not happy with the small travel from closed to open, which is where some FSR (pressure-sensor) designs fall short, and that kills realism.
BTW, I was used to ~10-12 closed-open transitions from my module, and it was hard to believe that most VSTs only have 4 to 6 positions. Most SW drum libs are still aimed at producers, not so much at players. The hihat is the most complex instrument on a drum kit, and it's so easy to spot a fake one :(
Sascha Eversmeier
u-he | digitalfishphones | samplitude (past)
User avatar
Delta Sign
KVRist
 
301 posts since 22 Jun, 2018
Slightly OT, but is the U-He drumsynth still in the pipeline?
sascha
KVRian
 
997 posts since 1 Oct, 2001, from Berlin, Germany
Somehow, sometimes... every now and then, but we need to wait whether the public-funding thing works, which still is quite some paperwork to do.
Sascha Eversmeier
u-he | digitalfishphones | samplitude (past)

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