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DISCLAIMER: I'm a songwriter, producer, and educator. My writing style may seem a bit over-the-top like a billboard ad, but my user review is sincere and authentic. I only write about a product I think is extraordinary, hence the high rating. I don't work for developer. In fact, I rarely work at all. :-) I hope you find my findings useful. — Tommy Zai
INTRO Aerodrums is an innovative air-drumming instrument that is not only fun to play, but useful in creating and recording expressive, realistic MIDI drum patterns.
WHY I ORDERED IT! I visited the 2014 NAMM show to check out the latest releases from my favorite virtual synth developers. As I wandered around the chaotic halls of the Convention Center, a booth located in the far corner caught my eye — yes, my eye. .. and my ears. AERODRUMS! I watched a drummer using only two sticks and a little piece of foam attached to his feet to bang away on an invisible set of drums. It blew me away. I had to try it. To my surprise, the experience was incredibly realistic. The only thing missing was the actual impact of hitting the skins; however, the butt of the stick recoiling off my inner palm gave me enough feel to keep a nice rhythm going. I should mention — I'm not a drummer! Yet, I've spent the past 30-years finger drumming on keyboard and using MIDI drum pad controllers. Real drums were never an option for my studio recordings — too expensive, too big, too loud, too difficult to record, and as mentioned — I'm not a drummer! Banging away on one keyboard option just doesn't do it for me a longer. I also tried nearly every drum pad controller ever made, and for the price and limitations, they don't do it for me either. For years I had been looking for a new way to create and record beat, and I found it — AERODRUMS! After hanging around the booth and asking many questions for an hour or so, I took a card, emailed the developer, and placed an order.
SETTING UP Aerodrums arrived in an attractive, high quality box that will serve as a semi-permanent case. Inside I found the following:
Installation DVD, codes, safety warnings, etc.
Two drum sticks with a space-age silver, balls at the end.
Two foamy reflective foot pieces with elastic bands that go on your feet.
Two reflective shin pieces that are an option instea of the foot pieces.
USB light with lens to fit to the camera*.
*Sony PS3 Eye camera is not included. It's easily ordered through Amazon, and it's cheap.
The DVD did not include the software installers for Mac. I contacted the developer and was given the Mac install links (basic and MIDI updater). I was assured this would be included in future DVDs. I successfully download the software from the website. I followed the prompts, optimized the environment (camera placement+lighting), chose the kit (basic, jazz, rock, percussion, etc.), configured the Audio/MIDI set up, and started drumming!
MY FAVORITE FEATURES
Able to play drums at any volume level from LOUD to silent.
Accurate with no noticeable latency issues once set up correctly.
Adjustable drum hit sensitivity.
Comes with great sounding kits.
Ability to customize/edit existing kits and/or replace with user-defined samples (I have a HUGE drum sample library, so this feature is very cool).
MIDI trigger samples of any kind.
MIDI data recording into a DAW, which means I can toss out my clumsy controllers and pads.
Innovative, responsive developers.
Good price, considering the new tech and advantages.
Will Aerodrums use this concept to create other air instruments?
This software is sensitive to the subtle nuances of air drumming. Unwanted user movements can create unwanted hits. There is a built in filter to minimize this prior to recording, but I found it easy enough clean up my MIDI tracks later on.
Interface is clean, but perhaps a little bland. However, a busy GUI would complicate things.
This would be a blast to use live on stage. Imagine the crowd's reaction.
SUMMARY Aerodrums is an extremely expressive, lightweight (almost weightless), affordable and fun way to practice, play, and record drums. This is an excellent alternative to drum pad controllers. That being said, this might not be for everyone. Drummers who enjoy beating on things will not be satisfied; however, if you are in it for portability, flexibility, beat creation, playing live (in some settings), recording to DAW, and pure enjoyment — Aerodrums is a fantastic new way to go! I'm a proud user of v1, and I greatly look forward to future updates. Tommy Zai gives Aerodrums two drumsticks up. Thank you for creating something so useful, entertaining, and affordable!
* I am sure future updates will raise my rating from 9 to 10+