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To the Drummers here

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I'm thinking ahead here some, but would like some thoughts if you would....

I'm still in the "working on" stages of a home studio, and want to know what you think of those electronic pad type drum kits? I like the looks of them but have not experienced their sound. I'm not a player, so I really would like to know what you think about sound, feel, brands etc. They look like they would take up less floor space but is that advantage worth it? Any info or thoughts would be appreciated......Thanks

Edit - I'm thinking lower to mid price range btw

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I have the Yamaha DD-55 - it's one that has seven rubber drum heads in one large casing, with two pedals (kick and hi-hat.) The drum sounds are decent enough sounding and there are many kit simulations built in for versatility, but there are two shortcomings - it doesn't respond to playing dynamics very well (i.e., being louder or softer according to how hard you hit), and you can't "choke" the cymbals. The heads don't feel much like real drum heads either, but I can get past that part fairly easily. I haven't tried recording it yet, but I imagine I should be able to use the headphone out to go into the mixer. I'll have to give it a try pretty soon just to see if it works.

It's definitely low-budget - if I were going to include an electronic drum kit in a decent home studio, I'd spend at least enough money to get something like the Yamaha DTXplorer or Roland HD-1. I really like the mesh pads on the higher-end Roland sets - they feel a lot more like real drum heads than the rubber ones.

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Electronic drums aren't a bad way to start. They're quiet and very easy to record because they don't require multiple mics, mic preamps, input channels for your recording interface, sound treatment, etc...

They certainly don't feel or sound like a real kit as Stratrat mentioned, but they are a big step up from a typical "robotic" drum machine. I would definitely go for mesh drums over the hard rubber pads (Grrrr I hate those!!! ;)). Pintech has apparently discontinued their USA Spirit electronic set, which was about $700 (and had the mesh drum heads), it might be worth seeing if you can find a used set. Also, to improve the sound you could MIDI the drums into your computer and use a drum VSTi to play the MIDI data. Yellow Tools has a free version of Independence that has a lot of drum sounds (and a few other instruments) and they are very good.

-tkr

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Tekker, sorry to go off topic, but as I mention in another post,(I hate drums!!!) I can't get a drum VST to work in Reaper, can you help me out?

Ian

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I have tried both the Alesis and Roland, the roland was great. In our band as we dont have a van so the drummer is investing in the roland kit (brand snob) as the sound works well for small low volume venues. I did not find much difference between the sets.

I might buy this one, it needs a pc but that would work with my setup and its CHEAP!

n58ck.jpg

iEDO5 USB Digital Drum Kit - From Maplin UK

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Thanks Mac, That Yamaha and Roland are along the lines I've been looking at. And thanks for the heads up on the dynamic aspects, I just assumed they would be touch sensitive.

Thankyou too Tekker, for the link and seconding Stratrats thoughts about the "skins". Totally slipped my mind about looking at used equipment, thanks for that and the midi tip.

Ian, is it just one particular vst your having problems with or the install process itself? I don't use reaper but I'm almost sure they would probably install the same sort of way.

Thanks Kriss, That is cheap for sure, would be interested in the sound quality over a drum machine in the same price range though. And did you read the replys to the questions on that link? seems its pretty well limited but I guess at that price why complain.

Which leads to another question{or two}....

Are the majority of the kits upgradeable? as in adding more cymbols and or pads? I take it they would have a line out port, do they require any special type amp or would playing thru the PA be enough? Also are they powered normally thru the wall or USB{both}?

Thanks much folks for your time, I appreciate the help.

Edit...one more ?..... do stick choices make any difference?

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Hi Kenny, I've got a couple of vstis, including Woolo beat. If I record a midi track in Guitar Pro and export it to Reaper it works fine if it's a, say, keyboard track. If it's a drum track...nuttin'. Also if I load a drum vsti in Reaper, I have no idea how to control it...hence my using Guitar Pro as a sort of sequencer.

Ian

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Sorry Ian, but I'm no help there...I have GP{4} but have only used it for playback. Wouldn't the control issue be the same as any other...select it from effects and use its corresponding window panel?

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X4, one of the advantages of an e-kit is that you can have a great time playing late at night and not have the neighbors complain! I am definitely an acoustic kit guy, but I can understand the advantages of recording an e-kit vs. having to mic and record an acoustic kit.

BTW, you might take a look at Hart Dynamic e-kits. I've heard positive things, and they have a different set up on their cymbals, which gives them a more natural feel. I do agree, though, that the gold standard in e-kits is Roland.

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Thanks PastorBob, Those Hart Dynamics look good as well.

Let me try to ask another question....lets say noise isn't a factor, and suppose my main board has enough inputs for miking what ever may need, would you guys/gals that play get that oh geez feeling if you were invited to play somewhere and electrics were provided? Are they hard to adjust too playing, I'm asking because of the similar price ranges. Should I just go with a standard acoustic kit to be more acceptable. I'm just kinda lost on which road to take, I don't have much intensions of learning to play, though I'm sure I couldn't resist attempting, and I don't want to be wishing later that I should of bought something else.......Thanks again

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would you guys/gals that play get that oh geez feeling if you were invited to play somewhere and electrics were provided?

In that situation, I would bring my own set. ;)

Are you interested in learning drums or is it more something to play around with and have for others to use (such as a drummer in your band)? If you're wanting to learn drums, then even a cheap/junk set will be better for learning on than an electric. Electrics just don't feel/respond like real sets, so they are very different worlds just from a playing aspect.

If it's for others to use and/or just for you to mess around with, then you'll have to weigh in the other factors.

For recording, not only does it require a lot of mics, preamps, inputs, etc, but drums are by far the most difficult instrument to record "well". The drums cover the entire frequency range from bass frequencies (with the kick drum), to the mid frequencies (snare and toms), to the extreme high frequencies (cymbals). Getting all of this to mix with other instruments can be quite difficult. Then you have multiple mics with bleed through where drums get picked up by other mics that you don't want them to get picked up by (for example the snare drum getting picked up by the tom mics and kick drum). Any processing you to do the toms and kick tracks will then affect the sound of the snare because the snare was picked up by these. Then of course there is the kit itself, tuning, snare buzz or ring, tom buzz/ring, cymbal quality, etc.

Drums are an interesting instrument to record and upkeep, that's for sure! ;)

MIDI drums are easy from a recording perspective, each channel is completely independent of the others (no bleed), and the sound can be changed based on the VSTi you use. No tuning, no buzzing, just push a few buttons and pound away. :D

So you have to weigh the different options and figure out which are most important. If you plan on getting serious with drums, then real drums are the only way to go IMO. Even if it's a cheap set that doesn't sound very good, it's better to get the practice in now and deal with everything else later on as you progress.

-tkr

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Tekker, sorry to go off topic, but as I mention in another post,(I hate drums!!!) I can't get a drum VST to work in Reaper, can you help me out?

Sorry, I have never done MIDI in Reaper.

I've only done MIDI in my recording program (Samplitude). Plus my keyboard is USB (very easy to use) and I imagine drum machines would be MIDI cables, which I have no experience with.

You could try posting on the Reaper forum, as I imagine there are lots of folks there doing drums with VSTi's.

REAPER Forums - Cockos Confederated Forums

-tkr

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Thanks Tekker, I believe I'll stay with the electronic kit then. No offence intended to those who play, but the last thing my poor mind needs now is to try and grasp something new. I'm happy when my rhythm keeps me walking upright, I'll leave the precussions to those of you with real rhythm.

Yeah, my main thought is just to have something available for those who can...and I seen in the Yamaha that Stratrat mentioned, that it looks like it folds up so that would work if someone wanted to bring a real kit by. With midi available, I'll still be able to use it in my recording apps with much less hassle or knowledge required.

Thanks everyone for helping me decide, I'll be sure to update you all when the time comes.....Kenny

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Kenny, one thing that should put your mind at rest is that e-kits have become more and more accepted in the drumming world, especially the higher end kits with the mesh drumheads. For instance, the drummer for Trans-Siberian Orchestra uses an e-kit during live performances.

Although I personally prefer the acoustic drums, I can also see some advantages to electronic drums. Because I live in a parsonage on the grounds of the church, with no close neighbors, I can play my drums at any hour. If I had close neighbor, though, the e-kit gives a way of playing with headphones so that there is minimal external sound.

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