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Edition 13

FEBRUARY 2013

The global electronic drumming e-zine

Jon’s e-journey Atkinson electrifies the ‘80s

iPad drummer New @ NAMM

Daniel Schlep


REAL CYMBALS

FOR THE WAY YOU PLAY ©2013 Avedis Zildjian Company

Zildjian has created a revolution in edrums. Gen16, the world’s first acoustic electric cymbal. Play the hi-hat like a hi-hat. Choke cymbals. Roll with mallets. Stack cymbals. Experience all the dynamics without the latency or audio compression associated with digital sounds. Control audio levels and shape cymbal sounds with up to 99 presets per cymbal. Choose from an array of cymbal sizes and types made at the Zildjian factory. Visit Gen-16.com for more information and check out the “Young Guns” series of performance videos.


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--from-the-editor-is published by

DigitalDrummer

ABN: 61 833 620 984 30 Oldfield Place

Brookfield Q 4069 AUSTRALIA

editor@digitaldrummermag.com

www.digitaldrummermag.com Editor & Publisher Allan Leibowitz Sub-Editor

Solana da Silva Contributors

Enrico Bertelli

Philippe Decuyper John Emrich

Daniel Schlep

Wolfgang Stölzle Cover Photo

Allan Leibowitz

Design and layout ‘talking business’

Support digitalDrummer If you like what you’re reading, please make a donation.

Copyright: Forget the legalese and just play fair! We work hard to produce digitalDrummer. Please respect that and don’t rip off our content. In this age of electronic publishing, it’s obviously tempting to “borrow” other people’s work, and we are happy to share our stuff — but please ask first and be sure to include a link back to our website on anything published elsewhere.

As we start our fourth year, we’re really proud to unveil our first batch of Readers’ Choice winners – eight products and one drummer chosen in an online poll. You’ll find details of the winners – and some of the reasons behind their selections – on pages 6 to 8. There probably won’t be too many surprises in the list – and none of the products needs any introduction to this audience. And the same is true of our inaugural edrummer of the year – someone known not only for his skill behind a kit, but more importantly, for his passion for e-drums and his achievements in getting electronic percussion into the mainstream. Another passionate e-drummer is this month’s profiled artist, Jonathan Atkinson. He may not be known to many readers, but he certainly has runs on the board and is one of the few pro drummers whose first choice of gear is electronic, especially when he’s gigging.

Interestingly, when we spoke, Jon was very enthused about the future of the iPad as a percussion tool, and that’s an area we explore in great detail this month, with the most comprehensive review of drumming apps for Apple devices. I was an i-sceptic until I got my hands on an iPad, and I have to admit that I now share Jon’s appreciation for the platform. He, like me, is hopeful that Alesis’ DM Dock product, which I first saw at NAMM last year, may be the missing link that connects the power of the iPad to the e-drum kit. And while we wait for the DM Dock to hit the market, there are a few other options to trigger the iPad. There are also some very useful apps, as you’ll see as we wade through our first 20. I say “first 20” because there are several more that we reviewed, but didn’t squeeze in – and there are some others which were not yet ready for review that I hope to include in a future issue. Speaking of NAMM, we also showcase some of the new offerings unveiled at the world’s biggest music event last month in Anaheim. While there weren’t as many “new” products as in 2012, a number of releases from the latter part of last year were on show for the first time – and there were a few surprises, not least in Zildjian’s Gen16 range. Our magazine includes the regular features which have become familiar to tens of thousands of readers over our brief existence. There are product reviews, tweaking tips, DIY advice and a look at a reader’s Monster Kit. I trust you enjoy this edition and look forward to your feedback.

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The global electronic drumming e-zine Edition 13

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New at NAMM

This year, there may not have been many new offerings at the NAMM show, the music industry showpiece in California, but there were some significant ones.

What’s ‘appening?

e m m u oi Dr ’ Ch l ta s gi er di ad Re

The iPad has quickly become indispensable in a range of lifestyle aspects, and music creation has not escaped neither has drumming, with some great apps out there.

Hart of bronze

Hart Dynamics has spiced up the e-cymbal market with the release of its next-generation Ecymbal range.

Third strike for Germans

German e-drummers recently got together for the third annual Edrumtreffen electronic drummers meeting in Langenfeld to see e-drum solutions.

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profile

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performance

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Roland was the big winner in the inaugural digitalDrummer Readers’ Choice awards, with three awards, including the New Product of the Year accolade.

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Readers’ Choice winners

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GEAR

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February 2013

Jon’s e-journey

British drummer and programmer Jonathan Atkinson is as comfortable on stage with ‘80s stars as he is in the orchestra pit of a West End show. Mention electronic percussion, and the classically trained drummer lights up.

How I use e-drums

Many e-drummers use both acoustic and electronic drums. Daniel Schlep discusses the merits of each.

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VST

Product review: StarDrums

Acoustic Samples’ StarDrums is a relatively new product from the VST producer perhaps better known for its keyboard products.

VST Q&A

E-drum guru John Emrich is back to answer more VST questions from readers, this time discussing downloads and DAWs.

New Products

A snapshot of new VST offerings from Steven Slate Drums, Platinum Samples and Analogue Drums.

Tweaking

Big performance from small kits

In search of maximum triggers and minimal footprint, Enrico Bertelli fused two basic products and came up with a software solution to enhance the performance of his rig.

DIY

Wronka makes it easy

A new DIY trigger solution from Germany combines the design of external triggers with the ease of fitting and stealth looks of internal triggers.

Kick the habit

A new compact trigger solution is changing the way edrummers play their bass drums. Allan Leibowitz stepped up to try the Triggera Krigg.

Basic Triggering

This month’s reader question ponders the best way to add a trigger to a bass drum - and Philippe Decuyper has the answer.

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Readers’ Choice winners

--Gear--

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er m e um oic r lD ’ Ch a t rs gi di ade Re

ROLAND WAS THE big winner in the inaugural digitalDrummer Readers’ Choice awards, picking up three awards including the New Product of the Year accolade for the TD-30 kit launched last January.

The new flagship kit features Roland’s most advanced module to date, the TD-30, the new PD-128 and PD-108 trigger pads and a new VH-13 hi-hat system. The cymbals are reskinned in gunmetal and the new pad wrap is also imposing. Reviewed in the August issue of digitalDrummer, the TD-30 was described the best Roland kit ever, although the review did point out that the stock patches do not do justice to the module’s capability.

DrumIt Five was chosen as the module of the year. The 2box module is known for its real samples and open architecture. Since its launch, the module has been given an operating system revamp which improved its compatibility with third-party triggers, but its proprietary hi-hat system means it still has be used with a 2box hat. The module is gaining popularity as users find easier ways of importing VST samples to augment the impressive stock sounds.

Another part of the appeal is the reasonable pricing, but the module still has some limitations, such as the lack of recording and sequencing functionality and an interface which is not all that intuitive. Yamaha’s DTX Multi 12 was voted the multi-pad of the year. The 12-pad unit, according to the November 2012 digitalDrummer comparison report, could easily be used as a stand-alone drum kit, particularly with the use of an external hi-hat and kick pedal. It was found to be one of the few percussion pads that could be played effectively with fingers, sticks or hands. It was also praised for its mutable and pitch altering pad actions, its layering ability and its capability for importing samples. One negative, however, was the limited onboard memory.

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Roland’s PD pad series was selected as the drum trigger of the year by readers. Characterised by their realistic-feeling mesh heads and dual-zone triggering, the pads are responsive, robust and aesthetically pleasing – especially the latest incarnations with replaceable wraps. The higher-end pads support positional sensing in the TD-20 and TD-30 modules, and the new PD-128 and 108 models have enhanced rim triggering. While the new pads are an aesthetic improvement on their predecessors, some users dismiss them as bland, especially when compared with some of the custom triggers produced by the specialist builders. Roland’s CY cymbal range got the nod in the cymbal trigger category. In its current form, the range includes a 15” threezone ride, 14” dual-zone crash and 12” dual-zone hats clad in metallic grey. There are still a number of lower-end models from previous generations, offering some cheaper alternatives. On the whole, Roland cymbals are known for their low-noise acoustic performance, their responsive triggering and their choking ability. Limitations include a less-than-natural playing feel (compared to metal cymbals) and less than optimal bell triggering with some of the older models. When it comes to external triggers used to convert acoustic drums to electronics, ddrum wrote the book and it’s no surprise the iconic red triggers took the honours in their category. The range has grown to three lines – the basic Redshot, the more engineered Pro and the flagship DRT triggers with an extra sensor and switching system to cover any potential mishaps on the road. In digitalDrummer’s trigger comparison, all the ddrum models were found to be plug and play, requiring minimal tweaking for most modules. They were also solid performers, with excellent tracking. However, being edgemounted, the triggers don’t support positional sensing.


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Hart Dynamics picked up the honours in the auxiliary trigger category with its Hart Hammer, a hard rubber wedge with a generous playing surface and excellent triggering, together with good module compatibility. With more inputs available on higherend modules, the Hammer is part of a large range of offerings aimed at providing additional triggering capability without having to add a drum pad or cymbal. This product is compact, robust and easy to mount and also benefits from a lifetime guarantee. And it can also be attached to a reverse-angle beater to form a reliable and affordable bass drum trigger. Its only limitation is its single-zone capability, with a few competitors offering head and rim triggering, but for most drummers, one zone is enough for a cowbell. Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 2.0 was voted the most popular VST offering. The basic product includes 20 GB of samples recorded at the Avatar studio in New York. There are various samples, including sticks, rods, brushes and mallets, with a range of mixer presets.

The powerful SD application is augmented by a range of expansion packs including The Metal Foundry, Roots, Music City USA and Custom & Vintage SDX packs and a large library of less detailed EZX expansions, as well as EZmix and Producer packs. The offerings are versatile and easy to use, but because of their power, they do require a learning curve.

While the music industry is not known for nice guys, the 2012 edrummer of the year certainly proves that huge talent is not always accompanied by a huge ego. Johnny Rabb is not only a great drummer (one-time holder of the world record for drumming speed) and educator, he’s also approachable and always finds time for his fans. Rabb epitomises the spirit of the award. His work as a clinician for Roland has helped spread the word about electronic percussion, but he has also slaved behind the scenes, helping the Japanese instrument giant design products which meet its users’ needs. Rabb has personally created a number of the patches on the TD30 – and many of the other modules - in recent years.

Rabb has also been a strong supporter of digitalDrummer, writing columns, offering comments and generally just being a nice guy.

digitalDrummer congratulates the inaugural class of winners and also thanks all the readers who took the time to cast votes in our online ballot. We look forward to hearing from you again later in the year when we choose the best of the best for 2013. 8

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New at

--Gear--

The NAMM show in Anaheim is generally the showcase of industry innovation, with new products usually making their debut in front of the world’s major retailers, distributors and pro musicians. This year, there may not have been many new offerings, but there were some significant ones. TWO YEARS AGO, Zildjian turned heads with the launch of its Gen16 AE (Acoustic Electric) Cymbal System. This year, the company used the NAMM show to demonstrate some significant enhancements to the system.

The Gen16 range is being augmented by a new Gen16 Direct Source Pickup. This new microphone pick-up has been totally redesigned to enable more accurate cymbal definition, audio articulation and tone shaping. Not only will it be compatible with the existing DCP “brain” and Gen16 Cymbals, it will also work acoustic cymbals, tambourines, cowbells and other traditional cymbal variants. It is claimed this new design eliminates feedback and crosstalk.

The new pick-ups will be available as a standalone purchase for a street price of around $70 each and hit the stores by mid-year. In the meanwhile, the existing Gen16 box sets will be significantly discounted. The minimum advertised price for the 480 box set (14” hats, 18” crash, 20” ride, AE controller and three pick-ups) has been slashed by $200 – down from $949 to $749.The 368 set drops from $879 to $699; there’s a $150 cut on the 348 set (from $799 to $659) and the 38 set (13” hats and 18” crash/ride plus pick-ups and controller) drops from $769 to $499. Pearl unveiled its first major update of the ePro Live kit launched at the same venue three

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

years ago, with a software update and remix for the original 100 preloaded kits, as well as the addition of 50 new custom kits. The software update is available via download.

Pearl claims the RedBox 2.0 update improves the dynamic range and sensitivity of the module and adds velocity sensitivity.

On the hardware side, there’s a new TruTracHat, a once-piece hat which Pearl says “provides the real action and sounds of real hihat cymbals”.

There are also two new wrap finishes - Vintage Orange Glitter and Vintage Green Glitter.

It’s clear that a lot of activity in 2013 will revolve around the lower end of the market, with a number of new offerings pitched at the budgetconscious buyers. 9


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Yamaha showed off its sub-$500 DTX400K together with the slightly up-spec DTX450K kit.

Yamaha’s DTX450K (left) and the KAT KT1 (above)

Both drum sets come with the DTX400 module, which features 169 drum sounds, 128 instrument voices and 10 customisable kits. The triggers include newly designed 10” hihats, crash and ride cymbals and the 7.5” drum pads which have been redesigned for greater durability and playability. The DTX400 kit comes with a steel rack and the new beater-less KU100 kick unit, while the

DTX450 kit has a three-zone snare pad for head, rim-shot and side-stick sounds. The 450 kit retails for $699.99.

Two more entry-level kits made their debut at KMC Music, one of the largest independent US distributors of musical instruments and accessories, including Gretsch and Gibraltar. KMC has teamed up with Alternate Mode’s Mario DeCiutiis to produce KAT Percussion kits, the first two of which were on show. The eight-piece KT1 features over 150 sounds with 10 user-programmable drum set configurations that emulate a wide range of musical styles - from rock to reggae, jazz to electronic.

The nine-trigger KAT KT2 comes with over 450 drum, cymbal and percussion sounds. In addition, there are 80 play-along tracks and 45 drum sets (30 preset drum kits and 15 more

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Pearl’s e-kit gets new wraps and Roland’s BT-1 www.digitaldrummermag.com


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user-programmable kits) to fit any style It has two additional trigger inputs, allowing the addition of an extra drum pad and/or cymbal. The USB Sound Module connects to a wide variety of devices and is equipped with a pair of 1/4-inch stereo output jacks, and input jack for connecting to an iPad or other MP3 player as well as MIDI and USB ports for digital recording or playback. Pricing is identical to the DTX400 range - $499 for the base kit and $699 for the KT2. Roland capped off a year which marked a total range revamp by entering the auxiliary trigger market with its BT-1 Bar Trigger Pad. The compact, curved pad mounts on the side of electronic or acoustic drums via a tension rod. The Japanese company earlier launched its TD-4KP V-Drums Portable kit designed for mobile drumming and small spaces.

It is powered by the TD-4 sound module which has onboard sound editing, ambience effects and Coach and Quick Record/Quick Play functions. The TD-4KP comes with a kick pad, a 7.5” snare pad, three tom pads, a hi-hat pad and two 10” cymbal pads (crash and ride). A FD-8 hi-hat controller pedal is included.

Roland’s RD-4KP (left) and Alesis’ DM7X (above)

An optional CB-TDP carrying case provides a convenient way to transport and protect the TD-4KP, and upgrade options include the PDX6 or PDX-8 V-Pads which can be swapped for the snare. The street price of the new kit is around $799. Alesis debuted two new kits at NAMM - the DM Dock Kit and the DM7X Kit. The DM Dock Kit is a six-drum, four-cymbal drum set based around the DM Dock, iPadpowered drum module unveiled last year. The set features four toms, a snare, the Alesis Stealth Kick drum trigger, a hi-hat, two crash cymbals with choke and a chokeable threezone ride cymbal.

The DM7X Kit, meanwhile, is a six-piece electronic drum set, with rubber drum and cymbal pads. The kit features four 8” dual-zone toms, an 8” dual-zone snare, the Alesis Stealth Kick drum trigger, a 12” hi-hat, 12” crash cymbal with choke, and 12” three-zone ride cymbal. The DM7X module is the newest module from Alesis and comes with more than 400 samplebased sounds featuring Dynamic Articulation technology, 15 preset kits and 15 user kits. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability.

news ... Get the latest edrum news at www.digitaldrummermag.com/news ... Ge digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

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PHOTO: ALLAN LEIBOWITZ

--Gear--

What’s appening? Allan Leibowitz probes the world of iOS drumming. 12

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THE IPAD HAS quickly become indispensable in a range of lifestyle aspects, and music creation has not escaped the influence of mobile devices. So much so that the TEC Foundation, which recognises technical excellence and creativity, has added a new category to its annual awards just for mobile devices.

George Petersen, chairman of the TEC Awards nominations committee, notes the rise in the use of iOS devices, smartphones and tablets “in the studio as well as in live sound, music performance and audio measurement applications”. The new award, he says “spotlights mobile applications and hardware for recording and music production, audio measurement, audio/music utilities, controllers, signal processing and musical instruments”. Petersen, who has witnessed a number of technology changes in the music industry, is

enthused about the growing adoption of iPad and tablet devices, seeing it as “the birth of a revolution” with exciting possibilities. Interest in iPads and other iOS devices is certainly showing up among music retailers.

“The interest in the iPad and iOS devices is undeniable. Musicians of all kinds (including drummers) are interested in what the iPad can bring to their setup and creative flow,” says John Grabowski, senior director of merchandising at US retailer Sweetwater. So strong is the interest that Sweetwater has begun a weekly series of YouTube videos, called the iOS Update, highlighting iOS apps, hardware, and techniques for musicians to help raise awareness of what’s available and what it can do for musicians. digitalDrummer tracked down some of the latest iPad hardware accessories and hit the app store to find out what’s worthwhile in the unchartered waters of iDrumming.

Hardware

The ultimate iPad drumming companion is still keenly awaited, with the Alesis DM Dock still not released. The virtual module made its debut at Winter NAMM last year and was due to hit the stores in the first half of 2012. However, the iPad has been something of a moving target for Alesis and it’s believed that each time the DM Dock is ready for release, a hardware or software upgrade from Apple throws a spanner in the works.

When it is released later this year, the DM Dock is billed as a fully integrated, stage-ready module with a wide array of professional trigger inputs and audio outputs, using the processing power of the iPad. According to Alesis, the device makes the most of the iPad’s WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and 3G connectivity to put “unprecedented capabilities at your fingertips: change and enhance your sound library at a moment’s notice, download a new snare drum or ride cymbal to suit a venue, download a reverb or room delay to suit a particular room’s acoustics or load an entirely new kit to suit a last-minute gig”. The developers claim the dock works with virtually any iPad music app that permits external MIDI control. Until the DM Dock arrives, drummers are mostly stuck with tapping on a 10” screen (or a 7” screen in the case of the new iPad Mini). However, the iPad’s MIDI capability means it can be connected to drum modules or MIDI trigger devices, but those do require an interface.

If your sound source already produces MIDI via USB, you can get away with a camera connection kit (CCK) costing anything from $5 for a generic to $35 for an authentic Apple connector. This allows you to plug in the USB cable into the iPad and if the source is pumping out CoreMIDI-compatible data, you should be able to trigger your iPad apps.

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Some sound sources are known to work with the CCK, others definitely don’t. In my experiments, the Roland TD-30’s MIDI out didn’t work, but the Korg padKontrol did. There’s a good list of compatible hardware here.

If you don’t have a compatible USB MIDI source, there are a couple of options for under US$70 to get you going.

The iRig MIDI is a compact MIDI interface. It clips into the iPad’s connector and features three minijack connectors – in, out and through, as well as a mini-USB port for external power.

The device comes with a free version of IK Multimedia’s SampleTank, and once that’s installed, the iPad instantly connects – no drivers or configuration required. It is simply plug and play.

The supplied 1/8” cables have standard MIDI plugs on the other end, and connected to a Roland TD-30 module, the iRig MIDI was instantly playable. Similarly priced and with an almost identical but slightly more compact form factor, the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer II iOS MIDI interface has two connectors – MIDI in and out, and no separate power input.

This interface asks you to load Line 6’s free MIDI Memo app before it’s ready for action. In my case, there was also some new firmware to be uploaded and transferred to the interface. Once that’s done, it’s plug and play. (I did get the firmware alert every time I connected the interface on my iPad, but not on an iPod, so expect an update at some stage).

The Mobilizer II package includes two sturdy-looking custom Planet Waves cables – like the iRig’s mini-jack to standard MIDI.

The big surprise with both of these devices was the lack of latency when connected to a 64 GB iPad 2. Triggering was almost immediate – certainly module speed rather than VST speed. One issue that quickly becomes evident is mismatched MIDI mapping, and while some apps have editable maps, most don’t. If your source device doesn’t have the ability to change MIDI notes, you’ll need something like MidiBridge, a $7 app that the developer touts as “MIDI glue for iOS”. MidiBridge is a powerful piece of programming that acts as a virtual MIDI patchbay, router and event manipulator that allows for wireless MIDI networking. Most of its functionality is too advanced for the average punter, but it does allow you to manually assign triggers to MIDI notes. This is not the easiest task, but it is achievable and the developer has detailed step-by-step instructions that can be adapted for various modules and apps.

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So appy together

After getting numerous pre-release previews and a personal demo from the developer, it would be remiss not to kick off with Pete Lockett’s DrumJam.

A no-brainer at $7.99, DrumJam is designed by the award-winning international percussionist and digitalDrummer-featured artist together with Sonosaurus LLC, the developer of ThumbJam (see page 16).

DrumJam is truly unique. It’s not just a bunch of drum sounds on an iDevice – it’s a rhythm factory, training tool and music encyclopaedia that is as much fun as functional. Reflecting Lockett’s forte, the app is heavily focused on world music percussion, but it does feature drum kit grooves from artists featured in past issues of digitalDrummer, including Johnny Rabb and Russ Miller. The app has two main panes. The first allows you to drag individual percussion instruments into a range of loops and adjust their relative volumes and a bunch of other characteristics.

Even more fun is the bottom pane, where you can perform intricate beats simply by dragging your finger around. When Lockett demonstrated the functionality at his Australian clinics late last year, audiences were blown away. But when you do it yourself, it’s even more impressive.

If you want to ignore the grooves and use ThumbJam as a sound source, it certainly delivers. The app has more set-up options than most others, and it’s easy to connect some triggers via a MIDI interface and play any of the kits available in the bottom pane, without their groove components. And the sounds line up fairly well with the triggers, but there are some anomalies which may have to be tweaked – either by changing the MIDI note from the triggering device or those in the app (something I couldn’t immediately find) and the kits sound pretty good, especially through decent earphones.

Tool or toy? (We mean ‘tool’ in the sense of helpful implement, rather than the pejorative version!) This one is certainly useful for serious performances, but it’s delivered in a game-like format that makes it addictive. And the animated drummer is cute, although he looks nothing like his virtual father. So, overall, it’s a tool.

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There’s no doubt that GarageBand is the first app Apple fans associate with music, and the iOS version is an impressive piece of programming, even more amazing at its $4.99 price tag.

My first bit of advice is to skip past the Smart Instruments if you don’t want to lose a few hours in mindless musicality. It’s very tempting to start composing intricate songs using the fantastic magic guitar or keyboards, but let’s remember that we’re primarily drummers, so let’s focus on the Drums pane.

Here you’ll find an eight-piece kit designed to be played by tapping the screen. The snare has three zones, the ride and crash have two and the hihat has open and closed sounds, depending where you hit. And the sounds are pretty decent – certainly better than low-end modules.

There are six kits to choose from – three acoustic and three drum machines, and there are also some effects that can be dialled in.

Hooked up via MIDI interface to a TD-30, the mapping mostly lines up (one tom was misplaced, but surprisingly, the open and closed hi-hat were perfect) and it’s plug and play. Besides playing, you can record, edit and share songs. In short, a powerhouse of functionality for less than the price of two decent coffees. Tool or toy? Definitely a tool – but heaps of fun stuff too. Another big hitter in the iPad musical stakes is ThumbJam. At $8.99, it’s a bit more expensive than GarageBand, but it has some high-quality samples not found elsewhere.

It’s not primarily a percussion instrument. It’s more a jam tool that arranges instruments in various scales, so you can play on a virtual keyboard, guitar or brass instrument. It comes with 40 real instruments, including a few drum kits and world percussion instruments like darabukka and djembe, plus a range of other percussion samples available for free download.

The app is designed for on-screen tapping and the drums are arranged in rectangular sections of the screen rather than in an animation of a kit. This

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fits with the linear treatment of other instruments in ThumbJam and is fairly intuitive to play.

It hooks up effortlessly to MIDI via an interface, and includes the most extensive editing options I’ve found to date. The MIDI options rival some VST offerings.

Hooked up to a TD-30, most instruments mapped accurately, although the hihat rim actually triggers a tom and a couple of other triggers were transposed. There are extensive sample tweaking and effects options and even some sampling capability.

Besides playing drums, there are some great tuned percussion options which could be very handy. I was even able to nut out some rudimentary bass riffs in a few minutes. Tool or toy? ThumbJam is a serious instrument in a small package. It has huge performance potential, not just for drummers, but for multiinstrumentalists, and I’m really tempted to set down some horn arrangements and keyboard parts for some of my band’s repertoire – when I get time! SampleTank has already been mentioned as the bundled software with the iRig interface. It is offered in two iOS versions – a free app and a version which we reviewed, with more samples, for $10.49 (if you want all the instruments, there’s also a $20 version). Like ThumbJam, this is a rich, multisample “sound module and groove workstation”. Unlike ThumbJam, it’s very discerning, and wouldn’t work with the Line6 interface, although it was happy with iRig. It also worked with an Apple CCK.

Unfortunately, the MIDI mapping was all over the place, and all the conventional kit pieces triggered percussion sounds – albeit fantastic ones. On the positive side, MIDI mapping is very easy, with a simple “assign pad” function that allows you to change notes by selecting from a drop-down menu. When dialled in, the performance is fantastic. The included drum kits were excellent, with rich samples and hyper-realistic sounds. And, what’s more, you even get to see what you’re missing – with a dozen or so add-on kits greyed out on the menu but available for unlocking when you purchase the patches. There are 136 instruments – a dozen of them drum collections and two percussion kits - and over 1,000 patterns, plus an additional 22 Sound Packs available at the app store. The included grooves are equally impressive.

And, like GarageBand, SampleTank is also a fully functional recording app, with mixing abilities in its four-channel recording Tool or toy? This is certainly a performance-ready app, and even the free version will be an asset to any music arsenal. It’s a tool!

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iPad drums

There are literally scores of drum apps – many of them free, some with free ‘lite’ versions which consist of screen representations of kits that are then played with fingers. Before we get onto those, it’s also important to note the plethora of drum machine apps. To find out what they do, we looked at one of the leading offerings, Fingerlab’s award-winning DM1 (The Drum Machine).

The samples are impressive, with 64 electronic kits included in the offering 19 classic vintage drum kits plus 45 in-house produced electronic kits, edited and mastered at Fingerlab professional studio.

The $3.99 app has five main sections: a step sequencer, nine large pads, a full-on mixer in which you can change the volume, pitch, pan, sample length, custom drum kit element for each channel, mute and solo mode; a sophisticated FX field where you can add overdrive, delay, phaser, texturizer, robotizer, resonant filter and compressor; and the song composer section where beat patterns can be assembled into songs. As a sequencer and composition tool, it’s awesome and all that was lacking was MIDI implementation, but a free update is due any day now to add the missing link. Tool or toy? This is certainly a performance-ready app and one that will appeal most to DJ types and other groove junkies. The drum kit apps fall into two camps – the plug and play variety that, in effect, substitute for a VST; and the selfcontained, locked kits that can only be played by tapping the screen. DrumStudio

At $1.99, this has to be the i-drum bargain of the century. DrumStudio by Rollerchimp (not to be confused with Drum Studio, a totally different app) is a virtual 13-piece kit, a recording studio, a sequencer and a notation programme. It can be triggered on screen via the excellent graphic kit representation or

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through MIDI. Connected to a Roland TD-30 module, the mapping was spot-on except for the closed hi-hat articulation and missing crossstick/rimshot triggering. It’s a good thing the mapping matched because the MIDI notes are not editable in the app. DrumStudio’s Edit pane allows you to create beats, choosing a time signature, tempo and a range of instruments and articulations, including snare cross-stick and hi-hat chick. An update has added new signatures, as well as flams, drags, rolls and chokes.

Particularly impressive is the ability to export compositions either as MIDI, audio or as tabs – something not even possible with many VSTs. At this stage, the kit choice is limited to four – Garage, Studio, Electro 1 and Electro 2, but the developer is looking to add the ability to import sounds for apps like SampleTank.

Tool or toy? Definitely a tool and one that has more capabilities than most modules or VST packages. Drum XD

Also triggerable by MIDI, Drum XD is a $4.99 app that offers a very impressive sound palette. There’s a very sonic focus in this app, with an extensive collection of kits, ranging from “acoustic” to jazz, jam, classic rock, electronic and world percussion – and the sounds are fantastic. There are open and closed hi-hats, bell and bow triggering on the ride and rimshots on the snare. This is one of the few drum apps that has decent dynamics and actually responds to the playing intensity.

The app allows you to mix and match instruments and edit sounds, varying the pitch, pan and volume. Not only can the sounds be changed (with mutes and rolls added), but you can also change the image size of the individual kit pieces on the screen and rearrange the kit to suit your finger reach. In fact, there are heaps of visual enhancement options for those aesthetically inclined drummers.

Drum XD has a built-in recorder with a bunch of effects like flanger, reverb and echo and the ability to export by simple drag and drop.

As mentioned, the sounds can also be triggered by MIDI. The mapping for a Roland TD-30 was a bit off, but the app does have MIDI learn, so it is possible to remap the drums using the app itself – another rarity among drumming apps.

It’s clear that Drum XD is designed for drummers – and e-drummers in particular. The menus are comprehensive and there are some nifty tools in the mixer panel. It has play-along capability, an easy-to-use metronome and the ability to import sounds via WiFi. Tool or toy? Great sounds and lots of them make this a useful drumming tool, especially when you map the instruments correctly.

... but wait, there’s more ... The next edition will look at the Alesis DM Dock (hopefully), some apps from the e-drum companies and more free offerings. digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

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Drum+

This 99c app features a seven-piece kit with five additional percussion pieces. There are separate open and closed hats, but unlike some apps, the closed hat doesn’t actually cut off the open sound. There’s no ride cymbal or snare rim sound.

The app is quick to respond, but the drums are not velocity sensitive – so you get the same volume if you hit hard or softly.

The app comes with a media player that allows you to play along with songs saved on your iPad. Tool or toy? With no MIDI triggering, limited sounds and the absence of recording capability, this is a toy. Pocket Drums

This app offers eight different nine-piece kits for 99c. The snare has cross-stick articulations, the hi-hat has open and closed sounds and the ride has bell and bow sounds – all hi-definition stereo sounds. Half of the kits are available in the free version. The app has some decent tweaking options, including the double-bass triggering and rolls. There’s a built-in metronome and an onboard recorder which allows you to save, load, loop, and play recorded tracks – and even record over loops for added sonic complexity.

The app has some nifty options, like a drum machine display instead of the kit view and a lefty display which mirror reverses the kit – and there’s a really handy roll mode which plays rolls as you run your finger around the drum or cymbal surface.

Tool or toy? It’s just the lack of MIDI triggering which robs this of tool status. As a toy, it’s one of the better options and the free version is certainly worth downloading. Drums 3D

The angle on this 99c is game is that you can change the angle. It’s a basic nine-piece kit (for some reason with two hi-hats with the same sounds), but the app has the option of changing the perspective, so that you can play from behind the kit or from a bird’s-eye point of view, for example. The drums and cymbals are all single-zone and the sounds are a bit cheesy.

Triggering is okay, but a gremlin allows you to play the floor tom by tapping in empty space. The app also has a play-along function that lets you drum to music saved on your iPad.

Tool or toy? With no MIDI triggering, limited sounds and the absence of recording capability, this is a toy.

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Rock Drums

This free app has a few frills, but some good sounds. It features a choice of three kits, each with six pieces. All the drums are single-zone, but there is also a foot splash with the hi-hat. There are no descriptions of the three kits, which are not really very sonically different – and the artwork doesn’t change when you switch kits.

The graphics are fairly good and the app allows for play-along with songs stored on the iPad.

Obviously, you can’t expect too much from a free app, but the drum images are quite small, meaning small targets for big fingers. And there’s no velocity sensing, so the sounds become quite grating after a while. Tool or toy? This is a toy – and an average one at that. 3D Drum Kit

This $1.99 app bills itself as the most realistic drum kit for iPad and that’s a big call. The ‘hardware’ consists of a nine-piece drum kit with a two-zone snare and open and closed hats, two crash cymbals, a ride cymbal, three toms, bass, snare and hi-hat. There are 10 different kit options from ‘classic rock’ to a Nashville set, but the differences are quite subtle – even through good headphones. Where this app does excel is in its visuals. The kit graphics are excellent and very 3D, although there’s not a lot of playability when you position yourself underneath the drums! The nifty touches include the animated kick and hi-hat pedals and the swing of the cymbals.

This app not only has recording capabilities, but also captures a video rendition of the performance.

The app also has a training component, with 50 built-in demonstrations covering a range of genres.

Tool or toy? It’s just the lack of MIDI triggering which keeps this app in the toy domain – but as a game, it surely stands out. Pop Drum Kit

This free app from Climb2B.com is one of a series of virtual kits which also includes a Jazz kit and a Rock kit. It’s a very basic 2D kit representation of an eight-piece kit. All the drums are single zone, although there are three hi-hat images – a full open, open and closed – and if you tap the closed hat after the open, it chokes the sound (which is quite rare among the free apps). Tool or toy: Certainly a toy.

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

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Drum Man HD

This free bird’s-eye-view kit has 10 pieces, all single zone, except for the hi-hat which has a pedal chick action. There are four kit options, although two are too electronic for most users. There’s also a record function and the ability to play along with your iPad music collection. Tool or toy: A toy with not much to distinguish it from the rest. Real Drums

Don’t be fooled by the square drum icon for this 99c app. The animated drum kits look fantastic, with nice detail like Remo logos on the head and the beautiful representations of the Meinl and Sabian cymbals. There are 11 different kits – all eight pieces, single-zone - including a pleasing brushes kit and Real Drums is one of the few offerings that plays samples as you scroll through the choices. Its inclusion of individual volume control on each drum and cymbal is rare. Besides a metronome with a broad range of time signatures, there are also some accompaniment loops to accompany your practice. Overall, the kit sounds are good and the triggering fast and accurate – albeit nonvelocity-sensing. There’s a free version with slightly fewer kits and functions that is certainly worth trying.

Tool or toy: It’s a pretty app, but the lack of recording functionality and MIDI triggering relegate it to the game department. StudioDrums Free

This free app is quite impressive on a number of fronts. It has an impressive collection of nine-piece kits ranging from a resonant Cavern kit to a drum machine-like 808 kit – and the visuals change as you flick up and down through the kit menu. The sounds are also impressive for a free offering, with open, closed and chick on the hi-hat and rim clicks on the snare. But that’s where it ends. There’s no access to play-along tunes or your iPad music collection, no recording ability nor MIDI triggering.

There is a $1.99 version available, but from what I could tell, the only difference is that you don’t get a banner ad at the top of the app, so I wouldn’t fork out cash just to remove a bit of artwork that’s really not intrusive anyway. Tool or toy: It’s a good-sounding plaything.

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Drum Set Pro

This free app has a 10-piece kit with four different kits available – a standard, hip-hop, electro and industrial set, but you do have to get past some ads to actually access them. There are some anomalies in the kits – a few toms are misplaced, one kit has the same sounds for the hats and ride, and only the industrial kit appears to have escaped the gremlins. The app does access the iPad music collection for play-along tunes and also has record and playback functionality. Tool or toy: The pro name and ability to record don’t elevate this beyond a game. Drum Meister Grand

This $1.99 app centres on a bird’s-eye-view 10-piece kit with open/closed hi-hat and dualzone ride. There are four different good-sounding kits and 40 pre-recorded beats.

This app has a lot of tweaks, including access to additional sounds, the ability to resize and reposition the pieces and velocity control (although I couldn’t detect any difference when it was on or off).

There’s a good metronome and a no-frills recording function with instant play-back, but no ability to trigger the sounds via MIDI.

HEAR, HEAR Tool or toy: A toy with a few frills.

digitalDrummer will again examine headphones and in-ear monitors in our May 2013 issue.

We’re talking to leading pro drummers to find out what they use and why, and the report will make compelling reading for anyone who needs to hear what they’re playing. Manufacturers and distributors will find this a great opportunity to explain the benefits of their offerings to a targeted niche audience. For more information, contact our sales team today.


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Hart of bronze

--Gear--

Hart Dynamics has spiced up the e-cymbal market with the release of its next-generation Ecymbal range, and Allan Leibowitz gave them a bash.

THE NEW RANGE consists of a three-zone ride, a single-zone chokeable crash and a new hi-hat cymbal, all made from metal. In fact, the shiny cymbals are supplied by Sabian and follow the old Ecymbal II design of two cymbals sandwiched together and covered with a clear silicone strike pad.

20” ride

At 20”, the new Hart ride is a monster. It weighs a whopping 5 Kg and ships with an Aquarian spring, but I found it mounted perfectly without the spring and still had a natural swing.

The clear strike pad covers about a quarter of the surface, presenting a huge target, and the raised bell is also generously sized at 13 cm.

The electronics are configured like Roland’s three-zone rides with two separate 35 mm jacks – one for the edge and the other for bow and bell. There’s also a choke which works effectively when you grip the edge firmly.

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The ride has a 13 cm raised bell

In theory, the ride should be configured like a Roland three-zone ride on its new modules which accommodate two ride inputs. In practice, there’s quite a lot of tweaking required to get consistent triggering. For a start, the www.digitaldrummermag.com


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protective strike pad reduces the stick impact and sensitivity needs to be boosted to compensate for that. Peel off the rubber and it’s far more responsive, but also noisier. The bell also took quite a bit of tweaking.

Once dialled in, the ride has a natural feel (especially if you remove the strike pad) and great response and dynamic range. And it certainly looks great.

16” crash

If size matters, the crash (pictured right) stands head and shoulders above most of the competition.

The cymbal is substantial, constructed of two cymbals riveted together. Like the ride, there’s a transparent rubber strike pad across a quarter of the surface and the choke strip runs along the bottom edge in the same position as the strike zone.

Unlike the ride, this cymbal was a cinch to dial in - happily triggering in CY12C or CY14C settings on the TD-30. It also triggered in stock settings on a TD-6 and on a 2box module.

The crash is a single zone with a choke that works – and easily. Personally, I would have preferred two zones, especially given the capability of most modules and also because the 14” version has bow and separate edge triggering, but them’s the breaks.

This crash also ships with an Aquarian spring, but again, the weight and size of the cymbal was enough to ensure a natural playing feel on a regular stand and mount.

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14” hi-hat

The new single-piece dual-zone e-hat ships as a cymbal-only offering. That means you’ll need a controller to get the actual hi-hat variation.

Generously sized, even by acoustic standards, the cymbal features the same rivited doublepie construction, although the sensor box is located right under the strike pad (unlike the crash, where it is located directly opposite). The e-hat is wired for bow and edge triggering and is also chokeable. It is relatively easy to dial in.

The review sample was supplied with Hart’s Epedal II upright hi-hat stand (think of an FD-8 controller built into the base of a hi-hat stand) which provides for realistic opening and closing of the cymbal. Initially, I struggled to get variable open responses – until I discovered the stand had shipped without an adaptor cable. Once I got hold of one of those, the controller produced a smooth range from closed to open, as well as decent foot splashes and chicks when dialled in as a VH-12 on the TD-30. The hats performed beautifully, even on the sensitivity limiting strike pads and felt fantastic. And, of course, they look good – especially on a real hi-hat stand.

Bottom line

Three-piece Ecymbal III packs should hit stores soon at a street price of around $900, which represents good value compared to some of the competition. The cymbals have killer good looks, especially with the overbearing “Ecymbal” logo on the old model replaced with a stylish and modest Hart logo. They appear to be well built and sturdy. There were some reports of rivet failures on the Ecymbal II range, but the rivets on the new line seem solid – and there are enough of them.

The Ecymbal III hats and crash are easy to dial in, but the ride takes a bit more effort. Once set, they perform beautifully. The build quality is evident in the selection of Sabian cymbal stock, the dampening between the two cymbal layers, the stainless steel rivets, and the special material used for the strike pads – not to mention Hart’s lifetime warranty.

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Any negatives? Well, the module tweaking required to get good performance from the ride is a bit tedious, but hopefully, you’ll only need to do that once. And the bell response, while as good as anything else out there, still requires an energetic thwack with the right part of the stick, especially with the dampening pad in place. The lack of edge triggering on the 16” crash is also a limitation, but that will no doubt be addressed as the range expands.

The real metal cymbals are obviously noisier than rubber cymbals, and the silicon strike pads help contain the decibels. If silence is not important, you can remove the pads, which not only improves the triggering, it also feels even more natural. Also, the cymbals are heavy, which can be a drawback if you’re a gigging drummer and need to schlep them around.

Hart’s intention with its updated range is “realist electronic cymbals for the purest drummer”, and I think they’ve largely done just that. www.digitaldrummermag.com


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--Gear--

Third strike for Germans German e-drummers recently got together for the third annual Edrumtreffen electronic drummers meeting in Langenfeld. Organiser Wolfgang Stölzle reports that distributors, manufacturers and DIY enthusiasts provided visitors with an opportunity to experience e-drum solutions not found in mainstream music outlets.

Drum-tec

demonstrated how easy it is to create your own multi-layer sample sounds. Alesis

The German retailer showed a beautiful Pro kit in brown burst. The revised bass drum trigger system is now super-silent and even more neighbour-friendly. It also showed the small Trigger Tubes which can be mounted in small spaces. 2box

The DM10X drum kit was played by Daniel Schlep (see page 36), who also promoted his new book “Drum Sessions” which deals with his personal philosophy of acoustic drums, electronic drums and cajon. Once more, Daniel proved his outstanding drumming versatility. MarkDrum

German distributor Hyperactive set up the current version of the Drumit Five 2box kit. In a workshop, Thomas Panthel showed the Kit Editor (available for Windows and Mac) and 28

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Edrumtr

effen:

n.[Ger.

] trans : e-dru m

The Italian manufacturer was represented by endorser Markus Ostfeld, who played a set of dynamic Latin Fusion, accompanied by two virtuoso musicians. The YES kit features a four-point trigger system which eliminates dead spots while providing constant dynamics over the drum head.

encount

er

(head/rim) trigger device which can be easily mounted in any acoustic drum without any drilling. (See page 43) Oli Rubow

R-Drums

R-Drums is a small e-drum accessory manufacturer. It researches piezo-based trigger optimisation and showed off a clear acrylic snare drum and a special soft bass drum beater made of stainless steel with an exchangeable soft beater ball and adjustable weights for individual balancing.

Oli, an artist profiled in an earlier edition of digitalDrummer, is one of the most innovative electronic drummers in Germany. During his workshop, he integrated some quirky accessories into his minimalist kit. He used several triggers and “magic boxes” to start gate effects like reverb and analogue delay to achieve musical dub effects. Sibi Siebert

Wronka Drums

Jorg Wronka is a qualified metal worker who started to weld custom e-drums a couple of years ago. He also offers A-to-E conversion kits with very advanced and self-developed trigger systems, complete e-drum kits with 2box cymbal pads and brain and clever accessories such as his Easy Trigger, a small stereo digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

It’s become a tradition that the former Simmons ‘face’ Sibi Siebert sets up his vintage SDSV, amplified by a scary Föön Custom PA. Accompanied by fellow musicians Peter Sonntag (bass) and Reno Schnell (guitar), he performed a fine set of rock classics. Plans are under way for next year’s meeting, organised once again by the Simmons Museum founder.

PHOTOS: Uli Meckmann, Wolfgang Stölzle

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PHOTO: ALLAN LEIBOWITZ

--Profile--

Jonathan Atkinson electrifying the ‘80s

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British freelance drummer and programmer Jonathan Atkinson is as comfortable on stage with ‘80s stars like Kim Wilde or Paul Young as he is in the orchestra pit of a West End show. But mention electronic percussion, and the classically trained drummer lights up. Backstage during his world tour with Howard Jones, Atkinson spoke to digitalDrummer editor Allan Leibowitz.

digitalDrummer: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get started in this business?

Atkinson: I started playing when I was 14. Before that, I had played piano and trumpet very badly and never really enjoyed playing those instruments, but had progressed enough to know that I wanted to do music. And then I bought myself a drum kit – a complete spur-ofthe-moment thing – with money I earned from my paper round. And my parents couldn’t stop me practising. It was like I just found what I was meant to do. I had classical percussion lessons, did my grades and all that sort of thing and then I was set up to do lessons with Keith Fairbairn and when he got busy, he passed me on to Ralph Salmins, one of London’s top session drummers.

I had lessons with a range of people and went to university to do an engineering degree and I lasted about three weeks. I decided I had to leave and become a musician full-time and I went to study with a guy called Alvin Cox who is a great teacher and I practised my nuts off for probably three years. I worked very, very hard on my technique and really tried to hone my playing. So I moved to London when I was 20 and was playing in bands and then I was doing a little session at Air Studios and George Martin was doing a record in the next room. I met his son, joined his son’s band and two weeks later, I was on a Celine Dion record for his dad (programming click stuff). I also worked on a Phil Collins record for Sir George and a bunch of film things – bit of everything, really.

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

dD: So working with Sir George was a turning point?

Atkinson: Because I’d been on those sessions with George, a lot of people that knew me but assumed I was just a kid suddenly realised that perhaps I was worth giving a chance to. And Ralph, who I hadn’t seen for six or seven years, called me and asked if I wanted to ‘dep’ on a show on the West End, which I did. And then the floodgates opened and I did a lot of theatre stuff for a while. I did Whistle Down the Wind, a few Lloyd Webber shows like Jesus Christ Superstar and then Bombay Dreams. That was a very technically demanding show. When they booked me, I don’t think they knew my expertise with electronics, but it was a real opportunity for me to show off what could be done electronically. So this was 2002, and I had a TD-10 and two S6000s. They recorded an album first of the music and I went through the multi-track and lifted out samples and made it playable on the kit – including some big orchestral stuff. It was a bit of a beast actually, with loops and things – playing sitar on the pads and that sort of thing, and no-one had seen that on the West End before. It was great – a real fun gig. dD: So, obviously you weren’t a stranger to electronic percussion …

Atkinson: Not at all. I’d done a lot of electronica early on. Growing up, I had a rack of stuff – an S900, Roland pads going into a Simmons TMI, a little Simmons mixer and Roland R8 all mixed together, playing keys off the pads. I had an Octapad that you could do multiple notes and velocity switching and all

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that. I loved that sort of stuff – the potential for creating mad things, really. So with Bombay Dreams, it felt as if the technology had come of age enough to make it musically useful and actually not just replacing an acoustic kit. It was actually playing an entire percussion ensemble – creating that through multisampling and making it work. dD: So what about the transition from theatre to mainstream music? How did that happen?

Atkinson: There’s quite a lot of integration, I guess. The guys who do a lot of theatre stuff do sessions and recording. Maybe it’s not like that on Broadway, but in London, it pretty much completely overlaps. Guys will play sessions during the day and then do the theatre at night. And I got a call from a friend of mine who couldn’t make a gig, who asked if I could fly to Germany and ‘dep’ for him on a festival as part of the house band – and the line-up was

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Belinda Carlisle, ABC, Kim Wilde and Bananarama. No rehearsal, no nothing, just go and play for 22,000 people. Of course, I’d grown up with the music, and I did the gig and it kind of became ‘my gig’. I got asked back to tour with a bunch of 80s artists and, through that, got to work with just about everyone from the era who is still working. And that’s led to working with Boy George, Howard (Jones), Kim and all the rest of it. dD: Interestingly, electronic drums were coming of age in the ‘80s, but the level of technological sophistication then was nowhere near what you have now.

Atkinson: Absolutely, I remember getting sounds together for the Akai S900, getting the disks and trawling through them. You boot it up, play the sample and realise it’s not the right disk – that was horrific. You’d be lugging around 10 kilos of floppy disks. So, in that www.digitaldrummermag.com


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“Maybe the iPad is the way to go because, in many respects, the laptop is not the ideal

thing to have on stage.“

respect, being able to lift a sample out of ProTools now and drag it to MainStage where it’s instantly playable is totally amazing. I think where things haven’t moved forward as much as they could have is in triggering technology. The drumKAT is right up there and that came out in 1988! And I have a set of ddrums that are 12 or 13 years old and they’re amazing. Sure, the new Yamaha DTX is very good, but there hasn’t been that move forwards that you might have expected. Yes, on the computer side, you’ve got the drag-and-drop stuff, but the hardware still feels like it’s in a moment of change between where they were in the ‘80s and where it could be. dD: So run us through what gear you’ve had and what do you currently use?

Atkinson: I’ve used a lot of drum machines and samples. I went through quite a long stage of not doing electronics in the 90s, and it was only really about 12 years ago that I started reintegrating stuff (I had kept the acoustics and the programming totally separate for a while). I worked with a girl band in around 2000 and wanted to make stuff sound like the record, so I took the Akai MPC and ddrum on the road and tried to integrate that with an acoustic kit and triggers.

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

The current set up varies. My home studio has a Yamaha DTX 950 kit, which is nice to play. I have a Yamaha M12 (multipad) that I use for Kim Wilde as an Ableton controller and also to fire off samples. I have a ddrum 4 that I use occasionally if anything requires intricate triggering. For example, I did the music for the Queen’s jubilee pageant, where they wanted to recreate the sort of big Han Zimmer stuff we did in the studio. And then I have a ProTools rig at home and more Macs than I know what do with. I use Superior Drummer a lot – that’s been an absolute lifesaver for me. I’ve worked, for example, on an X Factor-type show called “Sing If You Can”, for which we literally need the drums from this song and this arrangement, and you have to get the arrangement back as soon as you can – and Superior was amazing for that. I have a soft spot for vintage drums, and I have most of the drums that Chris (Whitten) sampled for the Custom & Vintage expansion. I also did my own sample library in 2003, preToontrack, just for myself and used the samples on a couple of albums through the ddrums. It was fun, but it was tough programming.

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dD: Would you like to elaborate on the shortcomings of the current e-drum hardware?

Atkinson: Yes, the big boys haven’t properly got their heads around the idea of the ease of drag and drop technology in software. If someone wants to send you a sample, they email it to you. Why do I have to get it off the computer and put it onto a little drive and put it into the thing, and then load it into the right place, when I can just keep it on MainStage and it’s done and ready? You know, I was getting Mige Ure’s set together a few weeks ago and it took me five minutes in rehearsals to get the complete set sorted. How long would that have taken me had I tried to use the hardware? So now I’m really interested in what Alesis is doing with the DM Dock and maybe the iPad is the way to go. Because, in many respects, the laptop is not the ideal thing to have on stage. The form factor with the hinge is much less elegant than the tablet. I’d be interested to see how that works – and what the other companies do in response. dD: What do you think is the future of electronic drumming? How do we get from cheap, silent kits for home practice to what you’re doing musically?

Obviously, there’s an acceptance of electronic drums for what I do – it’s almost a given, but beyond that, it depends very much on the artist. It might make sense for example, with Madonna, but if it was the Foo Fighters, I think they’d have a problem with (an electronic kit). But I think the integration of acoustics and electronics is where I’m at – where you can enhance an acoustic kit, I like to make it the Six Million Dollar Man acoustic kit where it has the weight and power and dynamism of an acoustic kit and the movement of the cymbals and the visual stuff, but also have the power to do sound that is so massive that it can only be done with electronics. I don’t think there’s any artist in the world who would have a problem with me turning up with a kit like that. 34

PHOTOS: SEAN VINCENT

Atkinson: I know that the mass market is about selling drums that people can set up and have a bash on. But you’ve got to have the flagship model that’s like the great piece of gear people see on stage. It feels like it’s almost there. But what I’m doing at the moment can only be done with a laptop and MIDI. It would be nice if there was more integrated technology – and again, I think the iPad is going to be the missing link. The next development has to be the interface – it needs to be easier and more powerful to deal with multiple samples and EQ. I’m working on a project at the moment where I can control stutter edit via pressure on the drumKAT where you can use the CC information to open a filter or change a delay time – the fun things you can do.

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Equipment

Howard Jones rig trapKAT v4 and fatKAT/hatKAT pedals Simmons SDS9 pads MacBook Pro i7 4 core, 8 Gb RAM with MainStage running EXS24 samplers and Superior Drummer MOTU Ultralite mk3 Alesis Trigger IO Van Damme custom cabling

Kim Wilde rig DW Collectors kit with ddrum triggers Sabian cymbals Remo heads Vic Firth 2B wood sticks Yamaha DTX M12 as Ableton controller and MIDI trigger MacBook Pro i7 with Ableton Live running Drum Racks sampler MOTU Ultralite mk3 Studio Rig Yamaha DTX950 kit Mac Pro Westmere 3.33 6 core, 24 Gb RAM running ProTools and Superior Drummer Maschine Korg WaveDrum

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

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How I use e-drums --PErformance--

Many e-drummers use both acoustic and electronic drums. Daniel Schlep discusses the merits of each.

I’VE BEEN PLAYING the drums nearly 20 years now and currently play in bands, live and in videos. I also teach - both in workshops and private lessons and have just published my first training book, “Drum-Session”. It captures my philosophy of playing modern rhythm instruments, covering acoustic and electronic drums and cajon.

Equipment

I’m an official artist for Alesis and 2box and use equipment from both in my work. Alesis is doing a great job of getting people in touch with e-drums, especially at the entry and mid-level price-range. I use several of their products including the multipad solutions and a range of kits, from the DM6 to the DM10 X kit. 2box has set a new standard, and I really appreciate the approach of combining the high quality internal multilayer samples with the opportunity of integrating more of your own samples .

I also use acoustic drums and work with real classic companies, Ludwig Drums and Istanbul Agop Cymbals. Of course, it all started with these instruments and we should not forget that the acoustic drum set got most of us on our drumming journey. When I need the classic feel and the warm

36

acoustic tone, nothing beats my acoustic drum set. Since they generate physical vibrations, they are the “real” thing.

When I need access to a diverse sound pool or I need to practise silently while hearing the full tone, there is nothing better than using a modern electronic kit. This puts all your sound options at your fingertips.

The e-advantage

Electronic drums are, in my opinion, a professional solution for simulating nearly every kind of sound while using a classical playing technique on modern trigger-based surfaces.

One of the most important aspects in my book is the “motivation through materials”. The modern electronic drum set is a great example of this.

When you, for example, play a jazz groove, it feels “correct” if you can do it with the correct sound. So the sound simulation of an electronic kit is able to motivate you to play a jazz groove with a correct jazz feel, just through its sound. This works with all kinds of genres and so the sound possibilities of a modern electronic kit gets the modern drummer in touch with certain genres and styles every time he explores the sound pool of the module. www.digitaldrummermag.com


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--VST--

Product review: Acoustic Samples’ StarDrums WHILE A FEW big names dominate the VST market, there are plenty of smaller companies offering niche products, and this review looks at one of them. Acoustic Samples’ StarDrums is a relatively new product from the VST producer perhaps better known for its keyboard products.

It’s available via download only, and at 2.88 Gb, it’s a relatively quick download. You’ll also need a proprietary player to host the samples, and the free UVI Workstation 2 is also downloadable.

My first gripe with this product, like all of Acoustic Samples’ instruments, is that it requires the iLok dongle to run. So even though you have paid for the package, you need to fork out another $50 and open an iLok account just to make sure that you don’t give your samples away to someone else. And my frustration with the iLok security approach is not just the cost and inconvenience, but also the loss of a USB slot on your computer. Now, if you’re like many people and save your samples on an external drive, you probably only have one more USB slot available to you (for example, on a MacBook), and you’ll need that for your MIDI/USB interface. So you have to choose between your samples or your 38

interface once the iLok is in place (and it has to stay there as long as you’re using the samples). The company suggests loading the samples on your hard drive, which also reduces latency, but I’m not impressed with the iLok approach.

The interface

UVI Workstation is not the most user-friendly interface, and it’s not instantly evident how to load the kit. It took a fair bit of thrashing around in the mostly unnamed menus to find the samples. The interface has, however, improved from the earlier drum sample products which were displayed simply as a bunch of volume faders for the instruments. To their credit, the developers have upped the ante with StarDrums and actually included a playable graphic representation of the kit as the centrepiece of the main screen. Once you have the kit loaded, you can sample the sounds by clicking on the drum and cymbal images and adjust the mic options (there are three mics to choose from and to balance). There’s also a “settings menu” which allows you to choose a mapping preset (the V-drums map was perfect for the TD-30 kit), select mono or stereo overheads, tweak the hi-hat

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control, perform MIDI learn, adjust sensitivity and control reverb – all useful tools.

hats have five levels of openness which react very realistically with the VH-12 pedal control.

The kit

The verdict

One of the most impressive features of the UVI Workstation is the FX pane, where you can choose from 11 different types of effects (from delay to three-band processing), each with several options and sub-options which can be stacked and adjusted for intensity, etc. Some serious tweaking is possible with these tools. The sampled kit is a rock stalwart: a Tama Starclassic with 20” bass drum, 14” snare (head and rim click), three single-zone toms (10”, 12” and a beefy 16”), some nice crisp 14” Zildjian hats, a 20” ride (bow and bell sounds), a 14” crash and 10” splash (neither is chokeable, unless I missed something).

None of the instruments is tunable, which is a pity as the snare could do with a bit more oomph, but the toms are excellent (with appropriate snare buzz), the kick is reasonably punchy and the cymbals are great, especially the swells on the crash and splash. There are actually five versions of the kit with different types of processing, and the red kit (MultiOut UVI) had a lot of presence.

The samples

With 2,087 samples for each version, the sounds are rich and fairly varied. There are 25 velocity layers for each instrument and eight round robin samples for snares, hats and rides and two each for the other instruments. The €2 9

€3 9

The programmers claim to have different left and right hand mappings and four different hit positions on the snare, all of which translates in reasonably machinegun-free drumming. Certainly, the snare produces some smooth and realistic rolls and good dynamics.

At about $60 (promo price) for the pack (plus the $50 for the iLok!), StarDrums is about the same price as a multi-kit Addictive Drums pack or a Toontrack EZX. It’s not a huge investment, but the iLok component really irked me (in case you didn’t notice) and will no doubt deter some potential buyers. Added to that, we’re really only talking about one kit and one music genre, and at this stage, the Acoustic Samples range is fairly limited. One would, of course, like to amortise the iLok cost over a few kits, so it’s worth noting that the other options from this producer are a couple of jazzy kits, a small acoustic kit, an urban kit, some marching drums and a percussion offering. I sampled the first three and the sounds were excellent, but the interface frustrating. The bottom line is that it’s a nicely recorded middle-of-the-road kit with decent articulations and playability. The versatile sounds would suit most rock and pop genres and would be ideal for a wedding band, for example. But its interface is not overly intuitive and it needs an add-on dongle and an extra USB slot just to ensure that you don’t pirate the samples. " TheANALOG87pl ugi nscoul dhol dt hei r ownagai nstsi mi l arpl ugi nsatanypr i ce, andar esi mpl ywi t houtequalatt hi sendof t hemar ket . "-Fut ur eMusi c " Abar gai npr i cedqui nt etof dynami csandEQ pl ugi ns t hatoper at ebeaut i f ul l yand soundf ant ast i c. "-Comput erMusi c

€2 9

€2 9 Ge t t h eb u n d l e f o r

€2 9

€ 9 9 mor ei nf or mat i onanddemover si onavai l abl eat

www. ear eckon. com


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--vst--

VST Q&A E-drum guru John Emrich is back to answer more VST questions from readers, this time discussing downloads and DAWs. Q: Many VST packs are now available via download. Do you still get all the content from the DVD if you buy the download version and do you need to burn it to disk as a back-up, or would you be able to download it again if you lost it somehow?

A: Many VST instruments and expansion packs have gone download-only for a couple of good reasons. Reason one is that the customer has been asking for it. Some of us just got there a little quicker. Reason two is that the actual act of downloading is now easier than ever. Remember that some of these libraries are very large. Once you have registered your product, you should see an account page. The bigger companies will give you links to those products as soon as you purchase them and they will always be available in your account. Considering that everyone should be keeping a copy of their data on a back-up drive, you don’t really need to make disks of each VST pack once you have installed them. As a rule, it is quicker to boot up another drive than it is to run installers. I do keep disk images of the main programme installers. That way, I can roll back if something goes a little sideways. Those are smaller than data packages (samples) and are easy to keep in a folder that gets backed up with the entire system. Q: Why should I use a DAW?

Why not? A DAW (or Digital Audio Workstation) is an excellent tool. Most VST drum programmes are capable of running in stand-alone mode or with a supplied host programme. That is fine for running one programme live, but if you want to combine VST programmes, you will need something like a DAW to do it. For example, I use MainStage to combine BFD2 with other VST programmes when I play shows that require me to play drums, percussion and mallet instruments. The drawback is that MainStage doesn’t allow for recording.

Adding a DAW like Cubase allows you to combine VST programmes with the benefit of recording and editing. The recording aspect is important because you can record yourself and have instant feedback about how you did in terms of feel and accuracy. The last benefit that I would point out is the ability to add music tracks and record on top of them. This will allow you to really dial in a good performance for your next YouTube video.

○ Send your VST questions to editor@digitaldrummermag.com

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New products Real Reggae and Real Latin

Platinum Samples has released two new multi-format MIDI groove libraries. Real Reggae includes over 1,190 grooves and fills in a wide variety of Reggae styles in a variety of tempos performed live on an electronic drum kit. They are optimised for a kick, snare, three toms, hi-hat, two crash cymbals, a ride cymbal, cowbell, woodblock and a low and high timbale. Real Latin includes over 1,400 loops in a wide variety of Latin styles including Tango, Samba, Bolero, Calypso, El Beguine, Mozambique, Bossa Nova, Cha Cha, Merengue, Afro-Cuban, Mambo, La Rumba, Songo, La Conga and Pop Latin in a wide variety of tempos, formatted for BFD2, BFD Eco, EZDrummer, EZPlayer, Superior Drummer 2.0, Addictive Drums, SSD4, Cakewalk Session Drummer as well as General MIDI which can be used with any GM compatible drum software or hardware. Real Latin was produced and performed by John Emrich on a Yamaha DTX900 kit. Price: $35 each Information: www.platinumsamples.com

Chris Lord Alge expansion for SSD4

Steven Slate Drums has released its first expansion pack for SSD4 consisting of 12 kit presets by Chris Lord Alge. Alge, who has worked with James Brown, Prince and Joe Cocker, recorded the kits at Ocean Studio in Burbank and mixed them in his LA mixroom using his signature processing chains. SSD claims the result is some of the fattest, punchiest, most mix-ready virtual drums in the industry. The pack works with the new SSD4 virtual drum instrument and Steven Slate TRIGGER Drum Replacer. (Make sure you choose the right version when you purchase as they’re not interchangeable.). Available for download, the expansion is easy to install and adds the new kits to the available kits in the SSD host. The expansion is currently on promotion at a price of $99. Price: $149 Information: www.stevenslatedrums.com

Big Mono Redux by Analogue Drums

After numerous requests from users of Big Mono, Analogue Drums has revisited the original recording session from 2003 and come up with a new drum library with the same sweet sound as the original Big Mono, but now with loads of options for sonic control. Round robins, controllable mic layers, adjustable sensitivity and even panning controls are now provided. The kit consists of a 1970s Ludwig maple 22” kick, 1970s Rogers Dynasonic maple snare, four 1970s Ludwig maple toms, 13” Zildjian Advedis Mastersound hats, 16” Zildjian K Crash, 17” Zildjian K Dark Crash and 20” Sabian HHX Evolution ride. Big Mono Redux is only compatible with Kontakt Full Version (v3+), and mappings for Slate Digital Trigger are also provided. It can be purchased and downloaded directly from the Analogue Drums website. Price: $9.95 Information: www.analoguedrums.com digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

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--TWEAKING--

Big performance from small kits

In search of maximum triggers and minimal footprint, Enrico Bertelli fused two basic products and came up with a software solution to enhance the performance of his mini-kit. MY DESIRE FOR a bigger kit and the space limitations of my current home led me on a research path of compact solutions for the modern city drummer.

I started from a DD-65 (compact one-piece Yamaha percussion trigger) and the DTXplorer kit. I mounted the bits on a modified three-tier keyboard stand and eliminated all cross-talk with well-positioned bits of cloth, creating a kit with 14 pads and three pedals, two of which sent MIDI control messages. Besides increasing the number of pads, my final aim was to take full advantage of VSTs like Superior Drummer 2 or Battery.

None of the triggers supports dual or triplezone triggering, meaning I couldn’t take advantage of the sample depth of the snares in SD2, for example. This is where Ableton Live 8 (you can try this patch with the free LE version) came to the rescue, with its most valuable MIDI rack.

I started by mapping the closed hi-hat note to three samples (soft, medium and hard). At this stage, every hit would trigger all the sounds simultaneously, with poor results. The magic happens when, within the MIDI rack, you click on Vel and discover that you can differentiate the samples by velocity. As shown in the image, the simple closed hi-hat sound can now trigger three separate pools of samples, with crossovers, expanding your expressiveness to unthinkable levels. I applied the same to snare and rim shots and bell edge on the ride cymbals. 42

As I relegated all the cymbals to the DD-65, I also linked them to a pitch transportation device, connected to the hi-hat pedal. If you hit one with the pedal depressed, you get the normal crash/splash sound, but if you hold your foot down, you get the choked sound. The toms work around a round-robin principle that simulates the constant right-left pattern. Don’t expect hyper-realistic paradiddles, but it certainly humanises the final product. Since I like my Bossanova afternoons, I used the spare kick pedal as a toggle between normal snare drum and rim-click sounds.

The patch is built around an SD2 Metal pre-set and the default notes on the kit. In order to use the patch to its full potential, with all its hidden features, I suggest you either re-map the notes of your kit or, very patiently, tweak the MIDI rack within Ableton. To download the patch, click here.

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--DIY--

Wronka makes it easy

To DATE, ThERE have been two approaches to electrifying acoustic drums – mounting internal triggers under the head or sticking external triggers onto the hoop. There have recently been a number of innovative DIY triggers solutions from Germany, the latest of which combines the design of external triggers with the ease of fitting and stealth looks of internal triggers.

Metal worker Jörg Wronka has designed a dual-zone Easy Trigger that simply attaches to a lug screw on the inside of the shell. The clever design allows you to slide the trigger up or down to adjust the head tension.

The trigger assembly takes a few minutes to install, simply requiring the removal of the head and loosening of the lug screws. The design works best with open-bottomed drums, since the instrument cable attaches directly to the trigger, but Wronka also sells an adaptor kit (€12) which allows the trigger to be connected to a shell-mounted jack. The one-piece trigger is shipped with simple Ikea-like instructions that are easy to follow.

While the installation takes just minutes, the set-up may take a bit longer. Connected to an older Roland module, the trigger was virtually plug and play, with good sensitivity across the head and rim.

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

With a 2box module, a bit of tweaking was required, but again, exact triggering and excellent rim response were easily achieved when the stock rim setting was dialled down. one thing to watch with the 2box is the mounting position as the trigger presents a definite hot spot. So, even though the trigger sensor is small (about the size of a US 25c piece), it’s best to locate it where you’re less likely to hit it directly.

The fussier Roland TD-30 took a bit more work to dial in, but good triggering was achieved after tweaking. of course, since the trigger is edge-mounted, positional sensing is not achievable.

The triggers are beautifully crafted and seem robust and reliable. The only potential vulnerability, as with all triggers, is the piezo sensor, and it seems relatively easy to replace, should that ever be necessary.

The score*

Price: €34 Ease of installation: 5 Non-invasiveness: 5 Performance: 4.3 *Scores out of five

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Kick the habit

--Gear--

A new compact trigger solution is changing the way e-drummers play their bass drums. Allan Leibowitz stepped up to try the Triggera Krigg. WHILE SOME DRUM makers have adapted the traditional bass drum for electronic triggering, there have been a few attempts to re-invent the wheel. Many of those have involved inverted beaters and small trigger sensors, but it’s often tricky getting the beater angle right for a natural feel and motion. A new product from Europe eliminates the need for a beater, working instead off the bottom of a traditional bass pedal.

What’s in the box

The Krigg is essentially a two-piece assembly: a frame which clips onto the base plate of a 44

kick pedal and a bracket which houses the trigger sensor and jack. There were no instructions or pictures of a fitted version, so the novice may be a little confused initially. But there’s really only way to fit the Krigg to a pedal, so everyone will soon work it out.

How to mount

The bracket is height-adjustable, with a full 55 mm of play, which should be enough to fit under most pedals.

My first attempt to mount the Krigg on a cheap Pearl pedal didn’t quite work out. The Pearl’s mounting hardware, designed for a thicker

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hoop, was not tight enough to hold the Krigg in place, so it just kept slipping out. The makers point out that you can pack the base with a piece of rubber to add thickness, but instead, I tried a different “standard” pedal and there was no such problem. The Krigg was held in place (even firmer with the addition of a leather spacer ring which ensured more grip), and the bracket easily adjusted so that the beater side of the pedal could easily strike the sensor.

In action

All the physical adjustment is done on the bracket, and it was very easy to select a comfortable position so that impact occurred roughly where the beater would hit the drum head (had there been a beater and a drum head!).

Because of the pedal design, the impact occurred just where the chain mounts on the pedal, so it presented a hard surface which was not quite silent. If the slight clicking is unacceptable, it is, of course, possible to stick some gaffer tape to the pedal to soften the blow. Even unprotected however, the sound is softer than a KD-8 or KD-9-type trigger.

The action takes a bit of getting used to, requiring less force than a conventional beater, but after a few minutes, you won’t notice the difference.

Now Shipping ...

Triggering capability

I hooked the Krigg up to a TD-30 module and got perfect triggering on a number of settings without any tweaks. It worked well on all the kick drum presets, from KD-140 to KD-8, but with a little adjustment, also performed flawlessly on other presets. The only thing I could not reproduce was the “bury the beater” effect that comes with some of Roland’s mesh and fabric bass triggers.

On the 2box, a slight adjustment was required, but once dialled in, the Krigg did its job perfectly. As they say, it didn’t miss a beat.

The verdict

The Krigg is a no-fuss bass trigger that performs perfectly. It has a tiny footprint (pardon the pun) and attaches easily to most bass pedals.

At €43 (plus €15 for shipping anywhere in the world), the Krigg is exceptional value. It even comes with a four-month money-back warranty. UPDATE: Since this review, a new version of the trigger, the Krigg V2, has been released. According to its makers, the new model retains “all the good features of the original ... and now it's more robust and has (a) better finish”.

trapKAT 5KS

with Kurzweil Sounds and Power Dot technology!

The Ultimate all-in-one drum controller now features an on-board Kurzweil percussion sound engine and Aquarian powerdot technology which increases durablity and sensitivity!

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digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013 45 Alternate Mode Inc. 53 First Ave., Chicopee, MA 01020 • www.alternatemode.com


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--diy-PHOTOS: LES HUFFMAN

Basic triggering Do you have a DIY question? Philippe Decuyper will solve readers’ problems in each edition of digitalDrummer. Whether repairing existing equipment or building your own, Philippe will find the answers. Just email your questions to editor@digitaldrummermag.com. This month’s question comes from a subscriber in Southampton, England, who asks: “What’s the best way to add a trigger to a bass drum?”

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WHETHER YOU ALREADY have a basic rubber kick pad or a compact multi-pad device with a trigger input, you will probably want to get an electronic kick drum that looks like – and importantly, feels like - the real thing. An electronic kick sounds like an easy one to build. It is a mono trigger which will be compatible with almost any module available, provided the brain has tweakable threshold and sensitivity settings. However, the kick trigger is not without its challenges, primarily associated with its “piezo-killing” beater and the bounce inherent in large drum heads. Placing the piezo

A piezo transducer is a fragile device and it cannot survive repeated violent impacts from a beater. Unlike a snare trigger, which seldom gets direct hits as sticks use almost the whole playing surface, a bass drum is always struck in the same place and a foam “shield” is not enough to protect it from such abuse. Fortunately, we don’t really care about getting positional sensing from a bass drum, nor do we use the rim of such a foot-played instrument. Our single piezo can therefore be placed wherever we want in the shell. In order to avoid it being broken after two bars of a first “Message in a bottle” test, it should not be placed right in the centre, where the beater is going to smash the mesh head. We can still use a crossbar and do our best to isolate the piezo from the shell as we would with a snare/tom trigger because our drum pedal will be mechanically linked to the shell and could cause false triggering. Furthermore, the “piezo-platter” should be placed off-centre on the crossbar.

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

How big should the drum be?

It is practical to use a small kick drum. Roadies will be happy and you will not have to share the back seat of your car with your home-made boring friend. That said, if you are used to acoustic drums, it may take some time to adapt your foot techniques to a small head. A good compromise may be a converted 16” tom. There are commercial risers that are easy to use if you are not very handy. Filling the drum

Here is one important thing to take into consideration: a large head mounted on a big empty shell has the potential to generate some unwanted signals for your piezo. Generally, the ideal situation is to get your piezo transducers to convert each hit to a short waveform to be processed by the module. This is usually the case with a tightly set 12” head beaten with a stick. But this is not that easy with a large head placed on a big shell and beaten with a hammer! Actually, even small electronic bass drums are affected by this problem.

We can then attempt to get rid of this by “compressing” a large piece of soft foam between a platter (on the crossbar) and the head. This is another good reason to place the piezo off-centre. Setting your module

Finally, once your electronic bass drum is ready to rock, you will probably get rid of some remaining problems by setting your module’s threshold and sensitivity parameters so they match the new baby. 47


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--gear--

MONSTER

My

kit

This month’s monster is a DIY triumph of trial and error, created by Matt Claymore from Houston, TX.

The Triggers

13” DIY dual-zone snare 20” bass shell with 10” trigger pad Various dual-zone DIY tom pads DIY mesh screen heads All covered with Merlot Sparkle wrap custom cut by Precision Drum Co.

Cymbals

DIY conversions including dual-zone 12” hihat, dual-zone chokeable crashes, splashes and China and an 18” three-zone ride with choke.

Hardware

Tama Speed Cobra double bass pedal Home-made drum rack and tom holders

Electronics

Roland TD-20 with TDW-20 expansion 48

Two Roland TMC-6s Roland FD-7 pedal Yamaha foot trigger (right of bass drum) Tapco 4x4 MIDI interface

Software

Superior Drummer and BFD2 standalone platforms and various sound packs

Matt’s story

I started my foray into building a mesh head DIY kit in 2008. I went from single-zone to dual-zone drum pads. I created some single zone acrylic cymbals, then graduated to my first AtoE conversion using J-Man's Stealth Triggers. Last year, I finally broke through the barrier and created chokeable e-cymbals of my own design. www.digitaldrummermag.com


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WARNING

For their own safety, digitalDrummer advises impulse purchase-prone readers to avoid this feature.

Matt (above) with his DIY kit, powered by an expanded TD-20 module and two TMC-6s. Right: Matt’s dual-zone cymbal design.

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

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gear Guide CUSTOM KITS

DIY KITS

Diamond Compact 5

.COM

Small footprint, small price

HUGE PRESENCE

Diamond’s uncompromising quality now comes in a compact kit with full-size performance for just £1,299* *excludes cymbals, pedals and throne but includes cowbell.

www.diamondelectronicdrums.com

MESH HEADS

DEALER

CLICK CLICK H HERE ERE

DRRUM UM TRRIGGERS IGGERS AND AND MESH ESH HEEADS ADS AUXILIARY TRIGGERS

The best heads for electronic drumming, made by Aquarian Drumheads, are now available in Australia. Featuring Hart’s proprietary heavy-duty mesh, providing virtually silent operation. It’s a noticeable difference that you can feel.

To order in Australia, click here

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gear Guide

BUY AND SELL

Got gear to sell?

We’ll buy your used e-drum gear for a great price with no messing around. Why waste time and money listing on eBay or your local classifieds when we can seal the deal with one call? Whole kits, single triggers, modules, hardware we buy it all. Sell to someone who knows the market and guarantees a fair price and prompt payment. Email us at jjdrumz76@gmail.com

And if you’re looking to buy, go to our eBay store, jjdrumz.

CABLE MANAGEMENT

GET ORGANISED

digitalDrummer cable label sheets are running out at just $5 each (including postage).

www.digitaldrummermag.com

digitalDRUMMER, FEBRUARY 2013

DIY KITS

The leading DIY acoustic-to-electronic cymbal conversion kit is now available in 2box versions. Stealth Drums’ popular kits can now be used for crashes and splashes and for the most responsive three-zone ride on the market. The kit contains all the parts you’ll need plus easy-to-follow instructions.

www.stealthdrums.com

GOING

MARKETING

Your ad here

for less than $200 CLICK HERE 51


ddfeb2013_Layout 3 7/01/13 6:21 PM Page 52

Missed a review?

Using the search function and the archive option, you can search the past three back issues* for any content, including our reviews and head-to-head comparisons.

Here is a summary of our reviews to date:

January 2010

Reviews: Yamaha DTX M-12 Korg Wavedrum Roland TD-8 Comparatives: Amps and Powered Speakers

April 2010

Reviews: Diamond Electronic Drums 12� snare Crappy Triggers external triggers Jman cymbal conversion kit Comparatives: Mesh heads Headphones

July 2010

Comparatives: External Triggers Racks

October 2010

Reviews: Roland HPD-10 JamHub 682Drums e-conversion kit Comparatives: Double pedals Notation software

February 2011

Comparatives: Drumsticks E-cymbals (stick noise) Cymbal VSTs

May 2011

Review: DrumIt Five 2box kit Tu Mesh Comparatives: Auxiliary triggers E-cymbals (crashes)

August 2011

Reviews: Gen 16 AE cymbals Native Instruments Abbey Road IV The Classic Addictive Drums Virtually Erskine Comparatives: Drop-in trigger kits Mesh heads In-ear monitors

November 2011

Reviews: Pork Pie thrones Studio Drummer Comparatives: E-snares

February 2012

Reviews: Midi Knights Pro Extreme Drum Triggers kit Comparatives: E-rides Mesh heads

May 2012

Reviews: ddrum Hybrid kit Korg Wavedrum Mini BFD Eco 1.5 Platinum Studios Rock Legends Quick Pack Comparatives: Drumsticks

August 2012

Reviews: Roland TD-30KV Roland SPD-SX Steven Slade Drums 4.0 r-drums conversion kit Comparatives: Mesh Heads

November 2012

Reviews: Mark Drum YES kit trapKAT 5KS Comparatives: Multi-pads

*For reviews prior to May 2012, click here.

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digitalDrummer February 2013  

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