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MIDI drum kit talk

stonehead said....

Hey Fred
I have to say I cheated a bit here.
You remember when I said i Didn't care for midi kits well..............it is nearly christmas and I couldn't resist the temptation Doh!!!!
Its the Alesis DM5 brain with drum skin pads.I'm not that keen on the Hihat but I can always put in real cymbals.
Anyway glad you liked it
Ian



Hi Ian-

Well I did the same thing, out of curiosity. There is nothing that will ever compete with or replace miced acoustic drums, for performance, and soune (if you know what you're soing). But these midi kits, are pretty convenient and cool in their own right. There is something to be said for them, this is true, but we keep things in perspective. Going one further I think it's smart as well to learn to program drums too. You learn a heck of a lot about editing audio, and what you learn can be applied to real drum tracks... I'll never give up the acoustics and playing them onstage if I can, but it's good to know about and have the midi drum kits, and do a bit of programming as well. Keeping your hand in all areas a bit.

I've learned so much about editing, mixing, mastering, arrangement, and music theory in general because I've not done acoustic drums only.

I want to get discussions going on all of these aspects... So we can indeed pick each other's brains...

13 comments:

Keeper said...

I don't consider it cheating Ian. I'd bet my arse that it didn't make you love your acoustics any less. If anything it probably reinforced your love for the acoustics... It's convenient though... And they are a lot of fun.

This program is probably the easiest to use for editing (and tightening up) audio tracks like you say that one needed.. I could help you get started using it if ya need it. It's an amazing program. I use a full version of it on a daily basis.

http://fjamhelp.blogspot.com/2007/12/acid-express-pc-utiitiy.html

Keeper said...

Let me try that link again:

http://fjamhelp.blogspot.com/2007/12/acid-express-pc-utiitiy.html

stonehead said...

Hi Fred
Sorry I was a while responding but I had to go visit reatives this evening
Yes you are right I think both have their place.I love the simplicity of the electronic for recording and the sound variations right up to the mix down.But the old fav has much nicer feel to play especially the hats.It's difficult to get expression from what is basically a three way switch.
I have installed the acid exp after our last com but I haven't spent time on it yet.The midi drum map editor in cubase is very useful it's nice to be able to edit and move drum parts around without having to split waveforms and worry about audio leakage between drum mikes

Keeper said...

One cool thing about the midi kits, is that you can plug in virtually any samples and play them with your kit. If you know how to use softsynths, you can plug any kit in and trigger them via softsynth. You could even sample your acoustic kit and trigger it with the midi kit. You just need to interface the midi part of it with your computer. On my setup here I have a midi switch that lets me trigger either the midi brain that came with the V-drums, or I can switch it over and feed the midi output into the computer, and I can plug in any sounds.

I've had some problems with dynamics doing this but it's just because I didn't spend the time with it. I have a track I did where I was playing my mid kit and triggering Siggi Balserson's kit. I loaded the samples of his kit from cd into Battery and triggered it with my midi kit. I really liked the sound but it was all one volume. For some reason the velocity was getting filtered out, so I couldn't play softer and louder, so I put that away and forgot about it. I'm sure it was just a software setting somewhere...

I have pictures of my acoustic kit where I have a couple bosspads mounted on the acoustic kit to trigger midi while playing my acoustic kit. I used to use this onstage quite a bit. Notice them mounted above my snare and floor tom.

http://lh6.google.com/fjam.keeper/R2P3S5VTDYI/AAAAAAAAAjs/_0w8NBTAIx4/keeper_drums20.jpg

stonehead said...

Yep I've used virtual samplers before and they can be very cool if a little memory hungry.Not such a problem these days on new computers.
I noticed the pads on your photo before and guessed they must be midi gear.
I'm not sure I would like using the new kit live, it locked up twice today and I had to reset.Im sure its just teething problems but live it would be a nightmare.

Keeper said...

Locked up? What could lock up on it? That is a brand new kit right? If so now is the time to put it through it's paces so if it's defective you can take it back.

When I used the midi pads (it was back in the mid 80s), midi was pretty new on the scene, and I only triggered realtime. Not sure what could lock up if triggering realtime. No sequencers was involved. The pads have a brain and it just made sound when I hit it. No sequencer or recorder was involved, so nothing to lock up.

Maybe I don't know what you have there. My kit is by Roland, and it's just the kit and the soundsource. I had to interface it with the computer to record the midi. You have yours interfaced I take it...

If it's locking up that sounds like a software problem more than the actual drums or sound module.

stonehead said...

Yes I think you are right.It only locked up while playing the traks back.The midi data was coming from the computer to the drum brain and the sounds were fired back to the the computer audio interface for recording back onto two audio tracks.
It only did it a couple of times but I recon it would be software related.Could be software outside of cubase interfering.
I will sort it if becomes a headache

Keeper said...

It might be a "midi thru" thing. It could be that the input is getting fed back into the output, back into the input. A sort of digital feedback. It wouldn't squeal like audio on a PA with an open mic. It'll lock up the system instead...

You'll know if that is the case, but turning the midi thru option to "off", and see if the problem ceases...

I'm not a cubase user so I can't be more specific.

For the computer to lockup on playback makes me thing that it's putting out is getting fed back into it somehow, creating a midi signal loop.

Keeper said...

Might be a midi THRU thing on the drum brain too. Feeding what is comming from the computer back into the computer's input.

MIDI Thru is the first thing I'd look up in the manuals and help regardless of which device you are eyeing as the culprit.

stonehead said...

Fortunately its not the main computer locking so I am not loosing anything,it is the drum brain. I think you are right about the digital cross talk though and I'm sure it can be stopped with a bit of understanding and setting adjustment.......huh! computers are great when they are working.

Keeper said...

Is that kit under warranty? I'd try taking the computer right out of the picture and play it realtime for a bit just to make sure it doesn't lockup. Because it's new, I'd make sure it's not faulty.

Just thinking aloud...

It sounds really good though! The more you play it the more you learn to workaround it's limitations.

Long live acoustic drums! If I had more time I'd just play acoustic and work the drum tech angle... Lots of work there!!

Good luck to ya Ian!

stonehead said...

Ye
I've been playing it in real time quite a bit to get the feel of it and to try and teach myself to use lite sticks and play gently again (lol) and there has been no problem so I recon I can track the glitch back to the computer and the software.As long as it doesn't occur while recording it's not going to bug me too much but I dont like glitches so I will track it down asap

Keeper said...

As for the acid Pro Lite, it's pretty simple. You import the files you want to tweak to one another, identify what you want to move and which way, put the cursor near it, zoom in a bit, put the cursor kick in front of the kick for instance right click and "split at cursor", then put the cursor just after the kick and do the same thing. You'll have the kick separated from the rest of the track and you can just grab it and drag it to where you think it should go, and let it go. You should hear the difference immediately. If it didn't work well just use the undo.

It's that easy with AP. Split what you want moved off from the rest of the track and drag it. That's a bit simplified, but that's the gist of it. It's absolutely great for timing tweaks on audio.