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Old 06-14-2018, 07:12 AM   #41
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That's cool that it is does trigger down to that velocity. I guess then the biggy is how the overall velocity translates to what you are playing. In other words, how natural it seems from pad hit force to sample output from
That similar to what I was mentioning, in the beginning there, I was playing that simple beat and triggering in the 10-20 range fairly consistently, it was a little difficult but I can't say it was the pads any more than my ability to play that soft consistently. It sort of reminded me of the difficulty of hitting a real kick and snare that softly consistently.

Can't make a real call yet but when going back to my keyboard I didn't like it as much which is a first so at least somewhat hopeful.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:35 AM   #42
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That similar to what I was mentioning, in the beginning there, I was playing that simple beat and triggering in the 10-20 range fairly consistently, it was a little difficult but I can't say it was the pads any more than my ability to play that soft consistently. It sort of reminded me of the difficulty of hitting a real kick and snare that softly consistently.

Can't make a real call yet but when going back to my keyboard I didn't like it as much which is a first so at least somewhat hopeful.
For me, the biggest problems with playing on pads have been:

1) Playing steady dynamics within a range, which is most noticeable for me in the regular playing velocity range. In other words, say when playing a generic rock beat, snare dynamics seem wonky. I don't have that issue nearly as much when playing a real snare, and when it hapenns, it is immediately obvious why it is happening (my playing).

2) Transitioning from the regular playing velocity range (when playing a steady beat) to softer hits (ghost notes) and accent hits. On pads, it's like I'm shooting in the dark on what I will get, where I don't have that issue on a real snare.

3) Transitioning from playing in one velocity range to playing in another. For example, I might be playing a steady rock beat within a regular dynamic range, and then transition all my playing to a lower dynamic range. Again, it feels like shooting in the dark on what dynamic range I will initially end up in when making the transistion, and it takes me a moment or two to adjust my playing to the new dynamic. I also don't have this issue on a real kit.

That said, I'm not great at drums by any stretch. But I feel that when playing on a real kit, what I play is what I get, and I can correct my playing to better play what I intend. And I feel that when playing on pads, what I get is very often different than what I intended, with no reasonable means for correcting my playing. I have the same issue when playing on keys but to a noticeably lesser degree. But then on keys the problem shifts from the easier movement between pads to the much more difficult movement between keys, where I am far and away from being a competent keys player.

Edit: For clarity, we are talking about finger pads, not pads that are hit with sticks.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:41 AM   #43
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Yea, it "ain't real drums" for sure playing wise but there's a chance I'll be a bit better off than before personally. Later after my post last night I pulled up a tune I had just done some "one take drums" with my keyboard a few days ago, I was at least able to be a good bit more expressive/responsive which surprised me. We'll see if it holds. Good conversation either way.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:07 AM   #44
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Drums arrived today. But I'm still waiting on a kick pedal and other bits to arrive. I should at least get the kit set up this weekend and start in on getting the pads and hi-hat adjusted.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:36 AM   #45
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Yea, it "ain't real drums" for sure playing wise but there's a chance I'll be a bit better off than before personally. Later after my post last night I pulled up a tune I had just done some "one take drums" with my keyboard a few days ago, I was at least able to be a good bit more expressive/responsive which surprised me. We'll see if it holds. Good conversation either way.
I think that likely the biggest issue for me with dynamics on pads/keys is having a much smaller physical playing force window than with real drums. In other words, say when playing a soft hit on a pad, my finger might be 1/8" above the pad before the hit, and for a hard hit my finger might be 1 inch above the pad before striking. Where with a real snare, my stick might be 1 inch above the drum head before a ghost note and 2 feet above the drum head for hardest strikes. I can't say that is the issue for sure, but it does seem like something of a leverage issue.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:48 AM   #46
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I'm excited to do some more real-time drum recording over the weekend since I have a multitude of ideas I've tracked with either a static pattern or just a click or in many cases in free time - I want to go back and play over some of those and see how it feels. It'll never replace the real drummer/kit that was my roommate for 10 years but its better than what I had. I'll report back when I can if I get to do this.

Side question: Does anyone know how the Kontakt Maschine pads are in comparison to the MPD218?
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:31 AM   #47
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Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXI-iC84VhM
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:48 AM   #48
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It's amazing but he's always hitting hard comparatively. I want to see him do that and never go over 50 velocity wise - We have enough people soloing already.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:58 AM   #49
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It's amazing but he's always hitting hard comparatively. I want to see him do that and never go over 50 velocity wise - We have enough people soloing already.
Yea, alot of keyboard/pad drumming is impressive from a technical point of view. But I think that very busy drumming styles tend to take away from the observation of dynamic issues, where playing for example, more straightforward rock and funk beats (more inline with what most of us will be using a drumming device for) with occasional ghost notes tends to put dynamics under scrutiny.

Some of those erratic jazz styles and fast metal drumming can really hide any dynamic issues, I think. But when holding a steady beat over multiple bars, those low and high velocities will jump out much more.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:06 AM   #50
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Just an 'approach' thing :

Playing live over some freetime guitar recently, I first just played until I had a main pattern I liked as consistently as possible, then recorded that (midi). No variations/fills.

Then next session focussed just on fills and variations, recorded a ton of those.

Then in reaper, reviewed the fills, trimmed to ones I liked then placed them at appropriate moments in main pattern.

This allowed to get the most human overall part but took account of my tech ability limits. Still needed some micro editing to get super tight to freetime part but far less than 'usual'

Iow Focusing on just main pattern, then just fills was a good approach.

Trying to do both as well as possible simultaneously was too full of errors...
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:00 AM   #51
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I think that at least for a while, I'm just going to play. No focus on recording. Just play with songs and have fun with it (hopefully). And there is tons of things that I want to work out, learn, and practice on drums.

Just got the brain plugged in to make sure it works. And my kick pedal showed up, so I connected the snare pad, a tom pad, hi-hat controller, and kick to give it a quick test. This seems much more promising than keys/pads to me for playing drums. We'll see how it goes after getting everything squared away and getting some playing time in. The only thing I can say so far is that the latency from the drum module isn't offputting, and I hope it is still low enough to feel ok after connecting up to a drum sampler.

Funny thing, my christmas syndrome has long since gone. When opening up new gear these days I tend to think more along the lines of, "Damn, I hope this doesn't suck because I don't want to end up having to pack this back up."
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:13 AM   #52
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Trying to do both as well as possible simultaneously was too full of errors...
It depends on the cadence for me, I'd prefer to play the entire thing at once but if I don't/can't I often do brass first then add kick/snare/toms. On a side note it doesn't matter to me if say guitar, bass or drums come first, rhythm is rhythm in that respect. Tonight I'm going to create a bank that has pad custom pad assignments and see how that goes since right now, I have to bank over to get to toms which isn't going to work for me.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:46 AM   #53
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I think that at least for a while, I'm just going to play. No focus on recording. Just play with songs and have fun with it (hopefully). And there is tons of things that I want to work out, learn, and practice on drums.

Just got the brain plugged in to make sure it works. And my kick pedal showed up, so I connected the snare pad, a tom pad, hi-hat controller, and kick to give it a quick test. This seems much more promising than keys/pads to me for playing drums. We'll see how it goes after getting everything squared away and getting some playing time in. The only thing I can say so far is that the latency from the drum module isn't offputting, and I hope it is still low enough to feel ok after connecting up to a drum sampler.

Funny thing, my christmas syndrome has long since gone. When opening up new gear these days I tend to think more along the lines of, "Damn, I hope this doesn't suck because I don't want to end up having to pack this back up."
I don't think you'll be sending em back.:-)
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:34 PM   #54
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Drums arrived today.
I must have missed it. What did you get?
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:34 PM   #55
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It's amazing but he's always hitting hard comparatively. I want to see him do that and never go over 50 velocity wise - We have enough people soloing already.
Oh yeah, definitely, if without a real drummer, for grooves I always use clips/loops/etc.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:10 PM   #56
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It depends on the cadence for me, I'd prefer to play the entire thing at once but if I don't/can't I often do brass first then add kick/snare/toms. On a side note it doesn't matter to me if say guitar, bass or drums come first, rhythm is rhythm in that respect. Tonight I'm going to create a bank that has pad custom pad assignments and see how that goes since right now, I have to bank over to get to toms which isn't going to work for me.
of course depends, but i had a freetime guitar/voice was adding drums to, and after trying to achieve one awesome 'take nirvana' with my particular setup (aerodrums with one mesh head for snare), realised it was better to nail a consistant main pattern, then spend an hour just trying fills etc as the track looped! -
fitted my ability but crucially everything was played by a human responding to the track and thats the main thing.
even if fills needed quite a bit of neatening, the 'instinct and intent' was captured, the execution is fixable these days thankfully!
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:21 PM   #57
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I must have missed it. What did you get?
It's a roland td11k. If it can translate dynamics well enough it will be a keeper.
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:12 AM   #58
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Congrats! Way better than my first ekit (TD3) which served me very well. I strongly recommend a ride cymbal pad, makes a huge playability and realism difference. If you don't want to pop for the Roland right away go to GC and get their cheapo Simmons ride, it'll at least give you a functioning bell until you can upgrade.

I think you'll love it if you give them enough of a chance. My experience is from playing drums for many years, getting out of the game for a while, and then basically being priced out as rehearsal space cost had risen dramatically and city living and adulthood lol made playing at home impractical. Got the TD3 (now TD20x) and never looked back. Last band I was in I gave them the choice and they enthusiastically chose the edrums.

For me, the more I played, the more I liked them, the more I worked on the sounds and playability, the better they got, and around and around again. I'd suggest you at least work with the onboard sounds til you get a kit together that you like and can play well, that way I think you'll learn a lot about how to use it and play it and when you go to the external sounds you'll have the confidence that you have a kit that is set up to your liking and should work well. Also you can use that to monitor with if you have latency issues. I feel like I have "my" kit 90-95% and in some ways better in the onboard sounds.

Dynamics, well, there definitely is a difference, but for most types of pop music I don't think there's a real issue. You'll likely need to turn down the sensitivity down right out of the gate unless you have a very light touch, turn it down until you really have to whack it to get full volume, like you would a real drum. Also play with the response curves, you can use response curves that exaggerate dynamics, or in effect compress the dynamics in various ways. You'll probably come back to linear, but it's useful to see that you have effective options while you're learning.

Have fun, enjoy, good luck!
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:56 PM   #59
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After spending the weekend with this thing, my overall impression is that I like it. I much prefer playing on a real kit, but for low volume playing and practicing it's is a good tool. I can definitely get on with it. I have much better control over dynamics and mobility on this kit than with keys or pads. The playing experience is fun, where when playing on keys or pads I felt frustrated. And I feel like I can play and practice on this kit and actually progress, where I felt the opposite when playing drums on keys and pads.

The builtin acoustic drum sounds in the TD-11 module are pretty blah, but they would be good enough for practicing. The electronic sounds (808 and 909) can be fun to play with, though. Other than the builtin sounds, I like the module overall, especially when using it as a usb audio/midi interface for triggering a drum sampler plugin and monitoring through it. I wasn't expecting it to have good enough latency peformance, but I think it is better than when connecting the module via a MIDI cable to my audio interface, where routing through my interface felt just a bit too sluggish. But I would say that the latency performance of the module when used with a sampler is right on the cusp of being good enough, where latency performance feels faster when using the module standalone. Overall, the best playing experience so far has been using the module with addictive drums after making some quick velocity tweaks and adjusting zones for openness of the hi-hat in addictive. The headphone output of the module is about what you would expect from a laptop, being a bit on the low side at times. But there is an additional level control for the usb audio which can bring up the headphone output to more than enough volume. Roland did a good job with the user interface on this module, where everything is easy to get to and nothing feeling clunky.

The mesh snare pad is pretty good, having the main trigger mounted near the rim. So playing in the center isn't hot, but hotness does graduate from the bottom of the snare to the top (by bottom and top I mean rim to rim across the head). The rubber pads for the toms are hot in the center. They are usable for now, but I wouldn't call them good. I haven't spent much time tweaking velocities on them yet, though. The cymbals are fine, and with a little velocity tweaking in addictive they are quite a bit better. The hi-hat controller is ok but not great. Making adjustments to the zones of openness of the hi-hat in addictive's settings is a big help, though. Overall, I would say that the biggest weakness after only some quick velocity tweaking is the rubber tom pads, followed by the hi-hat pedal. But both are usable after some quick tweaking in addictive, and I think I can get them better dialed in after putting in some more time with it. The kick pad seems fine enough, although it could use some bracing on the sides as it tends to wobble a bit when doing steady 1/8 notes. The only false triggering that I have experienced so far is an ocassional low velocity false ride note when playing hard on the floor tom pad. But I haven't changed any internal module triggering settings yet, and I think I can dial that out.

At some point I will do some latency testing of the module's usb audio and MIDI and 5-pin MIDI. As I said above, the best overall setup I have found so far is using the module's usb audio/midi through addictive. I have local control turned off in the module, which turns off triggering of the internal sounds and is reported by others to lower the latency a bit. I wish that addictive drums had a zero latency mode, because it does add an additional buffer, likely for all the builtin effects processing stuff. Playing through addictive feels just good enough, but lower latency is always better in my experience with virtual instruments and processing.

Anyway, it's definitely a keeper. If I were solely dependent upon the module's internal sounds, I would be disappointed. The sounds are very much in casio keyboard territory, being synthesized/modeled rather than purely sampled sounds. Supernatural my ass. Other than that caveat, the module is a nice piece of kit. The snare pad, kick pad, and cymbals are pretty good. The rubber tom pads and hi-hat pedal, less so, but usable.
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Old Yesterday, 12:12 AM   #60
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Wow, you're having some fun, huh? You make me wanna try another drumpler, I have Steven Slate Drums and whatever the NI one was and didn't like them, so I really dove into the onboard sounds and never looked back, although this was several years ago and I should expect the newer programs to be better.
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Old Yesterday, 09:39 AM   #61
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Fred, I guess it just depends on what you like. I tend to like natural drums with a small room ambience rather than the big studio polished sounds that most of the available sampled kits shoot for. And maybe the sounds that you go for on your module are very different than the sounds on mine. But what I have heard from audio samples of various roland modules makes me think that they all have better and worse variations of the same sort of sounds, using limited samples, slathered in eq, compression, and reverb, which is the polar opposite of what I prefer.
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Old Yesterday, 09:47 AM   #62
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Roland brains sound fucking awful compared to compared to pretty much all major drum modules on the PC. It's embarrassing given how much they charge for those kits.
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Old Today, 03:01 AM   #63
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Glad you like your new kit! I suppose it's true I like big punchy sounds, my real kit's a 7 pc. Gretsch in the power sizes lol, with a Yamaha 8" brass snare. I've gotten so close to this in my (extensively tweaked) Roland that I don't miss it. I don't use any reverb etc. because I wouldn't want to print that stuff when you can do it all better in the mix.

I do absolutely understand that real drums and ok probably drumplers too "sound better" from an objective standpoint. Anyone remember a few years ago when the guy on American Idol played VDrums? I was the first to say hey that drum sound kinda sucks lol. From my subjective viewpoint as a bedroom project studio guy... it's like my beloved Amplitube; I'm sure a hundred top shelf amps and effects would in fact sound better, but it sure is better than nothing, and in fact way better than I could afford to do any other way, and at the end of the day good enough to do a decent demo or indie release. IMHO. Haters to the left, please, and do it walkin'.

My problems with the samplers I've tried is kinda I guess mainly due to the limitations I perceive (and maybe I'm wrong now) in samples plus the whole razors 'n blades business model. I'd have a kit that I almost liked except for whatever... too ringy, too dead, tuned too high, low, etc. and so you can kinda change it a bit, but not really, or hey we have 50 more kits you might like, just $100 each! And the latency, playable, but annoying. Where with the VDrums you can tweak pretty much everything and I can have 50 noticeably different kits but all based around my tastes at no extra cost and I can play them without worrying about latency.

Which doesn't mean I'm not interested in drumplers 'cuz I am! I'd in particular like better cymbal sounds and I'd be very interested in having MIDI drum trax to deal with rather than audio. How are the editing options on AD? Can you change for instance tuning and damping and mic position? What kinds of music do you do?

Anyway great thread Brainwreck, glad you like your kit!
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Old Today, 08:42 AM   #64
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Hey Fred, I have kind of a love/hate relationship with all this electronic drum stuff, including drum samplers. To me, nothing beats playing on a real kit, even a cheap kit in a small room. Over the years, I have owned a bunch of drum samplers, and they all leave something to be desired in one way or another.

On addictive drums in particular, I would say that it's strength is in how much control it provides. All the audio processing stuff aside (there is alot of it), each kit piece has controls for pitch, pitch envelope, volume, and volume envelope, as well as a separate pitch for overhead/room (together) and individual levels for each piece in the overhead and room channels.

And there is plenty of control over velocities as well, with each piece having a user defined velocity curve (and preset curves), upper and lower velocity limits, and global velocity limits. And there are some nice controls for hi-hat response, allowing for making adjustments of the relationship between the openness of the hi-hat pedal and openness of the samples being played. Most of this stuff is in the map window (you can grab the demo to take a look, or search for youtube reviews).

Personally, I find the amplitube envelopes, velocity controls, and hi-hat controls very useful. Ringiness/deadness and amount of attack can be shaped pretty radically using the amplitube envelopes.

Also, for kick and snare there are controls for balancing mic channels of front/back and top/bottom respectively. And the room channel has a control for mic distance.

I would say that the weaknesses of addictive are that it adds an additional 64 sample buffer with no way to turn it off that I can tell, and the rooms don't sound natural to me (although, much better to my ears than the onboard rooms in the roland modules). So for example, there is around 1.5 ms additional latency when using addictive drums over ezdrummer, and I really wish that addictive had a lower latency mode. Playing through it has been ok in terms of latency, but lower latency is always better. And on the room channel thing, I think that some sort of reverb/modeling is used in place of actual room microphones, like what amp sims tend to use.
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