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Zendrum Stuff => ZenChat => Topic started by: Inspector 109 on June 23, 2009, 03:40:30 PM

Title: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on June 23, 2009, 03:40:30 PM
Hey Everybody

I'd like to open a roundtable no holds barred wish list and suggestion box here.
Almost every idea that went into the Z4 came from suggestions dropped on us by all of you over the last 15+ years.
We listened.

MIDI Channel per trigger was asked for first by Billy Cobham in 1994. He called them "zones".
Hi-hat pedals and continuous controllers, sustain button as extra command switch, non-sequential 4-note velocity switching, video game joysticks and whammy bars, applications other than drumming, anything you want to think about. Get in there and pitch for what you want to see and why.

This is the thread the engineers are going to look at for ideas.
Put your thinking caps ON.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Lunatique on June 23, 2009, 09:03:17 PM
Ok, let's get this puppy started. Let me start by collecting and organizing all the thoughts I've had, and I'll try to present them in the most constructive and practical context in terms of actual development possibilities within reasonable financial investment.

1) The ability to map any non-sequential notes to the xfade. I'm assuming this one shouldn't be that hard because it's simply just intercepting the MIDI messages and remapping them on the fly, which a lot of software already does and some are free to download. MIDI OX, eDrum MIDI Mapper, S-Note Matrix are a few that comes to mind.

2) The ability to set the xfade points and the ramp of the xfade, so that depending on the sounds you are mapping, you can control how many sounds you want to map, (sometimes you only want to map 2 or 3, not 4, and maybe you even want to map more than 4) the xfade ramp length, position within the dynamic range...etc. I don't know the flexible the code is for Z4's software, so I have no idea if this is even possible currently or would require significant rewrites.

3) A software editor. This is a big one. You can either use the MIDI as the interface for the software editor, or add a USB connector. Some people don't use hardware modules and work exclusively ITB, so USB may make more sense to them, and cheaper/easier to add USB hubs than to add MIDI interfaces to your rig. The software editor would make changing parameters and navigation a lot easie, and I would think it's also cheaper to implement since it requires no hardware changes. For example, that graphical template image on the site now--it would be similar to that for the main interface screen, and each trigger's blank area would be live input boxes for changing settings.

4) However, with that said, for people who don't like to deal with computers, hardware changes down the line may be inevitable, as more features (and the more comprehensive/complex they are) would require more streamlined and clever ways of navigation. The art and science of UI design is not something to take lightly (as we've seen how the manufacturers who do end up feeling the negative impact of the lack of attention they pay to the interface of their products, and those who do--like Apple's iPod or Novation's ReMOTE SL series, end up leading the market). The Zendrum in its current iteration is already suffering a bit from clunky navigation--too many button presses and too many horizontal selections in each tier of parameters. A couple of well-chosen dedicated buttons, knobs, or data-wheel can greatly improve the navigation. This is a double-edged sword because the original design philosophy of Zendrum is to set it and forget it and just play, but I don't think that philosophy is as applicable today, as the landscape of music-making tools have changed with computers and plugins. With so many choices for drum sound sources, the ability to tweak your Zendrum's calibration, layout, and xfade note mapping...etc would be frequently used, and with frequent usage, the "annoyance level" of a user's navigation experience must be minimum. The least number of button pushes, the least number of directory jumps...etc as possible, to get to often used parameters.

Also, to help along with more intuitive navigation, a LCD screen that can display more comprehensive data would be very helpful. Cryptic display messages are the root of many UI navigation evils, and often when you haven't consulted the manual for a while, you forget what the shorthands stand for, and while on the road or in a gig, you don't have time to consult the manual (or even have it with you). Concise and clear LCD messages will alleviate that problem. Investment wise, this may be one of the more costly ones.

5) The MIDI in/out location/angle is awkward since they jut out at 90 degrees angle from the body, and if you aren't careful there could be cable strain problems. It would be awesome if the in/out sockets themselves are angled and maybe rotatable so you can swing them towards the front or the back depending on your playing position (I haven't seen anyone do this yet on the market). Or, maybe design a simple right-angle MIDI adapter that's like the right-angle 1/4" adapters, but for MIDI cables. This shouldn't be too expensive to implement/design.

6) Factory default preset layouts for popular drum libraries or modules would be awesome, so people can plug their new Zendrum in and start rocking out instead of trying to figure out how they want to map everything. Increase the number of presets, and add additional banks for the presets. For example, melodic scale presets would be in the scales folder, and software drum libraries/moduels would be in another folder, and hardware modules would be in another folder. Of course, the drum layout presets are going to be subjective, but I think with the benefit of experience on the side of the people who are doing the mapping, their layout would tend to be more user friendly than someone who's never spent time on the Zendrum, as they've experimented with different layouts for a while now. This one only takes time but not much investment. Also the Zendrum community can contribute to this particular project with their custom layouts.

7) The manual needs to be clear and intuitive (I know it's being worked on as I type this), and especially the complexities of calibration and how the three current possible methods of calibration correlate to each other, and describe what method is recommended for particular situations (for example David, the example you described on the phone of the PA/sub woofer vibration setting off some of the trigger--that's a great example of one situation). This takes time to get right, but not much investment.

8 ) While calibrating, we must have clear visual feedback of which triggers are actually active, since it's too easy to activate the wrong one--a rub of a shirt sleeve against a trigger you didn't intend to activate, or while setting the max of a trigger the vibration causes a nearby very sensitive trigger to be activated instead...etc. The LCD screen can really help with that. We can have a small graphical representation of the zendrum and all its triggers on the LCD screen, and the activated trigger would be highlighted. Another approach would be to have a tiny LED light accompany each trigger, so whichever one is activated, the light would be on (or maybe blink). The previously mentioned data-wheel can also help with the accidental setting off of unintended triggers--for example, scrolling the data-wheel you can go through all the triggers and the LED light would indicate which one you've selected. Now, add the ability to have the LED light be different colors--now we're talking even more effective navigation. This can even be used to identify what notes are being mapped to which trigger--for example, a melodic instrument--you click on the note in the VSTI and the corresponding trigger's LED would light up green. This could all work in conjunction with the software editor, where there would be a much larger graphical representation of the zendrum and its triggers and what is mapped to each. This one shouldn't be too expensive to implement since it's just low-tech LED lights.

And now a few suggestions that are not hard-ware/software related (these are just some subjective ideas--feel free to ignore them if they contradict the mission statement of Zendrum as a company):

1) Make some really good video tutorials about how to use the Zendrum. What is on the website and in text is quite dated in both presentation and organization/accessibility. Today's instrument/software developers typically all make very helpful video tutorials for their products, and their knowledge base/FAQ...etc are usually laid out very intuitively and attractively. This one might cost some money if you farm it out, or if you do it yourself, will take time.

2) Better presentation/marketing overall. Now, this is not about growing bigger and spending obscene amount of money on ads--it's about utilizing what is freely available to you and strategically placing ads in the most effective places (online communities and specific magazines). Make a really comprehensive and compelling video promo that gives the Zendrum the prestigious presentation it deserves. Beautiful photography, compelling copywriting, wonderfully directed video promos...etc. Put the videos on youtube, put the beautiful new photography on the site, and strategically buy a few ad spaces in places  that will really make a difference. Stress the difference between Zendrums and conventional rubber pad based products, edrum kits, and keyboards. Demonstrate the things that Zendrums can do that those input devices cannot--not user home videos but professionally produced videos that are compelling, entertaining, educational, visually beautiful to watch. Contact the people who are behind popular musician's podcasts and online portals and invite yourself to be interviewed or have articles written about the Zendrums. Give tours of the Zendrum facility to the people who are behind the press for pro audio news and they will help spread the word. This could either cost you a lot or very little, depending on how you approach it. Local video production talents may not cost a lot, and free press won't cost you a dime, if you know how to get it.

3) As wonderful as Zendrum is, many people who lust after that kind of responsiveness from a drum input device can't afford one, and may never be able to afford one. I know it took me many years to finally get one, and  there are countless others like me. MAYBE (and this is a big maybe, as I do understand that some companies want to remain small and would never ever consider becoming a mainstream player as it goes against their values and goals, but if not, read on) there could be a separate product line that utilized the same design approach, but can be mass produced. Instead of wood, use a durable aluminum shell or hard plastic, as long as it does not change the way the triggers respond. I can guarantee that a Zendrum line intended for the mass market will dominate all the drum controllers out there, as Zendrum's design is obviously far superior. I'm assuming Zendrum has a patent on its design, so it'll be able to lead the market without blatant imitations. Sure, big boys like Yamaha, Roland, Korg...etc will want a piece of the pie and come up with their own competing line, but they will never go as far as the premium line of Zendrums--the hand-crafted wood models. So, in a way, it's a win-win situation, as you've allowed more people to be able to enjoy the responsiveness of Zendrums, while maintaining your line of premium models for those who crave that handcrafted feel of a high-end instrument. This could potentially transform Zendrum Corp. as a company, and some may argue that it's not necessarily a good thing. I personally think that there is a difference between selling out and expanding one's market reach and bringing more joy to more people at a more affordable price, while maintaining a premium product line. Look at Parker Guitars--that's their business model.

Anyway, these are just some of my suggestions off the top of my head. We can talk about the nitty gritty technical and creative ideas by private email as I suggested on the phone.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Zendrumdude on June 24, 2009, 08:45:20 AM
109,

I already see some of my "wish list" items up for discussion, but here's my complete list, duplicates and all.  My "big wishes" are in red.

Wishes for drum use:
1) Selectable crossfaded notes
2) Selectable crossfade points, INCLUDING possibility to overlap (for layering)
3) Selectable number of crossfaded notes (2, 3, or 4, and maybe even more???)
4) An aftertouch device (maybe pressure strip) for cymbal chokes.  Perhaps even 2 or 3 to choke specific cymbal(s).

Wishes for melodic use:
1) Selectable note length (duration before note off) selectable per channel (so we can sustain the piano channel only, etc.)
2) Transposition per channel, +/- one octave (-12 to +12 semitones) for keyboard-style transposition, per channel
3) Sequential note chain (program a number of notes, then each hit of that pad triggers the next note in that sequence).  Maybe selectable from 2-16 notes?
4) Rear-mounted thumb wheel for pitch bend would be AWESOME!  Mod wheel too, for that matter.

Nuts-N-Bolts:
1) Software GUI
2) Visual editor for trig parameters (in GUI)
3) More setup notemaps!!!
4) I liked the idea of banks for setups: melodic banks, percussion bank, etc.

Thank you for your user-driven approach!

Jer
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on June 24, 2009, 01:27:24 PM
Don't worry about repetition here. Part of the process of having everyone have a say is the concensus between people, and that reiteration and seconding will only make the choices easy for us to weigh. All great ideas start with opinions and wishful thinking, and nothing is off the table or too far out.  I'm glad to use this Forum for what it is best suited for and give you all the platform to speak directly to the braintrust. I want to make clear here that this may take a long time to get done, but your thoughts and voices will have a direct effect on the engineers. That much I promise you.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Pyrate on June 25, 2009, 11:42:56 AM
Avast Thar Mateys,

    Since our beloved Inspector 109 has clearly stated that nothing is too far out, I would like to propose that the next revision of Zendrum have the capability to tap on a pad and a nozzle on the side of the Zendrum (back fit capable of course) pours out a shot of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum.  Visually it would be stunning, and would certainly add to the quality of my playing (or at least to the level of my caring what others think about my playing).

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate

P.S. Yes, I'm having a bad day!
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on June 25, 2009, 12:50:42 PM
I hope it won't be too HAR-able, Pyrate!
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Zendrumdude on June 25, 2009, 06:09:41 PM
Wow, scrap my other revision wishes.  I want THIS one.  In fact, let's remove all the midi guts and just have a Capt. Morgan reservoir in there.  How many shots do you think the ZX could hold, anyway?!?!?!

Jer ; )
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on June 25, 2009, 06:23:20 PM
Probably enough to put the whole crew down for the count...
It would be fun to test the capacity of the hold.
Let's see, would that be Arrr and D, Pyrate?
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Zendrumdude on June 25, 2009, 06:25:47 PM
I was just thinking more about upgrades to the crossfader... you know, if the GUI were set up correctly, it wouldn't need to be a different "mode" like it is now.  I envision it like this:

-When selecting a trigger's send parameters, you'd choose a channel and a note number, just like it is now.
-Each trigger would, by default, have one channel and note assigned.
-In the GUI, each trigger would have a drop-down menu with a number of additional "slots."  Again, assign number and channel for each slot you want active.
-In addition, each slot would have a third and fourth parameter (in addition to channel and note number): Vel Min and Vel Max.  This is where you'd set up custom crossfades.  By default, they'd be 0-127.  But, each "slot" for each pad would be separately controlled.  This way we'd get the ability to do several separate things with velocity, all within the addition of this velocity functionality:

1) Selectable crossfade points
2) Layerable crossfades
3) Sound stacking (not necessarily crossfaded)
4) Selectable number of notes to be crossfaded or stacked (dependent on number of slots)
5) Nonlinear crossfade notes

I would also recommend that if the Vel Min is set HIGHER than Vel Max, you'd get a "split", with the selected note number active across the whole velocity spectrum EXCEPT between the values.  For example, 2 sounds are selected..  For Sound 1, Vel Min set to 100, Vel Max set to 40.  For Sound 2, Vel Min set to 41, Vel Max set to 99.  In this example, the notes played from 0-40 would be Sound 1, 41-99 Sound 2, 100-127 Sound 1.  Make sense?  Just an idea for more flexibility.

Jer
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on June 25, 2009, 06:30:55 PM
All good stuff folks,
Keep it coming.
You're making the engineers happy.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: rsanto on June 26, 2009, 06:25:39 AM
I'm not so sure about the marketing/advertising thing, unless you really want the business to grow.  I think part of the "allure' of the Zendrum is performing with a rare and unique instrument.  If you ever get tired of people coming up to you with questions and taking pictures, etc., then yeah, everyone should have one.  Oh, how about a black Zendrum decal for my white ZX?
I think somewhere in the past, I read about a 9V battery compartment installation that really would have been a nice touch for me before I went wireless and have to tote a battery box.  Maybe this should be standard on all Zendrums?
I'm not big on all the programming options, but I do use different set ups, change note numbers, and understand the basics.  I would love to see some sort of conference here in the Atlanta area, with discussions and demonstrations.  Nothing like seeing an expert play live and being able to ask questions in real time.
Thanks for permitting my 2 cents! 
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on June 26, 2009, 06:45:28 AM
Hey RS-
I agree that having an actual instrument to play is preferrable to a toy (like everything else seems to be...)  ::)

What color is the logo now on your white Zendrum, Gold?
Send me a private email and we'll discuss decal options I have on hand.


Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Jaay on June 26, 2009, 07:47:23 AM
RS,

A few years ago Michael Render put together an electronic percussion convention in Ohio.  It was called FutureDrum.  You may want to talk to him about such matters, he's got the experience.

Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Geosphere on June 26, 2009, 12:33:19 PM
I want the next model to find me better paying gigs.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on June 26, 2009, 01:23:23 PM
Maybe a GPS chip that would direct us to gigs that pay better would be beneficial or another thought would be if some one stole my beautiful Zendrum then we could be reunited quickly.  I also think that having the ability to have 2 different midi notes  with layering abilites like the SPD-20 would help compensate some of these modules limitations. I dont know why the TD-20 doesnt have this capability? I know there is a workaround but it is a pain to record and program it. Oh well I guess being here on the forum is much better that being outside today here in Texas at 103 degrees and it is not even the hot part of the day yet!  Take care Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Lunatique on June 27, 2009, 02:54:29 AM
By do I feel stupid after reading everyone else's much more useful suggestions. I want to add something just as useful:

A high resolution holographic projector lens mounted that will project a really hot belly dancer with booming curves and a coquettish smile. The harder I hit the triggers, the harder she jiggles her stuff. If I just lightly tap the triggers, she'll just wiggle. If I rub the triggers she'll giggle. If I play really well, she'll start to strip.

*Whew* Is it getting hot in here?
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: jeff sanders on June 27, 2009, 03:42:03 PM
a troupe of real belly dancers feeling the groove and sharing the love with a dance comes with every zendrum already.  just locate the venue and build the rhythm ;)

1. pressure sensing triggers- touch/hold/aftertouch/release just like the key of a keyboard
2. roll/hold with both sync to tempo and manual adjust speed- increase pressure=increase roll speed
3. pad transmit/receive control- touch and hold trigger b=affects trigger a sound  eg. trigger a sounds conga open hit, hold trigger b and trigger a sounds muted conga hit and/or apply pressure to bend etc.
4. tap advance- program series of notes to a single trigger and manually advance sequence
5. chain kits- program series of kits and manually navigate patches
6. realtime controller- eg. joystick/ribbon/dbeam/etc. to assign cc# for adjusting pitch/volume/tempo/lfo/etc.
7. full blown mac software editor/patch librarian type application with plug-in capability- eg. open garageband and select zendrum from instrument list and access edit functions within host application
8. internal rechargeable battery/wireless midi options
9. larger more prominent logo(i love how that crinkly silver background material catches and reflects the light  :)
10. big zendrum stickers to put in our vehicles windows, travel cases, foreheads etc.

i dont know the rules about copyrights and software companies but if legal, create basic quickstart media that shows setup of relevant apps including: bfd2, battery3, garageband etc. flood the youtube type sites with as much information as possible to broaden the advertising base, display ease of use and maximize the visibility of zens.

i didnt read everyone elses suggestions so if i just repeated whats already been written by others,  oops!  lol

thanks for asking what wed wish to have.

stay zenny!
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Lunatique on June 27, 2009, 04:53:27 PM
2. roll/hold with both sync to tempo and manual adjust speed- increase pressure=increase roll speed

That reminds of my Korg NanoPAD. It's got Roll, Flam, and Hold buttons, and its X/Y pad controls the speed horizontally and the volume vertically. Flam would be useless to us Zendrummers since we can flam easily, but the Roll button can be very handy when you want to play glitch beats, since it can roll to inhuman fast speeds that no fingers on earth can match (up to 64 or 128 notes)--perfect for that glitchy machine gun stutter effect in electronic music. Perhaps a X/Y pad right in the center of the Zendrum?

Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on June 28, 2009, 09:36:15 AM
Having and internal Battery that had rechargable's that you would just have to plug into a external charger to charge. Just make sure that the cord from the charger to the Zendrum would be ong enough so that if you wer on a gig and your batteries went down all you would have to do would be plug in and keep playing. Having a internal wireless midi option would also be great!  Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Zendrumdude on June 28, 2009, 11:32:46 AM
Yeah,

Internal rechargeable would be excellent!

I can't imagine it would be that hard to do, and hopefully, it would just get charged through the Merge Brick, so if it died mid-set, you'd just plug in as we did "pre-wireless" and be back up in seconds (provided you'd had the foresight to plug in the Brick and have the Midi cable conveniently stashed behind that floor wedge...!)

Jer
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Pyrate on June 28, 2009, 03:17:02 PM
Avast Thar Mateys,

   Did I perchance to here someone speak of a belly dancer?

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Jay M on July 22, 2009, 03:11:04 PM
2. roll/hold with both sync to tempo and manual adjust speed- increase pressure=increase roll speed

That reminds of my Korg NanoPAD. It's got Roll, Flam, and Hold buttons, and its X/Y pad controls the speed horizontally and the volume vertically. Flam would be useless to us Zendrummers since we can flam easily, but the Roll button can be very handy when you want to play glitch beats, since it can roll to inhuman fast speeds that no fingers on earth can match (up to 64 or 128 notes)--perfect for that glitchy machine gun stutter effect in electronic music. Perhaps a X/Y pad right in the center of the Zendrum?



About the only thing I like about the Korg is the XY pad.  I don't think a buzz roll is possible any other way with your fingers.  With the Korg XY pad I found it useful for snare rolls, floor tom rolls, and cymbal swells. 

I'm still learing the Zendrum so I want to keep things very simple, but I am considering adding my PadKontrol just for that reason.

I'll also second your suggestion for a software editor.  Programming 27 pads with a 3 digit LED display is not fun! 

A software editor will also allow users to share setups. 

I know there is a debate on pressure sensitive pads vs what the Zendrum has.  Both are good arguments.  Would it be possible for a single pad to be both?  Maybe the pressure sensitive portion would only come into play to change pitch or what ever needs to be manipulated that way. 

Also... holographic projected dancers might lead to more paying gigs ;)

~Jay
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Pyrate on July 23, 2009, 04:28:40 AM
Avast Thar Mateys,

       As for belly dancers, I know that the Zendrum that is used at EPCOT at the Morocco pavilian by Mathew Antilock (sp) comes with a belly dancer.  In fact when asked about his zendrum, he will joke that its a remote control for the belly dancer.  Haaar!!!!  BTW, her name is Selena, and she is darn cute.

       I like the idea of internal rechargeable batteries and internal wireless.  However, the question of wireless revolves around what type of wireless.  RF wireless provides the greatest range, but I am always concerned with interference from other sources.  There is bluetooth, but that requires some sort of adapter on the other end, which may be a problem for hardware synths such as the Alesis or Roland units.  Bluetooth is rather limited in range too.  The WiFi standard would be good for software based synths like BFD, but not so good for hardware synths like those previously mentioned.  Perhaps an internally mounted midi jet pro.  The antenna could be attached to the ZX tail.  I'm not certain where to mount it on an LT or Zap.  Of course an access door on the back of the ZD would be necessary in order to maintain the battery and wireless unit, for such things as frequency on the wireless unit.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Pocket Master on July 23, 2009, 05:31:16 AM
I will be heading down to Epcot in November, I will have to check the belly dancer remote control.  I like the idea about a rechargeable battery.  I would be leery about putting a wireless unit inside the ZX.  To me, it would be like buying an all in one printer, if the scanner stops working, you have to send it in and in the process you lose your print, fax and scan until you get it back.  If the MIDI stopped working for whatever reason, you would have to send in the ZX to have it looked at and or fixed losing your ZX until it is fixed.  I am also sure there are individual preferences on the different wireless MIDI units, I was looking at a rack mounted unit but went with the MIDIJET Pro instead, and have no complaints about it.  To sum it up, beware of the all in one, the wireless MIDI would be the weakest link in the ZX and may hold you up in the long run from using your baby.

Rob
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: drshark on July 23, 2009, 05:58:58 AM
Hey guys-- The belly dancer is a DUDE !!! Be careful what you wish for !!  :o
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Pocket Master on July 23, 2009, 08:03:19 AM
That is why I said I would check out the remote!
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Jaay on July 23, 2009, 09:00:37 AM
I'd like to see some non-sequential stacking/cycling of MIDI Note Numbers. I think it would make creating composite sounds and/or melodic passages much easier.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Geosphere on July 29, 2009, 08:44:47 AM
I got a real one.

I'd like to be able to off load and load my pad setups to a USB thumb drive.

That way, if you visit another Zendrummer, you can just load your maps on and try their rig.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on July 29, 2009, 09:27:00 AM
I got a real one.

I'd like to be able to off load and load my pad setups to a USB thumb drive.

That way, if you visit another Zendrummer, you can just load your maps on and try their rig.
  I second this! Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Jaay on July 29, 2009, 10:12:50 AM
Couldn't you do that with a software editor?  Save your map, load it on the editor at the other Zendrummer's place, done?

And hey, my MIDI-cycles were real!  Hmph.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Geosphere on July 29, 2009, 11:01:19 AM
Couldn't you do that with a software editor?  Save your map, load it on the editor at the other Zendrummer's place, done?

But not at a bar.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Jaay on July 29, 2009, 01:11:16 PM
Fair enough.  :)
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Zendrumdude on July 29, 2009, 04:47:34 PM
Here's what I think is a MUST-HAVE:

Noise floor PER PAD rather than one globally.  I find that I have one or two pads that false-trigger, and so I have to set the floor higher for the whole instrument to fix it.  If I could just raise the floor on those pads, I could have maximum sensitivity for the ones I REALLY need it on (snare drum , hi-hat, etc.)  I don't even think this would require a software editor... we could just edit it the way the channel-per-pad assignment works.  PLEASE!!!

Jer
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Geosphere on July 30, 2009, 05:21:34 AM
Noise floor PER PAD rather than one globally.  I find that I have one or two pads that false-trigger, and so I have to set the floor higher for the whole instrument to fix it.

The Z4 allows sensitivity training for individual pads, I believe.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: camcojunky on July 30, 2009, 12:13:19 PM
I have an older datawheel model ZX and was wondering if the datawheel could be reassigned as a master controller for a hardware GUI like many kinds of single space rack mounted boxes use. I have a Dynacord ADD-1 drum computer (4 rack spaces) and the ADD-2 drum sampler (2 rack spaces) and they both use this "one master knob for all program parameters" approach. The thickness of the ZX looks like it could accomodate a 1 rack space thick backlit LCD screen. This way program changes could be rapidly accomplished for live settings, while a more detailed software program editor/librarian could be used on a computer screen for tweeking sounds, dialing in setups  etc. I think this could help the Zen be more user-friendly in live situations.

Oh, and I like the idea of a rechargeable internal battery, and a pitch bend wheel or ribbon controller. This would really help with percussion sounds that have some pitch bend such as the bayan sounds of a tabla set, talking drum or cuica.


Michael
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: paradidl on July 30, 2009, 04:31:00 PM
The Z4 allows sensitivity training for individual pads, I believe.

I don't believe you can set noise floor per pad.  You set the maximum velocity per pad with PL->C2, but I don't think you can set the noise floor with PL->C1.  That calibration is for external triggers only.

I second the request for per-pad noise floor setting.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on August 07, 2009, 03:08:10 PM
Bring back the program change like before . I have a TD-20 and the old circuit board when the zendrum changed program numbers you saw that the TD-20 kits changed. It was a one step process by just pushing the advance numbers it would change kits instantly. With the new Z4 circuit board it is a 2 step process where you have to remember what set you want to bring up and then advance the number to match,  then push left or right arrow to (save it?). This makes it impractical to change sets during a song as there would be a time lag to do this and you have to remember what set up you want to go thru instead of just scrolling to it.. Having the Zendrum scrolling thru the TD-20 sets you can see on the TD-20 what set is scrolled to and then play it. It did this before I would like it to do this again Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: paradidl on August 20, 2009, 03:29:32 PM
I have a similar request to THUMPER's, but instead of sending the program change on every increment in the PR, it would be great if the PR # saved with a notemap was sent when UP was changed.  Further explanation in this thread (http://zendrum.com/forums/index.php?topic=2221.msg6344#msg6344).
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on August 20, 2009, 05:45:00 PM
Could this be addressed in software with a  turn on step for the Zendrummers with VST software  and that would be exactly the way it is set up to do now with the save feature or that could be the default set up with an option to have it disabled to be like it was before. Before I was able to play my TD-20 and my SPD-20 at the same time and when I changed program numbers they were both changed and they both matched so my set up stayed the same. This occurred without the extra step of pushing the program arrow again. In other words have program and User setups not have to be saved every time. I sometimes used different drum set ups in the same song and now I am unable to do this quickly anymore. The Zendrum patch numbers used to change what the patch numbers on my TD-20 so I could visually see them and stop when I found what I was looking for. I can not do this anymore!  I have found out that if I manually change my TD-20 from the module that the sounds also change without touching anything on the Zendrum. If I want that patch number to match on my Zendrum then I have to scroll my Zendrum program numbers to match the module then push the program arrow again and this saves it. There has to be a way to make this easier! like before. Oh before I forget the Roland modules have always been one number off from the Zendrum so this just makes it more difficult to also know what patches you are trying to go to. Maybe this could be addressed also?. Anyway enough ranting.  I still love my Zendrum and It is still turning heads whenever I play. i don't think that I will ever get tired of the question "What the heck is that thing you are playing?" Happy Zenning Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: drshark on August 20, 2009, 06:23:34 PM
Hey Thumper. I also use the TD-20 and I understand what you are saying. Roland does not care about us Zendrummers. We cannot change the fact that the kit number and the number on the window of our babies don't match up. It is a midi thing. Midi has 127 notes PERIOD. Some count the zero and some don't that is the problem.  The other problem is with cross fades. The module does not have a consistant drum sounds for this. It would be great if they had midi notes 41, 42, 43, 44 for the snare as cross stick, straight snare, side stick, and rim shot. But they don't line up the way we need it to. Every module has some downside to it.

Mark















Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: camcojunky on September 17, 2009, 02:59:16 PM
Given all the good ideas pouring forth in this thread, I have to ask... how long until the Z4 version 4.2 is announced? I am thinking that since this new circuit board is something of a blank slate in terms of software development, some of the ideas in this thread (at least the easier-to-program ones) will be incorporated into a new release fairly soon, no? Should I wait for the first revision before upgrading, and do it all at once? I understand that the chase for the latest software is endless, but at 400-600 per upgrade plus shipping I have to calculate value vs. cost.

Is there any way to estimate even very loosely the time frame until the next release? Are we talking a couple of months? Or a year? This information would greatly assist me in deciding a course of action. Thanks

PS I hope this post does not come off as negative or cynical. As someone who has envisioned something like the Zendrum since the days of Buchla boxes and analog synthesis, I love what the people at Zendrum have done and are doing, and I feel very fortunate to own one of these fine instruments. It is just that with finances what they are at the moment, I need to make sure I spend wisely.
Michael
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on September 17, 2009, 04:53:11 PM
Hey Michael,

Yeah man, I know things are tight right now and there are always more things on the horizon.
Considering that it took more than 18 months to do this R&D once it was decided to go ahead, I say at least another year before we are able to jump ahead again. Just for your info, we're at 4.3 NOW, just to get this code acting like I wanted it to. Everybody who ordered retrofits since June has gotten the latest 4.3 version so far. Over 50 rebuilds to date, many with additional triggers, jacks, etc.
David
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on September 17, 2009, 09:07:27 PM
Michael here is a little story of what happen to me. For a very long time I looked into buying a digital camera.  Every week it seemed they were coming out with a newer, faster, better camera.  So I waited, and waited and waited.  One year I had planned to take a trip to go see my mom  and how nice it would be if I had a digital camera! so I looked at the cameras again and did my research. It was then I realized that I was NEVER going to buy a digital camera due to the fact that they were always getting faster, better ,more features. So I bought one of the ones I was looking at. Nothing really fancy or expensive It was a 2.1 megapiixil but had most of what I wanted. I took it on my trip and  enjoyed taking many pictures. This was probably 10 years ago and I still have the camera   and still taking pictures. I have had so much fun with the camera I  even bought one for my mom which she enjoys to this day.  Go ahead and get the upgrade, get a new Zendrum with the 4.3 upgrade. You will get many hours,days,months,years of enjoyment if you make the plunge. If you wait then you will miss out on what could have been many hours of fun playing and practicing. Just my 2 cents worth Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: peabody58 on September 18, 2009, 10:03:48 AM
Don't wait - save for it and get it.  I had the 3.1 chip previously, and it was great.  But with the Draken, I was part of the lucky 'dirty' dozen who got not only the 4.1, but also the 4.2 and finally the 4.3 circuit boards!!  The Inspector even let me replace the last circuit board myself.  Great chance to see inside the Draken.   I do not recommend anyone open up their Zen without Dave's authorization.

Recently while waiting for a new band, I've been attending local 'county pickin' jams at the VFW halls, where the average age is 80 and '2' on the amp means 'TOO LOUD'.  ;D  This is where you'll be able to fully appreciate the new Z4 sensitivity.  I've had to turn my volume way down, and really learn how to so gently touch the pads.  This has been a great learning opportunity for me, as I have gone back and re-calibrated a few pads in the process.  I have also found that the pad's surface adhesive coefficient is also a factor.  Playing lightly after eating some fried chicken is totally differant that with perfectly clean hands and slick free pads.  Still working on the perfect cohesive factor.

The Z3 is great and will serve most for a long long time. The Z4.3 is well worth the upgrade if you really want to expand the Zendrums potential.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: jeff sanders on September 18, 2009, 09:28:28 PM
i just found this instrument that has interesting features. a tiny joystick is one and some sort of motion sensing device that affects sound is another. see what you guys think. i dont think those two technologies are proprietary so maybe they could be an option.

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Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: timecutter on September 19, 2009, 09:05:25 AM

Thanks for posting the thummer videos. 

As an old accordion player and Zendrummer, the thummer sure caught my eye.   I believe the company is dead; bankrupt as per a blog post from last May that I turned up this morning after finding these videos.  Too bad.  Very interesting concepts. 

M
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: camcojunky on September 19, 2009, 08:02:51 PM
Thanks guys for the feedback.

David, since it looks like a year before another major upgrade, I will be calling you next week  to discuss my upgrade. This is the information I was looking for. Thanks again.

Michael
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: camcojunky on September 24, 2009, 02:13:32 PM
Timecutter,

I checked out the thummer website. It looks like it has/had potential as a very interesting MIDI controller for melodic instrument modeling/ CC-data intensive applications, and could be/would have been an interesting companion to the Zen. The company blog states that they plan on putting all the plans online into the public domain so that other people can build on the work they started. Perhaps this could be a new instrument for the Zendrum Corp???

I'd buy one.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: THUMPER on September 25, 2009, 08:46:15 AM
I had called the company that had advertised the Thummer here in Austin and the man I talked to said that the Thummer is no more and that he was moving on. I even suggested  that he contact Zendrum as some of that technology might be interesting to The Inspector but he said no he was done with it. That is a shame as it really looked like a promising new way of expression. Thumper
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: eDrummer53 on September 29, 2009, 01:21:25 PM
This may open up a little controversy but it would be great if the Zen had the capability to include a rudimentary set of common sounds in addition to being a midi controller. It would allow you to carry just the Zen and plug in anywhere without having to bring a rig or separate sound module. This would really kick up the jam factor. (Kind of like including an onboard "DM5")

...Don't shoot me ...I just have had opportunities that I couldn't take advantage of because I needed to drag around extra stuff.


...Rod
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Geosphere on October 06, 2009, 12:03:14 PM
This may open up a little controversy but it would be great if the Zen had the capability to include a rudimentary set of common sounds ....

Quite to the contrary, this has been on the prospect list for years.

Its just a lot easier to say than do.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: alouisus on October 13, 2009, 09:04:05 PM
What about a "Zendrum Module" that is a small proprietary table top midi interface with:

1)-firewire or USB 2.0 to computer host (ideally with a control map GUI that interfaces with wireless Zendrum information)

2)-hardware midi in/ out/ thru

3)-Control input jacks- foot switch/ kick & HitHat inputs/ continuous controller input(volume pedal)/ sustain pedal?

This would be incredibly effective in performance situations
you would have a live wired backup port off the "Module" just in case
And All your pedals for kick, hihat, loop foot switch, sustain and volume would
be live at your performance rig... you could still be untethered to move around the stage
and foot control the computer without letting go of the zendrum... sitting or standing.

I basically do this with a computer and an old DMPRO and it works...
A specifically designed Zendrum interface control box would be nothing short of amazing!!!!
I'm sure the Zendrum GUI is fourth coming anyway... right??
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Jaay on October 13, 2009, 09:58:35 PM
I seem to recall a few years ago that someone actually made a Zendrum GUI... it was called Mokugyo and is still available on the Resource Site... unless I've misunderstood what a GUI is.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Geosphere on October 14, 2009, 10:36:22 AM
I seem to recall a few years ago that someone actually made a Zendrum GUI... it was called Mokugyo and is still available on the Resource Site... unless I've misunderstood what a GUI is.

Yes.  You can find it on the Resource site.  It ONLY works for the standard ZX with the series 3 chip.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: GaryM on October 15, 2009, 09:51:17 PM
Big Analog Tachometer!
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on October 16, 2009, 06:51:36 AM
Hey don't laugh...
A company asked us to make a beat counter many years ago.
Its stated purpose was to judge drummers in competition for speed.
NOWADAYS, A free downloadable MIDI monitor patch will do the same thing and keep up with millions of hits, every MIDI message, all information involved, and humans can't outrun it.

(and all I wanted was to play some tunes...)
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: GaryM on October 16, 2009, 11:30:35 PM
Something like this:
(http://i977.photobucket.com/albums/ae260/GaryMoser/NigelTuffnelguitarwith8pickups.jpg)

Oh, I forgot - 8 pickups too.

--One large grain of salt recommended here. It does add to the mystique if nothing else.

But really, some sort of feedback mechanism to show me in real time how hard I'm hitting the pads would probably help with the skill some intermediate to advanced Zendrummers have mentioned - learning to play in the dynamic range of the settings instead of maxing out on every hit (not to mention after tilting a few). My Zendrum is being crafted as I speak so I can only speak with anticipation - not real experience. Naturally, those problems are for other people. Surely I'll be perfect from the start.

-Gary
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Zendrumdude on October 17, 2009, 06:07:35 PM
But really, some sort of feedback mechanism to show me in real time how hard I'm hitting the pads would probably help with the skill some intermediate to advanced Zendrummers have mentioned - learning to play in the dynamic range of the settings instead of maxing out on every hit (not to mention after tilting a few).

-Gary

Gary, remember those old Ragu spaghetti sauce commercials?  "IT'S IN THERE!"

From the manual:

Fd FORCE DISPLAY
 
While in the Force Display (Fd) function, press (+) to activate the Visual Force
Display. Tap each trigger to view the relative strength of each hit.

Jer
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: GaryM on October 19, 2009, 08:38:03 PM
I had a feeling...that one seemed to basic to miss. Thanks for the laugh, Jer.
-Gary
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: GaryM on October 31, 2009, 01:57:41 PM
OK, one more fringe suggestion. I got this idea from a presentation on the K-Bow [http://www.keithmcmillen.com/products/k-bow/] I saw last night. It's a violin bow that send gestural data back to a computer via bluetooth. If I were smart I could have gotten the same idea for this suggestion from my iPhone. What if there was a sensor embedded in the instrument that picked up gestural information - shaking the instrument to trigger any number of effects - wah comes to mind. It would add a real performance element, be super fun, and probably double the price of the instrument! Oh wait, well...
It would be cool to shake out a wah effect for certain sounds Jimmy Hendrix style.
-Gary
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: DrumWagon on December 03, 2009, 05:14:48 PM
How about a switch to turn "chase" on and off?   It would be really handy when doing edits if I could hit the trigger I'm interested in and then lock onto it.  I can't tell you how many times I've been in an edit mode and then accidentally brushed another trigger and wound up editing the wrong pad  :-\

Maybe a little rocker switch could be placed near the cursor wheel.  When enabled, no further pads would respond to being hit -- all edits would be made against the one that was last hit before the switch was enabled.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: drshark on December 04, 2009, 11:21:40 PM
Hey Drumwagon.  With the new Z4 upgrade, you scroll to NO (number) hit the up arrow to get [ ] and touch the trigger you are trying to edit. The midi note number appears and you scroll up or down to edit. The Z4 includes the cool feature of hearing each drum sound  as you scroll. This allows you to only have to hit a trigger one time to edit it. I understand what you are talking about because I have the TD-20 module which allows you to lock a trigger and edit.  The other thing is that you have to remember to SAVE any changes that you make with the dedicated save feature (new with Z4) or it goes back to the original before edit midi note number. You can waste many hours by not making sure to do that. Get that upgrade soon. It is sweet.

Mark
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: DrumWagon on December 07, 2009, 04:59:19 PM
In fact my Zendrum is currently making its way across the country to get the Z4 transplant.

That doesn't make what I'm suggesting moot though.  It's during the scrolling for midi notes (or any similar editing) that there is the danger of editing the wrong trigger by bumping or brushing another.  I still think a way to "lock on" to a particular trigger would be a great feature.
Title: Re: Blue Sky suggestions to the engineers
Post by: Inspector 109 on December 08, 2009, 05:47:47 AM
Hey DW,
I understand what you want.
Sounds like a good idea if the coding isn't too difficult to stop the chase.
For now, I'd suggest raising the noise floor while your editing/assigning and then bring it back down for performance.
Thanks for the input!
David