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Topics - Zenfem#9

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User Reviews / CME Widi
« on: November 01, 2007, 04:57:12 PM »

I picked up the CME wireless midi unit, mostly because it was $169., and I didn't have the cash to shell out for a midijet pro.  it comes with two widi units, and a couple of short midi cables.  My first impressions are that it does what it is supposed to, I'm not sure of the range, but it does let me go out in the crowd, and hear the house mix from out front before the show.  This unit is not built like a tank (of course I compare it to the merge brick, which is a tank).  I got what I paid for.  The housing is plastic, and so are the switches for on/off and a couple of channel choices.  It doesn't seem like it would hold up to any abuse, so I am careful with it. 

One nice feature is that it can be powered off usb, if you're using a computer.  I used this feature when I was running bfd off my macbook.  It also doesn't eat through batteries very quickly, each unit takes two AA's, and they seem to last a looong time. There is an led indicator that glows red if it is on with no signal, and green when the two units see each other.

I would like the on/off switches and the channel switch to be easier to read, it gets confusing on a dark stage.

Overall the widi is acceptable.  I've got wireless for less than 200 clams, and it does what I want.

Tech Help / Velocity crossfade
« on: August 24, 2007, 05:16:25 PM »
How do you turn the velocity crosfade off on a note map?  I'm trying to configure a map for #14, and I want it off.  thanks.


ZenChat / Another td-20 question....Michael?
« on: August 23, 2007, 09:59:55 AM »
I was going to PM Michael Render on this one, but I though other folks might be interested in the reply.

I just ordered a td-20 for gigging.  I don't like carrying my macbook to some gigs, and I just can't afford a receptor at more than twice the price of a td-20 (I got a very good deal at Guitar Center).  I also really like the portable get up and go of a module.  Hopefully I can live with the sounds.

Anywhoo....What vexpressions kits do you recommend?  I'm playing indie rock, classiic rock type of music, mostly.  the master picks seem to be popular..what are your favorites?  I can't get them all, only 50 bucks worth.


ZenChat / What's the difference between a Roland td-12 and td-20?
« on: May 24, 2007, 10:01:40 PM »
Roland says the td-12 has the same sounds as the td-20, so what's the big difference?

ZenChat / Yellow Tools Culture review
« on: April 17, 2007, 08:02:16 PM »
I bought Yellow Tools Culture back in October on the recommendation of David Kuckhermann, and have been waiting (impatiently) for the mac ub release.  It came out two days ago, and I am having a blast.

I was looking for world percussion that sounded great, and for the most part I am not dissappointed.

I will be the first person to admit I am a djembe snob.  I have been building and playing djembes for almost 15 years, and I have heard the whole gamut of great to bad to awful.  I love the djembes in Culture.  They sound the most authentic of any djembe sample I have heard. They have captured the sounds of a good drum played by a skilled player.  Bass, tone, slap, muff, flams, fx, and touches!  If you're a djembe player you'll appreciate that.

Other instruments I am digging right now are the tablas, udus, and Taiko drums.  The taiko are only the big hits on two big drums, but boy are they fun, especially if you can turn it up and jam.  The congas are ok...not superb, but I haven't gotten in there and tweaked them to my liking yet...I haven't had to tweak anything else so far.

There is a  9gb of world percussion in culture.  Go to Yellow Tools site and you can see the list.

With this new release, Yellow Tools offered up their Independence player for free to registered users.  The interface is easy to use, and moving sounds around the keyboard is a snap.  You can put in as many layers as you want.  I had a mapping of Taiko, tablas, shekere, and djembe on the Zen.  The hardest part is figuring out where you want to put things.  I know the Independence player has some powerful features, I just haven't had time to explore them.

It is not a standalone player, so I opened it in Ableton Live, and was running the patch and it was using about 20% of my cpu.  I have a macbook dual core 2.0 ghz with 2 gigs of ram.  There are also tweaked patches YT calls Origami, and they sound good, but they can really tax your cpu, if you are running multiple layers.  I had to increase my buffer to 1024....but Origami is not a feature I have to use, so I'm not worried about it.  There are also some effects presets that you can dial in easily....try the "cathedral" on the taikos, don't break your amp though.  Culture, like all of YT's products is protected with the YT dongle.  Don't forget to figure that in to the cost, because it is a seperate purchase.

So right now, I am feeling pretty happy.  My search for djembes, tablas , and taikos is over, and I've been jamming all day.


ZenChat / Zenfest out West!
« on: March 06, 2007, 09:41:58 PM »
Inspired by our comrades, Zennnerman1 and I are planning a get together out here in Colorado if anyone is close to Boulder.  I can host and we can be as loud as we want.  Just an afternoon of zen talk and tricks and tips. Anyone else nearby?


Tech Help / Hookup for live shows
« on: February 20, 2007, 04:30:37 PM »
As I get closer to to gigging with my new band, I have some hookup questions.

I'm running bfd on my macbook out to a motu ultralite.   If I take the main outs of the ultralite directly into the board or my amp, I'm getting a hum sound. Now granted the wiring in my house is yucky, so it could be a ground loop.  Do I need a di box?  What exactly does a di box do?  If I do need one, should I get passive or active?

Also when we do play out, as i see it, there could be  a few scenarios.  One is that I can run directly into the board, and have stereo, with the club supplying monitors. The other is that I have to run into my small roland keyboard amp (for a monitor), and then out of that to a main board.

I just want to be prepared to cover my butt in any situation.  All info deeply appreciated.


ZenChat / My impression of BFD
« on: December 01, 2006, 12:16:36 PM »
OK, I got Bfd as a gift, and have been playing around with it.  I'm running it off a 2nd hard drive through my macbook with 2 gigs of ram. I can't justify the cash outlay of a muse, and I can run Ableton Live at the same time with my mac.  After a year of playing through a td-8, the only thing I can say about BFD is that is is totally freaking amazing.  I sound like the drummer I always wanted to be.  The level of expressiveness blows me away, I particularly like the snare drums.  With the rim feature enabled on my second snare trigger, it really gives it that feeling of being live and upfront.   The cymbals actually sound like cymbals. Real ones, not the cheese I took for granted in the Roland.  Because it sounds so great, I am discovering new layouts, and am practicing a lot more,  it is so fun.  I have fallen in love with my zendrum all over again, which is good because I am starting another band.

It seems to be running fine on my core duo macbook.  I have 16 bit mode turned on for the heck of it, and have done the other CPU and ram saving tweaks that bfd suggests.  I am not putting a load on the computer at all...sometimes the ram use will creep up if I am wailing or changing many sounds rapidly.  It will get buggy if I take my hands and hit everything at once, but that is understandable, since it streams directly from disk. BFD does not recommend chaining a firewire interface (I have a Motu ultralite) and the extra hard drive, but I only have one firewire port so there is no way around this that I know of.  At first the idea of gigging with a laptop didn't appeal to me, but the mac is so stable, I don't worry about it now.  i don't know all the ins and outs of the program yet, but assigning midi triggers is a simple no brainer operation.  My only initial beef is that sometimes the different windows are hard to see because they are so light in color, it would be nice to have more separation.  Not a big deal.

Highly recommended.


Media / More zendrums videos
« on: October 27, 2006, 02:24:26 PM »
Hey all,

I just went to youtube and searched for zendrum and there are some cool new videos there, go check it out.  www.youtube.com


Tech Help / Configuring my recording rig
« on: June 12, 2006, 10:41:30 PM »
hey tribe,

I need some help figuring out midi connections.  I recently delved into the world of computer recording, and don't quite know how to hook things up properly.  I'm close, but no go yet. here's what I've got.

M audio axiom 25 keys (usb and midi in/out, no thru)
Roland D-20 Keys (midi in/out/thru)

Sound Modules:
Roland td-8
Roland Fantom XR

MOTU midi timepiece(no usb)

Computer interface:
M Audio firewire 410 (has one midi in and one midi out port)
and an apple ibook g4 running Logic Express

So that's a lot of connections and I'm frustrated.....I know how to connect one controller if I don't use the MOTU, and I know how to use the Motu as a merger for live gigs, but I am having trouble putting all these pieces together for recording. does anyone have a similar setup? 


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