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Topics - Inspector 109

Pages: 1 2 [3]
31
ZenChat / Announcing the NEW Zendrum ZAP
« on: January 02, 2008, 09:18:15 pm »
Inspector 109 here,

For everyone at Zendrum, I am pleased to announce the immediate release of a totally new Zendrum model for 2008, at a breakthrough price of $999. We have just completed tooling up for production of the Zendrum Articulating Programmer - the ZAP.

 

(Zendrum ZAP in Walnut)

It is specifically a stationary desktop MIDI controller with the same proven triggers and circuitry used in the mobile ZX and LT models, and designed with a smaller footprint to fit in tight spaces and studio environments. It is the perfect hardware for playing multisampled drum software, which until now has been severely limited by yesterday's mushy-feeling touchpad devices. None of them is as fast, sensitive, or intuitive to play as the ZAP. Nothing else feels like a real instrument that you can depend on for years of hard work. Still the same reliable quality you expect from Zendrum with my personal lifetime warranty.

The ZAP features a unique, very tightly clustered 19-trigger arrangement in five offset rows. This staggered cluster can be played as a single instrument with many different articulations, or used as separate voices that can be expressed either individually or together with a minimum of physical effort. The ZAP is also surprisingly adaptable as a melodic instrument with the Zendrum default note map scales suggesting many new techniques and applications waiting to be explored. Already, VST instrument and sample designers are hard at work creating a new generation of software that maximize the potential of the ZAP. You can even strum it like a guitar!

There are 3 extra 1/4" trigger pedal inputs and a 1/4" sustain pedal input for "drummer-friendly" footwork as well as the Zendrum momentary sustain button on the top that acts as a "choke" for longer sounds and MIDI effects.

This is the smallest Zendrum ever at 12"wide X 10.5"deep X 2"high. Solid heavyweight wood species were chosen for beauty and lasting value as well as for density and trigger isolation under the hardest playing conditions.



Read what leading experts have to say about the ZAP:

"I've never seen a desktop drumpad worth owning, and I've played them all. ZAP takes desktop drum programming to the level it should always have been, and it's no surprise, coming from Zendrum. Great drummers, from Billy Cobham to Future Man, can't be wrong, and I'm not wrong, either. Zendrum is the Rolls Royce of drum controllers, and finally, every MIDI producer can afford to have that legendary quality right on the desktop!"
Bruce Richardson - Sampledaddy

"Today's VST instruments offer unparalleled creativity and sensitivity. The Zendrum Articulating Programmer is the best multi trigger MIDI input device for the computer musician. Programming beats with the ZAP puts life into your tracks, and it's the perfect tool for DJs looking to add some "Live" spice to their shows. Zendrums are known as exceptional, high quality instruments and the ZAP promises to live up to that reputation. These instruments give everyone the chance to be truly creative."
John Emrich - Producer of BFD Jazz & Funk, Percussion, and B.O.M.B. packs.

"My desktop percussion controller has always been the weak point of my live electronic music rig. I have high quality sequencers, samplers, and software, but my percussion controller feels cheap, it looks cheap, and I have to pound on the thing to get any dynamic range out of the inferior rubber pads.  I've always thought of it as a disposable, temporary solution until I could find a true high-quality controller worthy of being called an instrument. Come to find out, there aren't any! That is, until now...the Zendrum ZAP is exactly what I've been looking for! It is a high-quality instrument that I can love, with playability that matches its quality build and good looks. The innovative hexagonal configuration of round pads allows for finger drumming speed and accuracy not possible with the standard grid of 16, and the sensitivity of the triggers is unreal. Ghost notes are back! It's obvious that this device was designed by a drummer, not a keyboard player. What's more, it's a breeze to program, and integrates perfectly with both my software and hardware devices. And the extra inputs on the back allow me to hook up kick, hi-hat and sustain pedals, so my feet have something to do again! Zendrum ZAP has become the foundation of my electronic rig, and my new best friend."
Patrick Petro - First ZAP Owner



Handcrafted in your choice of five beautiful hand-rubbed oil finishes in Zebrawood, Tigerwood, Bubinga, Walnut, and Wenge'. Serial-numbered art from this First Edition of the ZAP -- certain to become collectors' pieces.

Order NOW
$999 (+ FedEx shipping worldwide)
direct sale only from Zendrum
orders@zendrum.com

Happy New Year Everybody!
David Haney


(Zendrum ZAP in Bubinga)


(Zendrum ZAP in Tigerwood)


(Zendrum ZAP in Wenge)


(Zendrum ZAP in Zebrawood)


33
ZenChat / A friendly notice from Inspector 109
« on: June 10, 2007, 12:24:30 pm »
As a courtesy to anyone who is at this time considering the purchase of a Zendrum, we want to announce that on July 1, 2007, we will post to the Zendrum Catalog Page a $100 price increase for the ZX and LT instrument lines. This new pricing, effective July 1st, will be the first price increase in our 13-year history, a decision which is in response to the steadily increasing costs involved in making the Zendrum. Please contact us before July 1st if you want to place your order and lock in your price before the price increase is posted.

David Haney

34
ZenChat / My BFD/MUSE Breakthrough
« on: May 23, 2007, 07:11:21 am »
I have been looking for the perfect thing to use for Zendrum sounds for over 16 years.

The weak link has always been what the Zendrum got plugged into. The Zendrum has been the most roadworthy piece of gear I’ve ever owned and does exactly what I expect it to…every time…but the net effect has never been better than the sounds themselves, limited by the drum samples and voice polyphony of past and current drum modules and rack-mount samplers. This has become the main deciding factor for choosing whether to use Zendrum or acoustic drums on the gigs I play. Sometimes it’s so much easier to express what I want to hear using my acoustic kit with all the subtleties and ghost notes, in-between the big bombs of beat, rather than to fight with one-shot drum sounds with limited dynamic range. I always assumed it was more a technique issue with my personal Zendrum chops (I'm no Futureman) and I figured I was just kidding myself all this time that I could ever master the dexterity and skill needed to move between acoustic kit and Zendrum without losing some of the artistry and musical grace of my kit drumming. It’s obvious that the practical aspects of the Zendrum outweigh making some compromises, and there are many live situations I go into where acoustic drums don’t suit, but it has been frustrating to be this close to a better mousetrap and still have to wait on the sonic elements to catch up to complete the total system. Again, the net effect has only been as good as the drum sounds have been.

I began a few years ago by looking into which laptop computers would run drum software libraries. Something extremely sturdy, like what the 101st Airborne would take on a combat mission, that would stand up to the rock and roll realities I have to deal with onstage. Just like early on in Zendrum's history, the response from experts to my inquiry was, “Why would you want to do that?”  They just didn’t get it that the speed of response and roadworthiness of the high-end laptop computer had to be up to the standard set by the Zendrum and the demands of my working band.  The answers always came back: “Software is used in stationary studio environments by keyboardists who factor-in the inherent latency of key action to the drum sounds they trigger. The tower computer required and peripheral parts are not portable, indestructible, or friendly to deal with, especially for someone who would rather hit things than learn to program them.” After throwing lots of money and time into it I became convinced that the day had not yet arrived when my application was important enough for anything significant to change.

About a year ago I bought (as an anonymous sale) a Receptor unit through the Muse official website in hopes of being able to review and recommend it to Zendrummers as the obvious alternative to the Roland TD-20 kits selling at $5500. At that point in time, there were only two distributors listed on the Muse site, for East and West coast. My costly experiment proved to be unbelievably frustrating because the distributor’s tech support was flippant, the installers hadn’t been invented yet for the BFD software, and I had to learn networking computers together just to load the software and sounds. I had to download, print, and bind the 200 page Receptor manual, and figure out how to protect the exposed USB key dangling from the front panel (the USB key has since been moved inside the metal case now). After weeks spent getting nowhere with this on my own, and hiring a computer tech who also had no success, I was told I should ship the Receptor back for repair. Muse support didn’t understand the Zendrum/BFD application I was after. It turned out that there was nothing wrong with the Receptor, so there was no help coming at all from anywhere: a 100% complete and total failure at every level. I never got as far as taking it onstage with me even once. I can’t say enough negative things about that experience and would warn anyone against following my uncharted path, although a few adventurous Zendrummers did buy and “instantiate” Receptors successfully- probably because they were more computer savvy than I was to begin with and had more patience for reading and assimilating Muse’s technical manual language. Primarily, it made ME feel stupid.

John Emrich has been a Zendrummer for well over ten years and had already created the Jazz and Funk library for BFD. He understood my frustration and vowed to create a solution for Receptor that people could use without fear and loathing of the gear or the learning curve involved. He then set about establishing a system requirement protocol and easy to understand instructions where all the initial installation was done for you, so you could plug-and-play BFD kits first day with the Zendrum’s simple MIDI interface. He found interested partners and financial backing, set up a company and website, and began customizing Receptors and thoroughly testing them out before delivery. That is the key element here: The Freddy units are personally configured by John, himself. He’s a life-long professional drummer/sound designer, and cares about the success of this product the same way I do about the Zendrum:  the bottom-line guy who knows that what matters most is- each satisfied customer. Currently, John is the only person I feel is qualified to tech support a Zendrum-based Muse Receptor/BFD system.

I can say for certain now that the Freddy system is equal to the Zendrum’s potential.
I’ve played it out with my band for a few gigs, and its solid performance and eye-popping realism are making a believer of me and the rest of the band, very quickly. I’m still tweaking things to optimize my live sound but I’m convinced that if I can understand the operating system and extensive editing capability of BFD- you can, too. All I needed was a simple starting point to work from, so I could focus on personalizing the kits to suit my musical needs. I’ve adjusted the sensitivity of every Zendrum trigger’s interaction with each sound on every drumkit and stored them as named patches, called up from the Receptor’s front panel.  It’s almost as if I’m starting completely over with my technique because now there’s so much dynamic expression within the sounds themselves, being triggered under my hands.

John Emrich’s group has created a turn-key product that anyone can implement, and it makes the Zendrum as real and expressive an instrument as any traditional drumset will ever be. In fact, it’s far better than my acoustic drums can sound without using expensive microphones and processing in a perfect studio room environment, and I can play chops on my Zendrum now that I could never play on my 1937 Radio King Slingerland kit. Gone are the days of the “machine-gun” snare sound with the old drum module. Every note I play is slightly different and the total experience is like watching a video instead of looking at a Polaroid snapshot of the sounds. In a word: “Lifelike.”

It’s back to the practice room and more hours spent woodshedding for me, but it's incredibly exciting to feel that this level of Zendrum mastery is finally within my reach. For me, that’s the realization of the 16 years of Zendrum’s potential- to have the sounds be this great with the undeniable practicality of the completely mobile drumset. It’s finally here. The Freddy Turbo Muse Receptor/BFD software combination is everything I could want in terms of detailed nuance and playability. It makes the Zendrum the perfect vehicle for triggering every sound that a drumset can make, plus an unlimited palette of other instruments in a traveling package that I can deal with onstage, night after night. 

I recommend that you buy your Receptor unit directly through the Freddy.com site, only. ( http://www.the-freddy.com/ is the link - Geo ) You’ll get a certified and tested unit with the software and sound library completely installed and ready to run, and a knowledgeable, experienced, and personally involved Zendrummer to follow through for your entire system’s technical support.

If what you want is no compromise drum and percussion for the Zendrum, this is it.
Two thumbs UP to John and Freddy for a job well done.

David Haney

35
Tech Help / Help with BFD
« on: February 02, 2007, 05:15:40 am »
I'm forwarding up a post from the old Yahoo forum for a friend who asked about BFD programming issues. Some of you guys have much more face time with BFD than I do, so step up and speak the truth! I suggested going out of the Zendrum into the Kat so the pedals would still work, but he only wants to haul around the Zendrum (imagine THAT!)
Thank you all for the knowledge! 109

I just got this awesome tool (zendrum) and already own BFD. I 'm trying to
figure out how to get the high hat notes to play by just assigning
notes to pads without using a continuous controller like the hatpedal
I use with my drumkat. I have assigned the different hit types to
different pads but BFD seems to think the pedal is closed and stuck
there even though I don't have one plugged in. I undefined controller
004 to (none). All notes still sound closed not variably open to the
various notes. It may not be possible to use BFD without a continuous
hit hat controller. I don't know. Can anyone help me with this one?

Thanx
Franko

36
ZenChat / Simple Logic and Ergonomics
« on: January 18, 2007, 09:30:05 am »
Hey Everybody,

A question has come up that I'd like to address here:

Our old friend Rick Geragi ("Rico"), a ZX Zendrummer for almost 10 years, recently got an LT and asked this question:
"What was the reasoning behind the layout of the Laptop as far as the placement positions and size of the buttons? For the ZX as well?"

In order to answer this question I had to go back and think about how Kim and I worked on this for several years, 1991-1993, handing our one Zendrum prototype back and forth between us for a week or so at a time. We had to play it in different group situations to work out some technique and amplification issues, the same issues every new Zendrum owner has to work out today.

Take a look at the history page first...that's the first ZX prototype.
In the original layout the colors indicate left/right hand sound assignments in my first mental picture.
The trick has always been to have the ride or hihat with snare to one side and kick to the other, for both hands. This makes a running 16th pattern simple as my hands naturally and ergonomically fall on complimentary things. That's what makes it so easy for me to "overplay" the kick drums without pedals, too. There was a video that the Silverman Brothers did ten years ago that illustrated this technique quite well. Their video inspired David Kuckherman to develop a similar technique that he now demonstrates in slow motion in his video on the Zendrum site Downloads Page. It's easy to see how this simple concept can be elaborated on when you add in basic rudiments with the fingers. Just a triplet with two fingers on one hand and one on the other can be endlessly varied upon and practiced to develop fluid, seamless, and effortless chops.

My sound layout for the ZX is represented as the General MIDI drum map on factory Set Up 15. That's how I've always laid the fingering out, even though I've done it with the Set Up 1 C pentatonic scale and assigned the corresponding sounds on the drum module side instead. This layout is what I usually ship ZX Zendrums defaulted to, for a starting point.

I can play a simple Kick/Snare/Ride pattern just by shading my right palm back and forth, or use first & second fingers on my left hand for Kick/snare and keep the 8ths with my right hand with slapping kick/w left/right crash accents. It seems like the looser I play, the better everything feels and I don't sound like a drum machine. THAT'S the point.

The only physical change in the ZX trigger layout was making four of the smaller triggers on the face large ones instead now...just less empty space on the face. I've always used those three triggers in a row as ride/bell/crash and shade my hand around to "manually" crossfade as one large "cymbal pad array".

The LT was the direct result of all the feedback that came from getting the ZX's out there over our first five years:
Can you make a leftie?
Can you make it more like a keyboard for melodic playing?
Can you make it fit more compactly in my percussion rig?
Can you make it sit next to my computer keyboard/mixing board/turntable?
Can you make it fit on a standard snare stand instead of the Gibraltar base with your custom stand top?
Can you make it fit inside the rails of a wheelchair and be more adaptable for physically challenged folks?

The answer to all these questions was YES, and the first production LT was made in 2000.

The physical size of the LT was determined by the standard wheelchair rails at 18" wide.
We knew that hardly anyone had ever used the external trigger input on the ZX, so on the LT that became the 25th, second octave high note trigger.
Putting the sustain button in the center allowed access with either hand.
The LT never had an on/off switch because there was no place to put it where you wouldn't accidentally turn it off. We discontinued the switch on the ZX when Chris deHaas started putting one on his battery boxes. We had had some problems on the early ZX's (before the rubber feet were added) with the switch getting "bumped" off when the instrument was set down. It's one less thing to worry about onstage now: when it's plugged in, it's on.

In the LT the space is as small as we could physically get the electronic components inside. The trigger size and spacing followed naturally and organically. We could have made them all small, but we felt it needed something to break into easily recognizable patterns that you could "feel" without looking. I apply my same left/right triad of kick/hat/snare on both wings of the LT. I use two triggers for each tom tom. That's the way most software is laid out anyway for playing drums on a keyboard and it lets the samples play through better than doubling MIDI notes.

I do not have my fingering layout as a default in the LT. Instead it is shipped defaulted to Set Up 1 C pentatonic scale.

So far, I'd say John Emrich has the most comprehensive technique going on the LT, wearing it with a strap for drumming and using it on a stand for melodics. Study his videos as well, both here on the Zendrum site Downloads Page and on the BFD site. He's also using FAT KAT pedals for both feet. He's another long-time Zendrummer like Rico, another one is Tom Roady, making this transition from ZX to LT. I'm sure like every other Zendrummer, each will come up with their own variations of technique and application, and layouts.

I hope this helps explain some of the thought processes that have gone into the development of the Zendrum so far.
Thank you all for asking the questions.

David

37
ZenChat / Welcome Home, Tribe!
« on: May 09, 2006, 08:25:53 am »
Hey Everybody, we're BACK!
This is a nice place here, let's keep it real friendly...
I keep hearing from new Zendrummers how helpful and friendly everyone on our Forums has always been. For that, I can't thank you all enough! I understand that we are all creating as we go, and none of us really knows where it will all lead. Those of you who are so inclined- keep on pushing the envelope and teaching the rest of us about your experiments. It's ALL GOOD!!!
Inspector 109

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