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Roland SPD-20

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I am seriously contemplating a ZENDRUM and am grappling with the sound source. My local music store gave me a MUSE RECEPTOR to play with and after a little while I realized I don't have the knowledge to warrent the cost and not sure I have the learning curve time. I downloaded a BFD demo onto my Powerbook G4 and this looks pretty interesting...easy to use. If I go this route can anyone suggest the right midi to usb  or firewire for my midi from the zen and how reliable is using a laptop in a gig setting. I also have a Roland SPD-20. Can't seem to find anyone with experience here for advice except to trash Roland. Lots of talk about the TD-20...but too expensive and I was wondering if the SPD could work for me...I can use it as a small table to sequence from the laptop. Any comments would be appreciated.


Hello, First and foremost.... BUY THE ZENDRUM, IT ROCKS!!.  I have a Roland SPD-11, I have not integrated it with my Zendrum as of yet.  One of the modules I am using is a Roland TD-5 (an older piece), not a bad sounding module.  Alesis seems to have "zen friendly" products.  I would reccomend going on Ebay and looking for a DM-PRO. The DM-5 is also, a good unit. I have both but I am partial to the DM pro.  For the most part your going to have to do some trial and error to see what works best for you.  I have experimented with Emu modules, and have had a little frustration trying to figure them out.

Check out the "my set-up consists of" section and see who is using what. You may want to even re-consider the Muse Receptor. There is some good support here overall, so I am sure someone will be able to help you. Remember what ever is MIDI you can "Zen" with.   I have been playing keys, while triggering sampled loops, etc.  Hollar up if you have more questions. Take care and stay safe, Mark

Hey man,

First Off, BUY THE ZENDRUM!!! I have never been happier with a musical purchase, I feel like a whole new drummer since I got mine!  Everytime I pick it up I discover something new,and it is so much easier to play gigs withthan moving an entire drum set.

Second off, beware of Roland. They over price and cheap out on the little things. I don't mean to bash them but i also have never had every piece of gear I own from one company to up and die with in the same year. The Yamaha DTX IIS (DTXT2SU) Brain is a great buy, it costs about 900 and works great. The DTX also does sampling, and has some pretty advanced features if you want to dig in to it. I have only been a Zendrummer for about a week now and I am planning on eventually using the DTXT2SU as my emergency backup sound source, I have to agree with most of the other folks on here, software is the way to go. I have an iBook which I use for reason and Live, and I am going to add BFD as soon as I have the money to upgrade. I have heard that BFD can run a bit slow, so the faster your machine the better.

The main thing I have noticed is that  software voices seem to be much more textured and dynamic than the voices in a drum module (my Yami, and I have also played through many other sound modules.) After a few days on the Zen I hooked it up to Reason and BAM it was a night and day difference. The cymbals are so much more sensitive, I could do finger rolls on the crashes!

There, I tried to be helpful without bashing Roland too much.  But I want you to be aware that they can and will mess up on you at some point, and it is usually at a very bad time.



john emrich:

If you are going to use a powerbook for BFD, you must keep a few things in mind.  Speed is the most important issue for you.  There are a lot of MIDI/Audio I/O out there.  Most of them will work for you.  The big thing is to put the DATA from BFD onto an external drive that rune at least 7200 rpm!  BFD is a streaming program.  The demo that you have has less feature than the full version and less sound DATA.  The full program is BIG.  The last two expansion packs are 55gig each!  Also, laptops are prone to freeze up and it will happen at the worst time!

Go to www.FXpansion.com and check out Jazz & Funk.  The first set of audio DEMOs were done with a Zendrum, into a MUSE Receptor.  The cool thing about the Receptor, is that it is build for the application of performing and Recording with software.  Look at the cost of the unit compared to the cost of a computer, MIDI/Audio I/O, and external drive.  You will find the Receptor to be a competitive alternative.

Hope this Helps.


retro surfer:
hey the SPD-20 has great sounds and a boatload of lot of them to choose from it is pretty solid and made to beat of with drumsticks so it should sure hold up as a module.  I have one  that I just got as well it works fine for the simple things i have tried so far.   I have not had much time with it as I picked it up a few weeks ago and then had surgery on my hand but it is a solid module and it sounds like you already have one  I also have a roland pma-5 that is very portable small and five years old and still works I also have a SP-404 and am just starting to play around with sample's .  Roland is quirky though and really proprietary which makes it annoying sometimes.

I also have a Alesis DM-Pro a DM-5 and a Yamaha Motif and the only thing I'd say about all of them is BUY THE ZEN-DRUM it's a great instrument and a blast no matter what midi source you use.  as for a midi in out MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn) is great with all kinds of interfaces from a simple solo 1-1 to a 8x8 switching matrix most also work as a firewire or USB interface depending on the model

Welcome aboard and have fun in the ZEN world


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