Zendrum Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Mysterious changing finish?  (Read 1529 times)

Lunatique

  • Guest
Mysterious changing finish?
« on: June 21, 2009, 02:39:13 AM »

I just received my Zendrum after years of wanting one and finally getting one, but something really weird has happened. I ordered a Honey Rock Maple finish, which basically looks similar to the cadmium yellow range of colors, but what I received was something that looks like its in the sienna/gold ochre range. What's even weirder is that when I contacted Gina/David about it, Gina sent me a photo they took before they shipped my unit out, and the color looks just like the one on the website catalog--that cadmium yellow I wanted. Here's a color chart from Winsor Newton if you aren't familiar with traditional names of pigments:
http://www.winsornewton.com/products.aspx?PageID=81

So, why is it that on my end, it looks nothing like the cadmium yellow and looks like a sienna/gold ochre? I'm a professional artist and photographer so I'm extra sensitive to colors, but in this case I'm definitely not imagining things--take a look at this photo:


On the left are photos I took of the unit--you can clearly see it looks quite different to the photos on the right, which are the photos Gina took and from the website's catalog. Now, I have considered that maybe the difference in lighting could affect how something looks in a photo, but they used color-corrected neutral color temperature lighting, so I know their photography equipment is fine. I use a professional camera (Canon 1D MKII) and I took the photos  during bright mid-day using a large window light--which is standard color-temperature as well, not to mention that just by looking at the unit with my eyes it looks nothing like the photos they took--that was the very first thing I noticed when I opened the box.

So, any of you ever had this happen? Anyone else have a Honey Rock Maple that looks like mine instead of the color on the website catalog? Is this something that happens a lot?

Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not accusing anyone or blaming anyone--I really just want to solve this mystery. After many years of wanting a Zendrum and finally getting one, this is slightly disappointing. I know some musicians couldn't care less how their instruments looked, but obviously the guys at Zendrum is not from that school of thought, as they obviously take pride in their finishes and offer many different variations.
Logged

Inspector 109

  • "The Head" of Zendrum R&D
  • Tribal Leader
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 425
  • The Big Bald One
    • View Profile
    • Zendrum.com
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 03:49:57 AM »

Hey Rob,
Well, I could never be mistaken for a professional photographer, but your LT certainly didn't look like your photographs do here in sunlight or in my documentation shot that you posted. Your two photographs look darker from one shot to the other even side by side, so what does that mean? I really don't have a clue, except to say that all Honey Maples have been done with the exact same stain for years called Mustard by the manufacturer. It's pretty much a bright yellow with just a hint of brown. This is also the same stain that we used on my Flame Maple Sunburst ZX that you see on the Z4 thread. Obviously, the back and edges of my ZX are darker than the center that has almost no color and that's done by extra spray application steps to make it contrast for the burst effect. That's really baffling to me why it looks so different from my photos to yours. I do use a light that was made for picking colors of needlepoint thread accurately, so I imagine thats as close to neutral light as I can get. Could it be the black background I use makes it look lighter? I've got this light about five feet away from the instruments, always in the same position and we try to make sure it looks the same in the photos to us as it does in real life with the naked eye. You tell me. You're the expert. I'm just a drummer.
David
Logged
David Haney
Zendrum Corporation

Lunatique

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2009, 02:38:45 PM »

 think I figured out what's going on. Take a look at these new photos I just took. Your photos are the two at  the top right-hand corner:



In the bright direct sunlight (top-left corner) it seems to look much closer to your photos, except the hue in yours still more yellow. So I took the sunlight photo and threw it into Photoshop ( and gave it the same grey background ) to try to match yours (yours on top, mine on botton):


The edits I did to match yours were to bring up the black a bit in the Level tool, and then in the Color Balance tool I moved the slider towards yellow by -38.

Do you guys do any processing to your images? Maybe that's what's causing it to look so different? I know that often manufacturers want their product photos to look the best possible so they tweak them a little for maximum visual impact. Or maybe it's just the combination of the lighting and camera you use that produces that particular result.

So my guess is that the Honey Rock Maple does not look like your photos under normal circumstances (indoor lighting, in the shade, window light...etc), and the only time it looks more  like your photos is under direct extreme bright light (full blast sunlight). (I did try again last night with a flash to see if that makes a difference, since it's the most consistently neutral lighting there is, but the results looked no different--still that sienna/gold ochre color.)  Normally finishes on various products usually don't look so different from one lighting situation to another, and I think the Honey Rock Maple is a unique case where the pigment, the sealant...etc has some transparency properties where when a lot of light enters the finish, it cause something similar to subsurface scattering, which is fancy ways of saying the light enters the paint/sealant and bounced around and then lights it from the inside (just enough) so it can alter the appearance of the hue/value.

Anyway, mystery solved--I think. Now that's out of the way, here are some thoughts I have from playing it all day yesterday (my wrists are  stiff today from all that playing yesterday!):

1) It is a very solid and well-made instrument. Sturdy, smooth, and unlike so many mainstream products using cheap plastic and flimsy moving parts.

2) I overestimated how sensitive the triggers would be (I tried all noise floor and response curve settings). I thought it would be exactly as sensitive as tapping my fingers on the desk or the dashboard of my steering wheel, but it still has some idiosyncrasies of its own, and you have to adjust your mentality and accept that it's not going to be just like tapping your fingers on a CD jewel case or a plastic box where every tiny scrape and tap will be resonated by the material itself. It's a sensor pad trigger, and some translation still has to happen. EDIT: After more experimentation, I find that once you get comfortable with the idea that you can get full dynamic range without hitting above medium level at all, you can set the noise floor as low as you are comfortable with, and that actually makes the triggers just as sensitive as any other surface you'd drum your fingers on.

3) The navigation of the parameters is a bit too sparse, and could use a few more dedicated buttons for certain parameters that are often used.

4) 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).

5) Same thing with the foot pedal inputs, but I have right-angle adapters I use for situations like this so it's fine. I wish they made right-angle adapters for MIDI cables too.

6) I'm still trying to get the hi-hat pedal (Roland FD8) to work. I have it calibrated, and now I think I have to go and edit the hi-hat trigger to do velocity crossfade for the different states of open/semi-open/close? Needing to have the notes to the successive states grouped next to each other one after another is a bit of a PITA. It would be nice to allow us to pick and choose the exact notes we want to crossfade. I noticed if I set the hi-hat pedal to 11 as recommended, it also affects all other triggers so that when the pedal is up, I get no sound. Is there a way to have the pedal only affect the hi-hat trigger?

7) I have a bum trigger (right side third one from the front). It's sensitivity is less than half of the other triggers. When I play a moderate speed 16th notes on it and varying the strength of each finger (I'm doing this with one finger on each hand), often the stronger hits do not register. This is problem I can consistently reproduce, so it's not sporadic but constant. I tried to calibrate its minimum/maximum with UL and FL settings and also revert to factory setting and it doesn't help. This is a big problem--I may need to send it back to have it fixed.

8) The large triggers are extra sensitive and hits max velocity too easily, and when I try to calibrate them, even after saving them they seem to just randomly jump back to their previous settings. EDIT: I think I know why this happens. When I'm setting the max on other triggers, the vibration from my hit probably triggered the other pads, so they ended up registering a very faint hit without me knowing. How can I prevent this from happening? Just try not to hit too hard when calibrating?

9) Even with the problems I'm having, I can say this things capable of things I could never do on the drum set or with keyboard drumming (although with the imap layout it can get quite close). If I could just get all the kinks ironed out, I'd be very happy. It's the kind of instrument you can really spend time with and experiment with and grow with it.

10) My first layout after many hours of tweaking and experimenting is this one. This is the kind of layout that allows me to do things I could never do on the drum set (such as having hihat and rides and double bass and snare rolls all playing off each other in a very spontaneous manner):


I have another layout I'm still trying to perfect which turns the Zendrum 180 degrees so it's upside down. I'll post that one when I have it all figured out.






« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 05:54:31 AM by Lunatique »
Logged

Inspector 109

  • "The Head" of Zendrum R&D
  • Tribal Leader
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 425
  • The Big Bald One
    • View Profile
    • Zendrum.com
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2009, 03:46:32 PM »

Okay Rob.
The triggers should be re-calibrated again after you default the factory init. Individual defaults don't overwrite the calibration I did here. but the power-up total default does.
Try hitting each trigger at a medium strength to bring up the sensitivity at max touch.
Yes, you should consult your manuals for how to set the hihat parameters. Most sound generators have all the hihat notes in order from closed to open, usually from 23 to 33 range.
I also just drew a graph of the rc curves like you suggested and sent it to your private email.

We don't edit the color of the photographs, we might change the contrast in photoshop by one or two increments if the ambient light in the final assembly room is too washed out. Your documentation photograph wasn't doctored. It was just used for your ID file in our records.

Have fun, and loosen up your wrists. Don't stay flexed and rigid or you will get sore and hurt yourself, just like drums.
If you've got the calibration set properly, you shouldn't HAVE to hit it hard at all.
David
Logged
David Haney
Zendrum Corporation

Lunatique

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 11:35:38 PM »

Okay Rob.
The triggers should be re-calibrated again after you default the factory init. Individual defaults don't overwrite the calibration I did here. but the power-up total default does.
Try hitting each trigger at a medium strength to bring up the sensitivity at max touch.

I tried the power-up total default and that bum trigger is actually at its worst when in default. When I try to calibrate it with UL and FL, it gets better, but it's still much less smooth than any of the other triggers. It's as if there's a gap where the mid velocity hits aren't registering and it either does weak hits or hard hits and random hard hits don't register and just gets ignored. It also does not register the very softest taps or presses like any of the other triggers, no matter how I calibrate it or set the global UL and FL levels to maximum dynamics. None of the other triggers have this problem--just that one trigger.

If this is something I can fix myself then please just tell me what I need to do, otherwise if this is something that needs to be sent in to get fixed, I'll need to do that ASAP because I only have a few weeks left before I leave the country.

Question:
In the manual it doesn't say if the the individual trigger calibrations are added on top of the general UL and FL settings, or one overrides the other depending on which ever you last tweaked? For example, if I calibrated individual triggers, and then I go and set the global UL and FL to a number, does it override the individual calibrations (or vice versa). Can you clarify this?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 06:09:02 AM by Lunatique »
Logged

HostileReality

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 10:59:35 AM »

Quote
7) I have a bum trigger (right side third one from the front). It's sensitivity is less than half of the other triggers. When I play a moderate speed 16th notes on it and varying the strength of each finger (I'm doing this with one finger on each hand), often the stronger hits do not register. This is problem I can consistently reproduce, so it's not sporadic but constant. I tried to calibrate its minimum/maximum with UL and FL settings and also revert to factory setting and it doesn't help. This is a big problem--I may need to send it back to have it fixed.
"

Is the dodgey one the trigger which you have labeled 'hi hat OP' on the right side? If so, i think that is the same on every Zendrum, as it is on mine. There is a reason behind this which i read somewhere in the forum. It's to do with that trigger sharing the same electronics as the pedal input, or something along those lines anyway. So it just means that that trigger is less sensitive than the rest
Logged

Inspector 109

  • "The Head" of Zendrum R&D
  • Tribal Leader
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 425
  • The Big Bald One
    • View Profile
    • Zendrum.com
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2009, 11:18:44 AM »

You're exactly right HR.
That's the way it was on the 3.0 boards.
The Z4 no longer uses the same circuitboard input for both the 25th trigger and the 1/4 jack, which was damped down a little for a kick pedal. The problem Rob is seeing shouldn't be there but it is.
I've consulted the engineers and come up with an answer and an easy solution, unfortunately I'll have to eat the shipping back and forth from California to get this straightened out for him.
We're on the same page now.
David
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 11:21:06 AM by Inspector 109 »
Logged
David Haney
Zendrum Corporation

Lunatique

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 07:51:51 PM »

Ahhh, it all makes sense now. I'm so glad I wasn't imagining things and being a troublemaker. I didn't know there was a history with that particular trigger. I'm glad to find out that it's no longer the design in Z4 and can be fixed.

And on a positive note, despite the initial rough going, in the two days I've had my Zendrum I've totally fallen in love with it. After continuous experimenting and practicing (one of my thumb's nail section to the side I use is really really sore now from non-stop playing and practicing), I'm doing things on it that I could never do with any other input device, playing complex rhythms and beats that I think are above my current skill level on the drum kit. I'm now able to play a lot more soft and still get full dynamic range, which is an amazing feeling unlike anything else I've ever experienced. As soon as I'm back in my studio and settled in I'm going to do a series of comprehensive videos that pits the Zendrum against all conventional MIDI input devices like rubber pads-based units, Edrum kits, and keyboards, and I'll show the pros and cons of each and exactly how the Zendrum can do things the others can't do. I'll put them on youtube and if Zendrum has an official channel on youtube I think they'd be great additions.

Once the trigger is fixed, the only real negative I can think of is how the  navigation is a bear to deal with and can often feel like there's certain amount of randomness--things jumping to different settings by itself it seems. I'm finding it may have to do with the fact that when calibrating individual trigger's UL settings, it's very easy to accidentally trigger another pad by the tiny amount of vibration even a medium strength hit will generate, and you don't know you've accidentally activated another pad for parameter change because there's no visual cue to alert you, and you end up changing the parameter of the wrong pad. This is a pretty frustrating problem. Is there a way to work around it?

Also, can someone answer this question, since it's not in the manual:
Question:
In the manual it doesn't say if the the individual trigger calibrations are added on top of the general UL and FL settings, or one overrides the other depending on which ever you last tweaked? For example, if I calibrated individual triggers, and then I go and set the global UL and FL to a number, does it override the individual calibrations (or vice versa). Can someone clarify this?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 08:07:29 PM by Lunatique »
Logged

Inspector 109

  • "The Head" of Zendrum R&D
  • Tribal Leader
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 425
  • The Big Bald One
    • View Profile
    • Zendrum.com
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2009, 09:10:01 PM »

Yes Rob,
The global Volume and Floor numbers DO overide the individual calibration settings when you change them globally.
In fact, I've been told by the software engineer today that if your use the C1 Floor calibration settings and DON'T bump the body or pump db at it, they will most likely be automatically set at 0 because it won't see any reason to filter out anything.
That actually makes perfect sense, but it hadn't occurred to me to explain it like that before today.
Oh well, "tomorrow is yet another day to get it all said correctly."

Let's say you use your global floor to set the minimum, but on stage something acts up from sound pressure or getting excited with your playing technique. Then you can use the C1 calibration setting with the Zendrum lying on a subwoofer with some heavy bass and the automatic calibration will figure out if anything needs tweaking.

I still think the way I will continue to set my noise floor is with the global FL. One increment down from the default of 6 makes a big difference as the whole thing is more sensitive than ever before. I liked the way 5 and 4 felt, too. All depending on individual technique and dexterity, I saw Futureman play the prototype with the floor at 0 and it worked great with his MacBook and the library he'd recently recorded for EZ Drummer. I don't think I'll ever be able to play that lightly or as precisely as he does, but then again he's Jimi Hendrix for electronic drummers, I'm Ringo!

The max C2 calibration in the Volume page works a little differently. When I added all those extra six triggers to my personal Zendrum, I was able to train each one to be extremely sensitive with a light to medium strike, then save the calibration in the Save function. I got good results this way with all the triggers being really hot, basically overwriting the extra pedal pad on the last input bank of six triggers that I calibrated. You never had the 3.0 to compare this Z4 to like some of the rest of us here, but I too am still trying to get my head around some of the extra stuff that got added on this version. We'll all have certain things we need to get used to, (like the new dedicated Save) especially after doing it all one way for the last 15 years! Yes, there are a few more button pushes, but it's not really much of a brain tweeze to figure out compared to most everything else I own. Zendrum is still aimed at performance not programming. Once you get happy with how it plays- forget the set up, lock it in failsafe mode and PLAY it. You can spend the rest of your life tweaking everything else you own and take the Zendrum's performance for granted. That's the point of it. It's up to YOU to express yourself musically and forget the tools.

EVERYBODY STUDY THE MANUAL and ask me questions about what you don't immediately understand.
We have a couple of new Z4 friends in Italy who seemed to have no trouble understanding this new stuff, even with my very limited manual writing skills! I hope it proves useful to everybody once we all get a handle on it. It's certainly got a lot more documentation and features, as well as general information and appendix than we ever had before. We hope to have the pdf posted for public viewing very soon. Then, we can have a real roundtable discussion about specifics, tips, and tricks.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 09:30:39 PM by Inspector 109 »
Logged
David Haney
Zendrum Corporation

Lunatique

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2009, 01:27:33 AM »

Ok, your explanation confirms my guess.

I still need a way to work around the problem. For example, where I put my kicks--those 4 big triggers appear to be the most sensitive of all triggers, and often I'm just playing the ride or crash or whatever and the kicks will get triggered (I can hear a low velocity kick thumping). So I go and calibrate the big triggers to be less sensitive. That should be the end of my tweaking, but let's say if I want to tweak some other trigger's max level, and I make a medium level hit on a trigger that's close to where the kick trigger is, and the vibration of the wood actually causes the kick trigger to become the one that was selected, but the vibration translates to a very very soft hit, so now my kicks are hot as hell (luckily setting minimum force doesn't have this problem since a soft hit doesn't generate enough vibration to accidentally select the wrong trigger). I also get this problem sometimes when I'm simply remapping triggers, but at least with that I can see the number has jumped. With setting the UL and FL I have no visual warning I'd accidentally calibrated the wrong trigger. I guess I need a calibration strategy where no unintended trigger will ever get accidentally selected.

I'm thinking maybe I should first do a calibration where I simply knock on the base of the wooden body (from below the unit probably) so a significant vibration is generated, and I'll use that vibration as the minimum. Then from there on I'll tweak the individual triggers and I should be free from accidentally selection because the vibration caused by hitting a trigger at medium level should be less than that solid knock on the wooden body? Does this sound like a good idea? I'll try it as soon as I get my unit back.

One other thing I noticed is that every once a while without warning, the Zendrum will stop sending any message to my module (or just one particular trigger stops working), and I'd have to reboot the module to get things to work again. This leads me to believe the fault is with the module since rebooting zendrum doesn't seem to fix it, but rebooting the module does.

Logged

Skydancer

  • Guest
Re: Mysterious changing finish?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2009, 04:55:29 AM »

For setting up max levels for triggers, try setting the noise floor to 10 or something first, this way unwanted vibrations should be filtered out.
I had some issues with two triggers not sending midi signals anymore as well, in two different times (after about half an hour/hour of playing). I had to reboot the zendrum to make them work again.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up