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Author Topic: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion  (Read 4251 times)

Jaay

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Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« on: October 08, 2009, 07:21:23 PM »

Greetings Tribe.

In the Bue Sky thread, the idea of a Zendrum with onboard sounds was brought up.  This idea has been bandied about back and forth for a while and I seem to recall talking about it on the old forums, but I wanted to make a few statements here. 

Before I begin, I would like to disclaim that this is the simple opinion of one Zendrummer and I'm just trying to voice some opinions and I don't want to come off like I'm slamming anyone or something like that.

That having been established:

Personally, I would not like to see a Zendrum with onboard sounds.  I think it runs contrary to Zendrum's War on Obsolecense and introduces a whole host of design and execution problems.

First, let's talk about sounds.  Who would design them?  What sounds would be included?  Would we have acoustic-sounding samples, mix in some techno-sounding samples, etc? 

Also, let us not forget that the Zendrum is a full MIDI controller.  What about those among the Tribe that use their Zendrum for non-drum sounds? 

Installing the menus to select and edit these sounds will be very difficult with the current cursor and LED system.  Combining that with editing the features already in the Zendrum.  Unless you add more controls to the Zendrum, but that adds weight and navigation to the instrument, and it clutters the back panel. 

Having sounds will also require having extra jacks installed in the Zendrum.  How many of them would there be?  Most people will insist on at least one stereo pair, but most modules have multiple outputs.  If you combine this with the two inputs already on a ZX with a 3.1 chip, you've got at least four.  If you want to add a headphone jack, there's five. 

I think that one of the things that makes a Zendrum so long lasting is the fact that it IS an empty controller and does not need to concern itself with catching up to sound designers.  I know proponents of onboard sounds will argue that adding the sounds does not preclude using it as a MIDI controller.  This is true, but if you decide to bypass the sounds and just use it as a controller, you're now ignoring half the function, which does not seem to make sense to me. 


So, that's my rant.  I know the onboard sound debate has been around for a while and I'm probably not saying anything that the fine folks at Zendrum have not already thought; but in the interest of the free discourse of ideas, I wanted to voice my opinion.  Thank you all.

-Jaay
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Inspector 109

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 07:27:00 PM »

All valid points.
What if there was a simple, ready to use, software and hardware package that was still external, but small and optional only for those who wanted it?
Just asking...
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 07:28:45 PM by Inspector 109 »
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David Haney
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Pyrate

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2009, 04:09:52 AM »

Avast Thar Mateys,

      I wish to add my one and a half cents to this discussion (the government gets the rest).  I agree with Jaay.  To my good shipmate Inspector and his crew and his inquiry of an option I respectfully submit the following:

      You folks produce the finest instrument ever made, period (IMHO, which is the most importent).  In addition, you also provide the best customer service of any company anywhere (and if anyone disagrees with me, I'll make them walk a very short plank on a very deep ocean).  You have expanded your line to include the merge brick and now wireless midi (the midi jet pro).  I have a concern that if you start marketing other products, (whether or not they can be used with the Zendrum), then you will lose something in the transition, either the marvelous personalities that I have personally dealt with over the years of being a zendrum owner, or the quality of the instrument itself or of the innovation that continues to make the zendrum not only the fine instrument that it is, but the works of art that each one has become.

      No shipmate Inspector, do not offer any sounds, hardware, software or otherwise.  Besides sound modules, be they hardware or software based are matters of personal taste and budget (granted, if the computer based systems that are available now were available when I ordered the Jolly Roger Zendrum, I might have gone that route, but alas they were not).  But my point remains.  Zendrum Corp and the people that work there are the best of humanity bar none (and believe me I have seen some of the worst).  Other business should capitalize on your business model.  I know that if I ever start my own business, that I certainly will look to Zendrum as the model (the business of Pyracy notwithstanding - Har Har).  

     Now that I have said my peice, I will step off the quarterdeck and take my normal place on the poop deck (for obvious reasons).

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 07:08:57 AM by Pyrate »
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Pocket Master

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2009, 06:26:25 AM »

I agree with Jaay and Pyrate.  I already had a Roland drum brain and purchased another one for backup just in case.  The user would run into issues that if the internal sound module stopped working, it would need to be shipped back for repairs to Zendrum or the user would just use an external sound module defeating the purpose of an internal sound unit.  Everyone has their own taste in what sounds they are wanting.  Some like Roland, others Alesis and so on.  There are too many choices out there to be locked in to one module.  Inspector 109 brought up a small external option that could be put out there, I have that with my Roland TD-6V, it is small and compact, sits right on top of my amp and my entire rig is up and ready to rock in less than 10 minutes.  I say stick to the old saying--KISS......Keep It Simple Stupid.  But as everyone else has stated, this is simply my opinion which is only as good as you can throw me, which is not far for most.

Rob
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timecutter

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2009, 08:00:55 AM »


If Zendrum made (or teamed up with another company to make)  & marketed a small, portable, rock-solid performance ready module I'd definitely take a hard look at it as a back up unit.  Since moving to a software set up on the Mac, I've been trucking around my Planet Earth module as a good-luck charm in case the Mac fails to boot up or craps out in some other way.   Hasn't happened yet, but I like knowing that if the computer setup goes on the fritz, I can still play.  As much as I love the tweakability of software, hardware has definite appeal (e.g., to switch from funk set to phil collins' toms with the click of a datawheel).  Once software is dialed in everything is possible, of course, but its the safety factor.    I haven't ever gotten to know any of the v-drum type modules out there, and I think my life is maybe too short to do so.  I'd definitely take a look at something sleek & new with quality sound made to plug into the Zen.

another 0.02.  Pretty soon we'll have money for the parking meter.

M
 
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Zendrumdude

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2009, 03:36:05 PM »

Yet another user's opinion...

I also would not be interested in internal sounds.  But I would like to state that I DO understand the desire of those who do!

I am the proud owner of another revolutionary percussion controller: the MalletKat.  They make models with and without internal sounds, and I opted for the "WS" (with sounds) model.  Frankly, I am so very spoiled by all the amazing sample software I have that the internal sounds are nothing more than a backup plan for me.  Now, that IS a valuable thing indeed.  But sound design is a VERY complex and personal thing, and I don't think it's possible to make it live up to the Zendrum's standard... I'd prefer not to see an instrument as amazing as the Zendrum with a soundset that doesn't fit in the same highbrow level.

Jer
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Pocket Master

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2009, 04:50:52 PM »

Well said.

Rob
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Inspector 109

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2009, 05:50:33 PM »

I love you guys for letting it rip. We're listening.
Rest assured, whatever we put Zendrum's name on will not suck or be substandard or disposable.
Those of you that know understand what we're going for here, and what this is about.
Trying to make it easier for the uninitiated to comprehend what makes a Zendrum system work.
Every one of you needed individualized tech support for your specific Zendrum application, right?
How many then, bought recommended hardware or software or amps or headphones?
How many times have we discussed and debated together- "what is best?"

Simply put- LOTS of real exciting possibilities in the air right now.
Something for everyone. Old ideas, new ideas.
The funny thing is- only the Zendrum is the common thread of compatibility with ALL of it.

Keep firing away.
It does help.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 05:52:21 PM by Inspector 109 »
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David Haney
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Finnyous

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2009, 07:52:45 PM »

I don't really post often but I do check the site from time to time and this caught my eye.

I have to say that if there were some sort of small ipod like device (which is what I believe your talking about here) which could store a few high quality sampled kits (or whatever sounds really) and it was reliable.  I think I would certainly take a good look at it.  I use my mac right now as my sound source and although it sounds great, having to bring it on stage as well as having to bring my audio interface with me and hook it up every time is a bit of a pain (not to mention nerve racking as my interface isn't really all that hardy to begin with)

Another thing is that I don't really need 100 kits+ with me at all times, I don't even really need 20, I just want a few high quality sounds.  The best thing would be if you could have a bunch of different options for sounds (your own included if possible) and just load whatever you need up and go.

BTW I realize it may be a bit silly complaining about having to hook up the mac etc  when the alternative was carrying a whole kit around, but I really do like this idea.

just my 2 cents
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Zendrumdude

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 09:54:02 AM »

Finn,

I will "ditto" your concerns.  I really worry about my MacBook system... computer cable connections are not as stable as, say, an XLR.  Those little tiny firewire connections (esp. 800) do not make me feel very secure.  If there were a way to bring:

1) Smaller gear (Yeah, I know... remember the 9-pc. metal kit with mics??? ;))
2) Fewer pieces
3) Just the samples I need
4) with less-complicated startup

I'd be all for it!

Jer
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Inspector 109

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 10:00:01 AM »

Exactly my point, 'Dude.
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David Haney
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duojet

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2009, 11:49:02 AM »

maybe $599 seems a bit pricey, although it is a lot less than a receptor:

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/SM-Pro-Audio-Vmachine-Stand-Alone-VST-Player?sku=241884&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=268557802

it is confirmed to be able to run BFD1 (not BFD2 yet) and tootrack ezdrummer(not superior so far). Seems pretty compact, and since it's not running a full blown desktop OS I'll bet it's a lot more stable
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DrumWagon

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2009, 02:00:38 PM »

duojet, that's an extremely interesting unit and $599 doesn't sound too pricey.  I just wish they'd released it in rack form.  It looks like it would have been very simple to move the display and controls from the top to the front.  Stretching it out to 19" would leave enough room for an internal transformer as well, allowing you to ditch the wall wart.  It's also odd that they chose to use mini plugs for the mix-in and headphone connections.

I'm guessing they were going for an ultra small, portable form factor here, to appeal to the ipod generation and intended for it to reside in studio environments only.  It's a shame because with only a few design tweaks it could appeal to the live performance crowd as well.

I'm all for small rigs, but when you factor in the AC adaptor, the merge brick, any wireless transmitters, your DI box (no way that thing is balanced) and power strips/conditioners -- you wind up with a pile of oddly shaped items and many fragile connections.   I deal with this when I use my TD-20 for a sound source.  It's part of the reason I usually leave that setup at home and still try to use my Alesis or E-Mu units whenever possible, compromising some sonic realism for ergonomics and stability.

Alas, I still haven't found my personal holy grail.  The Receptor comes closest, but is still way too expensive imho.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2009, 02:43:02 PM by DrumWagon »
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DrumWagon

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2009, 03:00:55 PM »

Oh!  Please ignore my rant -- I shoulda dug a bit deeper first.  Apparently these guys have some (very sexy) rack versions coming soon!

http://www.smproaudio.com/produkte/v-machines.html

*drool*
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Inspector 109

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Re: Zendrums w/ Sounds: A Dissenting Opinion
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2009, 04:21:31 PM »

And this is only one of the new generation of players that are coming.
Hardware with static libraries are about to be a thing of the past IMO.
You pick the sounds and instruments YOU want and you don't "settle" for anybody's mediocrity.
Memory is getting cheaper by the minute and further away from moving parts that break.
Roadworthiness and reliability are only going to get better soon as the manufacturing gets routine and redundant.
Cool times to be in the MIDI controller business.
What will sell it is simple, intuitive, and effective OS.
I wish them best of luck in their effort to bring it all about.
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David Haney
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