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Author Topic: Novice needs help getting started...  (Read 1784 times)

Aloudmouth

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Novice needs help getting started...
« on: November 08, 2010, 12:34:23 PM »

Hey ZenDrummers,

I've been enamored with the Zen Drum since seeing Reddawg Solinski in Key West a few years back. I've finally managed to get my hands on a used ZenDrum and I'm dying to get started but....

I don't know anything about Midi. Like, zilch. From reading the forums it seems like BFD2 is the best starting module to get my hands on so I'm going to head out to make a purchase this week. Once I've got my Zendrum, BFD, and my junker labtop is there anything else I will need to begin even the most rudimentary setting up/learning to play my zendrum?

I've read that there might be latency issues so when I've finally gotten gig-ready on this thing I was going to take the next step and purchase the additional gear. For now I just want to plug it in and start learning the instrument.

Are there any pitfalls/tips/advice that you guys could share with a rube like me whose trying to get into the Tribe?
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Pocket Master

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 01:54:56 PM »

If you have a drum brain or even a keyboard that has drum sounds and a midi in you won't need to purchase BFD or any other sound module (at least to get started).  When I got my ZX, I already had a Roland drum brain and used it for almost a year before upgrading to Superior Drummer 2.0 and a MacBook to run it on.  Dr. Shark was using a Roland TD-20 and upgraded to BFD but switched over to Superior Drummer as well.  There are others that still use their drum modules and others that swear by BFD.  It is all about personal preference and your wallet.  My basic setup when I first started was my Roland TD-6V, Zendrum, and an Amp.  You would need the cable to go from the drum module to the amp, and the MIDI cable going from the Zendrum to the brick, and then the brick to the drum brain.  Other than that, you are rocking out.  My setup has become a little more elaborate, but I can scale it down if I need to.  Dr. Shark did run into a latency issue with his laptop, he just told me today he was getting a MacBook like mine (maybe one better with the new i7 processor) because I have no issue with latency.  If you are using a junker laptop, it may not do well for quality when it comes to sound and latency.  The faster the computer and more memory, the better the payoff when it comes to quality, but for getting used to the Zen, it should be fine.

Hope this helps.

Rob

What area of the country do you live in, there may be another zendrummer nearby that can show you some tricks first hand.  We had a get together in Atlanta a few months ago and it was very educational for everyone I think.
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Zebrawood ZX-Z4, 30 Triggers, Honey Sunburst Flame Maple ZX-Z4, 29 Triggers on the ZX BABY!!!!, Apple® MacBook® Pro, Ableton Live, Superior Drummer 2.0 with expansion packs, BFD2, Internal Wireless Midijet Pro, Roland FC-300 MIDI Foot Controller, QSC K12 and Ksub

Aloudmouth

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 02:36:31 PM »

Thanks for the quick reply - I didn't even know I could set this thing up wiithout a labtop. I might just bypass it and go right to the amp to start with. I'm currently in Philadelphia - the only ZenDrummer I've ever seen around here is Jonathan Coulton but hes up in NYC somewhere.

So I could theoretically set up my keyboard with drums sounds, set the triggers on my Zen and practice through an amp to start? Think I might give that a shot today after work. I'm totally fine with spending a boatload of cash on a good rig once I get it down, but I want to run as low-cash as possible until I figure out if I have any aptitude playing this thing :-)
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Pocket Master

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 04:24:14 PM »

Just make sure your keyboard drum setting is on channel 10, or switch your Zendrum to match the channel set for your keyboard and that you have a MIDI input on your keyboard.  The keyboard is set to a specific channel, I want to say channel 1, drums are generally set to channel 10.  It should already be setup that the drums are on channel 10, but if you plug it in and you are playing your Zen but hear piano, chances are, the channels just need to be matched up.  Hope this helps.  Oh, and welcome to the tribe!

Rob
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 04:25:32 PM by Pocket Master »
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Zebrawood ZX-Z4, 30 Triggers, Honey Sunburst Flame Maple ZX-Z4, 29 Triggers on the ZX BABY!!!!, Apple® MacBook® Pro, Ableton Live, Superior Drummer 2.0 with expansion packs, BFD2, Internal Wireless Midijet Pro, Roland FC-300 MIDI Foot Controller, QSC K12 and Ksub

Slavedave

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 08:40:39 AM »

Don't forget that, if you go the Computer Host route, that there are lots of free samples out there that you can try.  They usually are in Soundfont format and would require a host prgramme but even some of these are free.  And also, try out the demos of any software that you may be interested in - it will help you to see if your system is up to the task (eg BFD, AD drums have demo kits).  There is also a lite version of BFD called ECO that is new that may be enough for your needs without going the whole package.
I used Toontracks EZdrummer for a year or so quite happily (with a few EZX add-ons).  it is light and day better than any drum modules I had heard prior to buying it.  There are regular deals on it (inc free EZX expansion packs) that run in the States so you can pick it up reasonably cheaply too.
I now use Superior Drummer 2 which is better again but needs more resources from your PC/ Mac.
For the ultra portable set up - a drum brain and the zen is the way to go.  i am always on the look out for a Roland TD8 module or above to be able to supplement my laptop setup should I want to be ultra portable PLUS have a hardware backup for emergencies.  A Roland module combined with some Vexpressions custom packs (see their website for details and testimonials) is about as good as you can get at the mo.  Yamaha module samples are also very good.
Slán from Ireland!
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Pocket Master

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 10:55:15 AM »

That is the one thing you will find, you will always be upgrading and trying different things out.  I have many options available to me with what I currently own, it just depends on what I want to do.  I can actually use both my drum module and Superior 2.0 if I want and with the placement of a volume pedal in my system, can introduce sounds from the module while playing sounds from my SD2.  You can use a looper and play a simple drum track, hit play so it repeats and play percussion on top of the drum track.  I can't even go into the melodic side of the house.  That is another monster in itself.  The main thing is, find what works for you, and what sounds good to you.  I am more than happy with SD2.  My next major investment is a sound system.  I am using a keyboard amp, it works great, but I guess I am playing so much that I am overdriving the horn in it so it cuts out (safety circuit).  I have a small PA, so I may switch to using that, or invest in something lighter with more punch.  Time will tell.

Rob
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Zebrawood ZX-Z4, 30 Triggers, Honey Sunburst Flame Maple ZX-Z4, 29 Triggers on the ZX BABY!!!!, Apple® MacBook® Pro, Ableton Live, Superior Drummer 2.0 with expansion packs, BFD2, Internal Wireless Midijet Pro, Roland FC-300 MIDI Foot Controller, QSC K12 and Ksub

Slavedave

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 10:15:15 AM »

Just as I mentioned deals on Toontrack products - Time & Space now have a special on:  Buy Ezdrummer and get the DFH EZX pack too for £89 sterling.  Great deal.  May not be available outside of Europe but I bet you can use it as a bargaining tool locally.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 10:16:50 AM by Slavedave »
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Pyrate

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2010, 05:16:49 AM »

Avast Thar Matey,

     Aye be living not to far from Philly.  About 2 hours away on teh Eastern shore of Maryland.  Aye use a Roland TD-20 to play me Jolly Roger Zendrum.  Aye also have BFD2 and EZDrummer, but don't have the proper laptop to run it on yet. The benefit of a hardware module is portability, ease of setup and reliability.  Hope this helps ye.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 05:19:44 AM by Pyrate »
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Lost at sea with the Jolly Roger Zendrum!
Pyrate Factoid:  Black Bart Roberts was the most successful Pyrate of the Golden Age.  He captured over 400 ships between 1720 and 1722.

drshark

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 11:25:07 AM »

Pyrate,

Our ships have sailed a parallel path. I think I have the solution for us.  Zendrumdude has been talking to me and helping me out. The solution is a Glyph Drive to store all of the libraries and then the computer will  be able to work properly. Check it out. Also there are some blogs on this here in the forum dating back a few years. I hope this helps.

Dr. Shark
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It is better to beat on something, then to beaten on

Pyrate

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 10:15:52 AM »

Avast Thar Dr. Shark,

     Aye appreciate ye thinking of the Olde Pyrate.   Aye already use an external 1TB, eSATA, 7200rpm drive for me libraries.  Aye still be getting latency and ghost notes when Aye be not needing them.  Aye believe the Glyph drive is identical to the specs of the drive that Aye currently have.  Perhaps Zendrumdude could find his way to give the Olde Salt a call or vice versa.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate
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Lost at sea with the Jolly Roger Zendrum!
Pyrate Factoid:  Black Bart Roberts was the most successful Pyrate of the Golden Age.  He captured over 400 ships between 1720 and 1722.

Zendrumdude

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Re: Novice needs help getting started...
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2010, 12:57:14 PM »

Perhaps Zendrumdude could find his way to give the Olde Salt a call or vice versa.

Fair Winds and Following Seas,
Pyrate


You bet Pyrate, I would be honored to make your acquaintance via phone or iChat.  Let's figure out how best to communicate.  I have PMed you my number.  Disclaimer: I may not be able to help- but I will sure try!

Jer
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