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Author Topic: Possible new features  (Read 3859 times)

DrumWagon

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Possible new features
« on: February 14, 2011, 11:18:44 PM »

It's come to my attention (though I'm not at liberty to go into details) that there are a number of additional features that are currently dormant within the Z4 board.  Most of these were either far too esoteric to make it into the final design, or were otherwise too complicated to express using the LED display and scroll buttons. Nonetheless, it's possible to expose these feature via the ZenEdit interface.

Before I begin investing the required time to unlock these features, I'd like to get a sense of how much interest there are in them.  These features are definitely for more advanced users, who may or may not need them, so I'd rather not waste time on them if they would not get any use in the real world.  So please, chime in with your opinions on these, whether you're for, against or even just ambivalent. 

The first two possible features are as follows:

1) Modifiable note duration.  When you tap a trigger, the Zendrum presently sends out a note ON message, immediately followed by note OFF.  Melodic players may benefit from altering the delay (or duration) between these events -- just like holding down a key on a keyboard.  Of course once it's set you're then stuck with that duration, so I would assume it would only be handy when you're playing along to a click, or can otherwise tightly control the tempo so that the note lengths fit the material. What could you do with such a feature?

2) Interchangeable triggers and continuous controllers.  So it turns out that any trigger on your Zendrum can also function as a CC, and vice-versa.  Would you get any use out of that?  One idea may be to have a trigger which functions as a volume control.  Tap it, and however hard you hit it will determine the value for the volume setting.  Another idea may be a set of triggers that function as program up or down.  Basically any CC message available to your module/software could be assigned to a trigger pad.   And then of course you can go the other way, and use any of your physical CCs as triggers.   In BFD for example, you could have the sustain button send out a MIDI note ON message that you could map as a universal cymbal choke.  The possibilities are of course endless, but is there really a need for this?

There are even more features available, but they get more esoteric from there.  There also are some questions about whether or not they were completed or abandoned.  And some, like hi-res MIDI, are probably not yet ready for prime-time.  The two features listed above are well enough for starting this discussion -- at least for now.

So, whatcha think?  Let your MIDI nerd flag fly and jump in on the comments!
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Pocket Master

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 05:39:19 AM »

As for the modifiable note duration, could you set a trigger to do say a cymbal roll, and use the sustain switch on the back to cut it off?  That would allow me to hit the trigger, do a cymbal roll at the end of a song while I am doing tom fills for a more dramatic ending.

As for the interchangeable triggers and continuous controllers, I am currently using my FC-300 to send CC's to both GarageBand and Ableton Live to activate various functions within the software.  There are some triggers that I don't use during certain songs, or have different pad layouts on different programs where only certain triggers are used.  I could see the benefit of being able to assign a trigger to send a CC message.  When you mentioned using a set of triggers for the program function up or down, I am assuming you are talking about the program number on the Zendrum, my question for that is, currently with the Z4 chip, to switch programs, I have to move the cursor up or down, then scroll one to the right for the program to actually change, would assigning a trigger to go up or down eliminate that extra step?

I could see a use for both of the features you mentioned, not on every song, but I could see (and hear) where I would actually use the two of them.

Rob
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Geosphere

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 08:35:33 AM »

MODIFIABLE NOTE DURATION!

where do I send my money?!

This is PERFECT for playing tonal when the current "on/off" of sustain requires module level  manipulation, which I hate.

I have no problem with them all being the same cutoff for a click or such.  Its mostly for bass.  I just want more than the 'dit' of immediate off and the sustained 'thrroooooom' of leaving it open.

Here's a wacky one - can it be set that how hard you hit changes the duration?
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Geosphere

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 08:39:49 AM »

Pad controlled cc...  Hmmm.  Can they be assigned values they send?

For example - hit THIS pad to set all volume to 50%.

AND - can they send signals to the Zendrum itself?

I know, how stupid is that?

BUT if I could hit a pad and be playing in E, and then hit a 'capo' pad to switch the setup to playing in B, well, chromatic use, here I come.

I would also appreciate a feature that makes band member show up to rehearsal on time.  Will that be in a future revision?
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DrumWagon

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 11:26:20 AM »

Here's a wacky one - can it be set that how hard you hit changes the duration?

Unfortunately, no.  That would require modifications to the hardware programming.  We're still slaves to whatever is available on that ROM even though it appears (as I think we all suspected) that there is more there already than was publicized.
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DrumWagon

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 11:31:09 AM »

Pad controlled cc...  Hmmm.  Can they be assigned values they send?

For example - hit THIS pad to set all volume to 50%.
No, the value sent has to be the velocity.  Basically if you'd switched a pad to be a CC, the NOTE value then becomes the CC, and the velocity becomes the value.

AND - can they send signals to the Zendrum itself?
If the Zendrum had a true MIDI IN port then you could echo them back to itself, but yeah... that ain't gonna work.

I would also appreciate a feature that makes band member show up to rehearsal on time.  Will that be in a future revision?
Yeah, yeah.  Get in line.  :)
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DrumWagon

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 11:44:34 AM »

As for the modifiable note duration, could you set a trigger to do say a cymbal roll, and use the sustain switch on the back to cut it off?  That would allow me to hit the trigger, do a cymbal roll at the end of a song while I am doing tom fills for a more dramatic ending.

You could set up a trigger so that it has a very loooong duration and then (assuming you have a sample of the roll) have that trigger the cymbal roll.  And yes, then program the sustain switch or something else to work as the choke, 'all notes off', 'midi panic', etc.  Please note though that any variation in the intensity of the roll would have to be in the sample itself.  You cannot alter the velocity while it's playing.  Well, you probably *could*, but with an external midi device and after touch.

When you mentioned using a set of triggers for the program function up or down, I am assuming you are talking about the program number on the Zendrum, my question for that is, currently with the Z4 chip, to switch programs, I have to move the cursor up or down, then scroll one to the right for the program to actually change, would assigning a trigger to go up or down eliminate that extra step?

Program change messages are standard, but support varies.  The complete of available messages are here:  http://www.midi.org/techspecs/midi_chart-v2.pdf
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THUMPER

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 02:49:38 PM »

I still would like to be able to program an A and B sound with different midi numbers on one trigger with different crossfades. This would realy open up programming different sounds like tamborine /high hat, crash cymbals/bass drum, the possibilities would be endless. Thumper
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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 02:52:12 PM »

The note duration would be an excellent resource for those of us playing melodic lines such as bass. When I was having my Z4 built, we tried to come up with a pitch bend solution, but alas, we were unable to...I don't know if that would be possible, but it would sure be interesting. Could a pitch bend signal of let's say a half step be assigned to the sustain button?
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DrumWagon

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 03:13:33 PM »

I still would like to be able to program an A and B sound with different midi numbers on one trigger with different crossfades. This would realy open up programming different sounds like tamborine /high hat, crash cymbals/bass drum, the possibilities would be endless. Thumper

Yeah, simply impossible with the current board.  You'll need to rely on your sound source for that one.
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DrumWagon

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 03:16:27 PM »

The note duration would be an excellent resource for those of us playing melodic lines such as bass. When I was having my Z4 built, we tried to come up with a pitch bend solution, but alas, we were unable to...I don't know if that would be possible, but it would sure be interesting. Could a pitch bend signal of let's say a half step be assigned to the sustain button?

Somebody more knowledgeable than I can probably chime in on this, but I recall hearing that pitch bend can't be controlled via a standard CC message.  If it can, then you should ask David and co. to install a knob or wheel for you ;)
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DrumWagon

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 03:41:34 PM »

Judging by the MIDI implementation chart in the back of the Zendrum manual, it would indeed appear that pitch bend (as well as aftertouch) are special cases (rather than CCs) and not supported by the Z4 board.
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digitalDrummer

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 05:38:00 PM »

Is there any tweak that speeds the learning curve for Zendrummers - eg. hit buttons 2 and 5 simultaneously and you turn into Tom Roady?
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THUMPER

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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2011, 06:55:39 PM »

I want one! Thumper
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Re: Possible new features
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2011, 10:16:21 PM »

I know the pitch bend can be controlled, at least it can with my FC-300 MIDI foot controller.  I believe it is CC#1 and or CC#33.  The catch is you have to have a wheel or pedal that will increase or decrease the value for that CC#.  I have 2 expression pedals on my FC-300, I use one for volume and the other I can program to send a CC message to my sound source.  I am using SD2 through GarageBand on my MacBook Pro, and in GarageBand I can pull up a bass guitar, or keys, or whatever, and use the pedal after I hit the note, hold the sustain on the back of the Zendrum or use a pedal plugged into the jack on the back of the Zendrum, then move the expression pedal.

I did setup one of the 5 trigger pedals on my FC-300 to be a latched sustain so I don't have to keep my foot on the pedal.  I hit it once, it stays in the "on" configuration, then hit a note on the Zendrum, and use the expression pedal for pitch bend.  I have never used it other than playing around with it at home, but I would think that if you hold your sustain on the Zendrum pushed in, hit a note on the Zendrum, and have a knob like the volume knob sending the #1 or #33 signal to the sound source, you could get the pitch bend.  I don't have any knobs on my ZX so I can't try it out to see if it will work.

Rob
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