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Author Topic: An idea: the A-B Project  (Read 1288 times)

Zendrumdude

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An idea: the A-B Project
« on: June 04, 2011, 01:30:30 pm »

Hello All,

This may be a little premature (as I haven't actually started yet), but I will continue to report as the process proceeds.  I plan to start this project in the next few days.

I find that I spend TONS of time mixing my kits, and when I get on the gig often I am not happy with the results, for a variety of reasons.  So I have an idea- I want to set up my rig in my studio, and set up a drumkit in my studio, and then throw up a pair of nice "flat-ish" condenser mics to compare the two and see what differences and similarities I find.  I tend to mix my e-kits like I would a CD, but then when I'm at the gig playing on an acoustic kit, it of course doesn't sound that way.  Bottom line, my CD-sound might be a little TOO "produced" and not organic enough to fit with the live music vibe, especially in situations where players and audience are accustomed to hearing a live and unmiced acoustic kit.

I plan to do this with a rock kit and a jazz kit, and with a variety of drumheads and cymbals.  I once had a comment from an older jazzer that the cymbal samples sounded pretty, but not "clicky" like my acoustic cyms.  And another guy told me that the toms sounded like they were being played in a studio, but the cymbals sounded very live.  I have a feeling that if I start making adjustments to try to sound more like what acoustic instruments sound like IN THE ROOM, rather than in post-production, I (and my bandmates) will be more comfortable, even if the drums won't sound as polished.

A caveat: I am one of those guys who WANTS to sound as close to an acoustic kit as possible, so look at all of this from that standpoint.  I know a lot of guys here have a completely different set of goals in mind.

I will report as I go through the steps.  It's prefect timing, because my favorite acoustic kit is set up and miced up right now in my studio for a session this weekend.

Jer

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Pocket Master

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2011, 03:28:42 pm »

I am using SD2 and I have tailored my kits to sound like my acoustics in the club.  I have a live recording of me playing my acoustics and I play my ZX with it and tweak it until it sounds the same.  I have played out in differnt size rooms and do not make any adjustments to the kits other than adjust the volume if needed. One of my kits is naturally louder than the other and I had to make an adjustment for that.  I am playing a large outdoor venue on the 26th of June and it is going to be interesting to see how it sounds on a big outdoor PA system in front of over 1000 people.  What software are you using?

Rob
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DrumWagon

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2011, 07:30:34 pm »

I'm still working on writing up an official review for it, but I've been using a Korg nanoKONTROL recently with great success.  I've got separate faders controlling the overhead, room and ambient mics in BFD2.  When I want a more organic sound it's a cinch to just bump the faders around.  When I want a drier, close-mic'd sound I just dial them back.

The nanoKONTROL is not without its own problems but certainly worth looking into if you want more on-the-fly control during live performances.

More details and photos once I get off my duff.
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Pocket Master

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 07:55:13 pm »

I am looking forward the your review.  I have been looking at getting a midi controller to use with Ableton Live.  I can load each drum in the kit into it's own track and utilize the ableton midi program and assign a fader to each track, it would be similar to controlling the kit pieces on the Roland TD-20.  It is an ever evolving process that is for sure.

Rob
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drshark

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 08:46:37 am »

Hey guys,

This is exactly what this forum was set up for. I want to throw my 2 cents in here. I have the same mind set that you guys have. Trying to get the Zendrum to sound as if your most favorite kit is in the room and miced up for an amazing concert sound. Most of you who know me, know that I have been searching for those perfect sounds. What I have found out is that there are too many variables. It depends who the audience is. It depends if they are drummers listening or other musicians. It depends on the room and it's ambience. It depends on the sound system. It depends on the mix. At a certain point in time, we all have to come to the conclusion that we might be chasing our tails. (My dog does that and I cannot understand why, except maybe it's fun)  Please know that I deeply admire all of you for what it is you are trying to do and your theories are so educational.  It is so easy to be critical but the truth is that we are all individuals, our playing styles are extremely varied, our sounds are usually very unique and at the end of the day, that is what gives us our individuality. Another part of the problem lies in the fact that our Zendrums are so versatile, it makes it damn near impossible to have the kind of consistancy that most other instruments have. I remember the day I went to Zendrum HQ to pick up my Zendrum and I asked David, how should I map it? What is the best way to play it? Where can I take lessons? He told me to take it to the wood shed and experiment with it. Nobody gives lessons and there is no best way to play it. I did not understand it at that time but it is certainly clear to me now.

I would encourage you guys to continue asking these questions and discussing your theories here because it is so entertaining and educational. I admire all of you for what you do and all of your contributions. I guess we are all just trying to make it better and that is a good thing. Keep it up guys.

Cheers,
DrShark
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THUMPER

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2011, 09:44:05 am »

I like the fact that there are no rules. You are only limited my your imagination. So therefore lies my problem. I want it all ;D
I have just put Superior 2 into the computer and am starting out with the software side of things. My ultimate goal is to have realistic drums with all kinds of special effect sounds including real percussion on different patches.
 I have taken the first step so "onward thru the fog" as an old Austin Texas saying goes  This weekend at my gig I had this fellow at the bar just staring the whole first set. He came up to me and introduced himself as a drummer that had been wanting to see a Zendrum being played live. David had actually given me his name 6-8 months ago when I had contacted him. The look on his face was just priceless ,mouth wide open going Wow!  After we talked and he was telling me how good my kick drum sounded and how it my patch TD-20 was sitting just perfect in the mix and I made it look easy, It made me feel really good to be a Zendrummer Thumper
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DrumWagon

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2011, 05:37:17 pm »

More details and photos once I get off my duff.

I finally got around to completing this over the weekend.

Hope you find it helpful:
http://nebiru.com/drumWagon/index.cfm/2011/8/1/Korg-NanoKONTROL

-darin
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Slavedave

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2011, 02:40:13 am »

Drumwagon - thanks for the post.  I am looking at a small midi fader solution at the moment.
As an aside - I had a nanopad that I dropped and the midi connector broke.  i contacted Korg spares in the UK to get a new PCB but they said they didn't provide them (understandable perhaps due to the price of a new unit being so low).  I ended up resoldering it successfully to the board but i really like your hard-wiring option.  In hindsite, I would have done this too as a much more resilient solution.
Thanks.
PS the sensitivity of the nanopad was nothing like the Zendrum but it was a very mobile solution when called for.  Perhaps there is a niche for a mini-Zap!
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Dr Evil

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2011, 03:08:24 pm »

This forum is great, thanks to everyone for sharing all this great info and guidance. I am new to the Zendrum community and just finished assembling my rig this past weekend. My observation was that each room does sound different. In my attempt to compensate and to keep the kits sounding as good as possible I put together my own rig and thought I might share with all of you.

It consists of my Zendrum, a Dell Laptop, Toontrack EZ Drummer, Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB, Alesis D4, Alesis Nanoverb, Samson PL1602 Rack Mixer and a 1U noname 350 watt power amp. (All mounted in a SKB rack case, laptop excluded). The amp is for my smaller JBL MS28 speakers. My primary system is a JBL EON15 set up.

As there are 4 outs on both the Scarlett and the D4 I was able to assign individual outs, snare, cymbals, toms, kick on both. I utilize Toontrack solo as my vst host.

My logic is simply that I can now mix and balance sounds with individual volumes and EQ'ing. I wanted to EQ my mixes for the various room issues that we all face. I can add or subtract highs and lows as needed.

I primarily use EZ Drummer at the moment, quick and simple, the D4 is there if I want the option, for example, change out an EZ brush snare with another snare really quickly, I turn down the EZ snare and turn up the D4 snare. No mouse fumbling or loading times to worry about. It works well to layer something like two kicks if need be.

I will put it to the test this coming Tuesday night.

My next step; to program my BFD to multiple outs to do the same as above, purchase a better rack mixer once my funds recuperate and get a better rack case to accommodate my laptop. (I really like the rack setup Darin posted, nice work)

Cheers to all.
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DrumWagon

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Re: An idea: the A-B Project
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2011, 09:59:43 pm »

Welcome to the tribe!

That's a very well rounded rig you spec'd out there :)

I went with a Dell laptop as well (for BFD), however I went the complete opposite direction in outboard gear.  In the interest of keeping things as light as possible, I virtualized all my effects and mixing.  So instead of having a dedicated hardware effects processer for instance, I'm using plugins in my DAW host instead.  And instead of an outboard mixer, I'm using a lightweight MIDI controller for mixing the drums, room mics and such, as well as controlling the effect parameters.

Just some ideas in case you're ever looking to reduce the weight :)

I detail the rig a bit here:  http://nebiru.com/drumWagon/index.cfm/2011/8/1/Korg-NanoKONTROL

There are of course a billion ways to skin this cat.

-darin
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Ask me about:
Zendrum ZX 4.0 -- Roland TDW-20, SPD-S, SPD-11 -- Alesis DM-Pro -- E-MU Planet Earth, Protean Drums -- BFD2, Battery 3
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