Electronic drums - anyone laying down tracks with them?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Dismalhead, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey people,

    I just recently relocated to a manufactured home. I started out as a drummer before I dove into guitar, so I'm used to laying down tracks on my old acoustic kit. Going through a divorce, and I lost all my acoustic drums and now that I'm in a mobile home park I can't see myself playing acoustic drums and not getting the cops called anyways.

    Does anyone here know anything about electronic drum sets? I was just perusing Craigslist and someone local has an Alesis Nitro set for $100; the set costs $350 new. Wondering how much I have to spend to get something that will sound good (like an acoustic set) when recording. Will the cheapo Alesis kit do it? Or do I have to spend more to get realistic drum sounds?

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Our drummer occasionally brings a folding electronic Roland V-Drums kit to rehearsals. It’s stock sounds are great but you can midi it to GarageBand app or program or another DAW and trigger any number of top quality studio recorded drum kit samples.

    https://www.roland.com/uk/products/td-1kv/ With the mesh snare

    It’s sounds very good even for a cheapie. More than adequate choice for tracks IME/IMHO.

    Don’t know the Alesis unit
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
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  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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  4. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    They sound just fine on the stock sounds. They feel kinda odd at first, especially the cymbals and snare bounce, but you'll get the hang. Best thing is practising with headphones, but please do be aware that there'll still be some rhythmic thudding that others can hear.

    They've really come a long way in the last decade.
     
  5. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    Don't care for the sound module in the cheap ones but as stated above, connect it with something like Superior Drummer 3 in a computer and a decent drummer it would be hard to tell real from electronic. Even the inexpensive kits are good midi triggers. If you are already a drummer then the mesh skin type i.e. Roland will feel more natural. I have the rubber heads and although I can't make it sound all the great, I had a good drummer recently blow me away with the results i.e. ghost notes, high and low velocity hits. It will definitely give better result than a midi keyboard. If you want it authentic right into an amp speaker or PA then you have to spend some bucks for the better sound modules.
     
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  6. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounding good guys. I use Reaper and I'm thinking that I could probably tweak the drum sounds to sound natural on recording. I just watched a video and the kit I'm looking at will sound cheesy through my keyboard amp or the PA, but then I don't care much about that. It's not like I'm ever going to play them live except for jamming fun with my idiot friends.
     
  7. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

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    I have the Nitro Kit that the OP mentioned, and I bought it for my home studio to add drums to my recordings. In my opinion, e-drums are much better than drum machines in terms of sounding much more "natural" although, as others have said, the sounds are limited especially at the low end of the price spectrum. But more than this, I've had a great time learning how to drum, which I feel is especially helpful for guitarists since strumming and drumming have a lot in common.

    The Nitro module has a stereo 1/4" outputs which permit me to go right into my Allen & Heath 10 channel mixer then my computer DAW for recording. The tracks sound great and can be EQed and adjusted after the fact. Plus, I can overdub drums easily with my setup, which is usually the case since I typically start with a click track and acoustic guitar, then layer the drums.

    Oh, it also has MIDI output connections (include USB MIDI output) which I haven't tried yet. That would perhaps be one way to improve on the available drum sounds with EZ Drummer and similar drum packages. There's a YouTube video which shows how to up the Nitro kit with a USB cable to a computer running EZ Drummer - looks pretty straightforward.

    By the way, for practicing you can send drummerless tracks (which are available on YouTube and elsewhere) from your iPad or computer to the e-drum module and so you can play along. That can be especially fun with familiar songs.

    If you decide you like drumming, you can trade up to a more sophisticated (and expensive) drum set later. So far the Nitro fits my needs just fine.
     
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  8. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    i really like a mix of acoustic and electric drums with a live drummer, even though that's not what you're really talking about here. i like this band's mix of the two.

    i don't have a ton of experience with this, but i know you can feed samples into drum machines, which gives you a lot of flexibility. i have a friend who went to a well regarded studio for hardcore and metal, got a bunch of samples of himself playing individual drum hits, and went home to feed those into his sequencer.

    but if you're going electronic, why sound natural in the first place? get some sweet 808 kick drums and handclaps and sample some car doors slamming or the sound of you hitting a beer keg with a hammer. use a gunshot for a snare sound. go nuts. put some effects on things. overcompress to get that gabber bass drum sound.
     
  9. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    same band different drummer. i think those samples are coming from the drum pad he's using.

     
  10. MDent77

    MDent77 Tele-Afflicted

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    If you just want to practice, have little concern of authentic feel or sound quality it'll be fine. Also, you may want to check around if any music stores (like musicgoround) have any used E-drum kits. You may find a better deal.

    In the 1990's, my drummer used a DDrum kit triggering an Alesis D4 module so he and I could write on headphones. (He even made a few triggered pads with cheap radio shack piezo transducers.) Here's a sample idea I had for a pop track from the mid 90's using those E-drums & module noted (and a dated sounding Roland d-50 synth). It doesn't sound anywhere near authentic of an acoustic kit - but it was fine for practice or getting a rough idea down, IMO.

    Currently, I use an Akai drum pad triggering Superior Drummer 3 (SDX) sound libraries. It works well for me. I still mostly write on headphones (drum parts and electric instruments) - mainly to avoid bothering my wife (especially when she is telecommuting). My drummer uses a Roland V-Drums kit to practice/write and an acoustic kit live.
     
  11. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I did some big-stage gigs w a drummer who built his electronic drums, I think routed to a Roland module. They sounded great for 70s funk and "smooth jazz", but wouldn't have worked for Blues. The variations in the timbres just still sound fake. So, depends on what you need tone-wise. I'd have some just to practice on, anyway, and try them out on recordings just to see how far I could get.
     
  12. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I used to use a Roland TD-10 module with homemade pads and rack. Because used pad prices came down a lot, I eventually ditched the homemade pads (didn't want to DIY dual trigger pads). Works fine for me.
     
  13. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    My Alesis Command set will arrive today. Hoping to use the snare, toms and bass drum pads for "drums".

    Predicting to use real cymbals(including hihat) and possibly a real snare(if the snare pad isn't cutting it) and the rest of the cymbal pads to trigger other sounds as needed.

    The Command module has the ability to create your own sounds too with a flashdrive. Plus MIDI options.

    Just doing in house production/demos. I will be engineer, producer and drummer. Not making a Sandy Nelson/Buddy Rich record.

    I just want one thing less to deal with than having to mic a full drum set. I do, however, have a nice set of Yamaha Recording Series drums.

    We'll see.
     
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  14. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

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    One more note. I have a friend who has an acoustic drum set, and I found it pretty strightforward to play "real" drums based on my practice with the e-drums. The feel is of course a little different but easy to adjust to after some initial practice. The e-drums are helping me develop the motor skills for playing the standard kick drum, snare, hi-hat drum beats and then practice fills on the snare, toms, and crash cymbal. And I have to say, learning drums for the first time is like starting over with the guitar. I feels really awkward trying to coordinate left/right hand drumming and the kick drum with the foot, especially with odd, syncopated rhythms. But I'm getting better...trying to work up to a psychobilly-punk lightning fast drumming pattern - that's hard!! :eek:
     
  15. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Reaper has a built in MIDI engine, so read up on MIDI if you are not familiar with it already. Basically, you can ‘record’ the hits as individual MIDI notes. Then Reaper can play the MIDI track with whatever drum samples you want, via something like EZDrummer. Use the MIDI roll to edit notes, and you’re golden. It’s really easy to record a stereo audio from the drum set module, but it won’t be mapped to the MIDI engine, and you’re stuck with the recorded sounds. Learn to use MIDI and you will be far less limited.

    Most budget EDrum sets can do MIDI. What you may find yourself more concerned about is feel and responsiveness of the kit. The pricier the better in this case.
     
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  16. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I'd recommend that you look around for a used Roland TD30 kit. Since there are newer models out now, you should be able to get one at a much lower price than I paid new for mine 3-4 years ago. It has the mesh heads with triggers for the pad and rim (on the snare anyway), cymbals that have bell and rim triggers, so you can change (and hand mute) them like real cymbals. You can also go deep into the settings and edit the sounds, though I've tended just to use some of the default 'kits' they set up.

    I like that I can use a proper high hat stand/pedal, a separate snare stand plus a proper bass drum pedal too...makes it feel more like an acoustic kit the way it is spread out.

    I haven't been able to play mine for a while as it's packed away pending my music room project, but when I did play an acoustic kit at our rehearsal studio I felt that I didn't need such a big adjustment compared to some other electronic kits I was using at a college class I went to.
     
  17. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    if it has anything like the drum library on my alesis drum machine you should be able to find something you like.
     
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