CONVERT DRUMS TO E DRUMS

Stoney

Senior Member
Hi all

I'm thinking about converting one of my small kits to an e kit and just seeking some advice.

I already have some roland triggers and some remo silent stroke heads (way too bouncy) so just ordered some drum-tec mesh heads. I also have a roland spdsx to run it though although I use it via usb to a laptop (to get the velocity layers). It all works ok but I'm thinking of going deeper into it and doing a proper conversion.

So anyway, rather than spending a ton of money on an actual e-kit I would like to do an acoustic kit conversion. (the kit in question is a Ludwig Breakbeats kit btw).

So my question is.. has anyone converted an acoustic kit here who could give some advice? firstly I'm looking for a good trigger module to take 6+ triggers. I don't need one with sounds on as plan on running straight into computer software (Superior drummer). I would like to add E-cymbals at some point but first I just want to get the kit sorted.

Any advice on triggers, modules, heads etc to do the job best? Btw I'd like to do this as cheap as possible and the set up will be mainly for practice purposes.

Any help or advice greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!

Stoney
 

Nick74

Junior Member
I don't need one with sounds on as plan on running straight into computer software (Superior drummer)...Btw I'd like to do this as cheap as possible
Grab a used Roland TD11 module for good trigger quality and small latency for Trigger2Midi (connect via USB-Midi!) and a fast(!) audio interface in order to get a latency sum of 5-8 ms. 10ms+ is already NoGo (for me);). Build a DIY snare with professional claim (mid trigger) and a kick drum with a good(!) damping system. Professional Pads (like DrumTec "RealFeel"-Bassdrums) often use viscoelastic foam for damping.
 

electrodrummer

Senior Member
If you search here or any edrum forum on the web you'll find a squillion "conversion" discussions.

You haven't given a numeric budget or location so impossible to give specific recommendations.

Cheap module? Millions on ebay - just buy a named brand to whatever budget you have. Can't go wrong with an old Yamaha DTX or Roland (but with the Rolands, avoid the ones with the evil proprietary cable snake - usually the odd-numbered ones)

Triggers? Cheap? Stick piezos on your kit with some sticky foam. They're £0.50 [1] here in the UK. All triggers are basically £0.50 piezos. Price goes up with brand and the casing used ;)

Personally don't rate "conversions" when you know you can buy dedicated trigger pads for £10 [1], that will just "work" and won't suffer hot spots etc anything else is faff ;) And pads are easier to transport and position where you want them.

Oh, if you wanna trigger a kick - use a Triggera Bix. Then it matters not what you hit and you don't have to faff with heads and clip on triggers etc

[1] prices in sterling as I'm here and I dunno where you are :)
 

Nick74

Junior Member
For software drumming it is important to save every millisecond. Concerning midi latency Yamaha modules are not as fast as Roland modules. A used TD11 is quite cheap and with its USB midi you can save again about 1 ms (compared to older Roland modules like TD12). For practise purpose the kit is quite immovable and therefore cable snake doesn't matter. I made very long cables with these quality adapters without any problems.;)
 

Stoney

Senior Member
Cheap module? Millions on ebay - just buy a named brand to whatever budget you have.
With anything electronic I prefer to buy brand new knowing that I can have it on warranty if need be. I'm from the UK btw. I used to have a Yamaha DTX E-kit which was plagued with many issues and ended up sending bits back 3 times. With 2nd hand electronic stuff it's a bit of a gamble ;)
Also re budget. As stated "as cheap as possible" (but works pro level)
 
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Stoney

Senior Member
For software drumming it is important to save every millisecond. Concerning midi latency Yamaha modules are not as fast as Roland modules. A used TD11 is quite cheap and with its USB midi you can save again about 1 ms (compared to older Roland modules like TD12). For practise purpose the kit is quite immovable and therefore cable snake doesn't matter. I made very long cables with these quality adapters without any problems.;)
Thanks for your advice. I was just looking at a Roland TD-17. Seems pretty cheap but can't see many outs on it... ?
 

Nick74

Junior Member
but can't see many outs on it... ?
The module is only the Trigger2Midi device. You'll have to use a capable audio interface for multiple outs and low latency. I recommend the RME Fireface UC in cooperation with an able computer CPU (e.g. a good i7). Expensive but worth it. Latency is quite unbeatable for an USB audio device and drivers are excellent.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
It seems to me that with the addition of mesh heads, triggers, e-cymbals, a mod, cables, etc. Wouldn't it just be easier/cheaper to buy an E-kit?

Personally, anytime I've had to incorporate pads or triggers into my acoustic setup I used a Yamaha DTX 550 mod. with either ddrum triggers (customized with better piezos and wiring), and/or Yamaha TP-65 pads.
I've also recently started using the Yamaha EAD10 unit, that basically can give you that triggered/acoustic blend without using triggers.

For a silent e-kit, rather than using mesh heads, aforementioned too bouncy, the Aquarian Super-Pad's are really nice. They have a great feel and rebound. Aquarian Super-Pad
 

Nick74

Junior Member
Wouldn't it just be easier/cheaper to buy an E-kit?
Yes, I would buy a used Roland TD11KV kit (for max 500-600 GBP) as a midi controller. The whole package will make it much cheaper. If you want something looking like a real drumset with normal head sizes you'll have to do skilled handicrafts and seperately buy cym-pad + HH contoller (this won't be cheaper than the used TD11 kit) or pay much money for a ready kit like DrumTec Diabolo or -Pro. When I designed my real drum e-kit I wanted the DT Diabolo Bassdrum pad and the 13inch Snare pad (because they definately work great: the feel of the BD pad is the best you can get. So no compromise for kick and snare!). On my Floor Tom I installed a R-Drums RTB bar (because I wanted to have 2 zones and at the 14 inch size of the FT an edge trigger like DDrumRedShot won't work well) and the 10" + 12" TomToms stayed mono with cheap DDrum RedShot triggers. This worked quite well. I'm sure that you can install a trigger bar like the mentioned one in any snare drum and get quite the same result as the DrumTecPad.


For a silent e-kit, rather than using mesh heads, aforementioned too bouncy, the Aquarian Super-Pad's are really nice. They have a great feel and rebound.
3ply meshes like DrumTec RealFeel are not bouncy. And for me even practising is so much nicer with excellent drum sounds from quality drum samplers: I would not feel like drumming/practising with those "Blop" tom and kick sound nor with a module plastic crap sound.
 

Nick74

Junior Member
TD17
- proprietary cable snake.
TS: "mainly for practice purposes" ...Why always repeating the cable snake as a negative feature? Have you ever checked that you can make long cables with good adapters without problems? After many years of edrum experience (also as a teacher) I saw a lot of odd number Roland modules and cable break issues were marginal. Buying a second cable snake for that seldom case of replacement should not be a problem.

- no midi in.
TS: "I don't need one with sounds on as plan on running straight into computer software (Superior drummer)". ...No need for midi in.

- only 2-zone drum pads.
One Roland 3 zone ride cym pad works. When demanding a second 3 zone cym pad use two such Roland modules or the Audiofront eDrumIn device as an expansion (works with Yamaha 3ZoneRide/Snare).
 

electrodrummer

Senior Member
stuff was said.
  • Cable snakes break. They break at home. They break live. They're also less flexible with setups requiring extensions and kludging. Proprietary cables a re a bad thing. Look at Apple ;) I'll always advise against them. People ask for opinions - I'll offer mine so people get a balanced set of responses to make an informed decision.

  • MIDI IN make it easier and cheaper to expand a kit and add more pads. Again - this is flexibility. No MIDI - no flexibility.

  • TD17 - as suggested - only supports 2-zone "drum" pads. NO 3-zone "drum" pads - just one 3-zone cymbal. No rimshot+crossstick+head, for example. Again, flexibility.
 

electrodrummer

Senior Member
More stuff was said,
  • I'll find some if you don't believe me. I'm a notorious liar and probably work for Alesis or Yamaha or Megadrum

  • extra drums --> trigger to MIDI / another cheapo module --> MIDI --> drum module -->PC
(own any Rolands with cable snakes, perchance? ;) )
 

Nick74

Junior Member
I'm a notorious liar and probably work for Alesis or Yamaha or Megadrum
Oh, now I can see a lot...but i could swear it was Yamaha and not Alesis...

extra drums --> trigger to MIDI / another cheapo module --> MIDI --> drum module -->PC
Ok, when buying a good midi interface like the Roland UM-One MkII (£32.69) is too great a burden...

(own any Rolands with cable snakes, perchance? ;) )
yes my cable snakes are fed and petted every day so they are fine.
 

Stoney

Senior Member
The whole package will make it much cheaper. If you want something looking like a real drumset with normal head sizes you'll have to do skilled handicrafts and seperately buy cym-pad + HH contoller (this won't be cheaper than the used TD11 kit)

Yes, the more I've been looking into it the more I realise how the cost is just adding up. I would still like to try and convert the acoustic kit though if it's doable. Do it little by little and and worry about cymbal pads later. I bought Superior drummer 3 today so that's at least 1 tick off the list..
 

Macarina

Silver Member
Dagnabit... I can't find the thread on my conversion here in Drummworld, so linking to it in Vdrum


I purchased a new Roland 15 kit to get back into drumming and joining bands. It worked great (practicing, teardown, travel, put together).

Anyway jumping forward, I always felt the kit as looking toy-ish. So I decided to go full in and convert shells. The link above is my journey. Maybe you'll get some tidbits of info from it.
 
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