The early stages of using the Roland SPD-SX in a band situation

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Ok, so I have my Roland SPD-SX. All of this is new to me although I've been wanting to add samples for years. Now that I have access to this, and I have a very firm grasp as to how to pull samples off of videos or other audio.

I have shown up to practice with it a few times time, and I think so far that everything is going well. I told they that if there's anything they want in terms of sounds or effects in specific songs to let me know. So far, just about all of the feedback has been positive, and the lead singer is giving some really great suggestions. In terms of sounds, it's funny how there are times where I think a sample will sound great in a song; however, when we practice, it doesn't sound that good so I have to make a note and go try again with something else. With that said, overall, it's going pretty good.

Here's sort of the thing: As we move forward adding various textures, sounds, and samples, I really don't want the Roland to "take over" what I do; I only want it to supplement our songs. I'm so afraid of over-using it, but at the same time if I'm going through the cost and trouble to bring it to shows, I want to use it. I want it to enhance what we do without over-using it.

Here are a few of my questions:
What was the transition into using a multi-pad like for you in a band situation? Any growing pains you had to go through?
As time has moved on, do you find yourself using it more or less than you initially thought?
Is there sometimes a fine line as far as what sounds really great to what sounds sort of cheesy?
Any other random thoughts come to mind as you read?

Thanks!


In case you are interested, here are some artists we cover in addition to originals: David Allen Coe, Pink Floyd, John Pardi, Steve Earl, Collective Soul, Blackberry Smoke, Rag'n'Bone Man, Dr. Hook, Van Morrison, Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon, Stone Temple Pilots, Beastie Boys, Kentucky Headhunters, etc. Needless to say we are all over the place in terms of genres.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
I’ve been using one off & on for almost 10 years, but only now am I working with one in which it’s my responsibility. Every other time it’s been preloaded or loaded for me and I am only now starting to work with it on my own.

When using the built in sounds it’s very simple with a V- Drums set up, but using a MAC to pull samples from is a new adventure for me.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I really don't want the Roland to "take over" what I do; I only want it to supplement our songs. I'm so afraid of over-using it, but at the same time if I'm going through the cost and trouble to bring it to shows, I want to use it. I want it to enhance what we do without over-using it.

Like any auxiliary gear, it's a tool. How you use it determines the role it plays at your gigs, and you're in complete control of when it gets used.

What was the transition into using a multi-pad like for you in a band situation? Any growing pains you had to go through?

The only growing pains came from the limitations that each system had - I always wanted it to do more. As far as sample pads, I started with the Simmons SDS-1 pad, which took a single EPROM. Based on my needs, a friend invented a switcher that allowed me to changed EPROMS at the push of a button. :) I then graduated to an Akai S900 sampler (a favorite of rap & hip-hop producers) and an Octapad. My next set-up was the ultimate: a KAT pad with a Kurzweil rack sampler, which actually did way more than I could have imagined. But I still wanted something more - I wanted for it to be more user-friendly! In 2011 took a step back into a simpler world with the SPD-SX, and it does have some limitations that I've had to work around with satisfactory results. It's not ideal, but it's usable, and the trade-offs with the previous system made it a smart buy.

Bermuda
 

Erberderber

Senior Member
I can understand that you don't want to overdo things while at the same time justify having it on stage.

I use mine as the main kit in one of my bands and it's perfect for what we want to do. I also wonder that some people actually prefer the synthetic snare sound especially in small venues as a real one can be too cutting for some people. For the electro pop tracks tracks we do, I stick sneaky loops in to fill the void. We are not virtuosos trying to show how good we are. We're a cover band without a bassist and we try to do what the songs require to compliment them. If that means throwing in a few loops, then so be it.


 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I started using the SX to augment simple things in a 3 piece band. For example, in a typical classic rock song, I would trigger the rhythm guitar backing during the guitar solo so the sound stayed "full". Another example would be songs from The Cars which had short signature synth parts which had o be there IMO. Recording and triggering them was pretty basic. We also played some tunes with horns and strings. As long as it was in the back of the mix, I was good with it.

The growing pains in that band involved trying to keep other members on tempo. If the tracks are buried, the players weren't very good at following me and I'd sometimes have to kill it and pick it up in the next sequence. If you are not using a click for the whole song, everyone needs to make an adjustment when the sample kicks in. In bands that followed, we used a click and had very few issues.

In another 3 piece, we took it too far IMO and the backing got out of control. In a couple songs, it was just me and the bass player playing. That band is still playing and IMO, their tracks are WAY too far in front.

In another band, we couldn't find a bass player so I wrote the parts and we started working temporarily without one. No one but the musicians noticed or cared :). At that point, I had abandoned the SX because I needed more memory.


If you have any specific questions, I'd be glad to tell you how I would address them. I learned a lot in the 8 years I spent working with it.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I am always tinkering with my samples. Simple things like increasing or decreasing reverb can make a big difference. I use a clap sample that I overdubbed several times. Works great in some places. But in a song with constant 1/8 note claps the reverb made it all muddy. I have tended to get simpler over the 3 years I've used them.
 
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