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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mini E-kit

I've been working on a new set of e-drums using acoustic shells. I am still working on the final arrangement for a full posting of THAT project. But, as was the plan, I was going to use part of the full kit to use as a mini kit for the PS3 - for Rock Band and Guitar Hero use.

Key to this was finding out that GH4 came with one of those cheap, lame drum kits, but it had a MIDI input in the kit. I figured if the drum kit came with a MIDI option, then a MIDI converter without a crappy drum kit would soon be an option. Well, not an official one, but I did find one. IF you are on the Rock Band or Guitar Hero forums online, you'll probably find the 'Seth' MIDI-PS3 adapter. Well, I did, and I bought it. It took me about a year to finally hook it up to a drum kit, and play with it. Basically, my existing drum brain (to MIDI) is an Alesis IO. This then sends MIDI to the 'Sethbox' converter, which acts as a PS3 adapter and controller - it's got all the buttons like the square, triangle, circle, x and the Start PS3 and select buttons. Much like the drum kit controllers for the PS3 or any other console.

So, on to the details and pictures!

Implements of construction: hacksaw and file for cutting and de-burring the strut, nuts bolts, washers, wrenches, brackets, braces, extra strut, flannel shirt (cutting strut outside in the cold!) and an extra 1/4" patch cable. And, etc.

This is it. I built the rack out of my typical Super Strut rack construction. The feet are 18" long, and the verticals and horizontal are 24" long / tall. The 18" bass drum (12" deep) fits in great, with some room to spare. I am happy how this ended up fitting together.

Rotating around a bit, you can see the toms and snare. I opted to use my e-snare on a snare stand like a typical drum kit rather than 4 toms mounted on the rack. Mostly for space reasons. I'd need a longer bar for 4 toms, and I like the visual of the snare.
The white caps on the strut are to minimize clothing and carpet snags from the cut ends of the strut - even tho I filed it smooth, can't be too careful for Meran!

Another angle. One tom head is white - it's the first mesh head I got - I bought it. Making the black mesh heads myself is more cost effective. The green 'dots' are nerf gun bullets (2" in diameter) cut in half to serve as a dome for the piezo underneath. Roland vdrums uses foam 'cones' and cost about $8 each. I got 10 'domes' for $5.

Mostly straight-on front view. I plan on making the back resonant head out of mesh eventually. I cut a hole in the mylar head because I was getting some resonant sound from it when it was whole. I'm trying to cut down on as much acoustical noise as possible.

Higher angle

Top view, it's pretty compact!! I plan to add my electronic hi-hat and 2 e-cymbals for more realism during play. All it takes is duplication of Rock Band / GH colors on the game to map to the additional bits. Example: Blue is used in Rock band for a middle tom, a ride and the open hi-hat sound. I can map the second (middle) tom to blue, my electronic ride, and the open action on the hi-hat to all blue, so depending on the song I can use it more realistically. Or not, choice is yours on which blue to use.

Left side, nothing too new here

The "bits". The Alesis Trigger IO - translates the piezo signal from the pad to a MIDI signal. This normally goes to a laptop, keyboard or other MIDI sound source to produce the sounds.
The little white box is the 'Sethbox' or 'sethmeisterg's EDRUM-USB adapter" converter. Built by a RockBand forum member named Seth. This takes the MIDI signal from the IO and sends it to the PS3 for game play. It's also got the standard PS3 controller buttons - Square, Circle, Triangle, X, Select, Start and the PS3 button. It's also got flashing LEDs to indicate mode, setup and hit registers. I am impressed; it came with 20+ pages of documentation for some super customization and setup options.

Who's ready to give it a try?