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Monday, January 18, 2010

Mini E-Kit, part duex

To start, I want to make some notes about the edrum offerings coming to the market - a sort of a note for the future.

Last year, PinTech offered a new hi-hat that has the controller between the cymbals, and is the first electronic hi-hat that works with a drop clutch. This is still unique in the market today. Here's a secret you'll hear only here. I might be getting one for free.. more on that later.

The Alesis DM-10 was released standalone at Winter NAMM, which was this past weekend. I am personally looking forward to this module. It's a lot like my Trigger IO, but has onboard sounds. AND it will have the ability to have uploaded sounds replace the sounds on the module. Not just stock sounds that modules come with - specially crafted VST sounds built for the module. VST companies like FXPansion and ToonTrack will be offering kit downloads. These 'high resolution' kits will take up the entire module's memory, so instead of 100s of sounds, you will be limited to one kit, but with the VST's quality, it should be worth it. Of course, you can load other kits and reset the module back to factory defaults.

Pearl has a new edrum offering, the "E-ProLive". Interesting, they have a module called the REDbox. but put the picture of it right next to an Alesis DM-10.. hmmmmm. Maybe Pearl didn't spend a lot to develop a new module, which matches feature-to-feature of the DM-10.


Anyway, Pearl has some cool features, 'drop-in' pads so you can convert your edrum set to an acoustic kit with just a head change. These look great for someone just entering the e-drum market but who still wants the look of traditional acoustic drums. They may just have something here. Then again, they may price themselves out of the market... Whatever; good luck to them, tho.

Also, Yamaha is entering the foray again with new drum heads. The last few years have been rubber (Yamaha and even some Roland kits) vs. mesh (Roland's claim to fame). Well, Yamaha introduced a new drum head - silicone! Check out Yamaha's DTX900 series.

Now, onto the regularly scheduled program. After my last post, New Year's Day came and went. I assembled the e-kit for a day of Rock Band / Guitar Hero. I added the cymbals to it and mapped it out for playing.

After a few hours of playing, I like Guitar Hero drumming better than Rock Band drumming. Guitar Hero differs slightly with 2 dedicated cymbals (yellow and orange) and three drums. They do some interesting switch-overs with the two cymbals. Both are entertaining, so we all win. Whitten got the most seat time on the drums on New Year's.

So, same kit as before, but with 3 cymbals added. For RockBand, I mapped the hi-hat to yellow (if you've played, this is obvious), the ride to Blue, and the crash to green. It pretty much matches the drum mapping, but you get the choice of what to hit now, a cymbal or a tom. I even tried something clever: in the game, Rock Band maps an open hi-hat to blue, so I mapped the hi-hat to yellow on closed, and blue on open. Realistically, it works, but due to extra triggering, it really messes up the game play.

For Guitar Hero, I mapped two toms (left and center) to the same color, and both the ride and the crash to Orange, hi-hat still yellow, and right tom to the low tom color. This worked out okay; there was some difficulty getting back to the hi-hat for some cymbal crashes during a ride segment of the songs. But, it still worked out pretty well.

The kit was sitting kinda close to the PS3 - I've gotten a longer USB cable. I am hoping that doesn't introduce any lag. We'll find out the next time I play.