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  • Mac's A2E Project

    I'm midway into my Acoustic to Electronic project. Thought I'd start writing about the journey. I'll get you all up date on starting and to where I'm at. Then add comments and ideas as things evolve.

    About mid winter some months back, I ran across Mike Luke's video describing his conversion.

    It inspired me and I decided it was time to pull the trigger and go for a conversion. I did emulate a lot of things he did. I've not done video for years and not sure how to do it... so for now... words and pics.

    I'm 59. Got back into drumming 5 years ago after about a 30 years absence because life happened.I have been playing a Roland TD-15K for the last 4-5 years. Practice at home and various band projects (none ever took off though).

    My dad was a tinkerer and I guess I got those genes. I do what I can around the house and am familiar with tools, design, life hacks, etc. I've been patiently reading other folks take on conversions and I just thought it was the right time to do it. I guess I was really getting tired of sitting behind a 'Toy-ish' kit. In my head, I was making it work... and it did, but dayum, I was missing the size factor. I've been putting small bits of coin away for quite some time.

    I think the thing that pushed me in this new direction is when the TD-50 came out, priced at about 8K. That $$$ definitely shut that door. So I'm diving in the conversion route with about a 3K budget. As I've said, I'm beyond half way in acquiring all the 'stuff'.

    I've had my eyes on several shell packs for quite some time. After realizing the ones I wanted were pretty rare and pretty expensive, I turned my eyes to other ideas. I ran across a couple of sellers who had Mapex Black Forest Green shells. Green is not my first choice, but I looked at these long and hard. I realized I had not seen anything like these. I like unique and these hit the spot of unique and elegant. While I really wanted a 6 Piece Kit, due to availability, So I cobble together a 5 piece from 2 different sellers. Now I'll just keep an eye out for the allusive remaining floor tom. It does exist, but it's tide up in a sellers other shell pack currently.

    So here is my current kit. I have not decided if I'm going to keep it. Sell it whole or part it out. I'll have a better idea after the project.




    and here is the beginning of A2E project...



    I forgot to mention I did get a Tama Metalworks Snare 14 X 6.5 used from Reverb. Again, Mike inspired me. OK, OK, I copied him. Sue me.

    It's been, uh, gently used. No seriously, it's got some usage wear on it and I actually like that. The guy who sold it to me told me it was used in his bands last recording of EP project. I thought that was cool.

    Last edited by Macarina; 07-05-17, 12:16 PM.

  • #2
    Then I was in the right place at the right time with our very own Intruder selling me his TD-30. It's gorgeous. Thanks again Intruder.

    I'm churning now. Got the shells, the brains... what next?

    I spent a lot of time on individual nuances of the kit. I've decided to get R-Drum Triggers. Not only was Mike Luke convincing, but so are the R-Drum videos. I did try connecting with Diamond Drums. We talked briefly about what I was looking for, then they seemed to have ghosted me. I haven't heard anything back. That was just one more reason to go with R-Drums.
    Loved dealing with R-Drums. They were very accommodating.
    Because my shells don't have breather holes in the sides, I decided to go with R-Drums solution for a connection through the resonant head.



    I am also getting their RTB bar triggers for the 3 tom's and their new RTS V. 2 trigger for the snare. Got some rim silencers too. The pieces are being made as we speak. Should be getting them from Germany in a few weeks.

    Now I saw a ton of DIY bars and triggers, blah, blah, blah... I decided to spend the bucks on these. I really didn't want to screw around with homemade project with the innards.

    Someone, I believe, just offhandedly said, 'Just drop the triggers in and your ready to go'. I grinned, because the conversion looks intimidating. Researched a ton more and it just became less of wall and more of fun journey.

    simple things like this video, helps ease the unease...

    Last edited by Macarina; 04-16-17, 09:09 PM.

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    • #3
      I've decided on the Drum-Tec Mesh heads. I watched all kinds of video's on mesh head comparisons and eventually it lead me Drum-tec. I choose their 2-ply Design series over the Basic and the Real Feel.

      The conversation with Drum-Tec was excellent. They made things very easy. I got exactly as I wanted. I ordered and I believe it only took about a week to get them delivered from Germany. Very cordial yet business professional.

      I looked at a lot of the others. Z-ED, Billy Blast, Roland and even Hart, which I currently use on my Hart Dynamic Snare. I love it. But finding a set of them was problematic. Roland just damn expensive. Billy Blast website was seriously lame and I'm hearing Z-ED is just OK. Like I said, I do a lot of research and listen to pros and cons if they are available. Listen to 65Drums quite a bit. I believe Justin too is currently doing a conversion.

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      • #4
        The next challenge. Cables. If there is one thing that seems to be consistent is the bastard child known as Electronic Drum Cables. I have yet to see anything to speak highly about. Cable Management always seems to be an afterthought. They look fugly. So I'm on a quest to at least dress this portion up. So I have lots of ideas... just not sure how much or to what length I'm going to put effort into them. I'm going to customize them. I bought a bunch of 1/4" stereo cables from online MyCableMart.com. I also got some nice right angle Neutrik plug ends. Now I did this combo for a couple of reasons. First, finding straight end w/ right angle was a little difficult. They seemed to be more expensive then just straight to straight. But ultimately, I want to 'Sleeve' these cables. So that means cutting off one end anyway. I love the look of the woven cloth guitar cables. A retro look from years back when they covered all electrical cables. And I love Steampunk, which this kind of dips into. Nostalgia I guess. I've soldered a little in my past, but I plan to do these right. With the soldering. Nice plugs. Sleeving and Looming, I think I can get to a decent look for cable management.

        This guy inspired me to do my own cables. WTH... I can do it... right?



        Looming is simply organizing the cabling. My dad was into Hot Rods and all the guys would Loom their spark plug wires. Usually with some cool Spark Plug wire holder. So taking a note from this idea, I might apply it to the kits cables for organizing.



        There's a ton of ideas, choices and material for covering the cable. I just need to figure the specifics out and make some choices.



        And Instructables always pulls through with at the very least, inspiration.

        Once, I started looking into Sleeving, there is this, to me, underground, sub-genre of a speciality. Guys mostly doing computers, but there is some cool... geeky videos and websites for anything and everything cables. I just need to figure out how to bring Electronic Drums to the table with this stuff.

        More stuff as it materializes.


        Last edited by Macarina; 04-16-17, 09:38 PM.

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        • #5
          You have some great things in mind. It will be a fun project I am sure. I am interested to see what you come up with in the area of a cable loom and / or sleeving.
          At this point I am really missing my / your TD-30 LOL.
          I too have never been much of a green color type but, those shells look really cool!
          Keep us updated on your adventure.
          "It makes sense if you dont think about it"

          Mimic Pro, SPD-SX, 2-QSC K-10s, K-sub, Yamaha mixer, and a bunch of other expensive cool things!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Macarina View Post
            I've decided on the Drum-Tec Mesh heads. I watched all kinds of video's on mesh head comparisons and eventually it lead me Drum-tec. I choose their 2-ply Design series over the Basic and the Real Feel.
            Hi Macarina. I converted an acoustic kit using Remo Silent Strokes for the batters and Pearl Muffs for the resos and I've been really happy with them. Low cost and very quiet. I just wanted to share this with you in the event you're still researching. Good luck with the conversion. A real kit is so much more fun to play.
            Rudy
            Living in a Manhattan apartment, playing/practicing on an A2E Sonor Martini kit with DIY triggers, TD-11, DIY Griffin 14"x5.5", VH-11/DW3K, Kick/DW3K, Superior Drummer 2, Mac OS X, Audio-Technica ATH-M40x, Zildjian Greendip Maple 7As, Roland Noise Eaters, currently DIYing eBay IRIN Cymbals.

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            • #7
              Hi Macarina. I converted an acoustic kit using Remo Silent Strokes for the batters and Pearl Muffs for the resos and I've been really happy with them. Low cost and very quiet. I just wanted to share this with you in the event you're still researching. Good luck with the conversion. A real kit is so much more fun to play.
              Rudy
              Thanks Rudy. I did go ahead with the Drum-Tec heads, and really happy thus far. I don't have triggers under them yet, so that remains to be seen how that all works out.

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              • #8
                As I mentioned I ordered the cables. Took them out. Checked them out for quality, cable size etc. While looking at them and envisioning them around my kit, the cables were tightly folded. And when I unfold them, they maintain some pretty serious bending. This would translate into my problems with sleeving and the general look overall. So the challenge here is to straighten out the cables. I read a variety of solutions. Only one kind made sense to me. Due to 'memory' in the cables, straightening them out permanently might be an issue. So a solution I read was to hang them out with some minor weights on a hot sunny day. The whole day. So I did. It was warm day, not hot, but it was sunny and I hung them out for about 7 hours. They turned out OK. Not what I was hoping for like right out of the factory. But I think they are to a point to be workable.

                Out of the package...



                Unwrapped with some serious kinks...





                Some serious engineering... Impressing the neighbor folk... I must look like an idiot.



                and the results...



                Meh... it's OK...
                I rigged a large 24" arc in the garage so they can just hang somewhat normally for a few weeks, to get a little more of the kinks out. If not... I think I can work with them.
                Last edited by Macarina; 07-05-17, 12:49 PM.

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                • #9
                  Here I'm just getting design ideas for installing a KD-9 in the Kick.

                  Getting a feel for the cross brace. The KD-9 support base and contact points in the shell.

                  This is just setting the KD-9 in the shell. I didn't adjust the bracket or pivot angle at all.




                  Last edited by Macarina; 07-05-17, 12:53 PM.

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                  • #10


                    So I've been incredibly busy, with little time dedicated to work on the more challenging parts like the kick and cables.

                    So I've been wrapping up the rest of the purchases. Just shipped the Gibraltar SC-450C rack. The VH-12 Hi-Hat. A short cymbal boom for a ride. Some clamps. A Mapex Falcon Hi-Hat Stand. Still waiting on the Tom L-Rods. I did make the mistake of thinking the round 10 mm rod would work... but it doesn't. So re-ordered the right Hex rod parts.

                    Also waiting on the R-Drum triggers, resonant heads and rubber rims.

                    A pic of the anxiously waiting to be built conversion...

                    Last edited by Macarina; 07-05-17, 12:54 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Well, I started to put it all together, in anticipation of waiting for the triggers.. which I was just notified... They Shipped!!!!

                      It's been so long since I've sat behind an acoustic kit. It probably took me a couple of hours up and down and around the kit to get the placement of everything. So a pic below of just the kit in a together condition... with nothing hooked up. It didn't take long to realize, I over ordered. I bought a clamp to many. And one too many of an electronic stand. One of these is way bigger than I need. I'll just figure something out for my mixer.



                      Now I need to start working on the kick setup. This should be interesting.
                      Last edited by Macarina; 07-05-17, 12:56 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Very nice, you are almost halfway there. Then comes the GAS
                        You need more cowbell!
                        "It makes sense if you dont think about it"

                        Mimic Pro, SPD-SX, 2-QSC K-10s, K-sub, Yamaha mixer, and a bunch of other expensive cool things!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Your kit is looking nice!! Love the fiberskyn on the bass and green looks great for shell color.

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                          • #14
                            Awesome! You ever think of slapping a trigger and mesh head on your kick?
                            TD50 Digital Pack, TD30 and TD9 Modules, custom made pads, Gen16 crashes, and hats plus a few other things that I'm not sure what to do with or why they're still in my kit. Bands: Espada [URL]http://www.musicaespada.com/[/URL] and JamCo [URL]https://www.facebook.com/JamcoEntertainment[/URL], [url]https://www.jamcoband.com/[/url]

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BWaj View Post
                              Awesome! You ever think of slapping a trigger and mesh head on your kick?
                              I have. It's still not out of the equation. I'm gonna give the KD-9 a try and see how that goes. If it doesn't perform like I'd like, the trigger/mesh will be my next move.

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