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My RotoToms - to E or not to E?

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  • My RotoToms - to E or not to E?

    With my recent purchase of a set of 6, 8 and 10 inch RotoToms, I find myself pondering the question, 'To E them or to leave them A'.

    Points I am pondering -
    * I love the sound of RotoToms and have some nice studio condensers to record them.
    * I live on a busy road with significant traffic noise so recording acoustic instruments is only practical at night.
    * The RotoToms are obviously loud and they don't 'blend in' with the rest of my v drums as I am playing (not a problem if I am recording though).
    * I'm getting a TD20 module within the next few weeks and will be using all of the outputs meaning I'll need another 2 channel A/D converter for my Protools rig to record the Roto's acoustically on their own stereo track (more cost).
    * The TD20 will have enough trigger inputs to run my Roto's as triggers and I have already built a controller for adjusting the pitch of the Roto's as E triggers.
    * If I do the E conversion, obviously I'll lose the A sound of my Roto's as a recording option but I'll have more triggers.
    * Does anyone make a 6 inch mesh head (my smallest Roto is a 6 inch)?
    * DIY is no problem for me. I am qualified in electronics and have designed and built things FAR more complex than E triggers.
    * I'll be doing my E conversion in a non destructive way so I could always revert back to A if I want later.

    What would you guys do? Keep the Roto's acoustic or go for the E conversion?

  • #2
    although not as pretty as a cone conversion if your thinking of electrofying those paper cups (roto toms) i would slap some ddrum pro triggers on them. they wont twang like before but they will at least throw noise and trigger a td-12 just fine. kinda middle of the road solution to a full e-conversion.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by foofoo View Post
      although not as pretty as a cone conversion if your thinking of electrofying those paper cups (roto toms) i would slap some ddrum pro triggers on them. they wont twang like before but they will at least throw noise and trigger a td-12 just fine. kinda middle of the road solution to a full e-conversion.
      Hmmm... certainly interesting food for thought Foofoo.
      That would certainly make them easy to use acoustically if I wanted to on a given project.

      A couple of things though, I'd still have the acoustic noise level issue with them when using them as triggers which is a tad off-putting when the rest of my kit is coming from a different place (my monitor speakers). Also, when I'm using sounds from the module, I really don't want to hear an acoustic sound that isn't a part of the module sound.

      I spent some time last night tweaking the RotoKit in my TD12 and, while not sounding exactly like my Roto's, I did manage to get the 12's Roto's sounding MUCH closer to the real thing.
      I have also come to the conclusion that instead of trading my TD12 in on the purchase of my TD20, I'd really like to keep the 12 and add the 20 to it.... and I think I've devised a way to fund it That will give me plenty more COSM instruments and makes the idea of doing a full E conversion on my Roto's that much more appealing.

      I think all this pondering has answered my question and it looks like I'm going to go for the full E conversion. The only question I still have to find an answer for is the issue of finding or making a six inch mesh head for my smallest Roto.

      Does anyone know if decent, durable six inch mesh heads are manufactured by anyone? If not, I might have to look at either using something like SuperScreen or PetScreen which I have read about in other posts here, or modify an 8 inch off the shelf mesh head.

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      • #4
        Search Jman's posts using 'octobans' as a keyword...I believe those were six inch. Hart may make one...
        chris :D

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        • #5
          Hi SP. If you are not using the rototoms for live performance, but mainly for recording why bother converting them? ... why not just use standard pads?
          I can understand why many people want to convert a-drums so that they have something that looks and fees like the "real thing". In many cases these people are using the kit live and they want to maintain the illusion of using a real kit because of the poor perception of e-drums by some (narrow minded) people. Others are used to playing a-drums and don't want to change the physical set up and feel that they are used to. But I don't think (correct me if I am wrong) you are really in either of those categories.... so I don't see why you need to convert the rototoms and then simulate them when you could use any propriety pad for this purpose - the skill, as you are finding, is in modeling the sound of the rotos ???

          Comment


          • #6
            How about getting a set of these:
            http://www.wwbw.com/Product/Product....SO6%20Muffling
            I'm sure you could devise a way to either attach or put a piezo underneath. I know it wont feel like a real drumhead but you use PD8's so your used to the pad feel and you would be able to record at anytime with the pad on and when you want the real Roto sound just pull them off.
            My Electronics Gear:
            Roland Rack
            Modules-TD5, TD12:)
            Drums- 1 PD-120, 3 PD-100's,Pacific Chameleon Kit with mesh heads and homemade crossbar internal triggers
            Pads-1 PD9,4 PD8's,KD7 Kick,KD8 Kick
            Cymbals- 2 CY-14's, 1 CY-15, 1 CY-5, 2 CY6's, Pintech 10"&16"
            VST - EZ Drummer, Superior Drummer

            Comment


            • #7
              Guys, this is fantastic stuff
              Your input and suggestions is giving me much food for thought and is very much appreciated

              Originally posted by bogiesbad View Post
              Search Jman's posts using 'octobans' as a keyword...I believe those were six inch. Hart may make one...
              Thanks Chris
              I just did your suggested search and found JMan's post about his Pintech heads HERE.
              I have just sent them an email asking if they still have the 6's in stock.
              Originally posted by Swaledale View Post
              Hi SP. If you are not using the rototoms for live performance, but mainly for recording why bother converting them? ... why not just use standard pads?
              I can understand why many people want to convert a-drums so that they have something that looks and fees like the "real thing". In many cases these people are using the kit live and they want to maintain the illusion of using a real kit because of the poor perception of e-drums by some (narrow minded) people. Others are used to playing a-drums and don't want to change the physical set up and feel that they are used to. But I don't think (correct me if I am wrong) you are really in either of those categories.... so I don't see why you need to convert the rototoms and then simulate them when you could use any propriety pad for this purpose - the skill, as you are finding, is in modeling the sound of the rotos ???
              Actually, the more I am playing, the more I am liking the feel of mesh heads and real A drums. Also, I will be using my kit in both live performance (I have some big plans for SuperPuss live shows) and in video clips projected on a screen at live performances so the appearance is important to me too.
              I have a set of 8 x 8 inch toms on order that I'll be cutting in half (to make eight 8 x 4 inch single head toms) and doing an E conversion on. After that, the PD8's will be assigned to percussion duties.
              Originally posted by laystay View Post
              How about getting a set of these:
              http://www.wwbw.com/Product/Product....SO6%20Muffling
              I'm sure you could devise a way to either attach or put a piezo underneath. I know it wont feel like a real drumhead but you use PD8's so your used to the pad feel and you would be able to record at anytime with the pad on and when you want the real Roto sound just pull them off.
              That sounds like a great idea Laystay. If the Pintech six inch heads are no longer available, I'll look into your idea as a very good plan 'B'. At present though, I am into the idea of going fully mesh on all my main drums

              Comment


              • #8
                I just found THESE and THESE six inch mesh heads. Has anyone used either of these? They are cheap but hopefully durable enough.
                If the Pintech's are available and are going to be more durable though, I'd rather spend the extra money for them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here's a jig I made to cut toms without removing hardware...if you don't plan to re-wrap/finish it will save you some time.
                  chris :D

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                  • #10
                    That's a great set-up Chris
                    I don't have access to a circular saw though so I'll be doing it by hand, very carefully. I am planning on getting some custom wraps made for these and for my snare (with some sort of variation on my SuperPuss logo) so I don't mind a little extra work.
                    If I had access to a circular saw though, I'd definitely be using your method.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just a quick update on my decisions with the mesh heads.....

                      The Pintech 6" heads are available in Australia and I have ordered them from my local drum shop. They are expensive and for a 6, 8 and 10 inch head, it's going to cost me around $135 but at least they are a known quality and they will look cool on my Roto's (keeps that see through appearance).
                      Besides, if I go the DIY route with making my own mesh heads, it could end up costing me that much or more with the experimentation and even then, I may end up with an inferior result so I'm more than happy to just put down the cash for the Pintechs.

                      For my other A to E toms, I have decided to go with the Roland 8's. I got a really good deal on eight of them (for my new toms) for $180 total ($22.50 each as opposed to the Aussie retail of $49 each!!). They are about three weeks away but that's no biggie. Gives me time to get some custom skins done with my SuperPuss logo for the toms.

                      I filmed a video clip messing about in my cage last night so I'll be editing that and uploading it later today. I'm doing plenty on my E Roto's in this clip

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi SP,

                        - I had the same Rotos nearly 30 years ago (....yike!) and really liked the round (with evans oilskins) sound and ringy sound (with black dots) they produced + the tremendous stick rebound they offered - I'm afraid you will lose that by converting them to e-
                        - ....if I could justify the noise I'd go for full set from 8 - 18" (if you ever get a chance have a look at a 70's band called Camel - Andy Ward played a full roto kit on a concert for "the old grey whistle test" programme - lots of dymanics and a fantastic song in 5/4 called Lunar Sea)

                        What are the 8x8 toms you are referring to? They sound like a really good buy. A jigsaw will probably do a neater job than a circular saw and will only set you back about $100 including the fine tooth blade(s)....and the time you save will let you write more stuff for the forum

                        Keep up the posts

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the tip on Camel, Hurcules. I'll definitely look them up
                          The acoustic sound of my Roto's with a decent pair of studio condensers is a good thing but the versatility of having them as triggers is slightly more appealing to me, hence my conversion. The stick rebound is not very good at the moment with my rubber stick on's over the acoustic heads but I'll get a large amount of that back when my Pintech heads arrive so I am happy

                          The 8 x 8 toms are cheapies from Peace and are only $80 each new. Since I am not interested in their acoustic properties, they will be perfect for conversion. They look good and are well built and those are the only factors that matter for use as triggers

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I did some rototoms... dead easy using the same 2mm clear vinyl used for cymbal damping... see www.vdrums.co.uk
                            The Stealth V-Monster - www.vdrums.co.uk
                            In charge of fuelling flame wars, comedy relief, inaccurate time lines, and just general ****ing around.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by computerman View Post
                              I did some rototoms... dead easy using the same 2mm clear vinyl used for cymbal damping... see www.vdrums.co.uk
                              You've got my attention now Computerman and I have a few questions for you.
                              * How loud acoustically are your Roto's and how well damped are the resonances?
                              * Being an Aussie, I have no idea what that clear material is or where to get it. Do you have any pointers?
                              * By the looks of your triggers, it would appear you have the piezos mounted to the skins. It looks like you are not using foam cones for those either. Could you share some of your methods with me? PM me if you'd prefer. I'm more than happy to credit you with the design if I utilise your methods.
                              * How did you mount the vinyl to the shells? Did you use the rims from old heads?

                              Your assistance here would be HUGELY appreciated and will not only save me a pile of cash for Pintech heads but will look waaaay cooler

                              Comment

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