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Roland FD-8 Hi-Hat Conversion: The KISS method

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  • Roland FD-8 Hi-Hat Conversion: The KISS method

    So I've been reading about variable hi-hat switches and other hi-hat conversions, and couldn't help but think that they are awfully complicated to achieve such a simple concept: make the hi-hats open and close with the FD-8 on an acoustic hi-hat stand. So I replicated JMan's method of converting an FD-7 but with a few differences due to the design, of course.

    I'll post some pics soon, but I just wanted to document things here as I've seen a few people that were asking about it. Unfortunately, you have to cut away more of the stand than you would with an FD-7, but it still is possible and works and sounds great.

    In my example, I used a PDP 900 (maybe 800?) series hi-hat stand. The crappy cast iron foot pedal "stirrup" was easy to cut away--yes, you have to cut away the entire thing on this model. Also the FD-8 doesn't have convenient places to attach a wider stirrup to, so it's basically just a linkage between the chain and the pedal.

    Feel free to ask questions, or just check in later when I have photos posted.

  • #2
    Well, I posted the pics earlier, but then they vanished...UGH!

    Here are the photos (AGAIN).

    Front view of the pedal connection with stand.


    Close up of the FD-8 with bracket attached and chain bolted to bracket. Easy as pie!


    Completed acoustic conversion.


    Jack is located on the underside bell, so no project box, yippee!


    Gotta clean up the wires...nothing a little tape and flexible plastic conduit attached to the rod won't fix!

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    • #3
      That's neat and simple. I like

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      • #4
        Thanks! And it works well, too!

        I had to tweak the stand height a bit when I got set up so that the chain had enough tension in it for the pedal to go all the way "closed" otherwise when I step on the pedal it sounded more like a foot splash.

        I've found that the top hat triggers when using this method, too, which actually adds to the sound quality. I thought the foot pedal sounds for the hats were kinda weak, but now they're loads better!

        Now if I could only get the same satisfaction from my ride conversion! I get a "riveted" ride sound when striking even though I've played around with every possible setting to the same conclusion. Maybe it's a bad cord or worse, a bad jack on the module

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        • #5
          I like it too, been messing with a hi hat stand all week fitting sliders here and there, this seems smoother ...
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          • #6
            I don't get the sliders thing. Can someone 'splain (as Bernard Purdie likes to say) the theory behind using a slider? Does it replace the need for an FD-7/8 pedal? That would be my guess but it's never explained really well.

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            • #7
              Yeah, if u took the cable that comes out of the hi hat control socket on the module, stripped it back to the 2 bare wires (tip and sleeve) and touched them together the hi hat would choke, so if you connect the wires to either end of a slider or potentiometer as i believe they are called the circuit between the 2 wires closes gradually as u move the slider down and gives the open/half open/closed hi hat sound and even a chic ... (the fd8 pedal uses the same kind of thing but is a membrane strip)

              With the slider though the biggest prob is lining up how it's fixed to the hi hat, it has to be at the right spot on the slider location to match how the hats are open, with your idea it's all in the pedal so u just have to adjust the top hat and that's all. A good idea would be a commercially available hi hat stand that allows u 2 attach an fd8 with a clamp. So people can upgrade at an affordable cost.
              Last edited by daveybabes; 09-01-08, 01:54 PM.
              WEBSITE - http://www.diamondelectronicdrums.com/
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              • #8
                I'm not knocking this method. But I don't personally think it's easier, and is certainly more costly, than installing a $2 sliding POT to your acoustic hihat stand. Plus it irreversibly destroys the acoustic stand.

                Just for contrast here's three different ways to implement a slider on your acoustic stands:

                Beatnik box
                Hidden-inside-the-hats
                Visible slider on the pedal

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                • #9
                  I was trying option 3 with slider in a project box and a wrap around bracket, looked cool ... but on our sliders here the slider peckers are plastic not metal so it would wear and snap in time ... that was the easy part, my hair tearing came when trying to cram the Raper circuit on a small board

                  Wonder how Trapps do theirs ?
                  WEBSITE - http://www.diamondelectronicdrums.com/
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                  • #10
                    I was thinking the exact same design the other day as I have an FD-8 and should be starting my acoustic conversion soon.

                    Cheers for saving me having to visualise it! Have you come across and faults or problems with it triggering against the lower hat as the pedal closes or does it just sound natural?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dougie175 View Post
                      I was thinking the exact same design the other day as I have an FD-8 and should be starting my acoustic conversion soon.

                      Cheers for saving me having to visualise it! Have you come across and faults or problems with it triggering against the lower hat as the pedal closes or does it just sound natural?
                      Thanks! And thanks for crapping all over my idea, Gastric.

                      Yeah, I had to make a sacrifice, but I don't do analog electronics, so...

                      I did dismantle the setup because I was getting some funny triggering, probably due to trigger placement and/or the vinyl damper on the underside of each cymbal. I'm thinking about redoing it by placing only one trigger and cutting back the vinyl to reveal an inch or two of each cymbal so that it closes all the way. I think the vibration of the bottom cymbal on the top was also causing some extra triggering that was not desirable, so...I'm not sure what to do about that.

                      I went back to my trusty CY-8 for now, but will go back to the lab to experiment when I have more time!

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                      • #12
                        I'm following you around to bash every idea you post! I'm totally joking.

                        You didn't specify what kind of "funny triggering" you're talking about. But converting actual acoustic hats adds an extra layer of complexity to the overall equation.

                        * When the hats physically close it can cause a trigger due to them "hitting" each other which could result in enough of a "hit" to trigger
                        * If the hats physically close all the way but the pedal does not physically close all the way (reach CC4=0 or CC4=127 whatever the case may be for your drum module) then it's possible your synth won't mute the cymbal properly, or maybe not consistently. I've seen that with my own setup though I blame my Trigger IO instead of my hihat. In your particular setup that should be easy to negate as you can close your pedal all the way then simply set the clutch so the hats are physically closed so you have a visually matched setup, at least for the closed part.
                        * Combine the two and you could do something like try a foot splash and get weird stuff thanks to activating the piezos on the hard close, the synth mutes the triggering on close/chik, then when you open the hats back up it triggers on the piezo some more. Again, I've seen that with my particular setup.

                        All of what I just blathered is based on my personal experience which is with a Trigger IO with Superior 2, the combination of which lacks much control and tweaks regarding foot chik, and has no foot splash. So it's particularly problematic for the items mentioned above.

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                        • #13
                          I have done this conversion myself, havnt managed to dampen my hihat yet so havnt started using the cymbals.

                          However it has made the FD-8 very difficult to press down and keep down I have found with my pedal, think I need to grow some more muscles in my leg!

                          May end up disconnecting it personally and just having a single hat cymbal sat there with the pedal sepperate.

                          Its a shame I would love to have hats that open and close, however I cant see a way to make the pedal lighter to press down.

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                          • #14
                            Dougie, that's usually done on the stand itself. Look for some type of adjustment mechanism near the bottom of the stand where the chain connects to the plunger. Even entry-level stands usually have some sort of adjustment to the spring, though I once had a Groove Percussion stand that had 0 adjustability to the spring tension.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gastric View Post
                              Dougie, that's usually done on the stand itself. Look for some type of adjustment mechanism near the bottom of the stand where the chain connects to the plunger. Even entry-level stands usually have some sort of adjustment to the spring, though I once had a Groove Percussion stand that had 0 adjustability to the spring tension.
                              Cheers I have to be honest had band practice lastnight and it was the first time i used it so didnt have alot of time to adjust they just wanted me to keep playing!

                              Ill take a good look at it tonight, least I know even if it has 0 adjustment I can go out and get 1 with adjustment and give my left leg a bit of a brake.

                              Then its just finding a solution to these triggering problems alexvh_fan is having, would guess they all relate to the fact the top has touches the lower hat and causes false triggering and such.

                              Where theres a will theres a way.

                              Also have to get my head around midi mapping as well at the moment I only have hi-hat open or hi-hat closed! Its a bit annoying if I litrally let my foot up by 1mm by accident I suddernly get full open sounds and usually a click as I close them again! Its all fun and games though!

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