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  • Acoustic to digital drums and Alesis Trigger IO. Need help setting this up correctly.

    Hello world!

    I'm trying to convert my acoustic drumset to an electric and I plan to
    use Alesis Trigger IO for triggering. (I've posted this on the Alesis Trigger IO yahoo group too, but since there's very little activity over there right now I'm giving this forum a try too.)
    I know Gastric and some others around here have knownledge about the Alesis Trigger IO and how to set it up so I'm hoping for some help thinking this through

    I want advice for building a setup like this:
    Hihat: Single zone, variable
    Bassdrum (Kick): Single zone
    Snare: 2 or possibly 3 zone? Center, side and rim.
    Tom 1: Single zone
    Tom 2: Single zone
    Floor Tom: Single zone
    Crash: Single zone + Choke
    Ride: Dual zone, Bow + Bell (Maybe a choke here too if possible)

    I'm new to triggering with piezos and soldering stuff to all kinds of
    1/4 jack plugs etc etc, so when explaining please think of me as
    blindfolded monkey from outer space visiting earth to build a digital
    drumset

    Ok so here's what my brain is visualizing:
    Variable Hihat:
    Single piezo on "top" hat connected to input 3 on Alesis trigger.
    Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack. Then making a
    variable hihatpedal
    (http://www.derksens.com/E-drums/Beat...Controller.htm) and
    connect it to input 12...
    Don't know how this variable stuff funtions but, that might be a later
    issue

    Single zone Bassdrum (Kick):
    Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
    it to input 1.

    2 or 3 zone Snare:
    If I make a 2 zone Snare where zone one is center and zone two is rim
    I would solder centerpiezo to tip and sleeve and rimpiezo to ring and
    sleeve on a TRS 1/4 female jack an connect to input 2.
    3 zone Snare: Don't know how to solve this but maybe if I could make
    zone 1 center of snare, zone 2 edge of snare and zone 3
    rim...connecting zone one and two to input 2 as a dual piezo and zone
    3(Rim) to input 11? I'm guessing it will be hard to avoid crosstalk
    between zone one and two?

    Tom 1 single zone:
    Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
    it to input 5.

    Tom 2 single zone:
    Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
    it to input 6.

    Single zone floor tom:
    Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
    it to input 7.

    Single zone crash + Choke:
    Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
    it to input 8. Making a choke and connecting it to input 11. Don't
    know how chokes function...but i would guess that when it triggers it
    sends "note off" or something to input 8?

    Dual zone ride:
    Solder bowpiezo to tip and sleeve and bellpiezo to ring and sleeve on
    a TRS 1/4 female jack an connect to input 4 as a dual piezo.

    Well that's what's going on inside my head, but I might be way off on
    all of this.

    Thoughts, help...anything!!?

    Cheers

    Martin
    Last edited by rockdude; 01-27-09, 12:59 PM.

  • #2
    I have nearly finished my accustic to electronic conversion, just a few bits to sort out. The best way to start is to browse thoroughly through this forum and check out the masses of information about how other have done this.
    I started with an Alesis DM5 Pro kit, got a cheap accoustic kit of ebay and went form there. What you are proposing seems fine, not sure about the variable bit on the hit hat though. I was under the impression that the trigger on the Alesis was on and off, not variable.To be honest the best bit about doing this kind of conversion is that you can play around with differing ideas. Small things make such a difference in the design, the type of wood you use for the cross brace to support the piezo, how you mount the piezo, head material, desity of the foam and the shape of the trigger foam.Even the size of the doner drum can effect the sepration between rim and main triggering. I played around with a strange idea which helped with double triggering and dampening the head strike. I used wind surfing material, stuff they make sails out of, for my drum heads. They feel great but do make a noise when you strike them. To get around this I added some soft toy filling material, like cotton wool, inside the drum shell. It has an amazing effect in that it completely dampens any sound from the head strike but does not effect the head feel. It also removes any unwanted vibration allowing the piezo to work much better. One thing that did frustrate me when looking for foam to make the triggers is that when using Roland drum brains, the cone concept seems to work really well, but with the Alesis it was rubbish. In the end the foam I used was shapped more semi circle fashion, and had a much larger contact area with the drum head. I am not sure if the Alesis senses differently from other brains but this system works great for me. Anyway, I hope some of this helps. I will try and get some pics up soon of the final conversion.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Mee for the quick answer!
      I've browsed around this forum for a couple of days now and found lot's of good info. Interesting point about the Roland triggercone giving bad triggering on Alesis. I might try a combination of Beatniks advanced trigger construction and use the shape of the triggerfoam from his simple version. Looking forward to seeing your pictures!

      Anyone else? All input would help a lot since I'm so new to this


      Originally posted by mee View Post
      I have nearly finished my accustic to electronic conversion, just a few bits to sort out. The best way to start is to browse thoroughly through this forum and check out the masses of information about how other have done this.
      I started with an Alesis DM5 Pro kit, got a cheap accoustic kit of ebay and went form there. What you are proposing seems fine, not sure about the variable bit on the hit hat though. I was under the impression that the trigger on the Alesis was on and off, not variable.To be honest the best bit about doing this kind of conversion is that you can play around with differing ideas. Small things make such a difference in the design, the type of wood you use for the cross brace to support the piezo, how you mount the piezo, head material, desity of the foam and the shape of the trigger foam.Even the size of the doner drum can effect the sepration between rim and main triggering. I played around with a strange idea which helped with double triggering and dampening the head strike. I used wind surfing material, stuff they make sails out of, for my drum heads. They feel great but do make a noise when you strike them. To get around this I added some soft toy filling material, like cotton wool, inside the drum shell. It has an amazing effect in that it completely dampens any sound from the head strike but does not effect the head feel. It also removes any unwanted vibration allowing the piezo to work much better. One thing that did frustrate me when looking for foam to make the triggers is that when using Roland drum brains, the cone concept seems to work really well, but with the Alesis it was rubbish. In the end the foam I used was shapped more semi circle fashion, and had a much larger contact area with the drum head. I am not sure if the Alesis senses differently from other brains but this system works great for me. Anyway, I hope some of this helps. I will try and get some pics up soon of the final conversion.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rockdude View Post
        Hello world!

        2 or 3 zone Snare:
        If I make a 2 zone Snare where zone one is center and zone two is rim
        Yes. You can use like edrumonitor for the rim , and adjust velocity control. Like you hit soft and you get a sidestick and hard and a rimshot...

        http://www.edrummonitor.com/

        Originally posted by rockdude View Post

        Single zone crash + Choke:
        Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
        it to input 8. Making a choke and connecting it to input 11. Don't
        know how chokes function...but i would guess that when it triggers it
        sends "note off" or something to input 8?

        Yes it sends a note off.



        And for soldering here:

        http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=I_NU2r...eature=related




        Hope it helps a little bit...
        -------------------------

        [B][SIZE="4"][COLOR="Red"]Tino Drums[/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

        [url]http://vdrums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44552&page=2[/url]

        -------------------------

        Comment


        • #5
          First off, welcome aboard. Now, lets look at some of your ideas.

          Originally posted by rockdude View Post
          Single zone crash + Choke:
          Soldering piezo to tip and sleeve on a 1/4 female jack and connecting
          it to input 8. Making a choke and connecting it to input 11. Don't
          know how chokes function...but i would guess that when it triggers it
          sends "note off" or something to input 8?
          Each input on the Alesis trigger I/O is dual zone. Which means you can use a TRS plug for each input. Your piezo and switch can be wired to the same TRS for input #8 like this:


          Originally posted by rockdude View Post
          Dual zone ride:
          Solder bowpiezo to tip and sleeve and bellpiezo to ring and sleeve on
          a TRS 1/4 female jack an connect to input 4 as a dual piezo.
          This one is a little trickier because input 4 on the Alesis trigger I/O is an odd ball. That input is only able to handle a piezo/switch set-up. It uses the switch as a zone but, it has no dynamics (that because it is just a switch). If you do what you want, the trigger I/O won't see your second piezo. My suggestion would be, use a different input if you want a piezo/piezo ride cymbal.
          Attached Files
          alesisDRUMMER.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for your answers. I'll give Hellfires chokeswitch a try.

            I just came up with another question....Since all my toms will be single zone, wouldn't it be possible to wire two toms into one trs input on the Alesis Trigger I/O setting it to piezo/piezo? Connecting a TS from each tom to a TRS and into the Alesis Trigger I/O.
            If possible that would save me some inputs to use for a splash and maybe a cowbell.

            I also want to make sure everyone understood me correctly about the three zone snare. What I want is a sound for the snare being hit in the center of the head, and a sound for the head being hit closer to the rim, and a sound for the rim being hit. Let's say I have two piezos on my snare's mesh...one in the center and one closer to the rim. Is there no way to make the piezo that sends the loudest signal to only trigger a sound?
            Can edrummonitor or any other software allow a setup like that?
            Last edited by rockdude; 01-29-09, 09:03 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
              Thank you for your answers. I'll give Hellfires chokeswitch a try.
              No problem. I think you will like my switch concept. If you do a search around the DIY area you will find many people who have used my base concept and added to it. You will find 3 zone ride cymbals, 2 zone crash cymbals, and even 2 zone hi-hat cymbals. All from this one concept.

              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
              I just came up with another question....Since all my toms will be single zone, wouldn't it be possible to wire two toms into one trs input on the Alesis Trigger I/O setting it to piezo/piezo? Connecting a TS from each tom to a TRS and into the Alesis Trigger I/O.
              If possible that would save me some inputs to use for a splash and maybe a cowbell.
              You most certainly can. The Alesis trigger I/O see each zone as an independent trigger input, they just put two trigger per input to save on space.

              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
              I also want to make sure everyone understood me correctly about the three zone snare. What I want is a sound for the snare being hit in the center of the head, and a sound for the head being hit closer to the rim, and a sound for the rim being hit. Let's say I have two piezos on my snare's mesh...one in the center and one closer to the rim. Is there no way to make the piezo that sends the loudest signal to only trigger a sound?
              Can edrummonitor or any other software allow a setup like that?
              Are you wanting two independent sounds on the head or are you wanting position detection? Position detection is when the head sound changes a little as you go near the outer edge of the head to mimic an acoustic drum. The Alesis trigger I/O is not able to do position detection, but if you are wanting two independent zones it would be possible to build a trigger like that. I don't believe it has been done before on Vdrums, but I now have an idea on how one would make this happen on a mesh head drum. Give me a little time to make a picture of the idea.
              alesisDRUMMER.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hellfire View Post
                Are you wanting two independent sounds on the head or are you wanting position detection? Position detection is when the head sound changes a little as you go near the outer edge of the head to mimic an acoustic drum. The Alesis trigger I/O is not able to do position detection, but if you are wanting two independent zones it would be possible to build a trigger like that. I don't believe it has been done before on Vdrums, but I now have an idea on how one would make this happen on a mesh head drum. Give me a little time to make a picture of the idea.
                Since positional detection is not an option(might work when Etrigger is released) so far to my understanding I'm going for two independent sounds...the sound is pretty different when striking center compared to close to rim, so it will be more realistic than one sound for the entire head anyway...sort of Waiting patiently for your mesh head-solution

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                  Since positional detection is not an option(might work when Etrigger is released) so far to my understanding I'm going for two independent sounds...the sound is pretty different when striking center compared to close to rim, so it will be more realistic than one sound for the entire head anyway...sort of Waiting patiently for your mesh head-solution
                  You shouldn't have to wait for Etrigger because I just found out that edrummonitor supports dual piezo PS with an Alesis trigger I/O.
                  alesisDRUMMER.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                    Since positional detection is not an option(might work when Etrigger is released) so far to my understanding I'm going for two independent sounds...the sound is pretty different when striking center compared to close to rim, so it will be more realistic than one sound for the entire head anyway...sort of Waiting patiently for your mesh head-solution
                    me too;sounds interesting.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Since all my toms will be single zone, wouldn't it be possible to wire two toms into one trs input on the Alesis Trigger I/O setting it to piezo/piezo? Connecting a TS from each tom to a TRS and into the Alesis Trigger I/O.
                      If possible that would save me some inputs to use for a splash and maybe a cowbell.

                      You most certainly can. The Alesis trigger I/O see each zone as an independent trigger input, they just put two trigger per input to save on space.
                      Would this require a custom-made cable, or are there adapters that will work?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mikehrz View Post
                        Would this require a custom-made cable, or are there adapters that will work?
                        I guess this one would be good:

                        http://www.thomann.de/se/the_sssnake...nsertkabel.htm

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hellfire View Post
                          The Alesis trigger I/O is not able to do position detection, but if you are wanting two independent zones it would be possible to build a trigger like that. I don't believe it has been done before on Vdrums, but I now have an idea on how one would make this happen on a mesh head drum. Give me a little time to make a picture of the idea.
                          After some thought I came up with a 3 zone mesh head snare concept. Now this design will require two inputs from the Alesis trigger I/O to be used. Also, xtalk will need to be tweaked pretty good for this to work. You may not (or may I really don't know since I have not built it) be able to get the super soft ghost note to register. You also may need to "group" the head zones together. That way only one of the sounds will trigger. I'm just guessing here so take it for what its worth. I just don't have the money right now to try it. Here are the pics:




                          I believe this concept would work best with a 12 inch or larger drum. The size would help with zone separation. Be sure to keep some space between the foam ring zone and the drum shell, again this is to help with zone separation. I would also like to point out that this design use my new Mini reflection plate foam sensor that I developed just for the Alesis Trigger I/O. I have already started using this design and it works great! I only stated this to show that it does work. So, at least the center zone should work on the three zone snare. Here's a couple pics:


                          Attached Files
                          alesisDRUMMER.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow Hellfire! That's a very interesting approach and I think it can be a good one combined with the positional sensing-possibilities within edrummonitor. With some tweaking in Trigger I/O and edrummonitor, it can be a killer!

                            Some questions:

                            The piezos are positioned in between two foam blocks almost like a burger. The upper foam is for picking up the drumhit obviously ....is the lower foamblock there for avoiding unwanted triggering of the piezo?

                            What's the benefits of using hot glue instead of double sided tape?

                            "piezos wired in parallel"...How do I do that?

                            "Mini reflection plate foam sensor".....I'm very interested in this approach since I've read that the roland trigger cone-type isn't very effective with Alesis Trigger I/O. How thick are the foamblocks?...well all measures would be useful Is it easy to sqeeze the foamblock with your hand or is it very dense? I'm asking because there's a very big difference between a lot of foam-material...for example a sandingblock is much denser than a carwashing-sponge. What material are you using. I've seen people use foam from sandingblocks, childrens puzzle and so on. I'm thinking of trying a foam mat(typically used below a sleeping bag when camping).

                            Why so small piezos? Is it because the Trigger I/O is very sensitive?
                            I only have 20mm piezos. Do you think they will work properly with you design?

                            Sorry for all my questions, but I'm really interested in applying your design in my forthcoming diy-project.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                              Some questions:

                              The piezos are positioned in between two foam blocks almost like a burger. The upper foam is for picking up the drumhit obviously ....is the lower foamblock there for avoiding unwanted triggering of the piezo?
                              Yes, that is correct.

                              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                              What's the benefits of using hot glue instead of double sided tape?
                              By hot gluing the pieces together you create a homogenous assembly. This reduces unwanted vibration to the piezo. Tape (no matter how good it is) can't do this. I tried tape with the mini reflection plate, but sometime the foam would pull just a little and cause a false trigger. It was at this point that I realized that I didn't need the aluminum flashing because when the hot glue sets it becomes the hard plate in the middle. This trick can only be used on small surface areas, because once the surface gets to large the hot glue flexes too much. That is why I would still use the flashing on the ring, but you could try it with out the ring. With four piezo elements it may work just fine.
                              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                              "piezos wired in parallel"...How do I do that?
                              That is just a fancy way of saying, all ceramic parts on the piezo elements get wired together and all the brass parts gets wired together. Then you would have only two connections to you input jack, just as if you used one piezo element.

                              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                              "Mini reflection plate foam sensor".....I'm very interested in this approach since I've read that the roland trigger cone-type isn't very effective with Alesis Trigger I/O. How thick are the foamblocks?...well all measures would be useful Is it easy to sqeeze the foamblock with your hand or is it very dense? I'm asking because there's a very big difference between a lot of foam-material...for example a sandingblock is much denser than a carwashing-sponge. What material are you using. I've seen people use foam from sandingblocks, childrens puzzle and so on. I'm thinking of trying a foam mat(typically used below a sleeping bag when camping).
                              It took me some time to figure this one out. I experimented with many different types of foam before I decided on this one. I use a foam called Evlon. What makes the foam great is, you don't feel it when you hit right on top of it. Also, it is worth noting for all those who don't like mesh drum heads, that you can use this under a standard drum head and still get the response you have come to like from your acoustic drum heads. You can read about Evlon foam here:

                              http://www.foamonline.com/types.php?...ec6f391924dc66

                              This is also where I buy it.

                              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                              Why so small piezos? Is it because the Trigger I/O is very sensitive?
                              I only have 20mm piezos. Do you think they will work properly with you design?
                              The Alesis trigger I/O is very sensitive, so you will actually get better results using smaller piezo elements. Your 20mm elements are fine, but that would be the largest I would use with the Trigger I/O. You can use large elements on things that don't flex much, like the drum shell (use 27mm but no larger). A lot of people want to use 35mm piezo elements, and that is because Roland equipment works really well with this size, but not all drum modules are designed around the same specs. It is important to build to the module you are using or you are going to have problems. I can't tell you how many times I read that somebody is getting to hot of a signal with there trigger I/O and then they talk about adding in resistors (which will work). Then you find out that they built there DIY based on info for a trigger that is used on a Roland module. Had they just used a smaller element in the beginning, they wouldn't have had that problem. Use a smaller piezo element (like a 15-20mm) and you will get much better results.

                              Originally posted by rockdude View Post
                              Sorry for all my questions, but I'm really interested in applying your design in my forthcoming diy-project.
                              That's not a problem if you don't mind my long winded answers.
                              alesisDRUMMER.com

                              Comment

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