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VAD and Positional Sensing

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  • VAD and Positional Sensing

    Precursor: This is somewhat an offshoot of my thread on VAD cakepans. However, this question is a different topic with broader application, so here it is in its own thread.

    Does anyone know if VAD tom pads support positional sensing? I'm talking about the following pads:

    Short-stack shells: PDA-100L, PDA-120L, and PDA-120S

    Full-size shells: PDA-100, PDA-120, and PDA-140F

    Roland's marketing material and product documentation don't talk about this. From what I've discerned, the answer is "no". In the trigger setup errata (found online, not in the product manuals), with the exception of TD-27 that has VAD trigger presets, VAD tom pads are configured as PDX-8 on every other module (TD-50, TD-30, TD-25, TD-17, TD-15, TD-12, TD-11, TD-9 et al). PDX-8 is a side-mounted trigger pad with no positional sensing. Thus, I conclude VAD tom pads do not support positional sensing.

    If someone has experience with this and can confirm or deny, I'd appreciate the feedback!
    Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-13-20, 07:08 PM.

  • #2
    They do not have PS.
    Audiofront eDrumIn. Triggering mainly SD3.

    Yamaha Cymbals, drum-tec HiHat Ctl, DW PDP Drumset with Jobeky Triggers and drumtec Pro Snare. Zoom UAC-2 Interface.

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    • #3
      holzi2000 wrote:
      They do not have PS.
      That's pretty much what my own analysis told me. So, it's one step forward given there are no hot spots (an important step for sure) yet a step backward (too) due to foregoing positional sensing. Hmm. I was all set to contact Roland to inquire about installing VAD cakepan trigger arrays into my PD-108 and PD-128 pads. Now, I'm not so sure. Because if I do the upgrade, I end up with modified pads that no longer perform to spec, losing positional sensing. I'm feeling hypocritical, because I've often said I would swap positional sensing for proper dynamic response, however, a huge reason I bought into the V-Drums platform is positional sensing. I've been hoping to see improvements in positional sensing on toms, not a downgrade.

      Thanks for the information. Where does this come from? Did you read it somewhere? Are you a VAD owner? Thanks again for your help. :-)
      Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-18-20, 07:40 PM.

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      • #4
        I mean, it's a big step forward with a minor/negligible step backwards. I'm guessing most people don't care or didn't even know they had PS on their toms. The only reason I'd care for PS on toms is that I would know when I'm not hitting the right spot.
        Also, I just noticed you're talking about PS on 10" and 12" toms? That's even more niche.
        Last edited by Excessium; 08-18-20, 11:16 AM.

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        • #5
          Excessium,

          I mean, it's a big step forward with a minor / negligible step backwards. I'm guessing most people don't care or didn't even know they had PS on their toms.
          I certainly knew the module tracks position across the entire head of toms, at least it does in the TD-30. For the most part though, while the triggering engine tracks head position for snare, toms, the aux inputs, and the bow side of the ride input, in regard to toms, the sound engine only provides positional response for strokes that involve rim strikes. (You must strike the rim, or head and rim simultaneously to get varied sounds in response to position on the toms.) For this reason, I play many more rim shots on my e-drum toms than I do on acoustic toms. E-drums already lack many kinds of expressiveness and consequently this step backward is very disappointing. It's the wrong direction, even though it fixes a critical problem with dynamics.

          The only reason I'd care for PS on toms is that I would know when I'm not hitting the right spot.
          This notion is foreign to me. Drummers play all over any given drum, to affect the lilt, texture, and overall expressiveness of the groove, as required by the music. To me, there is no singular, right spot to play.

          Also, I just noticed you're talking about PS on 10" and 12" toms? That's even more niche.
          This is another notion I find foreign. Smaller diameter drums aren't excused from expressiveness. An instrument that prevents drummers from expressing what the music needs isn't much of an instrument. I certainly feel this way and I'd be surprised if my music teachers and drumming peers feel differently.
          Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-18-20, 07:46 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post

            This is another notion I find foreign. Smaller diameter drums aren't excused from expressiveness. .

            Oh, the poor beleaguered ARTISTE.
            https://www.instagram.com/bpaluzzi/

            ad5 // SPD-SX // DTXMulti12 // drumbrute // DFAM

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            • #7
              TangTheHump wrote:
              This is another notion I find foreign. Smaller diameter drums aren't excused from expressiveness.

              bpaluzzi wrote:
              Oh, the poor beleaguered ARTISTE.
              This comment seems to imply my expectations are unreasonable or elitist.

              A little background. Although I was not brought up in a musical family, none-the-less, there was music all around me, and at an early age I became interested in how music works, different musical styles, and different cultures. I went on to study music at college / university and have played professionally and semi-professionally. Music is also one of my fondest hobbies, but that said I do not treat music as a hobbyist. Rather, I approach music as a professional, even when playing for fun.

              Comments the ilk of "Only specialized styles of music require more than a few dynamic levels.", I see this kind of feedback here quite frequently. And frankly, this causes me to scratch my head in bewilderment and disbelief. Nobody I've studied with (not teachers, students, semi-professionals, or full-time professionals) would get behind the idea that dynamics and expressive nuances do not matter. Myself, when teaching basic rock patterns, I underline the importance of consistency, but that does not mean playing at only a few dynamic levels. As a drummer, you may be required to play rock gigs at triple pianissimo, triple forte, and many variations in between, so it is useful to have flexibility to play at any dynamic level, which in turn helps keep you working.

              Getting back to the subject that sparked this aside, I find the notion that small drums don't require positional sensing (i.e. greater expressive potential) utterly nonsensical. 10 and 12 inch toms are mainstream acoustic sizes, and they are even more common in the e-drum world where sometimes entire kits are composed of these sizes. So if these sizes are restricted expressively, chances are a good portion of the kit is restricted expressively, and that limits your ability to play optimally for the music. All drums, regardless of size, benefit from greater expressive potential.

              At any rate, I'll step down from my podium of nonplussed elitism and STFU. :-)

              Edited to add: After reading bpaluzzi's comments, it seems my use of the phrase "expressive nuances", in relation to positional sensing, makes it seem my argument is toms cannot be played expressively / musically without positional sensing. That's not my stance and I realize there are a great many ways to introduce expressiveness in e-drums. Therefore, I changed the phrase to "greater expressive potential", which I believe positional sensing provides.
              Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-19-20, 03:16 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post

                This comment seems to imply my expectations are unreasonable or elitist.

                A little background. Although I was not brought up in a musical family, none-the-less, there was music all around me, and at an early age I became interested in how music works, different musical styles, and different cultures. I went on to study music at college / university and have played professionally and semi-professionally. Music is also one of my fondest hobbies, but that said I do not treat music as a hobbyist. Rather, I approach music as a professional, even when playing for fun.

                Comments the ilk of "Only specialized styles of music require more than a few dynamic levels.", I see this kind of feedback here quite frequently. And frankly, I scratch my head in bewilderment and disbelief. Nobody I've studied with (not teachers, students, semi-professionals, or full-time professionals) would get behind the idea that dynamics and expressive nuances do not matter. Myself, when teaching basic rock patterns, I underline the importance of consistency, but that does not mean playing at only a few dynamic levels. As a drummer, you may be required to play rock gigs at triple pianissimo, triple forte, and many variations in between, so it is useful to have this flexibility, which in turn helps keep you working.

                Getting back to the subject at hand, I find the notion that small drums don't require positional sensing (i.e. expressive nuances) utterly nonsensical. For starters, 10 and 12 inch toms are mainstream acoustic sizes, and they are even more common in the e-drum world where sometimes entire kits are composed of these sizes. So if these sizes don't have expressive nuances, chances are a good portion of the kit is limited this way, and that restricts your ability to interpret and play optimally for the music. All drums, regardless of size, benefit from expressive nuances.

                At any rate, I'll step down from my podium of nonplussed elitism and STFU. :-)
                Appreciate your response (honestly). Agree entirely about dynamics, both from the player and equipment. Positional sensing doesn't even begin to come into the equation for me, though.
                To equate positional sensing as equivalent to "expressive nuances" implies that it's the only way to achieve such nuance, and frankly, I couldn't find that to be farther from the truth. Yes, you'll occasionally (VERY occasionally) see players play their toms off center. But it's not a standard technique, and most instructors will tell you to consistently hit dead center on your toms.

                Positional sensing on toms is a niche requirement for a niche instrument, and implying that if you don't have it, you couldn't POSSIBLY play expressively or musically gets my eyes rolling right out of my head, off the stage, and onto the floor. It's like saying "you can't insert a piece of surgical tubing into the side of a set of VDrums and change the pitch, how could I possible play expressively?". Yes, there are some acoustic players that do that. No, it's not anywhere NEAR a standard technique, and it's not required to make an expressive, musical instrument.
                https://www.instagram.com/bpaluzzi/

                ad5 // SPD-SX // DTXMulti12 // drumbrute // DFAM

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bpaluzzi View Post

                  Appreciate your response (honestly). Agree entirely about dynamics, both from the player and equipment. Positional sensing doesn't even begin to come into the equation for me, though.
                  To equate positional sensing as equivalent to "expressive nuances" implies that it's the only way to achieve such nuance, and frankly, I couldn't find that to be farther from the truth. Yes, you'll occasionally (VERY occasionally) see players play their toms off center. But it's not a standard technique, and most instructors will tell you to consistently hit dead center on your toms.

                  Positional sensing on toms is a niche requirement for a niche instrument, and implying that if you don't have it, you couldn't POSSIBLY play expressively or musically gets my eyes rolling right out of my head, off the stage, and onto the floor. It's like saying "you can't insert a piece of surgical tubing into the side of a set of VDrums and change the pitch, how could I possible play expressively?". Yes, there are some acoustic players that do that. No, it's not anywhere NEAR a standard technique, and it's not required to make an expressive, musical instrument.
                  What next, you also doubt that positional sensing on the kick drum is useful ?

                  My playing style and skill level does not require Positional Sensing on Toms, would not really miss it on the snare, either.
                  Audiofront eDrumIn. Triggering mainly SD3.

                  Yamaha Cymbals, drum-tec HiHat Ctl, DW PDP Drumset with Jobeky Triggers and drumtec Pro Snare. Zoom UAC-2 Interface.

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                  • #10
                    i have lower expectations from my edrums than you tang, and a fair bit less musical ability. but i don’t disagree with anything you say. your expectations are not unreasonable nor elitist and like you i don’t understand why they would be seen that way
                    Roland TD9 (KD8, FD9), Yamaha DTX Multi12 (KT10, HH65, TP100), Zendrum EXP (Stompblock) || Scarlett 6i6 > imac; 2i4 >macbook || Superior Drummer 3, Logic || Yamaha HS7s, Yamaha DBR10, ATH-M30x || DIY compact a-kit, Mapex Meridian, Zildjian Ks, some As and Sabians and ... || youtube

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                    • #11
                      bpaluzzi,

                      I appreciate the conversation (too) and am learning new things from it. One thing I relearn continuously is context affects the decisions musicians make. No one decision and/or tool fits all circumstances.

                      I play toms dead center and off center equally frequently. There are many reasons for this, but three key ones are: (1) playing off center thins the sound, which helps prevent overpowering acoustic musicians and low volume situations; (2) I play quite a bit of jazz, folk, and world music, and often there is a need to emulate percussion with toms (timbale, surdo, pandeiro, bodhran, frame drums in general, etc.); and (3) when playing with brushes, striking dead center chokes toms, so I tend to play off center much of the time when using brushes on toms. Note, I'm talking about non-sweeping brush strokes. With sweeping strokes, the entire head of snare and toms becomes equally fair game again.

                      Myself, I was never taught to play toms dead center as preferred, standard technique. Rather, dead center is just one of many approaches I learned and use where appropriate. Grace notes and ghost notes, flams, and doubles and triples are all examples where I'm more likely to play one or both hands off center on toms. With my own students, I teach the same approach, because toms, just like snare drums, provide a myriad textural options when played in different locations on their heads. On e-drums, even without positional sensing, playing in different locations changes the texture and lilt of the groove, because it causes different samples to be chosen within the velocity map (and in the case of Roland V-Drums sound engines, different sound components and pre and post processing to be applied).

                      Sorry for the eye-rolling inference that without positional sensing, one cannot play the toms expressively or musically. Typing in haste steered my logic astray. I used the phrase "expressive nuances" when what I mean is "greater expressive potential". It's my belief that positional sensing creates potential for greater expressiveness and this includes toms. However, positional sensing is not the only way to create expressive nuances on e-drums. Thanks for pointing this out and for causing me to re-read and correct my post.

                      Just to skewer my initial, unintended argument further, I'll bring up the Hammond organ. The keybed is entirely intensive to velocity and after-touch, and consequently there is no way to control dynamics and texture from the keyboard. This hasn't stopped skillful players from using volume pedals, drawbars, percussion buttons, the Leslie speed controls, and sliding and percussive playing techniques to create incredibly expressive, nuanced, musical vocabularies.
                      Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-19-20, 07:36 PM.

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                      • #12
                        The position sensing is for very limited genre of music aka "jazz" "latin" and "soloing" most people don't even use it even when it's available on their ekit when they play, even on acoustic drum, the best sound are the perimeter of centre area for consistency live\recording for most music style with few exception "jazz" "latin" when need some specific thing at some event, but even this, position sensing from edrum does not translate the real expression of acoustic with all variation, and require perfect mesh tension and calibration.

                        Edrum doesn't even catch any Z angle playing from acoustic, doesn't even simulate your real hit and your sound, you are playing samples from another drummer with full static hit edited, it's not your sound, not your playing expression and edrum auto correct all mistake hit\expression from acoustic drum, this far from acoustic drum world, you can't learn drum from edrum when you start, this is totally different experience. We are still seeing horrible memory and 100 instrument\ samples slot max importation like gewa hype with old dated triggering\ hotspot at very expensive price.
                        Last edited by Chris K; 08-19-20, 05:31 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Jackodrum,

                          My comments on positional sensing came across in an unintended way and with unintended hubris. My intent was to say I believe positional sensing provides greater expressive potential for e-drums. I've updated my post accordingly. I approach music with a bent toward perfecting my performance, to play the music as best I can, in as professional a way as I can. That's quite a different viewpoint from someone playing at home, just for fun. I suspect this is what creates differences in expectations of our instruments. An example. Someone playing at home, just for fun, might take the stance "Hot spots are noticeable, but they are not that big a deal." My stance is quite different. Hot spots have, on occasion, hampered my live performances, causing me to risk losing work. Thus, my tolerance for hot spots is nil. So basically, on e-drums, for both drums and cymbals, I want perfect triggering with no hot spots and I want positional sensing. I don't think that's too much to ask. :-)
                          Last edited by TangTheHump; 08-19-20, 05:32 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post

                            I play toms dead center and off center equally frequently. There are many reasons for this, but three key ones are: (1) playing off center thins the sound, which helps prevent overpowering acoustic musicians and low volume situations; (2) I play quite a bit of jazz, folk, and world music, and often there is a need to emulate percussion with toms (timbale, surdo, pandeiro, bodhran, frame drums in general, etc.); and (3) when playing with brushes, striking dead center chokes toms, so I tend to play off center much of the time when using brushes on toms.
                            I was going to comment that, while I do use these techniques in those genres (I especially love the sound of a "pinged" rimshot on a 12" tom, where the extreme shoulder of the stick [just below the tip] is making contact with the rim, which puts the bead of the stick QUITE off center), that they don't really translate to the genres that generally get played on electric drums (rock / pop / metal).

                            But, as I was typing it, I realized: that's your point entirely. There are entire genres that just can't be conveyed convincingly on the instrument (yet)

                            So yeah, I understand you now.

                            In my defense, I will say that there are bigger hurdles to getting these genres convincing -- ride cymbal playability, crush/buzz roll tracking on the snare, and even things like being able to turn the snares off easily -- but getting toms to respond correctly definitely belongs in the discussion, as well.

                            HOLY COW, DID WE BOTH JUST LEARN AND GROW?

                            ARE WE BEST FRIENDS NOW?
                            https://www.instagram.com/bpaluzzi/

                            ad5 // SPD-SX // DTXMulti12 // drumbrute // DFAM

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                            • #15
                              bpaluzzi,

                              I was going to comment that, while I do use these techniques in those genres... (snip) ...they don't really translate to the genres that generally get played on electric drums (rock / pop / metal). But, as I was typing it, I realized: that's your point entirely. There are entire genres that just can't be conveyed convincingly on the instrument (yet).
                              Yes, this is where my mindset is coming from. I tried to work e-drums into the music I play. However, technology restrictions mean the vocabulary of certain genres doesn't translate well, if at all. I suppose one could say "invent new vocabulary". Fair enough. But when sight reading and required to play authentically, as-written, there is no time to re-invent vocabulary. And sight reading aside, as much as I love inventing new music, it's important (to me) to respect and play traditions, or to integrate traditional vocabulary along with modern vocabulary.

                              In my defense, I will say that there are bigger hurdles to getting these genres convincing -- ride cymbal playability, crush / buzz roll tracking on the snare, and even things like being able to turn the snares off easily -- but getting toms to respond correctly definitely belongs in the discussion, as well.
                              There's no need to defend yourself. In my post that began this segue, you caught a glaring misstatement and followed up constructively and respectfully, here and initially. I appreciate your time and courtesy.

                              I agree there are a lot of areas needing significant improvement if e-drums are to become more convincing musical instruments in their own right and/or in place of acoustic drums. Ostensibly, piezo and switch style triggering must be replaced with something far more multi-dimensional and capable to detect how drummers play and to respond to the implements drummers use (sticks, brushes, mallets, rutes, fingers, etc.). And simultaneously, sound engines will need far more multi-dimensional capability and control. Plain old MIDI 1.0 isn't going to cut it . MIDI 2.0 brings bi-directional communication, increased velocity and controller resolutions, new controllers, more channels, more accurate timing and jitter correction, capability inspection, and new data transport formats. Will it succeed as a standard and will it help propel e-drums to new heights? Time will tell, I guess.

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