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Upgrading kits - A bit of an update

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  • Upgrading kits - A bit of an update

    Some time ago I asked lots of questions about the best upgrade path for my TD-3K. Anyway, I've recently finished upgrading my kit, so I thought I'd share my experiences for anyone else in the same situation.

    A few years ago I bought a TD-3K. I went for a low end kit because I was afraid that I might get sick of drumming and I didn't want to see a thousand dollar toy gathering dust in the garage.

    Anyway 2 years later I'm as hooked on drumming as ever and play as much as my sore neck and back will allow me (any references or advice on good posture would be really welcome! I'm now considering playing with brushes to stop the neck pain).

    So I was looking to upgrade my kit a little bit but unsure which direction to go. Looking around these forums I noticed many people say that the sounds from VSTs (e.g. EzDrummer) are far superior even to what the TD-20 could put out. So I wondered if I should go with a software solution and just upgrade my pads instead. On top of this my appartment is probably too small to fit the rack of a TD-20K so keeping the existing small rack and just adding some nice pads seemed like a good idea.

    So that's exactly what I did. I bought a CY-15 for the ride, CY-14 for the crash, shifted my PD-85 from the snare position to the low tom, bought another PD-85 for the high tom and a PD-125 for the snare. My existing CY-8 became a splash, and I bought a VH-11 for the hi-hat (I heard people complaining about the heaviness of the VH-12). I kept the KD-8, again because I heard people complaining that the mesh kick drums were too bouncy.

    Anyway, so after doing the full upgrade and running EzDrummer I have to say I'm really satisfied with the result. I have a kit that is very much like a TD-20K, sounds superior, fits into my tiny appartment, and the more annoying aspects of the TD-20K are removed (VH-12 and mesh kick drum).

    Best of all it cost me about $1300 USD to do the upgrade, which together with my initial TD-3K ($800 USD), leads to a total cost of $2100 USD.
    For comparison a TD-12K in my city costs around $3300 USD, and a TD-20K costs $5900 USD. So I actually payed less than a TD-12K and got a superior setup.

    Anyway, just thought I'd share my experiences with you all. The main thing I learn't from all this is that a big part of the cost of any Roland kit is the brain. And given that many of us choose to run EzDrummer (which doesn't use positional sensing anyway), the TD-3 does quite fine. So there is little reason to buy a high end kit, other than the nice pads.

    Anyway, just my experiences. Have fun everyone!

  • #2
    Sounds like you've found a really good fit for you! However, you do need to add the price of the pc, hardware and software to get a more accurate cost.... Sounds like a fun kit to play though.

    Any pics?

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    • #3
      PC I already had, and software, well that's also variable

      I'll be sure to post some pics soon!

      BTW thanks for all your advice!! You're one of the people that really helped me find a solution that I'm so satisfied with!!

      Cheers!

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      • #4
        Here's a pic of my baby
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Nice. Could you load an run programs like EZdrummer and play the drums in real time with good results? I thought this was more for MIDI recording and not for live playing. I am interested in the Peart "samples" from his DW kit when that comes out.

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          • #6
            I've used EzDrummer with both a Samsung (Windows) laptop with the built in soundcard and ASIO4All, and my recently purchased Mac Air, again with the built in sound card.

            In both cases the latency has been really low. I can set the buffer down to 64 samples without and pops or clicks, and to try to test the latency, I mixed together the output of EzDrummer with the output from my Roland TD-3 so that I could hear both sounds overlayed on top of each other. To tell the truth I couldn't hear any delay at all between the two.

            Considering this was done on laptops with the built in soundcards I think it pretty much shows the EzDrummer can be used for playing in real time.

            I've also played around with BFD with good results, and some free software that comes with the Mac called Garage Band also has a few drum kits in it which I've triggered from my e-drums with no noticable latency.

            I really recommend you try this out. The sound is so much better than what comes out of a Roland module.

            Just for reference I've been using the Edirol UM-2Ex MIDI-USB adaptor which has a low latency 'advanced' driver mode. It was pretty cheap ($50 USD or so) and that's the only extra bit of hardware I needed.

            Your results may vary, particularly depending on sound card. I tested the Soundblaster XiFi on my desktop and the latency was absolutely attrocious. On the order of 200ms or so. Completely unplayable.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cendrillon View Post
              Anyway 2 years later I'm as hooked on drumming as ever and play as much as my sore neck and back will allow me (any references or advice on good posture would be really welcome! I'm now considering playing with brushes to stop the neck pain).
              Looking at your kit I would guess that your pain is caused by all your drums being positioned too low.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the advice!

                I've kept the hi hat kinda low because I play open handed, but I'm going to start increasing the height on the rest right now and have a play.

                Here's another odd thing. If I play cross handed I don't seem to get as much tension in the sholders and so forth. But I'm a left, so I find playing open handed alot more natural.

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                • #9
                  If you set your throne to a height where your upper and lower leg form a right-angle, then bring the rest of the kit to you so it's all at a comfortable reach you won't go far wrong.

                  Originally posted by cendrillon View Post
                  Here's another odd thing. If I play cross handed I don't seem to get as much tension in the sholders and so forth. But I'm a left, so I find playing open handed alot more natural.

                  If you're a left-hander reversing your kit set-up will resolve this.

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                  • #10
                    Most of my trouble comes from my left hand which plays the hi-hat. My left sholder and the left side of my neck get really tense because of this.

                    I managed to make things a bit better by pushing the hi-hat further to the left, because in the normal position (where a typical cross-handed player would play) it's too close and tends to make my sholders hunch up. There are plenty of open handed players now, so it must be possible to play open handed in a natural and relaxed way, but I'm still trying to find it

                    Please keep the suggestions coming!

                    BTW what height do you have the parts of your kit at?
                    After adjusting it my snare drum now sits at around waist level, the high/low toms, ride, and hi-hat come up to my bottom rib and the cymbols are in line with my chest. How does this compare to your setup?

                    Thanks again! This has been going on for months and it kinda worries me that one day I may not be able to play because of bad playing style that I'm practicing now.

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                    • #11
                      Edirol UM-2Ex MIDI-USB adaptor
                      Oh but I just bought the UM1EX! ... And a TD-12 upgrade from a TD6! Anyway, yeah this will be my next big purchase .. . but in a few years.

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                      • #12
                        I'm sure UM1EX is just as good, it just has one input instead of two. If you have a PC you really should try EzDrummer. It's pretty amazing.

                        And fingers crossed, maybe they will add positional sensing to it one day
                        (BTW does the TD-12 actual send any of the positional sensing information across the MIDI interface or is it just used internally?)

                        Superior 2.0 is around the corner, I can't wait

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                        • #13
                          Yes, the PS data is sent through one of the midi CC channels, like the hihat data which is sent on CC#4. PS cant be far away in this type of software.

                          I'd also like to add how awkward your kit looks. The hats I can understand from what you've said about playing open handed, but it all looks far too low. That will certainly be causing your pain as its amazing how much posture effects everything. Theres a good Bob Gatzen video on youtube somewhere, but I cant find it right now.....

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the tips. It's good to get some feedback as I know very few drummers and no drummer has every actually seen my kit

                            In fact, when I first hooked it up I used an arcade game Drummania as a model which was an insane thing to do

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                            • #15
                              So we are going to open up the PS discussion again huh?

                              So after learning today what GAS stands for, I am now on the hunt for EzDrummer. I need to look up the number for my loan officer.

                              Can you tweak the sounds, or you get what you get?

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