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TD-20 when used with Superior Drummer 2.0

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  • TD-20 when used with Superior Drummer 2.0

    Hello everyone. I am brand new to this great forum...first and foremost thanks to all who have shared their knowledge and experience with vdrums...reading these threads has been very helpful!

    This new thread is to get some feedback on those who have used the Roland TD-20 (with or without the expansion pack) to trigger the drum sample sounds in Superior Drummer 2.0 or a similar sample software like BFD. So to be as brief as possible here are my questions and concerns:

    I recently purchased Superior Drummer 2.0 and absolutely love it. (Those of you who have not yet checked it out should do so. I've never used BFD2 or other similar software packages so I can't compare but to be honest, after using Superior Drummer 2.0, I don't ever really care to even try anything else.) I'm in the process of purchasing a similar setup to what Nir Z was using in the Superior Drummer 2.0 Namm demo video which can be found on Toontrack's website.

    Here is my setup:
    Drum Module: Roland TD-20 or TDW-20
    Triggers: Hart Dynamic 13" Pro Magnum Snare, Hart Dynamic Pro Toms, Hart Dynamic E-Cymbal II Hats with HD's Hi-Hat stand/trigger, Alesis Surge Crashes (x2) and Ride Cymbals, Yamaha KP-125 Kick Tower
    Computer: MacBook with 2GHz Intel Dual Core, 4 Gigs RAM
    Sound-Card/Output: PreSonus FireBox
    Software: Toontrack's Superior Drummer 2.0

    (the reason I'm using a Yamaha Kick Tower is because all Hart Dynamics or Roland kick towers that use mesh heads had too much rebound and bounce for my taste)

    The triggers are plugged into the TD-20 which goes USB MIDI out to the MAC, triggers the appropriate samples in Superior 2.0, then sends the output sound via firewire though the FireBox.

    First of all, I'd be interested to hear of other setups, similar or not and any advantages/disadvantages these setups may have.

    Secondly, I originally tried using an Alesis I/O as my MIDI module and was not happy with it's dynamic range. I played with the settings and couldn't get it to trigger even as smoothly as Roland's lower-line TD-8 drum set. I then realized I couldn't have a weak link anywhere and after reading several threads about others using the TD-20 with Superior Drummer 2.0 or BFD2, I decided I should do the same. That said, my next question is: In your experience, how does the TD-20 respond when using "off-brand" triggers like the Hart Dynamic Pro series? Is it as smooth as it would be if you were using the TD-20 with Roland's native PD-125/PD-105 triggers? Also, is there much latency (if any) when using the TD-20 with Hart Dynamic triggers AND Superior Drummer 2.0? I experienced a little latency when using the Trigger I/O and it drove me crazy.

    I've heard that the TD-20 will know if you're hitting the center of the snare, edge, etc and will trigger accordingly, and I also read that Superior Drummer 2.0 will use the correct corresponding sample sounds when it receives this MIDI information from the TD-20. My question is: How do you map the sounds correctly? I've heard the MIDI mapping that Superior Drummer 2.0 uses is hard-coded into the software so the editing has to be done on the TD-20. How difficult is this to do?

    Lastly, I recently read about the TDW-20 expansion board for Roland's TD-20 module. Since I'm not using Roland's on-board sounds, is there really any need to spend the extra $500 to have this expansion? I've read it does have a more dynamic trigger response and that the hi-hat response is much improved but will I see this when using Hart Dynamic triggers with Superior Drummer 2.0?

    Thanks in advance for your response!
    Last edited by Osw9803; 01-21-09, 11:00 PM.

  • #2
    Welcome man! There is an specific VST forum here on vdrums. You will read there a lot about Superior .. BFD2 . comparisons and so on.

    Since there is some investment involved I recommend going through many of the topics there so you can narrow down your choices/options. If not done yet .. since I got a sense at the end of your post you did :-)

    Joe_K posted a sticky on what one needs to get started.. including audio/midi interfaces - bear in mind the TD20 does not come with USB (do not know if I got your post right)... so if your firebox have MIDI IN .. that's where you will connect your td20 to.

    Regarding the Alesis .. I am having a healthy discussion right now about it here (I am pepperscayman there) :

    WHen I decided to go VST .... wanted to be as close as possible to an acoustic kit. The Alesis has many limitations described here in the Products Section:

    I want and need:
    a) three-way triggering for my ride;
    b) two zones for my crashes (offered by BFD2 ... and Toontrack's recent libraries);
    c) positional sensing for my snare (as you play towards the edge the sound changes);
    d) bow/edge sounds for my hi-hat (chunk and tip).

    It is rather impossibile or very hard to get any of these things going with the Alesis. Not to pass any judgment.. it is a nice add on if u need extra inputs ... and hey it is 150 bucks. It is worth checking the ALesis IO yahoogroup...and search there for positional sensing ... dual-zone cymbals and so on .

    For me .. at this moment nothing beats using a Roland module as a TMI . And yes your TD20 will trigger the Hart nicely ... just check out the features on their cymbals (get the three zone ride and dual-zone crashes).

    Roland TD50, Roland PM30 and KC 550 Studio Capture /Dell XPS I7 32GB RAM Reaper,Superior Drummer,BFD3 (all exp. packs),SSD5 Ezdrummer 2, XLN Addictive Drums


    • #3
      Thanks Pim! I appreciate the info and the links. I particularly liked your discussion with MikeyVPT on youtube. Good stuff. I've seen his videos and actually just realized I've watched some of yours on youtube as well while searching for info regarding electronic drumming. Small world!

      I did miss the VST section of this forum which like you've suggested is probably where this thread belongs. I may re-post this thread in that section of the forum to ensure it is not missed. I checked out more threads there today...TONS of info. Thanks for pointing it out.

      I definitely agree with you, the Alesis I/O is great for the price, but doesn't give you near the dynamic range nor positional sensing that the Roland modules give, which for me is a must. I'm glad to again hear confirmation that Superior Drummer 2.0 will accept these positional MIDI messages from the TD-20 and trigger appropriately. Also glad to hear that the Hart Dynamic triggers will work well with the Roland module.

      Thanks again Pim! By the way, I see that you are possibly using the TD-20 with the expansion board? How do you like it? Is it worth the extra chunk of change?
      Last edited by Osw9803; 01-22-09, 09:15 PM.


      • #4
        Osw...regarding the TDW20 ....nothing different from what I expected: the hi-hat seems really improved ... great snares.. the ride sings.. really cool how sensitivity has improved... cymbal swells.. perfect.

        It made my standalone experience much more enjoyable..

        I am really happy and see no reason (apart from financial of course) if having a td20 not to upgrade. The downside continues to be the toms: for my ears they are simply not at par with all the improvements done. The snares for example seemed much improved : great new ones .... cool dynamics... the hi-hat has a much more "metallic" element present .... the toms do not sound/play any different from any other tom I played from the standard TD20 and all the vEX packs I have.

        I did a quick recording using the TD20 multi outs to a Boss BR 1600 I have .. no effects used but the module ones.

        Just worked a bit on the levels .. specifically for toms/crashes. Kit is TDW-20... changed the kick .. snare is the 50king... you will notice the snare strainer off during the first minute and something .. than strainer kicks in . I used the rim of my fifth tom to perform that. I need a foot switch pretty bad.

        Just wish there was a way to control the level of closeness on the fixed hat when using the switch .....

        The recording:

        Please send a PM to a moderator and aski him to delete your new post over the VST section and move this one to that place ...

        Roland TD50, Roland PM30 and KC 550 Studio Capture /Dell XPS I7 32GB RAM Reaper,Superior Drummer,BFD3 (all exp. packs),SSD5 Ezdrummer 2, XLN Addictive Drums