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Vdrums with soft sampler instead of brain? plus other stupid questions

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  • Vdrums with soft sampler instead of brain? plus other stupid questions

    I'm probably going to ask a bunch of very stupid questions, but reading articles and posts on several sites including this one didn't answer them, so here I go.

    1- Is it possible to use a Vdrum set (eg. TD-6K) without its brain (TD6), and instead somehow connecting its elements directly to a PC (using Soundfonts, LM4, Battery, or GigaStudio)? I don't know how the pads connect to each other and/or to the brain, so I don't know whether you could collect their MIDI output without a brain (which I'd rather avoid since I wouldn use its sound bank).

    It seems there are very low latency (<3ms) solutions now. I was thinking of using a software sampler running on a dedicated PC (PIII 450/512 Mb/40 Gb IDE 7200 RPM/Win XP Pro) with RME's Hammerfall DSP PCI. The PC would just run a sampler and a sequencer (Gigastudio/Battery,... Cubase/Sonar,... I don't know yet). I would want to hook a Vdrum and a midi keyboard and use both to play from/record into the PC without additional "hardware sound sources".

    2- Speaking of soft samplers, it is my understanding that Soundfonts are of lesser quality than GS stuff, and LM4/Battery would stand somewhere in between (but are not as versatile). Am I right to think so?

    3- Will I need a separate amplifier or can I hook a monitor and headphones right out of the soundcard (again, I keep reading good stuff about RME's Hammerfall DSP and its Digiface)?

    I hope I'm more or less making sense, I know a lot about PCs but I'm a newless cluebie about DAWs/home studios. Thanks for your understanding and help.
    TD8, PD125, PD80R, PD9, 3 PD7s, KD8 + Tama Iron Cobra, KD7 + DW7000, CY-12H, CY-12R, MDS-8C, ESP1010, Reaper+SD2+8GB i7

  • #2
    1: No, it's not possible to do that without some kind of 'interface' that translates your hits on the drums to midi note numbers. A module can do that very well. I do it as well with my yamaha dtxpress.

    2. Although I haven't worked with Soundfonts nor Battery/LM4, I do often work with gigasampler. With gigasampler you can load huge patches. I believe LM-4 wants to load ALL of the samples in the main memory, gigasampler does not and therefor it can load more samples.
    Gigasampler also has good features for multiple velocities, etc. I think Gigasampler is especially very good for acoustic instruments, where other samplers are better for electronic music.
    So which one is the best for you, depends on what you want to do with your soft sampler. For simulating acoustic drums (or other acoustic instruments), I would go with gigasampler (or maybe Halion).
    But it's definetely VERY good possible and with some good sample library's (Drumkit from hell or Pure Drums or The Ddrums Sounds ) you will get VERY good sounds! (much better than vdrums)
    The ddrums sound very good, but with GS you can load much bigger banks which could translate into a better sound. With ddrums though you have stuff like positional sensing (which also can be done with gigasampler, but you'll need a good pad to midi interface), but you can't load your own (mega)samples and it doesn't have lots of memory nor inputs.

    3. It depends If you have active monitors, then you won't need amplification (when they're active, the amplification is built in the speaker). When the monitors are not active, then you will need amplification.
    A headphone is possible.

    Good luck

    Tom

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    • #3
      In order to do this type of thing you need..

      a)triggers
      b)midi module to accept triggers
      c)midi interface connected to your com port or lpt 1 port on your PC
      d)soft sampler to load samples...

      the tricky thing about it is to be able to have the samples multilayered velocity wise, or else your trigger hits will "machine gun", or be unrealistic (unless you are using 808 or 909 type samples)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by captain54:
        c)midi interface connected to your com port or lpt 1 port on your PC
        Or the 'midi interface' of your soundcard which is usually the gameport or a usb midi interface.

        the tricky thing about it is to be able to have the samples multilayered velocity wise, or else your trigger hits will "machine gun", or be unrealistic (unless you are using 808 or 909 type samples)
        If you buy a modern (acoustic) drum sample cd for gigasampler, then it will, with 99,99% certainty, contain multi-velocity samples.

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        • #5
          Thank you all, the mud is starting to clear from my brain. Now for some clarifications.

          <blockquote>1: No, it's not possible to do that without some kind of 'interface' that translates your hits on the drums to midi note numbers. A module can do that very well. I do it as well with my yamaha dtxpress.</blockquote>

          OK, so can I find such a possibly cheaper module that would just handle the MIDI signal (including positional sensing/velocity) but doesn't have a sound bank (which I'd rather not pay for if I'm not to use it)? Or is the cheapest choice between a Roland TD6 and a Yamaha DTXPU (Dtxpress module)? For the same overall budget, I'd rather buy mesh triggers, a double kick pedal, ...

          From what you say, Giga seems the proper choice for me (yes, among others I want a decent acoustic drum sound for rock/funk).

          The RME Digiface has two MIDI IN ports so that will take care of getting the MIDI signal into the PC. Does anyone has experience with playing two MIDI instruments at the same time (eg. Vdrums + keyboard) with a soft sampler?
          TD8, PD125, PD80R, PD9, 3 PD7s, KD8 + Tama Iron Cobra, KD7 + DW7000, CY-12H, CY-12R, MDS-8C, ESP1010, Reaper+SD2+8GB i7

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by otravers:

            <blockquote>OK, so can I find such a possibly cheaper module that would just handle the MIDI signal (including positional sensing/velocity) but doesn't have a sound bank (which I'd rather not pay for if I'm not to use it)? Or is the cheapest choice between a Roland TD6 and a Yamaha DTXPU (Dtxpress module)? For the same overall budget, I'd rather buy mesh triggers, a double kick pedal, ...</blockquote>
            As far as I know, such interface without a sound bank does not exist. I'm looking for one myself as well. I think that for the trigger-midi thing you can use the td-6 the best, because it supports the vdrums mesh heads. I don't think it supports positional sensing, but i'm not sure. From what I've read, the td-x sends it positional information using midi control changes, which is harder to implement in gigasampler. The ddrum sends different note number which is very easy in gigasampler.

            <blockquote>The RME Digiface has two MIDI IN ports so that will take care of getting the MIDI signal into the PC. Does anyone has experience with playing two MIDI instruments at the same time (eg. Vdrums + keyboard) with a soft sampler?</blockquote>
            Yep I have. I also have a midi keyboard. You can do that Connect the vdrums to midi-in 1, the keyboard to midi-in 2 and off you go. Drums are usually on (midi) channel 10, and other instruments on the other channels. With my keyboard you can setup on which channel it has to send it's midi notes. With a utility like Midi Thruway from Techno Toys (downloaded it from Harmony Central), you can setup exactly which midi-in channel has to go to which channel. So yes.
            The only problem is with cubase, because when you have selected a midi track, it 'htru's' all the notes to that channel and when you play keyboard and drums at the same time, it sends both instruments to the same channel (instrument). But I believe you can put that off, so that really isn't a problem.

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            • #7
              According to <a href="http://www.musiciansbuy.com/edrums_comparison_chart.htm">this chart</a>, neither the TD6 nor the DTXpress have positional sensing. Modules such as the ddrum4 do, but they're much more expensive. The DTX V2 seems to position itself above the entry level modules and below the most expensive ones, but I can't find its detailed specs.

              The TD6 supports more dual triggers and chokable cymbals. FWIW, a drum store sales rep told me it was "much more sensitive" than the DTXpress. And from what I read here and there, a mesh snare should be more comfortable and feel more natural to play on.

              The rep also told me "soundless" interfaces didn't exist anymore. Anyway I'm getting closer to knowing what I need for my future home studio!
              TD8, PD125, PD80R, PD9, 3 PD7s, KD8 + Tama Iron Cobra, KD7 + DW7000, CY-12H, CY-12R, MDS-8C, ESP1010, Reaper+SD2+8GB i7

              Comment


              • #8
                <a href="http://www.vdrums.com/discussion/Forum1/HTML/001236.html">This post</a> mentions the <a href="http://www.katpercussion.com/accessories.shtml">KAT MIDI KITI</a> trigger to MIDI converter, which comes at $199 in its Pro version.

                Someone also mentioned <a href="http://www.zendrum.com/catalog.html">Zendrum</a> in another thread, but their gear certainly doesn't fit my budget motivation! The <a href="http://www.katpercussion.com/products.shtml">Drumkat controllers</a> also double as a midi "hub".


                [This message has been edited by otravers (edited December 06, 2001).]
                TD8, PD125, PD80R, PD9, 3 PD7s, KD8 + Tama Iron Cobra, KD7 + DW7000, CY-12H, CY-12R, MDS-8C, ESP1010, Reaper+SD2+8GB i7

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don' t know if this helps, but this is my experience using the dtxpress to trigger samples from a softsampler.....

                  this was my gear..(couple of years ago)

                  dtx press with Hart Accusare
                  motu microexpress midi interface
                  Delta 44 audio interface
                  roland xp-30 keyboard
                  Logic Audio Platinum
                  Cubase vst 32 5.0
                  Cakewalk Pro Audio 9
                  GigaStudio (only worked with CWPA 9)
                  exs 24
                  rm2
                  lm-4

                  it worked fine, as long as you turned local control "off" in the dtxpress, send and receive on ch 10....the Hart Accusnare triggered the positional sensing as long as you used samples with multi layered velocity...

                  I was also able to trigger the drum banks in the roland xp-30, which sounded pretty good, as long as I had the midi notes matching in each module...

                  Latency is the biggest issue....the answer seemed to be in adjusting the buffer settings in the sound card "Asio" software....the lower the setting, the lower the latency....although it might cause pops and clicks in the audio recording...

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                  • #10
                    Yes, from the posts I read, latency is the thing to watch for, that's why I'm interested in RME gear which has a reputation for good low-latency drivers. I certainly can't imagine to play and hear sounds with a lag.
                    TD8, PD125, PD80R, PD9, 3 PD7s, KD8 + Tama Iron Cobra, KD7 + DW7000, CY-12H, CY-12R, MDS-8C, ESP1010, Reaper+SD2+8GB i7

                    Comment

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