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Roland KD-120 Questions/Concerns

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  • Roland KD-120 Questions/Concerns

    I recently purchased a new Roland KD-120 kick drum pad. It looks great but I am not pleased with the feel. Coming from a KD-9, the 120 is way too bouncy. It tends to trigger twice with each hit. I loosened the head tension which helps a bit but not appreciably. I am using a Tama Iron Cobra 200 pedal with the hard plastic beater. In an effort to protect the KD-120 head and hopefully reduce some bounce, I have ordered a Remo Falam Slam.

    Also, this may sound weird but to me the volume of my Mimic Pro’s kick drum samples seems quieter with a loose head. When I retightened the head, it’s louder. I can adjust the instrument volume in the module which certainly helps but was wondering if head tension has an effect on trigger sensitivity/volume. I recalibrated the pad (captured top velocity) which did help somewhat but IMO still seems to be lacking something.

    Right now, I really don’t see any major improvement over my old/small/cheap/etc KD-9, particularly when you consider the price difference. Has anybody else had any similar issues with the KD-120? Any suggestions, experiences, opinions, etc. would be appreciated.
    Last edited by EssKayKay; 07-14-19, 11:31 PM.

  • #2
    i too had a kd 120, had the head tuned loose to medium had a evens patch and used iron cobra 900 double pedal with iron cobra rubber beaters. the rubber beaters are a tad bit less bouncy then the hard plastic ones. but i like my 20" A to E.. feels much more natural because i am using a 3 ply real feel head and not as bouncy. you may want to try a decent quality 3 ply mesh head for less bounce. how loose did you have the head? and did you have tension equal at each lug? kinda strange it triggered quite when loosened unless it was too loose.
    a kick drum takes some experiencing on head tightness to get it to trigger right and feel right
    Pearl Mimic pro, A to E 7 piece Pearl Decade maple, ddrum Deccabons, Ddrum DDTi, UFO X-bar triggers, Real feel heads, Gibraltar rack, VH13, PD105 side snare, Roc-N-Soc,Tama Iron Cobra, Iron cobra high hat stand, Cobra clutch, Pearl throne thumper, Roland and Kit Toys cymbals, Roland KC 500, Promark

    Comment


    • #3
      i understand you want to reduce bounce..but.. inside a kd-120 there's a big foam cushion (that was designed to 'reduce' bounce, but doesn't quite do it,
      because of size pad) ..so, i think a different head on a kd-120 doesn't change much .. but you can improve beater feel and 'bounce' by taping a small thin foam disk onto it.. (with double sided tape) you need the right kind of foam (important), and it only needs to be 0,5 cm thick.. (reduce bounce by absorbing it)
      this works also on kd-7's 8's etc for reducing noise/ and changing beater bounce ..
      if you change head tension you also change impact amplitude that goes through your head to your piezo.. so, old sample values might change ..
      Last edited by Ericdrumz; 07-15-19, 04:20 AM.
      Audio | Video | Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip cymbals

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ericdrumz View Post
        i understand you want to reduce bounce..but.. inside a kd-120 there's a big foam cushion (that was designed to 'reduce' bounce, but doesn't quite do it,
        because of size pad) ..so, i think a different head on a kd-120 doesn't change much .. but you can improve beater feel and 'bounce' by taping a small thin foam disk onto it.. (with double sided tape) you need the right kind of foam (important), and it only needs to be 0,5 cm thick.. (reduce bounce by absorbing it)
        this works also on kd-7's 8's etc for reducing noise/ and changing beater bounce ..
        if you change head tension you also change impact amplitude that goes through your head to your piezo.. so, old sample values might change ..
        Thank you both for your suggestions.

        Jammin,
        I believe I have the lug tension consistent. The head does not have any ripples and appears flat/uniform. It does move slightly when pressure is applied (by my thumb). I'm a bit apprehensive about having to buy a new head for a new pad but that may be my ultimate solution. In the interim I'm going to try Eric's foam suggestion.

        Eric,
        You mention "the right kind of foam". I’m not quite sure what that may be – any suggestions what/where that may be available?

        Thanks again,
        Steve K.

        Comment


        • #5
          if it's anything like the KD-85, it just isn't great.
          Alesis STRIKE, PD-85 rack toms, PD-105BK floor tom, Mapex snare with ISM-6, PDP MX 22" kick with ISM, iron cobra 900 double pedal, hart e-cymbal2, CY-5 as splash, CY-8, CY-12R, L80 hi-hat with cheap-o trigger with goedrum hi hat controller. EZdrummer2+EZX/Addictive Drums 2 VSTs.

          Comment


          • #6
            that depends also on your beater weight.. i don't know what's available to you.. the foam has to be able to be compressed, to remove 'stuttering'
            but you still have to be able to play double strokes.. ..with double sided tape you can experiment with different kinds.. cut out 'coins' of the foam
            and try them.. at wallmart foam sheets 3mm, 6mm cost about 3 - 4 bucks.. (craft dep)
            Audio | Video | Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip cymbals

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ericdrumz View Post
              that depends also on your beater weight.. i don't know what's available to you.. the foam has to be able to be compressed, to remove 'stuttering'
              but you still have to be able to play double strokes.. ..with double sided tape you can experiment with different kinds.. cut out 'coins' of the foam
              and try them.. at wallmart foam sheets 3mm, 6mm cost about 3 - 4 bucks.. (craft dep)
              Ahhh - WallyWorld. Thank you Eric etal. I will keep you posted.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ericdrumz View Post
                that depends also on your beater weight.. i don't know what's available to you.. the foam has to be able to be compressed, to remove 'stuttering'
                but you still have to be able to play double strokes.. ..with double sided tape you can experiment with different kinds.. cut out 'coins' of the foam
                and try them.. at wallmart foam sheets 3mm, 6mm cost about 3 - 4 bucks.. (craft dep)
                I installed a piece of foam over my KD-120 head, centered where the beater strikes as recommended. This does seem to help slightly but still is not what I was accustomed to with my KD-9. However, it's been quite some time since I sold my acoustic kit (been playing an ekit for about six years). From what I've read here, the 120 is suppose to be more characteristic of an acoustic kick so it may just be I’ve simply forgotten the feel of such.

                In an effort to further reduce the bounce, I played with adjusting the position of the beater (lengthened & shortened). A longer beater shaft (hitting higher on the pad) feels better and since it strikes closer to the piezo, triggers better but produced more bounce; a shorter shaft appeared weaker but had less bounce.

                Also, I tried using the felt side of the beater rather than the solid rubber/plastic. This too reduced some bounce. However, I believe it is not recommended as the felt side can cause problems with the mesh head. Now my question is, since there is a pad covering a portion of the head, the beater does not come in direct contact with the mesh. Therefore, is it acceptable to use either rubber or felt beaters under this scenario?

                Thanks again,
                Steve

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've used the felt side of the beater with an Evans patch on the alesis strike kick (14 inch, mesh) for a couple years now and had no problems

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    yes a felt beater is ok if you have a patch on the head and it does reduce bounce
                    Pearl Mimic pro, A to E 7 piece Pearl Decade maple, ddrum Deccabons, Ddrum DDTi, UFO X-bar triggers, Real feel heads, Gibraltar rack, VH13, PD105 side snare, Roc-N-Soc,Tama Iron Cobra, Iron cobra high hat stand, Cobra clutch, Pearl throne thumper, Roland and Kit Toys cymbals, Roland KC 500, Promark

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you guys - it's what I wanted to hear....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        EssKayKay,

                        Your experience with the KD-9 and KD-120 is similar to my own, and I agree with your assessment that the KD-120 is not an improvement over the KD-9. I feel similarly about the KD-140, which I purchased yet never use. My preference is the KD-9, which feels softer as its cushioning allows the beater to dig in somewhat, much more like an acoustic bass drum. Additionally, the KD-9 is lightweight, compact, and easy to move. Thus, I choose the KD-9 over pretty much all of Roland's larger and more expensive pads.

                        Noise-wise, the KD-9 makes a different kind of noise than the KD-85, KD-120, and KD-140, but is about on par. As compared to the the KD-180 and KD-220, the KD-9 is considerably quieter. I've made my KD-9 even quieter than a stock unit by installing a custom head with softer cushioning. This improved the playing feel and decreased noise.

                        As much as I understand the attraction of larger pads like the KD-120, you may want to switch back to the KD-9. Keep in mind the KD-9 doesn't use a tensioned mesh head and instead uses a cloth surface adhered to foam, which in turn is adhered to a backing of rubber, which in turn is adhered to a steel plate. This structure is very different from actual mesh pads like the KD-120 and KD-140. That's not a good or bad thing; the KD-9 is just different and for my needs I prefer it.

                        The newly released KD-10 is the current version of the KD-9. The two pads are almost identical in terms of structure, feel, stability, and acoustic noise. If you switch back to your KD-9, there is no need to upgrade to the KD-10. Similarly, if for some reason you need to replace the KD-9, the KD-10 can take its place and you won't notice the difference.

                        Regarding your KD-120 and double triggering. Interpreting what you wrote, I decipher the following. (Please correct me if my interpretation is incorrect.) The double triggering you describe seems due to the additional bounciness of the head, which causes micro rebound strokes after your initial stroke. This isn't actual double triggering where one clean stroke produces multiple triggers. In your case, the pad is producing exactly what is being input, which is indeed multiple strokes! I make this distinction because the solution is different from solving actual double triggering.

                        Here are some approaches to reduce micro rebound strokes due to head bounciness:

                        (1) Alter your bass drum technique to use a constant release approach. The stroke starts away from the head and ends away from the head. As your foot and the pedal move downward, propelling the beater toward the head, ease your foot ever so slightly off the pedal just before the moment of impact. Allow the beater, on its own, to strike the head and return backward. The pedal moves upward due to the rebound. Follow this upward movement, passively, with your foot, until the beater returns to the starting position away from the head. When this stroke is executed correctly, there are no unwanted micro strikes, even with a bouncy head.

                        (2) Adjust the bass drum trigger threshold on your module so spurious, low volume strikes are ignored. It sounds like you may have tried something like this already with your Mimic. There is a trade-off and I'm fairly sure you are aware of this. If you set the threshold too high (meaning intended low volume strokes are ignored), then you'll lose sensitivity and dynamic range.

                        (3) Dampen the mesh head as advised elsewhere in this thread. Something else to try: Drape a thick blanket over the KD-120 and play through the blanket. Try different types and thicknesses of blankets to see how this affects rebound and playing response. This may give you ideas for building an internal damper for the KD-120. Also, you can try different beaters and patches, and I know you're doing this already. I use a soft felt beater with my KD-9 and just accept that some residue and wear and tear will occur.

                        Why learn the constant release approach if you can just tweak the module and dampen the head? By learning constant release, you extinguish double triggering and open the doorway to a variety of advanced bass drum techniques. It's a win-win solution that provides broader technical and musical options.

                        You mentioned loosening the head of your KD-120. I do not recommend this approach. All mesh pads require medium to slightly-above-medium tension for optimal triggering. If you reduce tension below this range, triggering is impacted negatively as you described: less dynamic expression, (possibly) lower overall volume, lower sensitivity, and less than optimal response all around.

                        Ultimately, as I discovered, you may find the KD-9 works better for you. There is nothing wrong with using less fancy gear that works for you!
                        Last edited by TangTheHump; 07-17-19, 04:54 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post
                          EssKayKay,

                          Your experience with the KD-9 and KD-120 is similar to my own, and I agree with your assessment that the KD-120 is not an improvement over the KD-9. I feel similarly about the KD-140, which I purchased yet never use. My preference is the KD-9, which feels softer as its cushioning allows the beater to dig in somewhat, much more like an acoustic bass drum. Additionally, the KD-9 is lightweight, compact, and easy to move. Thus, I choose the KD-9 over pretty much all of Roland's larger and more expensive pads.

                          Noise-wise, the KD-9 makes a different kind of noise than the KD-85, KD-120, and KD-140, but is about on par. As compared to the the KD-180 and KD-220, the KD-9 is considerably quieter. I've made my KD-9 even quieter than a stock unit by installing a custom head with softer cushioning. This improved the playing feel and decreased noise.

                          As much as I understand the attraction of larger pads like the KD-120, you may want to switch back to the KD-9. Keep in mind the KD-9 doesn't use a tensioned mesh head and instead uses a cloth surface adhered to foam, which in turn is adhered to a backing of rubber, which in turn is adhered to a steel plate. This structure is very different from actual mesh pads like the KD-120 and KD-140. That's not a good or bad thing; the KD-9 is just different and for my needs I prefer it.

                          The newly released KD-10 is the current version of the KD-9. The two pads are almost identical in terms of structure, feel, stability, and acoustic noise. If you switch back to your KD-9, there is no need to upgrade to the KD-10. Similarly, if for some reason you need to replace the KD-9, the KD-10 can take its place and you won't notice the difference.

                          Regarding your KD-120 and double triggering. Interpreting what you wrote, I decipher the following. (Please correct me if my interpretation is incorrect.) The double triggering you describe seems due to the additional bounciness of the head, which causes micro rebound strokes after your initial stroke. This isn't actual double triggering where one clean stroke produces multiple triggers. In your case, the pad is producing exactly what is being input, which is indeed multiple strokes! I make this distinction because the solution is different from solving actual double triggering.

                          Here are some approaches to reduce micro rebound strokes due to head bounciness:

                          (1) Alter your bass drum technique to use a constant release approach. The stroke starts away from the head and ends away from the head. As your foot and the pedal move downward, propelling the beater toward the head, ease your foot ever so slightly off the pedal just before the moment of impact. Allow the beater, on its own, to strike the head and return backward. The pedal moves upward due to the rebound. Follow this upward movement, passively, with your foot, until the beater returns to the starting position away from the head. When this stroke is executed correctly, there are no unwanted micro strikes, even with a bouncy head.

                          (2) Adjust the bass drum trigger threshold on your module so spurious, low volume strikes are ignored. It sounds like you may have tried something like this already with your Mimic. There is a trade-off and I'm fairly sure you are aware of this. If you set the threshold too high (meaning intended low volume strokes are ignored), then you'll lose sensitivity and dynamic range.

                          (3) Dampen the mesh head as advised elsewhere in this thread.

                          Why learn the constant release approach if you can just tweak the module and dampen the head? By learning constant release, you extinguish double triggering and open the doorway to a variety of advanced bass drum techniques. It's a win-win solution that provides broader technical and musical options.

                          You mentioned loosening the head of your KD-120. I do not recommend this approach. All mesh pads require medium to slightly-above-medium tension for optimal triggering. If you reduce tension below this range, triggering is impacted negatively as you described: less dynamic expression, (possibly) lower overall volume, lower sensitivity, and less than optimal response all around.

                          Ultimately, as I discovered, you may find the KD-9 works better for you. There is nothing wrong with using less fancy gear that works for you!
                          Thank you very much Tang. Your input is much appreciated and I will most certainly take all your suggestions seriously. I plan on trying your bass drum technique – basically the opposite of what I have been doing.

                          I like your take on the KD-9. I was starting to think I was alone in my opinion of the KD-120. I am going to keep playing with the 120 as it's hard to justify spending that kind of money for naught – time will tell.

                          Again, my thanks…

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Slightly off topic, but I much prefer the KD8 to the KD9. Its just like the acoustic bass drum I came from - dead and all the "rebound" comes from the pedal spring. I keep it around as a quick and easy backup.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              TangTheHump is right about the bass drum technique which takes away some of the bounciness and double triggering
                              Pearl Mimic pro, A to E 7 piece Pearl Decade maple, ddrum Deccabons, Ddrum DDTi, UFO X-bar triggers, Real feel heads, Gibraltar rack, VH13, PD105 side snare, Roc-N-Soc,Tama Iron Cobra, Iron cobra high hat stand, Cobra clutch, Pearl throne thumper, Roland and Kit Toys cymbals, Roland KC 500, Promark

                              Comment

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