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DTXpress II mini-review

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  • DTXpress II mini-review

    I had the chance to play the new DTXpress kit a couple of days ago, and I was pretty impressed with it. The salesperson said that he set the kit up with the "out-of-the-box" settings, and based on that, here are some general impressions I had about it:

    1. The new 3-zone snare pad Yamaha made for this kit is pretty sweet considering it's not a mesh-head pad. The rim trigger worked great, but I was especially impressed with the cross-stick function. No matter how hard I laid into the rim doing cross-sticks, the head sound absolutely did not trigger, which is a problem I have with my PD-120.

    2. I was pleasantly surprised by the smooth action and playability of the new hi-hat pedal in conjunction with the module. In fact, my initial reaction was that I preferred Yamaha's pedal to the FD-7. Part of this is probably due to the fact that I've always set the footboard angle on my acoustic hi-hat stands quite low.

    3. The 2-zone cymbal pads are a big improvement. They feel nice and trigger very well. The dimpled surfaces on them are a subtle but cool-looking nod to the "hand-hammered" cymbal look. Nice touch, Yamaha. It really bugs me, however, that Yamaha did not see fit to design these with a full circular shape as opposed to the pie wedge design they carried over from their previous e-cymbal models. I think Yamaha would have a real winner on their hands if they did. C'est la vie......

    4. I wasn't knocked out by the kit's dynamic sensitivity, but, as I mentioned previously, the kit I was playing was straight out of the box.

    5. If you like triggering weird sounds and loops from your e-drums (and God knows I do), the DTXpress has that stuff in abundance.

    6. I hope anyone interested in the DTXpress II has good vision and tiny hands, because the display and buttons on this thing are small. Editing everything was pretty simple, though.

    Just a few passing thoughts to anyone that might be interested......

    Cheers,

    Mick
    TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad

  • #2
    a few questions

    I've only played with the old DTXpress and really found it to be less than interesting. But I have been looking to play with this one and see if it fixed the problems that gave me such a bad impression.

    1. The HiHat- does it play like a real hihat now? That seems to be what you are saying in your review, but the thing I hated the most about the old DTXpress is that it only seemed to play Open OR closed positions on the 'hat.

    2. 3 Zone Cymbals. I have the Yamaha literature on the DTXpress2 and it says the inputs for the cymbals are 3 zones, but it only gives you 2 zone pads. Did you try hooking up the 3 zone snare to see what the cymbal sounds were on the 3 different zones? Are there 3 zone Yamaha cymbals available? (the Yamaha web site still only listed the OLD dtxpress last time I checked)

    3. The sounds. The old seemed to have crappy sounds (this may have been the lousy speakers set up in the store though). What were the drum sounds like?

    4. Is it possible to sue the TMC-6 from Roland with this thing to get more inputs. 10 is just 1 or 2 shy of what I figure would be my normal setup when I eventually get an E-kit

    Where did you see it? It has been a little while since I went down looking for it, but most of the Guitar Centers around here (LA) just say Roland is the only thing to consider and they didn't know anything about Yamaha (except one guy thought there would be a new module that had all 3 zone inputs that would replace the DTXtreme- maybe he was just pulling my leg since he probably at that point figured out I wasn't going to buy anything that day, who knows).

    Thanks
    That Dan Guy

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: a few questions

      Originally posted by danielrg
      Where did you see it? It has been a little while since I went down looking for it, but most of the Guitar Centers around here (LA) just say Roland is the only thing to consider...
      According to the Yamaha website these are authorized Yamaha dealers in LA: (Unless, of course, by LA you mean Louisiana. )

      GUITAR CENTER, INC.
      7425 SUNSET BLVD
      LOS ANGELES , CA 90046
      323-874-1060

      INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF MUSIC
      344 S BROADWAY
      LOS ANGELES , CA 90013
      213-628-9161

      HAN'S MUSIC
      2865 W. OLYMPIC BLVD.
      LOS ANGELES , CA 90006
      213-427-1600

      WEST LA MUSIC, INC.
      11345 SANTA MONICA BLVD
      LOS ANGELES , CA 90025
      310-477-1945

      SAM ASH MEGASTORES, LLC.
      8000 SUNSET BLVD.
      LOS ANGELES , CA 90046
      323-654-4922
      My website...
      VCustom kit,
      TD8 + Aphex Impulse,
      HDI Cymbals.
      A great site: eDrumming.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm just going to have to find my way back down to a Guitar Center or other music store (thanks for the listing- I am in L.A. in Southern California). The last time I visited was a while ago, and I don't think anyone had had a chance to get them in and set up.

        The thing I'm most curious about is that it is supposed to have 3 zone inputs on the cymbals, so why don't they have 3 zone cymbal pads? Or do they, and I just haven't seen them yet?

        It is annoying that Yamaha hasn't updated their web page, it still lists the old DTXpress1.

        I will get a kit, its just going to take time to get the stars and planets lined up just right...
        That Dan Guy

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: a few questions

          Originally posted by danielrg
          I've only played with the old DTXpress and really found it to be less than interesting. But I have been looking to play with this one and see if it fixed the problems that gave me such a bad impression.

          1. The HiHat- does it play like a real hihat now? That seems to be what you are saying in your review, but the thing I hated the most about the old DTXpress is that it only seemed to play Open OR closed positions on the 'hat.

          2. 3 Zone Cymbals. I have the Yamaha literature on the DTXpress2 and it says the inputs for the cymbals are 3 zones, but it only gives you 2 zone pads. Did you try hooking up the 3 zone snare to see what the cymbal sounds were on the 3 different zones? Are there 3 zone Yamaha cymbals available? (the Yamaha web site still only listed the OLD dtxpress last time I checked)

          3. The sounds. The old seemed to have crappy sounds (this may have been the lousy speakers set up in the store though). What were the drum sounds like?

          4. Is it possible to sue the TMC-6 from Roland with this thing to get more inputs. 10 is just 1 or 2 shy of what I figure would be my normal setup when I eventually get an E-kit

          Where did you see it? It has been a little while since I went down looking for it, but most of the Guitar Centers around here (LA) just say Roland is the only thing to consider and they didn't know anything about Yamaha (except one guy thought there would be a new module that had all 3 zone inputs that would replace the DTXtreme- maybe he was just pulling my leg since he probably at that point figured out I wasn't going to buy anything that day, who knows).

          Thanks
          Hey, Dan:

          1. I was concentrating more on the feel of the hi-hat pedal itself than the hi-hat sounds, but I seem to remember them being the full range of open, closed, and "in-between".

          2. I wasn't aware that Yamaha had produced a 3-zone cymbal at all. At any rate, the two cymbals on the kit were set up for two zone triggering only. And no, I didn't plug the 3-zone snare into a cymbal jack to check for three different cymbal sounds. Sorry.....

          3. The perceived quality of drum sounds is obviously a matter of taste, so as much as I can tell you about the DTXpress II's sounds is that I liked them. The snare, bass, and tom sounds have more of a punch and attack to them than many of the corresponding sounds on the V-drums. This not to say that the Yamaha sounds are better, just different. To use snare drum sounds as an example, I think Roland snares tend to emphasize more of the sound of the shell as opposed to the big, meaty attack sound you get from the Yamaha and other older drum modules. Roland sounds have the realism, Yamaha sounds have the balls. Personally, I want both qualities, and that's why I still have a D-4 and a TMX in my rack. In fact, these were my main modules before I got the V-drums, and I did many gigs with them. I was okay with the sounds that were there, it's just that the dynamic control sucked and that's what eventually sold me on the V-drums.

          4. If the TMC-6 is strictly MIDI-based and not somehow proprietary (of course Roland never does that ), then this should work fine. I have no personal experience with the TMC-6.

          I played the kit at a small music store called British Sound. Wichita, Kansas is hardly a music Mecca, so I would imagine someone in L.A. has got a DTXpress kit set up somewhere!

          Hope this helps!

          Cheers,

          Mick
          TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks!

            I am just going to have to get back down to a music store and play with this thing. The one that is nearest me doesn't have much (I'm in a small community north of LA, so the store only has the V-club for its E-drum "selection")

            I just havn't had time in the last 3 months as I am running around everywhere (working 3 part time jobs and going to school full time sucks).

            So thanks for the info. It tides me over for a little while longer until my schedule clears up (maybe in two weeks if nobody's network fails between now and then)
            That Dan Guy

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm glad this was posted. Here are a few things that weren't mentioned. The new Yamaha pads are more spongy and soft than any other pad that are out. That makes a big difference for the hands. I used to have a DS10 kit with the older pads and after about an hour of playing my hands would hurt because there is no "give" on most rubber pads. Not so much of a problem here but I am sure am glad mesh heads were invented!

              Also the new Yamaha has an upright beater that will allow you to use a double bass pedal. With the V-Club you have to buy another kick trigger. These two things alone should make this kit very attractive. Especially since its "hundreds" less than the V-Club. IMO Roland is going to have to answer with something, Yamaha is catching up, at least on the lower end.

              Comment


              • #8
                On a side note its a shame GC employees are so uniformed. They have the resources to have a good variety of E-drums in stock but they have decided to sit back and only stock Roland. Oh well, it lets the independents stock the cool stuff like Hart Dynamics, Pintech, Yamaha, and DDrum. All of which make nice gear.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Guitar Centers I've been to in LA all had the old DTXpress on display. The one store I went to that didn't was just a small hole in the wall in Valencia (not a GC).

                  Of course, the GC people I all talked to only knew about Roland. The last one I was at said they were getting the DTXpress2 in stock within the next week (this was 3 months ago), so they might have it by now.

                  The price is nice, the features seem good enough to rival or exceed the V-Club, so I might end up getting it instead of the V-Club, but the tiny little display seems annoying, so who knows. Maybe Roland will jsut be forced to match the price. Either way, a low end E-Drum kit these days looks really nice.
                  That Dan Guy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TheInsider


                    Also the new Yamaha has an upright beater that will allow you to use a double bass pedal. With the V-Club you have to buy another kick trigger. These two things alone should make this kit very attractive. Especially since its "hundreds" less than the V-Club. IMO Roland is going to have to answer with something, Yamaha is catching up, at least on the lower end.
                    I just played a DTXpress2 as well (damn I wish I could make up my mind and buy something!!)... and I was pretty impressed as well, especially for the price, C$400 less than V-club (1600 vs 2000).

                    One thing nobody has mentioned yet is that the new Yamaha upright kick trigger is GREAT! It's the best non-mesh kick trigger I've ever played, by a MILE. It's every bit as good as a KD-120 in my opinion and LIGHT YEARS ahead of a KD7 'puck on the floor'. If you are looking to upgrade from a KD7 to a KD80/120, you should give the Yamaha upright beater a look (it works just fine with Roland modules, I tried it). One caveat: while it can handle a double kick pedal, it is NOT very stable when you start wailing like Portnoy or Lars. So if you are a double kick maniac I'd buy two or look elsewhere.

                    The sounds are still not as good as a TD-6, IMHO. The cymbals sound a bit choked.... "aliasing?" I'm not sure. The kicks and toms sound fine, but again you don't get the V-editing that a TD-6 gives you... I like to be able to tweak a kick drum to get exactly what I want. Finally, I never thought I'd see a module less user friendly than the TD6, but I found the DTXpress2 module kind of tough. Tiny buttons! Maybe if I was more familiar with it it would be better. The sounds and the non-chokable cymbals are the only drawback of this kit w.r.t. the vclub in my opinion.

                    The Yamaha also now has a "5 setting" hi hat pedal (so they said).... IOW it can range from closed to sorta closed to halfway to sorta open to wide open.... I didn't test all that but I really liked the hat pedal.

                    Also, the DTXpress only has 10 inputs, one less than the TD6, although I'm not sure if they are 2, 3 zone, dual piezo, piezo FSR, etc.

                    Other than all that I pretty much agreed with what Mick and others wrote here.

                    Bottom line: I could probably buy a DTXpress2 right now for about the amount of SALES TAX I would have paid on a V-session, and be happy for a while. As I've gone back to school for an unknown amount of time, that's starting to look like a good idea.

                    Darren

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by danielrg


                      The thing I'm most curious about is that it is supposed to have 3 zone inputs on the cymbals, so why don't they have 3 zone cymbal pads? Or do they, and I just haven't seen them yet?

                      It is annoying that Yamaha hasn't updated their web page, it still lists the old DTXpress1.

                      I agree with you on the web page thing.... what the hell is the marketing department over at Yamaha doing?? Hello..... it's the year 2002.... when you introduce a new product you put it on your WEB SITE!

                      The "three zone" inputs are interesting.... what does "three zone" mean??..... Piezo/piezo? Piezo/FSR? Very interesting.....

                      Darren

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        3 zone

                        Centre / Rimshot / Cross-stick sounds all on 1 pad.

                        Mick
                        www.royfulton.co.uk, www.zendrum.com ,Tempus Drums, Istanbul Agop, Regal Tip, Alesis DMPro, D4,Garageband, HK Powerworks PA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          huh?

                          ...I never thought I'd see a module less user friendly than the TD6...
                          I'm a newbie, so I'm wondering... Are there modules that are more user friendly than the TD-6? I find it pretty easy to use.

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