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Need some help

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  • Need some help

    Ok I have been stalking around for the last couple days trying to get some information. i am VERY new to the world of electronic drums and as such have what I am sure is a lot of stupid questions. The first is, can anyone recommend a good site where I can read up on the very basics? I have looked around online pretty thoroughly and like a lot of things you are new to, the nomenclature gets you, so where can I learn what all these terms mean without plugging up this forum with questions? Secondly, because I am a better learner when I am hands on, I picked up a used Yamaha TMX module online cheap. What im hoping to accomplish is to build an electric cocktail set that I can use out front with the band in addition to my main acoustic set. Just a couple of pads, bass pedal etc to give the show a new twist. I would also like to be able to MIDI an octopad or something similar to trigger samples and clips while im playing acoustic. Im trying to do this all on the cheap at first and im not looking for studio quality or the like. I read that the TMX was a fairly good unit in its day so my question is what else do I need to know to make this work or am i chasing my tail? I know I will need pads and am watching ebay. Ant recommendations or thoughts on what to get or stay away from? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Shawn

  • #2
    Welcome! Did you make a nice intro with pics in the Foyer yet? Don't worry about asking too many questions, that's what the Forums are for, we're glad to help. We were all where you are right now when each of us started. Some us still are lol. I'll try to help.

    #1 – Site where you can read up on the basics…right here! Use the search engine, it's your friend.

    #2 – I don't know anything about Yamaha TMX modules. Is it a newer one? All the ones now are labeled "DTX". There are some dedicated Yammie folks here that can answer the technical questions about your particular model.

    #3 – You can build a set very cheap the route you're going. Rubber type pads are cheapest, mesh heads are more expensive but have a different feel. To build what you want cheap you can get a lot USED, just check CL and your local rag and your local resale music dealers for DEALS. You can also build ekit pads cheaply doing the whole DIY route, using mesh heads, drop in triggers and cheap cheap A kit shells (A= Acoustic, E=Electronic). Some things to make sure you're comfy with…the kick pedal and the HH. The cheaper you go on those, the less "realistic" your playing experience will be, and the less technical you can play on them. Don't expect fancy bass pedal and HH work on cheap stuff, not gonna happen.

    #4 – trigger MIDI with you’re a kit…not really sure I understand your question, but, the way it's written, you're asking for nearly the impossible. I say nearly because you CAN trigger stuff from your A kit using triggers into a PC or other device. Can be complicated and pricey unless you simply want a bare bones system. My opinion? Better off using the actual Octopad or other pad trigger system like an SPD-S or SPDX or Yamaha Sampling Module directly, as in, beat on the pads it already has, or, add a few triggers to you’re A kit via small pads or BT1 type triggers, rather than higher end ones like Ddrum ones that clip onto your drum shell/head like we first talked about.

    #5 – Your ultimate goal is fairly straightforward, shouldn't cost too much and will work. The other issue is SOUND. Will you be happy with cheaper crappy module sounds? If not, you have a couple of choices. Upgrade the module to a less cheap less crappy one, or, use MIDI from the cheap crappy module into a VST via laptop/PC. Kind of a steep learning curve and lot of extra work for a simple coc-ktail kit. The whole reason for a module is for the whole ease of plug n play.

    #6 – Stage monitoring. What or how to you plan to amplify your sound? If you have the most expensive module and the best pads they will sound like the cheapest crappiest module if they are not monitored right, as in, a monitor system dedicated to them. Just piping them thru FOH at small gigs will likely work, but, if you're playing to crowds larger than 50 people, nothing will underwhelm an audience faster than an underpowered e kit. The flip sisn't necessarily true either, you can't take a crappy module sound and use a high end monitor sound system and make it sound "real" or at least "listenable". YMMV. Best to ask the Forums about the specific gear you're looking to buy and see if folks recommend it. Staying with more mainline brands like Yammie and Roland and 2Box for your modules will do you right. There's money to be saved in pads and cymbals and HHs and Kick trigger pads. If you can get to a music store near you and see some of the differences it will help you a lot. Keep us posted!

    K ;-)

    My bands: Alter Ego, Arcanum
    E Kit = Roland TDW-20s kit // Roland SPD-S// Pearl Demon Drives//
    A Kit = Tama Swingstar 5 pc (1981) w/roto toms (orig owner!) //Zildjians
    A Kit = Natal 6 pc with Paiste 2000 & Zildjian/MidiKNights/DrumSplitters


    • #3
      Hey Shawn, no such thing as stupid questions. How concerned are you about the look and feel of the pads? You can get rubber pads from the main companies cheap on ebay just so you have something to mess around with while you learn. For an acoustic player, they don't feel good at all but they work and are cheap.

      If you want to try out a mesh pad, you will pay a good bit for Roland but they also hold their value well. When the Roland PD-125's were going for about $300 on average, I was able to get one for $250, used it for 6 months, took it apart to learn how to do a DYI and resold it for the same $250.
      TD50 Digital Pack, TD30 and TD9 Modules, custom made pads, Gen16 crashes, and hats plus a few other things that I'm not sure what to do with or why they're still in my kit. Bands: Espada http://www.musicaespada.com/ and JamCo https://www.facebook.com/JamcoEntertainment, https://www.jamcoband.com/


      • #4
        Guys thanks for the responses. The TMX is an older unit but I did see a thread on here discussing its abilities and it sounded pretty good. Again, im not shooting for studio quality or anything near. My main mission is to build a small setup that I can play standing (cocktail kit fashion) out front with the guitarist and the bass player. We are three piece and try to put on a "visual spectacle" so I think thats a cool idea. This kit wouldn't be my primary or even used for alot of tunes. Maybe 4 or 5 in a night, but it would be easier than micing an acoustic small set and it gives me a chance to learn more and experiment with e sets.
        Im not super concerned about feel either so some rubber pads I think will be fine to get started. I have seen some rolands on ebay cheap. Am I correct in assuming they are fairly interchangeable? I mean I dont have to stick with one manufacture? I think Ill wait and see how it goes and if I choose to refine later ill look at the mesh or silicone stuff. also dont really care about the look either as they will probably be jazzed up with something ( think something from Dr. Seuss)
        As far as the MIDI triggering question, im sure I worded it wrong. Lets put it this way, If I was to use an octopad or SPD-s or what have you, wouldnt that run through the Yamaha module I have? I would be looking to use one of those off to the left of my hi hat on my acoustic set to trigger samples. But I thought that would go into the module then run out to amplification or PA system. Perhaps Im wrong on that.
        Also I see alot of talk about programing kits into your module. Would that be similar to a guitarist programing certain groups of effects into one "sound" for a particular song? Could I build a group of sounds for say snare, toms, kick, cymbals and label that as "song A" and then switch to the next kit with different snare, tom,kick, cymbal etc and call that "song B? Or am I way off base of how this works?
        Again I appreciate all the help and if there are any other reference resources, please pass them along my way. Ill read just about anything to soak up some knowledge...


        • #5
          The TMX was released around 90'-91'.
          It's outer styling is close to that of the TX81z, a sound module based on 4-op 'Frequency Modulation' (FM) synthesis, which in turn is the rack-variety of Yamaha's DX-11 FM-Synth.

          It's contenders were Roland's TD-7 and Alesis' D4, the biggest feature-wise. Those share alot of specs:
          19" rack-format, (half-rack on TD-7)
          12 mono trigger-inputs, (7 on the TD-7)
          a main- plus an additional 'Aux'output,
          a Phones output
          Midi In and Out
          Ability to store kits (32 so-called 'performance memories' in the TMX, the Alesis had 21 'drumkits').

          While the Alesis featured 500 16-bit samples, the Yamaha TMX featured 245 sounds ('voices') which are probably derived from the TX81z synth.

          Yamaha was aiming at the complete drumset, offering pads and rack to go along with it. Roland did too. Alesis did not.

          If you like the synthesized drum-sounds, the TMX is an okay unit, no dual-zone inputs, but lots of mono-ones. Still, it is more cumbersome to program, and hasn't the good reputation of an D4 module. Both these units couldn't match the professionalism of a DDrum AT or 3 though!

          Depending on what sounds you want to trigger, it's an okay start.
          If you want to trigger 'clips' (audio-files?), you'll need a sampler/laptop/sample-ready module.

          Originally posted by Kenster
          The whole reason for a module is for the whole ease of plug n play.
          I'd like to declare this my 'sentence of the day.'
          Nicely said!

          Staying with more mainline brands like Yammie and Roland and 2Box for your modules will do you right. There's money to be saved in pads and cymbals and HHs and Kick trigger pads.
          Listen to Kenster, he knows! :-)

          Last edited by hairmetal-81; 11-08-13, 06:41 AM.

          "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"



          • #6
            Wow, I almost bought this exact setup back in the day. In the end, I went with an Alesis D4, Dauz pads, a KickKat and a HatKat. I remember not being able to believe that I could get all that for just over 3 grand. I used my car as colateral to finance it. My, how times have changed. My memory is that, at that time, every hotel dance club band (when there used to be such things) and every Tejano band was jumping on the D4. Techno-pop cover bands and the like were playing the Yamaha stuff. Of course, the serious pros were only playing Ddrum or Simmons.