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1st time out too

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  • 1st time out too

    I had my first live outing with my V-Customs on Saturday night: Here are my thoughts on the event.

    Firstly my setup is as follows: Standard V-Customs, SPD-6, PM-3 and I took along three acoustic crashes. The gig was a joint 18th & 21st birthday party, in a small hall about 12m x 25m - 150 guests. Our line up is me, a bassist, a guitarist and a female vocalist - playing rock covers. The bassist and guitarist went through their own amps. The other three members all sing - their vocals went through a small PA (2 smallish speakers and a powered mixer amp) along with my drums. The cymbals were unmiked.

    I'd read many posts about people being unhappy with their sound through a PA and was very apprehensive. I can't afford a heap of outboard effects, or an engineer, and it was a basic PA we'd be using. The only thing on our side was the fact that we could get the PA early and have access to the room a few hours before the gig. I suppose another plus was the fact that due to the nature of the gig, we didn't have to be knocking out at full volume.

    Anyway - I decided that I'd invest in the cheapest (and probably, most understated) piece of additional equipment that I could afford that might help my cause . . . a DI box (well actually two). I took a trip down to the Parramatta Drum Factory and I got fixed up with two DI boxes and two 25ft mike leads for $115 (Australian - that's about $60US).

    So - I went from my TD8 Masters (no special configuration) out to the PM3 line in, and from the PM3 line out through the DI boxes to the mixer. I had to do a little (not much) plating with the EQ dials on the mixer, but fortunately, not a great deal.

    I went out and listened to the sound - overall it was good, the Kick was very weak though. I played through the list of available kicks, and decided upon one of the 'acoustic' ones. Generally speaking though - I didn't have to do a great deal of tweaking to get a good overall sound. Okay, so small improvements could have been made, but overall I was happy. Especially when we played as a band - the sound was good: Several of the guests (5 or 6) commented on how the drums sounded very real. The other band members were blown away with the sound quality. The cymbals integrated very nicely - especially for swells etc. I think I had to slightly hold back with them - but all in all, they mixed well.

    I had a line back from the mixer (monitor out) into the PM3 and had a mix of the vocals. The PM3 performed perfectly as a monitor: I was only using about 75% of the PM3 volume (and about 75% of the master from the TD8) - I heard everything very clearly and stage volume was kept reasonably low.

    I was very happy with my first live experience - and with the knowledge that there are heaps of possibilities with further tweaking, different instrument selection, better PA better room acoustics etc, I am really looking forward to my next trip out. I can't say what value the DI boxes added ('cause I didn't try without them) all I can say is that with the gear that we used, I didn't have any problem with signal levels or signal quality.

    The reason I posted the details above is so that you can see that I didn't have the advantages of technical know how, or an engineer or a top PA system - just basic equipment, basic configuration, very little knowledge and still managed to do well. Those of you who are out there wondering whether to take the V's live . . . go for it - I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised - especially if you've (like I had) read a lot of negative posts about live experiences. I would only have two pieces of advice. 1. Get there as early as possible so that you don't have the added pressure of time. 2. Try a DI box or two - they don't have to be expensive: the first one I saw was a Boss one: three times more expensive than mine! Sure, they may be better, but my bet is that you're splitting hairs!

    Sorry for the long post - but if it helps just one person go out there and try their V's live, then it's been worth my effort typing, and your effort reading or skipping past!

    Andy - still smiling
    TD-20, Pair of JBL-Eon15 G2's & Sub

    Check out the demo tracks to hear my V's at


  • #2
    I use essentially the same set-up but no DI boxes. Have had no problems yet... Actually I send the left main out to the PM-3 and the right main out to a powered mixer channel. Since I am playing in mono I think it is the same as what you did.
    Denver, CO
    Vpro Drummer


    • #3
      Hey criewe,

      Did you realise that you could achieve the same thing by going master out > PM3 > mixer. . .the PM3 doesnt affect what's put out. Good to hear you're having no problems!

      TD-20, Pair of JBL-Eon15 G2's & Sub

      Check out the demo tracks to hear my V's at



      • #4
        Hey Oz, Thanx for the review. I'll also be playing out for the 1st time in a # of months. My drum teacher reminded me that no matter how good a drummer one becomes, you'll sound like crap if the PA isn't quality. I think I'm going to invest in 2 SRM 450's and a SRS1500 Subwoofy! before I try to play before an audience.

        Can someone Plz. explain a bit about what a DI box is and does? I'm new to the realm of PA's & amplification. Thanx.

        Someone Set Up Us Da Bomb!!
        -Alex. & V-Drums: http://www.zing.com/album/?id=429276...ulation_page=Y
        Thanx. Alex & me V's! http://photos.yahoo.com/flexapr


        • #5

          I know what your teacher is saying; but I'd also qualify his statement by saying that you don't need the best PA in the world to sound good. Up until a certain level a poor PA will do your V's and perhaps your playing an injustice, but then again, above a certain level the law of diminishing returns sets in. You have to ask yourself whether $ increase between piece of equipment A and B is worth the benefite gained between piece of equipment A & B.

          DI Boxes . . . now there's something I know a little more about (as of Friday when I researched them a little!) . . Lee is lurking about - He may also be able to tell you more.

          D=Direct I=Injection (or input)

          The signal that comes out of your TD8 / TD10 is High Impedance & Unballanced. A high impedance source (say your TD8) will output a greater signal (voltage) than a low impedance source (some microphones). This high impedance signal works fine and even has some advantages in a sound system as the mixer or amplifier doesn't need to boost the signal as much. Therefore, any noise on the line is also not amplified as much and this results in an improved signal to noise ratio.

          Keep in mind however, that the impedance of the transmission line (or cable) is affected by the impedances of the devices that are connected to it. A low impedance source will lower the impedance of the entire line connected to it. Similarly, if you connect a high impedance source, you will have a high impedance line all the way from the microphone to the mixer. This can become a problem as the length of the cable increases.

          A high impedance line that is interacting with an outside electrical interference will act more like an "antenna" than a low impedance line. This problem can get worse as the cable gets longer. This effect is relatively insignificant for a guitar or high impedance source plugged into an amp with a 10' cord but can have a big effect if that same signal is sent 100' down a snake. This is one of the reasons why a high impedance signal is almost always converted to low impedance with the use of a Direct Box (DI) before being sent long distances.

          Another reason for the use of a DI is that it takes a two conductor unbalanced line and converts it to a three conductor balanced line. This is a separate issue, not to be confused with impedance.

          Mixers / PA's and soundmen don't like this high impedance & unbalanced breed of signal. Some in fact despise it!

          Anyway, the humble DI box can look as simple as a small black box with an input and an output - through to something made out of the latest Aluminium alloy, with more inputs, flashing lights and rubber 'bumpers'. It's function is to take the 'ugly' high impedance / unbalanced signal from your drum module (or bass / keyboard / sampler etc) and turn it into a much more handsome low impedance, and altogether more balanced signal that your mixer / engineer will fall in love with at first sight!

          Here endeth the lesson. Balanced Lines tomorrow!
          TD-20, Pair of JBL-Eon15 G2's & Sub

          Check out the demo tracks to hear my V's at



          • #6
            Tank youse, OZzy.
            Thanx. Alex & me V's! http://photos.yahoo.com/flexapr


            • #7
              Originally posted by Oz DrumR:
              I was very happy with my first live experience ...Those of you who are out there wondering whether to take the V's live . . . go for it - I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised - especially if you've (like I had) read a lot of negative posts about live experiences...
              Yeah, especially the ones that try to push another brand in your face. However, I don't believe there are that many. Just seems that way because they make alot of noise.

              Andy, thanks for an xlnt post. Also for getting across the message about not having to be all rocket-scientish on sound engineering, outboard gear, etc. Despite any argument to the contrary, the bottomline is how happy you are and the fact that the spectator response was positive. These posts are doing a great service to our V-drumming community. Keep 'em coming.




              • #8
                I had) read a lot of negative posts about live experiences...
                Yeah, especially the ones that try to push another brand in your face.
                Puttnvr's ears must be burning.
                Last edited by vegiman2222; 09-22-02, 04:39 PM.


                • #9
                  Oz DrumR,

                  I run my TD10 & DTXpress into a BBE and then into one JBLG2 (about 5 ft away from BBE). Will a DI box help me? I notice a great deal of buzzing as is. Will a couple DI box help elimnate this. BTW, JBL has one XLR and two 1/4" inputs.