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State of the art e-hats vs a-hats

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  • State of the art e-hats vs a-hats

    Seemed like a fun topic to do, since I have been doing a lot of reading on this lately.

    My background is an e-drummer only, started on an FD-7, then got an FD-8, then a VH-11, then started reading about acoustic hats over at drummerworld.

    The difference between acoustic hats and how they can be used vs what Roland gives us (even on the TD-30) is enough that it seemed worth starting a thread about it, just so a public record of where we are is available.

    I'll start with what I think I know and people who know more can chime in or correct me. I only know modules thus far, no VST's for me yet.

    First lets try to concisely list the nearly unlimited things you can do with an acoustic hat:

    - basic open/closed, what beginning drummers do. FD-7/8 can do this fine.
    - partially open, and subtle nuances of open positions, both module and pedal dependant, e-hats are close, not as easy as an a-hat, but getting there.
    - the force used to close the hat affects the sustian and the sound, only the VH-12 does this. This is akin to aftertouch or pressure sensitivity. On a VH-12, if you hold it closed tightly it will produce a tighter sound that if you hold it closed gently. On all other controller, closed is simply closed, there is no sensitivity to pressure.
    - the speed of the close on a foot chick affects the sound. e-drums pretty much do this fine.
    - foot splashes - e-drums generally support this feature, complaints they are harder to achieve in the e-kit world are common.
    - pedal travel can be adjusted to achieve various things, it is possible to limit the "open" position to the slightly open position, common for a second remote hat in the acoustic world, this setup cannot do foot chicks, that's why a dedicated second hat is often used.
    - top hat cymbal angle can be tilted relative to the bottom one, was originally intended to reduce air-lock, but gave some interesting sounds so many acoustic drummers have their hats tilted at various angles. The acoustic world also sometimes pokes holes in the bottom hat to avoid air-lock, we don't have to worry about that.
    - you can hit anywhere on the cymbal and get a variety of sounds (true on any e-cymbal, not just hats).
    - you can hit a hat when it is mostly closed, open it, and then close it again, it creates a very interesting sound. Not all modules support this, I think the 20 and 30 do, and the 9 doesn't. I have tried only the 20 and the 9.
    - I am going to leave brushes out of this, that is a separate thread, and tends to be snare-centric, not a hat topic. If popular music had us dragging brushes on cymbals then it would be relevant here too.

    Now what can the various pedals and controllers do for us in the e-kit world?
    - dual zone is standard, you don't get the myriad of sounds you can get on a real cymbal, but it gets the job done for most, I suppose we are all waiting for PS cymbals, that will be a big deal if they ever get that going, this would mean more to me than PS on a snare actually.
    - basic open closed, as mentioned before, FD-7/FD-8 can do fine.
    - VH-11 gives us nice "real" hat controller feel, no aftertouch (for lack of a better term) - it is the cheapest "moving mass" controller, it is the moving mass that mainly gives it the realistic feel from the pedal standpoint.
    - VH-12 adds aftertouch over the VH-11, how hard you press affects both the closed sound, and the sustain rate when you close.
    - VH-13 improves on the VH-12, keeps aftertouch, and enhances the motion sensor so hat travel can be more accurately reproduced by the module, meaning it feels better - the testimonies are it feels a lot better.
    - foot chicks are not very controllable/comfortable on the FD-7/8 compared to a hat that has a moving mass (meaning the VH-11/12/13) - try doing some jazz or big band where your left foot keeps the time with a foot chick on 2 and 4 and then try it on a hat that moves and you will learn why I say this. When I only played rock/pop I was happy with the FD-7/8.
    - partially open sounds are hard to get for acoustic and harder for e-players on the lower end stuff. Lower end modules are stepped. More expensive modules give continuous control: TD-9 is only four position(closed, 1/4, 1/2, open), the TD-30 has a continuous range, as do apparently the 20, and the 12. Yamaha requires a DTX700 or better for continuous control (500 and 502 are stepped).
    - foot splashes are both harder and easier on e-drums. Harder with the low-end controllers. But the more expensive controllers, well adjusted (this is critical), and the more expensive modules all make it easier. The big jump again is to a moving mass controller, the FD-7/8 can do it, but harder to control there. The TD-30 also has an adjustable parameter to control how easy it is to make a foot splash, which can make it easier than acoustic if that is how you like it.
    - striking while nearly closed, going to open, and back to fully closed only works on the higher end modules, 20, and 30 are the safe bets. I know for sure it doesn't work on the TD-9.
    - the tilt thing is competely missing from the Roland (or any e-kit) lineup at the moment.
    - the ability to have two hats is missing from the Roland lineup. You need a second module or MIDI trigger box to accomplish this.
    - tuning a hat pedal so its open position precisely matches the partially open "sizzle" sound should be possible, with hardware adjustments just like the acoustic world, and this is module independent. The TD30 can also accomplish this in software, some of the other modules may allow this too but I don't know which ones.

    That's my understanding of the state-of-the-art e-hat vs a-hat thing in the Roland world today..
    Seems like the manufacturers have some way to go here, which means there is more money to be made. :-),
    PS cymbals and a second hat would be my a-list feature requests for cymbals.

    As corrections are posted I will edit this content so we don't have bad info in the OP.
    Last edited by kurth83; 03-01-14, 04:12 PM.
    Mini-kit: TD-9 + Alesis Control Pad + Alesis Sample Pad + PDX-6 snare
    Micro-kit: Handsonic HPD-20 + an old pair of hands.
    Speakers: QSC-K10 "thumper", DBR-10 "little thumper"

  • #2
    VH-13/TD-30 also controls pitch based on how "hard" the hats are closed.

    And the hats on the VH-13/TD-30 can be set so that fully open actually produces the "partially closed" sound. (but it is module wide, not per kit)
    eKit (TD-30KV): http://www.vdrums.com/forum/performa...y-s-drums-td39
    aKit: (Tama Starclassic): http://www.vdrums.com/forum/acoustic...ma-starclassic
    TD30Browser: http://www.vdrums.com/forum/general/...4-td30-browser


    • #3
      Well, you could always poke some holes in the bottom hat of your existing VH-13!

      ....if you're after some extra realism.... ...and to avoid air-lock, of course!

      Seriously, I would be fine with either! - Not least because my technique is not yet as refined to fully squeeze every nuance possible out of an acoustic hat...

      Last edited by hairmetal-81; 03-01-14, 03:58 PM. Reason: formatted the reply

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



      • #4
        There are only 2 things I can think of that a TD-30/VH-13 combination cant do. One is bell hits, and the other is palm muting. But I don't think there is any e-hat/module combo that can do that, even the Gen16's I don't think can do that.

        Other than these two things, I think my TD-30/VH-13 combo is the best money can buy.
        I think my work is done here.


        • BWaj
          BWaj commented
          Editing a comment
          Gen 16 hats are the closest thing to A-hats I've every experienced, I love em.

      • #5
        I absolutely love my VH13, I can honestly say that it lives up to the hype but is CRAZY expensive. Its way better than the VH11 which I originally had. I gotta say though, after buying an acoustic kit and running external triggers as a hybrid kit and using Overhead mics, I love playing an acoustic hi hat a lot more.

        If sound and neighbors isn't a problem, I would use an acoustic hi hat and mic it with an E Kit as the rest, even the crashes and rides I you cant afford or would like a VH13
        - EKIT: Jobeky Drums: Custom 5 piece "Lacewood fade" & Hart 13" Pro Chrome snare. ROLAND MG V-CYMBALS
        - AKIT: PDP Concept Maple by DW. Zildjian K & A Custom cymbals. Hybrid acoustic mic'd / 2Box triggered kit

        MY YOU TUBE DRUM COVER CHANNEL: www.youtube.com/gregthegroove


        • #6
          Bottom line for me in 2014... I've not played and/or heard any e-hats that come close to the overall expressiveness and dynamic range of acoustic hats. From chick sounds, to open sounds, to slosh sounds, to double-sticking from top to bottom hat, acoustic hats win every time. And, there's no e-hat I know of that provides the buttery, woody sound and feel of a pair of Manhattan Jazz Hats or of Meinl's Byzance Extra Dry hats. I play my VH-13 hats only when forced to by anti-noise circumstances. Conversely, I choose my acoustic hats because I love making music with them and they enhance my musical experience.


          • #7
            ^ Ditto to that!
            electronic drum triggers >>> | electronic cymbals >>>

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            • #8
              Giving up a "real" moving hihat was the hardest part of giving up on the Zidjian Gen16's I had for a while. I just ordered a VH-11 and a fairly high end Pearl stand. Hopfully, I'll get good results. One of the drawbacks of the TD15 is that it only supports the VH-11. Hopefully, they'll do an upgrade someday and add support for a higher end hihat.


              • #9


                • #10
                  Well, I'll let you know when I get to try it out. Which unfortunately won't be until the week after next, due to circumstances. But I can't see how it could be worse than the CY5-FD8. Not that that combo isn't functional, but I don't like the feel of the FD8 at all. Also, the demo clips I've seen of the VH-11 seem to show it looking pretty dynamic in the partially open zone and producing a good solid chick, neither of which I get out of the FD8. That's why I decided to give it a try. So I've got my hopes up. One thing I did spring for was a hihat stand with a lot of adjustments, the Pearl H2000. Maybe overkill, but RMC had good prices on both. They have a used VH11 for $320 FYI.