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My experience with the Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec and ATV cymbals on Tour in Germany

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  • My experience with the Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec and ATV cymbals on Tour in Germany

    Hello everyone,

    You will perhaps have seen the videos I have been posting (mostly on vdrum FB groups, but a few on here too in the 'Showcase' thread) showing my use of the Pearl Mimic Pro, my Drum-Tec Pro Series kit and ATV cymbals, on tour in Germany recently. I wanted to share my thoughts on the performance of the module, and how we used it live.

    The Pearl Mimc Pro performed flawlessly. It started up every time, first time. This despite it being thrown about in the back of the minibus by my guitarist ‘friends’ who found it amusing to put as many things on top of my drums as they could (the mimic was in a hardcase, but it still terrified me!).

    We don’t use the direct outs. Why make it unnecessarily complicated when the stereo sound out the Master 1 & 2 Outs is already so good? I turn the Room and Reverb completely off. We let the natural acoustics of the venue (small clubs) allow the drums to ‘breathe’. The snare rang out, the floor toms had that Simon Phillips ‘whoooom’ and the kick punched. We like a natural sound, not a processed sound. We got it. Using direct outs puts you at the mercy of the engineer and/or your own skills as a sound man, and you will not necessarily replicate the sounds you want and hear through the master outs. I don’t understand this obsession with taking direct outs - this is traditional thinking and I and my band see it as unnecessary with a module that sounds as good a the Mimic. The sound engineers I worked with loved this method.

    We used two jack to jacks from Mimic into a passive di box, and ran two xlrs from there to desk. Sometimes we just went straight to desk from module, jack to jack. Ironically, the only time I had a problem with the sound, it turned out to be a loose connection at the di box, and nothing to do with the Mimic.

    During sound check, I began with all Master Mixer volumes at default 0db. I took a big scoop out below 45hz, from whole kit (Monitor Settings, Master Out EQ) to give more bottom end clarity and more separation from the bass guitar. I also add a little top at around 4000hz, as required.

    Generally, I needed to add a few db to the snare volume and the hat and ride. Sometimes a couple db to cymbals as well. The kit sounded beautifully balanced and in full stereo out front. We did nothing to EQ at desk, and added zero reverb. In short, the desk was flat and no faffing about.....the sound check lasted around 60 seconds. How many sound checks last 60 seconds on an acoustic 7pc mic’ed up kit?

    I always used the one kit for a show - a VEX based kit with a natural sound (mostly a mix of Origins Bonham and Maple Works ride). I have tweaked some of the toms to have less sustain and release.

    I took a separate lead out the headphone output, and took this to my Yamaha DBR 15 monitor. This was a stereo jack to two mono jacks, which went into both jack inputs on the Yamaha. I made sure to crank the volume on the Yamaha (3/4) and then drove the volume from the Mimic headphone volume control. This gave me complete control of my stage mix, including being able to adjust things ‘on-the-fly’. For me, this is perfect. I often lifted the hat and ride volume here (something which is all to obvious in a couple of the videos I have posted / will be sharing, where the camera is on stage and we are supposed to be playing quietly!). Again, I took a big scoop out at 45hz.

    For me, the Mimic is absolutely brilliant. I used to use the Roland TD20kx and in later years the TD30 (same sorts of gigs). These modules were fine and I had no issue with them - but for me, there is a huge step change with the Mimic - a real presence to the drums that still gives me (and the audience) goosebumps. The ring of my snare is incredible - something I never quite achieved with my Roland’s. And that sampled zildjian 21” sweet ride, which VEX have turned into a perfect ‘ping’ sound makes me weep with joy - when I’m playing the fast swing patterns on it in Sultans of Swing (live video coming soon), it just sings out with every fast strike sounding out clearly and perfectly.

    I played last week in front of seasoned musicians and sound engineers (and I’m playing with some great players too). They are all amazed at the sounds coming out the Mimic. They think it is brilliant.

    It is increasingly rare that I come across someone who says to me ‘I hate electronic drums’ or ‘I prefer acoustic drums’. Such people still, and always will, exist. But the vast, vast majority of players, engineers and audience members, absolutely love the drum sounds coming out my equipment, and they are blown away. It is always hugely amusing to me when someone says ‘but, but, they can’t be electronic drums’ and I take them up to the kit and show them the (quite well hidden) cable and the Mimic and the rubber cymbals!!!

    A quick word about my Drum-Tec kit and the atv cymbals -

    I’ve had the Drum-Tec Pro Series kit now for 18 months, and I still love it. I think I have one of the sexiest vdrum kits in Europe, but I am of course biased. It works beautifully, and of course it looks stunning on any stage - drawing compliments from everyone who sees it. The kick I especially like - the way the mesh head gives and allows you to bury that beater and really feel it. Wonderful. I have had no problems with this kit at all.

    You will note from videos and pics that I do not use the standard Roland MDS25 frame. I think that is too awkward and flimsy for live work. I use an old Pearl rack and I find it far more robust for gigging, much easier to transport, and I can really get the toms and cymbals where I want them. I can also hide the cables and make sure that the gorgeous drum-tec is looking as gorgeous as it deserves.

    The atv cymbals are wonderful, and I think they are far superior to the Roland CY14s that I have used for years. The atv rubber has a better ‘feel’ under the stick and I admit to liking the look of differing sizes. I use a 14” and 16” crash, and the 18” ride.

    The ride is a joy, and so much more expressive than the CY15 I used to have. Better bounce, and far easier bell trigger.

    The atv hats have proved both brilliant, and a problem, for me personally. They trigger great and I love the feel and the size. BUT, I have had big problems with the cable routing for the top hat. This travels through a hole in the bottom hat. I won’t go into detail here (this is not the place), but I found the top hat was rotating about the hat spindle; the bottom hat was rotating about the controller, and the controller was rotating about the hat felt. The hat was not tilted, before you ask. This led to the cable becoming trapped and then false triggers occurring. It even led to the power cable into the controller becoming fouled. I was getting bow strikes during a chick. Sergey helped me with a further de-noise algorithm to test, and this worked extremely well. But I still had the mechanical issues. After much grunting and purple-faced effort hunched under my hats, I eventually solved the issue via tightening things up, judicious use of velcro tape and liberal application of ‘rough tape’ onto various surfaces. I have essentially recreated the clamp system that Roland use on their VH12 and VH13 hats, to pull the bottom hat down and to stop it rotating - but I have had to use velcro. What I don’t understand is why no one else is reporting this issue. My hats were rotating after only 10 minutes playing. Anyway, they were rock solid last week on tour.

    I have also added felt pads on to the bottom hat, where the top hat strikes it, to reduce the ‘clomping’ sound.

    See photo’s below of all of this.

    All in all, a brilliant week on tour, and no problems with my Mimic, Drum-Tec or atv equipment. I’m really, really impressed

    Pearl Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec 7pc Pro Series kit, ATV 14" hats, 18" ride, 10" and 12" splashes, 14" and 16” crashes

  • #2
    I like the shot of the Mimic while it’s lit up. Beautiful kit, glad you’re getting such good performance from it.
    Equipment: TD-30KV, DW9000 hardware, ROC-N-SOC Throne, Behringer ULTRATONE K3000FX Amp, JBL EON 615 Powered Speaker, Yamaha MG06X. 1965 Ludwig Super Classic. Black diamond pearl. Zildjian K Custom Dark cymbals, DW 7000 hardware, DW 9000 kick pedal.

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    • #3
      Great info. I love the kit, such a clean looking setup. How long does it take you to setup and breakdown each night?
      ATV aDrums, aD5, Superior Drummer 3.0, Roland SPD-SX, Tama & DW Hardware.

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      • #4
        Nice write up, thanks for sharing the experience!
        Hardware: TD20SX --> Roland UA-25EX --> MSI GT780DX w/ i7 2670, 16-GB of Ram, Windows 7
        Software: Superior Drummer 2.0, Metal Foundry SDX, Metal Machine EZX, Toontrack Solo - - Sonor X1 Studio - -

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jouxplan View Post
          What I don’t understand is why no one else is reporting this issue. My hats were rotating after only 10 minutes playing. Anyway, they were rock solid last week on tour.
          Just add the hihat top spinning was fixed by tightening the clutch and bottom rotating fixed with Velcro.
          Last edited by Chris K; 10-14-18, 12:09 AM.

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          • #6
            Hi everyone, many thanks for the kind comments.


            Originally posted by Chance27 View Post
            Great info. I love the kit, such a clean looking setup. How long does it take you to setup and breakdown each night?
            It takes 20 minutes to do the physical build, and then 15 minutes to do the cables, power connections, monitor, PA connections. Then 5 minutes to test and sound check. I always assume 45 minutes, basically.

            This might seem long, but imagine a 7 piece acoustic kit. It would take 20 mins to build still, but could you mic it all up and sound check it in 20 minutes? Doubtful, in my experience!!!

            A key trick is to use a carpet with marks on it, showing where to put the stands, kick drum etc. I use a drum rug and velcro markers. The other key trick is memory locks on everything, and cutting down the length of the cymbal holders to a minimum. This allows me to leave the cymbal booms fully set up at the correct angle and length etc, when I take them off the rack, and I just put them straight into my hardware bag. This saves a good 5 minutes set up time; and the carpet/velcro/memory thing (a) saves another 5 or more minutes and (b) means everything is exactly where I want it, everytime.
            Pearl Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec 7pc Pro Series kit, ATV 14" hats, 18" ride, 10" and 12" splashes, 14" and 16” crashes

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chris K View Post

              Just add the hihat top spinning was fixed by tightening the clutch and bottom rotating fixed with Velcro.
              As Chris says, and as I probably too briefly say in my original post - I solved my problems thus:

              Top hat rotation - the clutch, whilst tightly screwed down onto the top hat, was still not tight enough. I had to really tighten it (more than I would like), to stop the top hat rotating about the hat spindle. Note that the spindle itself was NOT rotating.

              Bottom hat rotation - this was rotating about the controller. I added velcro to the base of the bottom hat. I then ran velcro from there, down to a clamp on the hat stand, much like the system used by Roland on the VH12 and VH13. This held the bottom hat down, and also stopped rotation.

              Controller rotation - the bottom of the controller is as smooth as you like. It was rotating about the hat felt. So I stuck 'rough tape' to the base of the controller. I also stuck rough tape to the top of the hat felt. This created a huge amount of friction between the two surfaces. Now, with the bottom hat pulled down via the velcro, the controller was unable to rotate.

              Bear in mind that before I did any of this, what was happening was that all three elements (top hat, bottom hat, and controller) were rotating AT DIFFERENT rates, about the stand. It took me an age to realise I had mulitple modes of movement going on.

              Note that there was zero tilt in my hat stand. The stand is a Tama Iron Cobra, pretty old. Maybe this is the problem? Or maybe it is the way I tend to stomp my left foot as I play....

              As a final precaution, I re-routed the top hat cable also. In order to ensure that the top hat cable could not become snagged in the hole through the bottom hat, I actually took it vertically up through the hole in the bottom hat (as ATV expects you to do), but then, instead of connecting it directly to the top hat jack, I have wound it around the inside of the bottom hat by about 270 degrees, and then connected it. I then ensure there is some slack in the system.

              I will write this up elsewhere on the forum, with photo's, if you like (assuming Alan will allow me to do this and not see it as a double post?). I can't access my photo's at the moment.

              I guess I ought to post these details onto the various FB Groups also, with photo's....

              More videos from Germany on the way soon

              Alex
              Last edited by jouxplan; 10-14-18, 07:37 AM.
              Pearl Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec 7pc Pro Series kit, ATV 14" hats, 18" ride, 10" and 12" splashes, 14" and 16” crashes

              Comment


              • #8
                You are in danger of becoming an e-drum celebrity Alex!

                I've come to realise you are not only doing this live with a Mimic Pro but on a 7pc (real shell depth) kit with 7 cymbals to configure AND on a drum rack AND a PA system!

                I would be happy just to have a 3rd of that, transported safely, in a live working situation, and still have the energy left at the end of the gig to pack it all up afterwards.

                So I have an idea, I was in my local drum shop the other day, looking at all the "artist" drum sticks. Seriously, contact Pearl and see if they will make you some nice hickories in black and red, with your name on it and get Steven Slate to sign it.... or even *gasp* Sergey!
                Last edited by Kabonfaiba; 10-14-18, 02:13 PM.
                ♦ Diamond Drums 4pc in Di-Noc carbon ♦ MegaDRUM + Roland UA-1010 / cymbals / KT-10 (x2) ♦ Tama / Gibraltar hardware ♦ JBL LSR3 Series 2.1 Monitoring
                Community Drum Module Document
                PA Specifications (wip)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kabonfaiba View Post
                  You are in danger of becoming an e-drum celebrity Alex!

                  I've come to realise you are not only doing this live with a Mimic Pro but on a 7pc (real shell depth) kit with 7 cymbals to configure AND on a drum rack AND a PA system!

                  I would be happy just to have a 3rd of that, transported safely, in a live working situation, and still have the energy left at the end of the gig to pack it all up afterwards.

                  So I have an idea, I was in my local drum shop the other day, looking at all the "artist" drum sticks. Seriously, contact Pearl and see if they will make you some nice hickories in black and red, with your name on it and get Steven Slate to sign it.... or even *gasp* Sergey!
                  I'll sign anything for Alex, any day! =)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kabonfaiba View Post
                    You are in danger of becoming an e-drum celebrity Alex!
                    I'd argue - you truly are an e-drum celeb....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kabonfaiba View Post
                      You are in danger of becoming an e-drum celebrity Alex!

                      I've come to realise you are not only doing this live with a Mimic Pro but on a 7pc (real shell depth) kit with 7 cymbals to configure AND on a drum rack AND a PA system!

                      I would be happy just to have a 3rd of that, transported safely, in a live working situation, and still have the energy left at the end of the gig to pack it all up afterwards.

                      So I have an idea, I was in my local drum shop the other day, looking at all the "artist" drum sticks. Seriously, contact Pearl and see if they will make you some nice hickories in black and red, with your name on it and get Steven Slate to sign it.... or even *gasp* Sergey!
                      Ha! Ha! You really made me smile here, my friend. Thank you!

                      It is hard work, I must admit, building it up and taking it down, and I always say I wish I was a bass player - they get it easy!

                      Your stick idea made me laugh out loud! I would very happily have an 'Alex' stick with Sergey's signature on it!!!
                      Pearl Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec 7pc Pro Series kit, ATV 14" hats, 18" ride, 10" and 12" splashes, 14" and 16” crashes

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mr.Boo View Post

                        I'll sign anything for Alex, any day! =)
                        So this literally just made my day!!!
                        Pearl Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec 7pc Pro Series kit, ATV 14" hats, 18" ride, 10" and 12" splashes, 14" and 16” crashes

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by EssKayKay View Post

                          I'd argue - you truly are an e-drum celeb....
                          Ok, so now I am blushing and my day got even better! What a truly wonderful thing to say

                          All of you - thank you for your kind words!!!

                          Someone needs to teach me how to put mulitple quotes into a single reply though......

                          Alex
                          Pearl Mimic Pro, Drum-Tec 7pc Pro Series kit, ATV 14" hats, 18" ride, 10" and 12" splashes, 14" and 16” crashes

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for sharing your experience. I will use the Mimic live for the first time in 10 days from this day, and I was thinking in doing exactly the same thing you did. Now I know it worked fine, certainly I will use that way! Thanks

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for this it is exactly what i have been looking for... As a td 30 player that does gig an E kit i was really wondering where to go.. And as i cant get Mimic is Australia i was a little worried that i might import one and just hate it....You are doing exactly what i want to do.. plug and play 2 leads no messing around... So thanks again...

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