Pad expression on live eDrum kit


I’ve been experimenting with playing live electronic drums for a while.

For most e-kits that one can buy off the sales floor, I find there is limited expression for controlling the sounds while playing them, beyond using the dynamics of your hits to control volume, tonality, or switch between samples.

I found myself wanting to “warp” and “wrestle” with the audio flow, the way a DJ does with mixer and hands-on effects processors.

The trick was finding something some way to “grab” sound-controls with hands full of drumsticks.

Drum machines have no soul, but lots of hands-on control !

Rather than use the standard “drum brain” (trigger interface, sound module) of an e-kit, I found that using drum machines as sound-modules allowed me a lot more hands-on control of sounds.

For example, the Analog RYTM, by Elekron, allows the 12 pads to not only be used to audition drum voices, but also allows meta-controls of

  • track muting
  • Scenes, which allow toggling between variations between instrument and effect sound
  • Performances, where continuous pressure on the pads allow morphing between parameter settings.

I found the pads on the Rytm to be big (and bright) enough to play live with sticks in hands.

materials for proof-of-concept

Here is a proof-of-concept, where I am

  • playing an acoustic kit…
    • 1 kick drum
    • 1 snare drum
    • 1 cymbal
  • …with drum triggers on the kit…
    • 1-zone trigger on kick
    • 2-zone (head/rim) trigger on snare
  • …and drum pads
    • pad right with pedal-control for hi-hat
    • pad left for toms/whatever
    • rim-mounted Dauz “bone” pad for “clap”
  • …playing along to a simple loop from my korg MS-1 MicroSampler

I recorded performance with my camera phone, recording additional seperate audio tracks of…

  • raw acoustic drums from overhead and kick mic
  • audio from the RYTM drum sound module
  • audio from the MS1 as “metronome”

Proof of CONCEPT !

Here is the whole shebang with acoustic, electronic, and guide-layers.

Here is “just the drums” sound (no guide-track included)




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