Electronic drum

Electronic drum

An electronic drum is a percussion instrument in which the sound is generated by an electronic waveform generator or sampler instead of by acoustic vibration.

How electronic drums work

When an electronic drum pad is struck, a voltage change is triggered in the embedded piezoelectric transducer (piezo) or force sensitive resistor (FSR). The resultant signals are transmitted to an electronic "drum brain" via TS or TRS cables, and are translated into digital waveforms, which produce the desired percussion sound assigned to that particular trigger pad. Most newer drum modules have trigger inputs for 2 or more cymbals, a kick, 3-4 toms, a dual-zone snare, (head and rim) and a hi-hat. The hi-hat has a foot controller which produces open and closed sounds with some models offering variations in-between. By having the ability to assign different sounds to any given pad, the electronic drummer has nearly unlimited potential for configuring many different sounding drum kits from one set of electronic drums. Additionally, electronic drummers can sample non-percussive sounds and use them as drum sounds, as is the case with most industrial music. Many see this as a great advantage over acoustic drums, as one can have a jazz, rock or ballad drumset by merely changing the kit selector switch on the module.

Early electronic drums

From an interview with Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues:

Question-"One of the strangest pieces was 'Procession' (Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, 1971) which featured the pioneering work of Graeme Edge's electronic drum kit. How did that come about?"

Graeme-"...I'd got in touch with the professor of electronics at Sussex University, Brian Groves. We worked up an electronic drum kit, a marvelous idea. I had the control panel in front of me, it's old hat now but we were the first to do it. There were pieces of rubber with silver paper on the back with a silver coil that moved up and down inside a magnet that produced a signal, so it was touch sensitive. I had 5 snares across the top and then ten tom-toms and then a whole octave of bass drums underneath my feet and then four lots of 16 sequencers, two on each side. There was a gap--to play a space--a tambourine, ebony stick, snare and three tom-toms. This was pre-chip days, back then you did it all with transistors. So it had something like 500 transistors. The electronic drums inside looked something like spaghetti. When it worked it was superb, but it was before its day, because it was so sensitive..."

Many drummers claim that early electronic drums gave only an approximation of the sound of acoustic drums, as there were often technical issues with triggering, as well as musical issues such as decreased range of dynamic and tonal subtlety. Consequently, the pioneering electronic drumsets such as the early Pollard Syndrum, Simmons and Yamaha models, were often used for certain types of rock, disco and techno genres in which the drums were usually expected to play a specific pattern or beat repeatedly with no variation in timbre. These were little more than manual sequencers, except for the Pollard Syndrum which was the first pro recording studio quality electronic drum. It had timbre, reliable triggering and full dynamic audio range beyond the human ear. The Pollard Syndrum is still highly sought after by pro drummers and musicians for recording.

It should be noted that there are inexpensive low-end drums and modules currently in production whose quality is just marginally better than some of their pioneering counterparts. For the most part, these new electronic drums are targeted toward the hobbyist or novice drummer.

Recent innovations

s ranging between $2,195.00 and $6,699.00. [http://www.musiciansfriend.com] Typically, these high-end kits are equipped with:

*High quality digital samples- These modules offer 24 bit samples of actual percussion sounds with hundreds of samples from which to choose.

*Positional sensing and dynamic impact detection- The module can detect which area of the drum head is impacted, and provide a sample representative of that strike on an acoustic head. Additionally, the volume and timbre of the strike is dependent on the strength of the impact.

*Multiple triggers- Snares and Toms have impact zones for both the head and the rim, allowing for rim and cross shots as well as shell tapping. Cymbals can accommodate zones for edge, bow and bell strikes.

*Realistic Hi-Hats- These are mounted on standard stands, and allow for actual open and closed foot playing. An electronic module within the unit detects the movement and provides variations of open, partially open, and closed samples as played, with different sounds assigned to a foot close, and a quick close-open.

*Multiple outputs- These modules have multiple 'outs' to the sound board such that each percussion group (ie. Toms, Cymbals, etc) can be independently mixed (like the multiple miking of an acoustic kit). Additionally, these groups have independent volume faders on the module to fine tune volume settings for each group.

*Expansion slots/MIDI connections- for upgrading samples and software as they are improved through continuing R&D efforts.

Though these innovations may help attract serious drummers, many purists feel that electronic drum kits will never offer the same nuances and playability of an acoustic set.Fact|date=March 2008

Electronic drumming communities

The following are links to community sites: forums, mailing lists, etc... related to electronic drumming:
* [http://www.vdrums.com/ VDrums.com] : Unofficial Roland V-Drum site.
* [http://www.drumlinks.com/drum-links-electronic.htm DrumLinks.com] : Numerous links to electronic drums-related sites.
* [http://edrum.for.free.fr/ EDrum For Free] : DIY electronic drums.
* [http://www.edrum.info/ eDrum – Trigger MIDI Converter] : Create a Trigger to MIDI Controller yourself.
* [http://www.megadrum.info/ MegaDrum – Atmega based Trigger MIDI Converter] : Another DIY Trigger to MIDI Controller.
* [http://members.cox.net/ampage/triggers.htm Drum Triggers DIY] : Create an electronic drum kit yourself.
* [http://www.drumbalaya.com/Beatnik-mirror/mykit.html BeaTniK DIY] : Convert acoustic drums to electronic drums.
* [http://www.edrumming.com] : Forum discussing all electronic drums.
* [http://drumgearnews.blogspot.com/2007/02/can-i-turn-my-acoustic-kit-into.html] : Can I turn my acoustic kit into an electronic kit?.
* [http://www.edrums.info/ EDrums.info] : DIY Electronic Mesh Head Drums.
* [http://www.edrumforum.com/ eDrumForum] Discuss all theings eDrum Related
* [http://code.google.com/p/lad-drum/] : Open Source electronic drum project.
* [http://www.edrummonitor.com/ eDrumMonitor & eTrigger] : leading electronic drum software community


Companies that produce electronic drum modules, trigger pads, and acoustic triggers:
* [http://www.alesis.com/ Alesis]
* [http://www.alternatemode.com Alternate Mode]
* [http://www.boomtheory.com/ Boom Theory]
* [http://www.dauz.com/ Dauz]
* [http://www.ddrum.com Ddrum]
* [http://www.drumtech.com/ Drum Tech]
* [http://www.hartdynamics.com/ Hart Dynamics]
* [http://www.synesthesiacorp.com/ Synesthesia Mandala Drums]
* [http://www.pintechworld.com/ Pintech]
* [http://www.retpercussion.us/ RET Percussion]
* [http://www.rolandus.com/products/subcategories.aspx?ParentId=14 Roland Corporation]
* [http://www.v-drums.com/ V-Drums.com]
* [http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/sherpa/ Sherpa]
* [http://www.simmonsdrums.net/ Simmons]
* [http://www.smartrigger.com/ Smartrigger]
* [http://www.staffdrum.com.br/ Staff Drum]
* [http://www.percussion-systems.com/main.html Wirges Percussion]
* [http://www.xm-world.com/ XM company]
* [http://www.global.yamaha.com/products/music/drums.html Yamaha Corporation]
* [http://www.2box.se/ 2box]

Artists who use electronic drums

* Danny Carey (Tool) – several [http://synesthesiacorp.com/ Mandala] and Simmons drums
* Tim Alexander (Primus)
* Bill Bruford in (King Crimson) and (ABWH)
* Igor Cavalera (Sepultura)
* Sean Reinert (Cynic)
* Travis Barker on new Plus 44 album
* Hal Blaine session drummer Pollard Syndrum
* Phil Collins (Genesis) – Simmons kit on Genesis and Invisible Touch albums
* Rocky Gray (Evanescence) – Wirges kit
* David Kennedy (Angels & Airwaves) on Angels & Airwaves 2008 Tour.
* Nick Mason (Pink Floyd)Pollard Syndrums
* Tats Faustino
* Roger Taylor - Queen
* Wolfgang Flur, {Karl Bartos} {Kraftwerk} world's first manual electronic drum kit, 1973.
* Neil Peart (Rush)
* Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater – triggered kick, snare, and toms used on "Images and Words")
* Christoph Schneider (Rammstein) – Hybryd Drum set During Herzeleid and Sehnsucht era
* Stuart Elliott (The Alan Parsons Project) – Simmons kit
* Akira Jimbo
* Mickey Dolenz: During the Monkees' mid 90s reunion tour
* Rick Allen (Def Leppard) – used a custom-designed Simmons kit in order to continue playing after losing his left arm in a car accident. Currently uses Hart Dynamics toms.
* Alan White of Yes
* Stephen Morris (New Order & Joy Division)
* Bill Rieflin (Ministry , Revolting Cocks , KMFDM & R.E.M)
* Alex Van Halen Prominently used on the 1984-For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge albums and tours (and can be seen in music and live videos during that era, Alex has since gone back to acoustic drums.
* Keith Moon (The Who) Pollard Syndrum
* Jay Moore (Primal State) – Reality Resistant EP
* Alan Myers (DEVO) – Synare drum pads
* Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode)
* Colm Ó Cíosóig (My Bloody Valentine) on the "Loveless" album.

ee also

* Zendrum
* Drum machine

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