Adapter optimises CYs for 2box
Thursday, 1 March 2018 8:36 am
A new adapter allows Roland cymbals to be used with a 2box module, and digitalDrummer put it to the test.
Last year, Zourman Drums solved one of the burning 2box issues by releasing an adapter which freed owners from the need to use the proprietary hi-hat system. Now, the Swedish inventor has taken the next step, applying his approach to the two-into-one-doesn’t-go challenge for e-cymbals.
The 2box module is designed for the one-cable 2box cymbals. It uses velocity to trigger bell sounds. Roland and other manufacturers use a separate bell sensor and therefore require two stereo leads – one for bow/edge/choke and a second dedicated bell input.
While the 2box system works well enough for many users, some drummers prefer the Roland approach which makes bell triggering easier and more predicable. The challenge thus far has been simple mathematics: you can’t plug two cables into a single cymbal input on the module.
Enter the Zourman 3 Zone Ride Conversion Module, a compact box almost identical to the hi-hat conversion box in design and size. The box, as its name implies, converts the three-zone, two-cable output of Roland CY-13R and CY-15R cymbals to the single-cable signal required by the module.
What’s in the box
The system consists of an orange box with two stereo input jacks and one output. Like the hi-hat box, there’s a threaded M6 slot for attachment to a camera or cymbal mount. The box is supplied with a couple of double-sided mounting tape sections which can be used to stick the box to the side of the module.
There are also easy-to-follow instructions.
The system is designed as a plug and play solution. And it worked as promised: simply connect a cymbal to the two inputs, connect the adapter to the module with a third stereo cable and you’re ready to go.
The only adjustment required is dialling in the cymbal – the same way you would adjust the trigger parameters of any new pad or cymbal.
I used the settings suggested in the instructions and got near-perfect triggering with 13” and 15” Roland rides. The only additional adjustment I needed was a slight tweak of the Bow/Bell knob on the converter. The labelling of the knob was a little unclear, but in essence, moving it clockwise increases the bell sensitivity.
Of course, your ears will tell you if it’s working (if you’re using a three-zone sample), but to check the triggering, simply watch the 2box display and look out for a 1 when the bell is struck, a 4 for bow hits and an 8 for edge triggering.
While many prefer Roland cymbals to the 2box offerings, they are not perfect. Bell triggering takes some practice – you need to hit hard and strike with the shaft of the stick. And you need to hit the right place. But if you can master that, the adapter will help you get more from your module with accurate, predictable bell triggering.
While the adapter is designed to work with Roland e-rides, the good news is that it works equally well with the best analogue (ie. non-digital) electronic cymbal on the market today, the ATV aD-C18 electronic ride. Like Roland cymbals, this ride has a separate bell trigger. Unlike Rolands, it has 360 degree triggering across the entire surface and an acoustic-like bell that doesn’t require a special technique to activate.
The Zourman Drums 3 Zone Ride Conversion Module is a niche product for a small segment of a limited market: 2box owners who want to enhance the bell response of their cymbals. Some would say it addresses a design oversight in the original module – a velocity-triggered bell instead of a separate bell trigger. Indeed, it seems 2box has recognised this “issue”, providing true three-zone triggering in its follow-up module, the DrumIt Three.
For those DrumIt Five owners who already have a three-zone, two-cable Roland cymbal, this box is a windfall. It instantly improves the bell/edge separation and avoids the mis-hits which were so common using just one lead. Touted as plug and play, the module needed only minor tweaking to make the most of third-party cymbals.
Of course, the box doesn’t address the challenges associated with Roland bell triggering – the need to hit hard, hit accurately and strike with the right part of the stick. But anyone forking out the €125 (€109 + €16 shipping) price tag will no doubt be comfortable with the playability of the CYs.
Now, if you want to really maximise the ride playability of the DrumIt Five, consider moving to the new ATV ride. Combined with the Zourman box, this really takes the DrumIt Five to the next level.