Five e-drum fails

For the most part, electronic drums are plug and play and all thats needed is to connect the pads and cymbals to the module and youre set to go. However, there are a few common mistakes that could not only impact on the performance, but actually damage your instruments.

1. Felt beaters on mesh kick pads

While it may seem counterintuitive, hard beaters are better for mesh heads than softer felt beaters. Felt actually meltsthe mesh over time. If you do like the feel of a felt beater, make sure you use a patch on the strike zone of the mesh head.

2. Playing e-drums through your home stereo

E-drummers often want to share their drumming rather than being limited to monitoring through headphones. We regularly hear about players who plugged their module output into a home stereo and very quickly blew the speakers. Drum output is unique, with lots of low-end thump and requires special amplification. Use a dedicated drum amp or a professional music monitor with lots of low-end capability.

3. Trying to connect wireless headphones

Drummers want the freedom of wireless in-ears or headphones, but the main challenge here is latency the delay between the hit and the sound in your ears. Wireless headphones put a significant delay on the signal. According to some experts, regular wired connections generally have audio latency of 5-10 ms. The best Bluetooth headphones register around 35 ms, but most add 100-300 ms even more for noise-reducing solutions. Thats on top of the 5-10 ms latency of the module itself. Thats why most modules do not have Audio Out over Bluetooth.

4. Confusing threshold and sensitivity

When e-drummers arent able to get the drums to play loud enough, the automatic tendency is to increase sensitivity. But thats not always the best tweak.

Sensitivity determines how the trigger responds to hitting strength dynamics. As Roland explains it: Low values will make the trigger less responsive to hitting strength. Very high sensitivities allow playing with fingers but will effectively reduce the dynamics when playing with sticks.

Threshold, on the other hand, determines how hard you have to hit before a sound is triggered. If its set too low, the slightest touch (or even vibrations from nearby instruments) can trigger the drum; too high and no matter how hard you hit, you wont trigger sounds.

And then theres Response Curve: this controls the relationship between striking force and trigger signal strength and is often the best way to dial in a drum or cymbal.

5. Splitting inputs

When you run out of inputs on your module, the temptation is to split some of your dual-zone triggers using a simple Y-cable (TRS-TS/TS). You may not, for example, need rim sounds on your toms, so you want to allocate those inputs to additional drums. However, many popular modules are not configured for two separate signals, so a special adapter with a resistor added on the TRS side is required. These cables are now available from several sources, but if you are DIY-savvy, you can make them yourself. A search of the main e-drum forums should uncover the wiring diagram.


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