There’s something to be said for delivering more than you promise – especially in the e-drum market characterised by hype.
So, hats off to Pearl (actually to Steven Slate Drums) for the latest update to the mimicPRO module.
The long-awaited update includes a range of compatibility improvements and performance enhancements.
These include new trigger presets for a range of third-party triggers, including Lemon and ATV, which make it easier to dial in a growing array of pads and cymbals.
The big advance for many drummers is the inclusion of positional sensing – previously only available on Roland modules and, more recently, the GEWA drum brains. Interestingly, the positional sensing works with multi-sensor drum pads like the ATV 13” snare – and not just with centre-mounted sensors like in the Roland implementation.
The module also gains a swag of new sounds in the form of 40 new Slate-sourced kits.
And if that was not enough, the software team has also delivered the Mimic Pro Instrument Editor, a tool that allows users to add their own samples.
There’s been some debate about the need for and value of these sample-loading tools, with many insiders arguing that very few module owners have the motivation or resources to add their own samples.
This was one of the unique properties of the 2box Drumit Five module when it launched in 2011. The 2box solution was touted as a drummer-friendly ecosystem “with special emphasis … on easy-to-use interfaces bundled with intuitive editing software”. The free software made it possible to easily add multi-layer samples to the module with the ease of a drag-and-drop interface.
The Mimic Pro Instrument Editor, available for both Windows and Mac, is an extremely powerful tool that allows users to add multi-layer samples to their module. Like the 2box solution, users can add samples arranged in various velocity levels so that the sounds change as you hit harder or softer. But the new solution goes a step further – allowing users to arrange samples in round robins (several samples at each velocity level) to overcome the risk of machinegunning.
digitalDrummer tested the Mac version of the editor and was impressed with its ease of use, power and performance.
We selected instruments from an EZdrummer 3 kit and used Xtractpler (Windows users can also use SDSE) to generate multi-layer, multi-sample instruments. The biggest challenge was working out how to rename the samples so that they could be dragged in bulk into the appropriate cells in the editor (the secret is to name them by velocity first and round robin second!).
It should be noted that the editor software does not accommodate hi-hat samples – you can only use it for drums, cymbals and percussion instruments.
The resulting instruments and kits are relatively easy to install into the module – which is refreshing after the trials and tribulations of sample loading for many of the drum products on the market at the moment.
Users should note, however, that the imported sounds are not as editable as the stock samples. You cannot, for example, adjust the overhead or room levels as those are already locked into the imported samples. So, if you’re wanting any special sound treatment, you need to add that in the VST before exporting the samples.
In short, the software update breathes new life into one of the leading modules on the market – adding compatibility with more trigger pads, improving triggering accuracy and power, delivering positional sensing, adding a significant number of new samples and kits (for free!) and providing new customisation options through the powerful, intuitive new sample-adding solution.
Well done Pearl – and the Slate programmers who created the improvements.