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Philosophy Corner

Started by Krillo, September 05, 2022, 08:03:46 AM

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One of the issues with large numbers of velocity layers is the increased risk of making mistakes during editing of files. Sudden drop-outs and increase of latency could be due to there being layers in the dsnd that was not edited correctly. If I'm not mistaken, I remember some of the 2box files actually having this issue.

As drummers, we want to hear a certain mix when we play, while soundguys want to hear something else. I've watched many e-drum videos where cymbals were way too loud in the mix, and I've made the same mistake myself. In order for e-drums to be regarded as real instruments, this issue must be resolved in future systems. In other words: It must be possible to set up separate mixes, or one cue-mix plus direct outs.

With the advent of drum software like Superior Drummer, multichannel sampling must be incorporated, otherwise e-drums will become second class. Already now, most non-drumming musicians, producers and songwriters prefer using this type of software before employing professional drummers. If you on top of this play e-drums, you are out.

Velocity control: Acoustic drums have a natural compression occuring, which e-drums need to mimic. For example, a floor tom does not get significantly louder beyond a certain velocity. The velocity curve flattens out, similar to what a compressor does to the amplitude of a signal. Different drums (snares, small toms, bass drums etc) all have different behaviours when it comes to velocity response, and e-drums need to incorporate this. Setting a flatter velocity curve improves this, but is still not convincing. Often guys employ the "127" solution, where you just crank the gain up to avoid unexpected peaks in velocity due to inconsistent triggering. This of course limits the velocity layer variation and requires round-robin samples to be resolved, especially at the top of the velocity range.

Antother angle on the same issue is the range of loudness of velocity layers. Apart from the actual control of velocity curve, there should be the ability to omit ranges of sample layers. Often the hardest hits in dsnds are much too hard for my playing. An example would be to have the feature to omit layers 90-100 in a dsnd file of 100 layers.

Triggering kick and toms was close to perfected already in the 90's. Snare, hihat and cymbals are still underdeveloped. Releasing e-drums systems without a perfected 3-zone snare is unacceptable in my view. Kick, snare and hihat is the heart of the drumkit and should be a priority. Snare and hihat performance is why I don't upgrade. An e-drum system that limits the player in these areas will not be considered professional instruments. Edge switches and velocity-switching that are plagued with cross talk and false triggering are substandard ways of dealing with these issues.

When I hear young guys playing e-drums, I can hear that they never played an acoustic kit. In many videos it is clear that playing technique is lacking, even though the sound of the e-drums might be fine. The response of e-drums must be such that practising on them makes sense and is rewarding. Practising rudiments, I prefer to use a regular practise pad over an e-drum. The resolution is simply not good enough, and the resolution is a combination of trigger tracking, jitter and sounds. There is a line where the separate sound merges into a continuous sound and a e-drum system should adapt to this, especially on the snare. Doublestroke rolls must be connected timingwise, velocitywise and soundwise. Often I find that my playing technique tracks dynamics better than the e-drums, rendering the use of e-drums for practise counterproductive. For guys not having access to acoustic drums, this will be frustrating and limiting to ones growth as a musician. Endless tweaking of settings are indicators of this, and takes time and focus away from actual playing and pracising. Acoustic drummers are often set-and-forget kind of guys while e-drummers tend to be knob-twirlers, and as long as these issues are not dealt with, this division will remain.

Raw vs polished samples: A pro soundguy knows how to mic and EQ an acoustic drumkit. Inexperienced drummers might be impressed with the polished sound of e-drums. Delivering these already processed sounds to FOH or collaborators limits what they can do with it. This problem is not limitied to e-drums. Sending out raw tracks with no EQ or other processing is becoming rare. It's a problem because many develop unrealistic expectations, not realizing the amount of processing (EQ, compression and noisereduction) that goes into the production of 99% of drum sounds today.

Deve Loper