digitalDrummer May 2016 (PDF)

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Edition 26 MAY 2016


high on

Look, no wires! DIY bucket list Rack ‘em up



©2016 Avedis Zildjian Company

“The Gen16 is like having more
fun colors in your crayon box.
And they don’t bother my
ears, the neighbors, or anyone
is my house!”

“I’m now able to apply
DSP and EFX to just one
cymbal. This has never
before been an option.”

“Adding Gen16 to my acoustic
drum setup has given me access
to new and creative sounds.”

“With all of the electronics I use, it’s
great to be able to process from
a direct source for new textures.”

Gen16 is a true hybrid system, blending acoustic with electric. It contains
Buffed Bronze cymbals, Direct Source Pickups and the powerful Digital
Cymbal Processor. Discover a whole new world of cymbal sounds with the
Zildjian Gen16 System.

dd_may_2016_Layout 3 18/04/16 12:22 PM Page 3

--from-the-editor-is published by


ABN: 61 833 620 984
30 Oldfield Place

Brookfield Q 4069
Editor & Publisher
Allan Leibowitz

Solana da Silva
Cliff Hewitt

Scott Holder
Mark Norton

Wolfgang Stolzle
Cover Photo

Jon-Robinson Pratt

Design and layout
‘talking business’
Support digitalDrummer

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digitalDRUMMER, May 2016

THERE WERE FEW new offerings at Musikmesse, the second
major music trade show on the calendar, but given the
number of new products we saw at NAMM in January, that’s
hardly surprising.

We report on the European show in this edition, and include a
wrap-up of who was there and what they had on display.

Speaking of new stuff, there are a couple of debuts reported in
this magazine. Firstly, we include the first detailed review of
the ATV aD5 module which impressed us with its trigger
versatility and quality sounds.

It’s not often we are genuinely surprised, but a small product
from Romania really impressed us recently. The Versatrigger
system is the first wireless e-drum solution we’ve seen – and
not only does it work, but it eliminates the need for a module
or trigger-to-MIDI adapter for VSTs. And it does this at an
extremely reasonable price. Versatrigger is on the verge of
revolutionising electronic percussion. All that is missing is a
cymbal solution (including a hi-hat controller), but the inventor
is already making serious progress.

Another new product which arrived on digitalDrummer’s test
bed is the 42box hi-hat conversion kit. This box is designed to
enable 2box module owners to connect Roland hi-hat
products. To date, 2box owners were limited to the
proprietary hi-hats or to an adapter kit from Stealth Acoustics.
But the 42box takes a different approach, connecting the FD8 controller or the whole VH-11 solution to the module.
This month’s profiled artist is Heidi Joubert, the YouTube
sensation credited with raising the profile of the humble cajon.
Joubert has become the face of Roland’s electronic cajon
product, and she shares her drumming career story and
views on electronics in our interview.
As usual, this edition has some DIY advice, with a step-by-step
guide to building a drum from a plastic bucket, and we also
test a couple of trigger kits which have evolved from previous

We also take a look back at some of the kits which have
graced our Monster Kit feature over the past 25 editions. This
section has included kits from around the globe – some
bigger than others, but all equally impressive for one reason
or another. We get lots of positive feedback about this
regular feature and if you’d like to share your kit with an
audience eager for inspiration, please shoot me an email and
we’ll tell you what we need.

We hope you enjoy this edition and welcome any comments,
suggestions and advice.


dd_may_2016_Layout 3 18/04/16 12:22 PM Page 4

The global electronic drumming e-zine
Edition 26



May 2016


Fewer at smaller Musikmesse

After a brace of new products at NAMM, there was just a
smattering of new products at Musikmesse in Frankfurt.

aDding to the mix

Since it was unveiled at NAMM, the aD5 module has
attracted strong interest. Allan Leibowitz was among the
first to test the newcomer.

Triggers finally untethered

Tired of the tangle? A new wireless trigger solution finally
sets your drums free and digitalDrummer got hold of
some samples.

Meshing with DM10

Five years after the release of kits built around the DM10
module and mylar-based heads, Alesis takes dead aim at
the Roland-dominated mesh world with the DM10 X Mesh

Rack 'em up

Most e-drum kits are supported by racks and, as
digitalDrummer found, there are plenty of alternatives
and upgrade options.

2box: meet Roland

A new product makes it easy to use Roland hi-hats with
the 2box DrumIt Five module. digitalDrummer got hold of
one of the first units to roll off the production line.

dd_may_2016_Layout 3 18/04/16 12:22 PM Page 5







Heidi Joubert

When Roland launched its electronic cajon, it chose Heidi
Joubert as the face of the instrument. Allan Leibowitz
caught up with the Internet sensation between
demonstrations at NAMM in Anaheim

How I use e-drums

Cliff Hewitt continues to push the boundaries of drumming,
applying a hybrid approach to his performances with
Tomoyasu Hotei.


Trigger updates

Two European trigger makers have updated their designs.
digitalDrummer previously reviewed the originals, so, to
keep readers up to date, we tried the revised versions.

One for the bucket list

DIYers always have drums in mind when they look at
household items, and Mark Norton found his inspiration in
a plastic bucket.


My Monster Kit

To date, we have featured 25 monsters, so we now
celebrate some of the great kits which have graced this
spread so far.

ws ... Get the latest e-drum news at ... G
digitalDRUMMER, May 2016


dd_may_2016_Layout 3 18/04/16 12:22 PM Page 6

Fewer at smaller



PHOTO: PIETRO SuTERA/Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH

After a brace of new products at NAMM, there
was just a smattering of new products at
Musikmesse in Frankfurt. Wolfgang Stoelzle
reports on some of the instruments seen for the
first time in Europe.

dd_may_2016_Layout 3 18/04/16 12:22 PM Page 7

new format this year, opening its
doors to the public throughout the
show, but a number of big
manufacturers and distributors were
notably absent.

Roland showed off its EL
Cajon EC-10 which made its
debut in Anaheim, but also
released a new beaterless
bass drum pedal, the KT-9.
This lower-priced version of
the KT-10 is super quiet,
easy to transport and set up
and features rock-solid
metal construction. Another
new offering was the FD-9
hi-hat controller, an update
of the FD-8 and similar in
build to the KT-9.

Pedal power at Roland
(above), ATV behind
closed doors (left) and
2box (below)

ATV showed its aD5 module behind
closed doors, as it did at NAMM.
There has been a firmware update
since the launch, but there are still
some functionality restrictions like
the RJ-45 interface, the USB port
(MIDI only at the moment) and the
SD card slot (currently only used to
update the firmware).

2box was at the show, but hints of a
new kit proved premature, and the
previously seen DrumIt Five kit was
the only product on display.
digitalDRUMMER, May 2016


dd_may_2016_Layout 3 18/04/16 12:22 PM Page 8

Roland was not alone on the e-cajon
bandwagon - De Gregorio had its
Centaur E-Cajon on show through its
German distributor, Box Of Trix. The
Centaur, which actually also launched
at NAMM, has 30 digital sounds on
board. A MicroSD slot allows user
custom samples to be loaded. The
cajon has three trigger zones. Unlike its
Japanese competitor, it needs external

Yamaha, as it does every year, had its
own exhibition area and set up almost
every configuration of its DTX product
line. Among the kits on show were the
new DTX760k and DTX720k

Nord has updated its drum offering with the launch of
the new Nord Drum 3 module and the compact Nord
Drum 3P multi-pad unit. Upgrades from the Nord Drum
2 include reverb and delay effects, a simplified sound
selection mode and new sound banks for quickly
creating custom kits on the fly.

Centaur E-Cajon (top), Yamaha (left),
Nord Drum 3P (above) and Polyend

And now for something completely different: a MIDIcontrolled system of ‘drum sticks’ embedded in a ball
which can be attached to the rim of an acoustic drum.
The Polyend solution still leaves enough room for a real
drummer to jam along. The latency between the MIDI
event and the "drumstick" hitting the head is supposed
to be around 20 milliseconds. The system supports all
127 dynamic levels of MIDI. The controller with one ball
will cost around €500, with each additional ‘ball’ costing
With additional reporting by Allan Leibowitz.

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