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Acoustic vs. Electric


aframe9999

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I'm glad we finally have a drummer forum!!! Yippeee! I'm really a guitar player, but I'm also a closet drummer......so don't kick me out or anything......

 

Here goes: The drummer in my band plays electric drums (and cymbals). I happen to like the versatility and volume control.

 

However, this has been the source of many contentious debates on other boards.

 

So let's kick it off! What do you think? let's get it on.......

 

------------------

Andrew

 

My Band:

http://www.encoreentertainment.net/rockcandy.htm

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Presently, I think while electric drums (i.e Roland V-pro kit probably being the best of the lot) have come light years in a very short amount of time, they still are *probably* best used as a percussive effect that is - not trying to emulate a classic acoustic drum set sound. For Dance/Ambient Drum n bass stuff i think they can be really cool & verstile, for Rock or Jazz...well, they still aren't there yet. For my ears anyway.

 

Then again you have guys like Omar Hakim cutting his solo record on them, so go figure......

 

ajc

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I'm glad someone brought this topic up as it was nagging at me from another thread on the boards.

 

Neil Peart was one of the first I can remember that incorporated electrics and acoustics that was in the limelight (no pun intended). The electrics sound very electric and the acoustics, well, they're all Neil of course! The difference in tones are very effective.

 

In my personal set up, live, I don't use electrics, cause we are a rock/jazz fusion thing. I just play a great sounding sonor 5 piece. I kinda hate setting up electrics live too...especially in an original club where you are with 3 other bands. One might get lucky with a good monitor mix but you know how that goes.

 

On the current cd I used my td-8 module and an octapad on a tune for some bizarre effects (stereo overdubs) that the roland brains can create with adjustable pitch and decay parameters. They are a toy for me.

 

I'm a purist I guess. And I strive to make a tune sound hip with groove and tasteful chops-or I just go for it. I have my voice that took me a long time to find and I love it. There is something to say about a great band with their own signature sound/drum sound.

 

Now, a session cat might want all the different tones for studio work. But I'm not sure there are alotta cats out there like that. But as studio time is precious, a plug and play kit might be great for some people who need a latin timbale, conga thing, hip hop thing.

 

Everyone is on their own trip and man, that is great.

 

But I'm a dinosaur. I like technique, feel, personality-I love outside music, bordering on the structured avantgaurd...I hate commercial shit. And just because some big name likes V-drums doesn't mean doodley to me. Cause 9 x out of 10 I will probably hate their sound anyways. I am so jaded by the music biz cause of my experiences. So I went back to my piano playing again and listening to the classics...the chords, the runs, the rhythmic groupings...it is like I'm running away from technology.

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aframe,

Ha, a comrad! I also play guitar primarily but have been doing the drum thing for a couple of years and now almost consider myself to be both.

 

I play acoustic, but at the top of my list is an electronic set. I want both. I want the electronic for recording, songwriting and late night practice sessions.

Get this, I actually like the rubber pads better than the new school of mesh. I would say it is probably a desire to sound better than I am, but if I get on a set with the rubber pads, I'm wailing!! It's a rush. It seems I can get the serious recoil and response with almost no effort.

My goal would be the Roland Studio Set. V-Drum sounds and the old style rubber pads.

 

I have to say that when I get a set, I will use them to record, but I will definitely be using real cymbals and a real snare.

 

This message has been edited by dr destructo on 03-23-2001 at 03:50 PM

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I'm a keyboard player, so I have been "forced" in the digital world. But ther are 2 things no one is going to take away from me. 1. My leslie cabinet and 2. Real Drums.

I use the drum kits on my Triton just to fill in until I get to the studio, but just as you really can't digitally capture the warmth of a real leslie nor can you be as inspired by playing an organ thru anything else, so it is with drums. I know a couple of drummers who sound pretty convincing playing electric drums or, for that matter, banging away on a keyboard. But, acoustic drums are just a main course in the primal expression of emotion for everyone. There is an earthiness that we all can relate to that is almost spiritual that is not only heard, but felt. And yes, I know that Dr Laura says that we shouldn't rely on feelings. But she is simply full of shit. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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If you like the rubber pads so much get an older roland pad kit and hook it up to the new brain...TD-8 "sold seperately" Watch out for CPS...pads can really screw with your wrists...especially if one's playing technique is not up to par. I was forced to slave away in a pad room at PIT and music school and HS when I couldn't get on a kit. I sooner quit playing drums than have to practice on those things again. Hours of rudiments, etc. I was miserable half the time.

 

I have heard that playing another instrument besides drums helps one play more musically...I tend to agree.

 

It is like playing a keyboard vs. a grand. I have a weighted action QS-8 and I only play it on my lunch breaks for about 15 minutes. I hate the action.

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Originally posted by felix stein:

If you like the rubber pads so much get an older roland pad kit and hook it up to the new brain...TD-8 "sold seperately" Watch out for CPS...pads can really screw with your wrists...especially if one's playing technique is not up to par. I was forced to slave away in a pad room at PIT and music school and HS when I couldn't get on a kit. I sooner quit playing drums than have to practice on those things again. Hours of rudiments, etc. I was miserable half the time.

 

I have heard that playing another instrument besides drums helps one play more musically...I tend to agree.

 

It is like playing a keyboard vs. a grand. I have a weighted action QS-8 and I only play it on my lunch breaks for about 15 minutes. I hate the action.

 

Dittos on the poor qs8 action. I have actuall bruised my fingertips playing mine. I'll probably have to pay to have it hauled away when I get rid of it.

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After 35 years of playing drums, i would never return to "live" kits. Have been recording with Kurzweil racks and FatKat drum pads for many years now......much easier on the hands and the ears!!! With 21 pads at your sticks command and with 10 seperate outputs on the Kurzweil racks--not to mention the simple editing with Midi for mix down+++++once the client sees how much time ($) and energy is saved>>there is no ?>>>,, we have allowed "electronic" percussion only, for the last 15 years---in our 3 studios. I occasionally play live with a 10 piece orchestra, including strings and brass, and the clients love the fact we have control over the volume--since many a time the drums dictate the size a room/stage must be for a performance """""""

 

thanks cjogo

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Thanks for the interesting topic. I am looking forward to hearing more thoughts from fellow drummers. I have long been excited by the potential of electronic drums, but generally disappointed with them in any application besides integrated with acoustic drums and cymbals. I own a Ddrum 4 kit and feel the drum sounds and dynamics are the best available, but they still can not translate the full tone and dynamic range I am putting forth.

 

I have been especially disappointed with the cymbals on electronic kits. I checked out the new Roland kit at NAMM. The mechanism is getting very realistic. Even the open and closed hihat is cool. However when I hear the cymbals it sounds like a drum machine, a good drum machine, but still a drum machine.

 

I would love to play all electronics. I love the versatility, ease of set-up and volume control. However I can not sacrifice sound and feel. I am hoping to hear some ideas from my fellow drummers in this forum that could allow me to eventually play an all electric kit and enjoy it.

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The Kurzweils seem to have very decent cymbals---albeit you do have to tweak the length/velocity of the sample, somewhat..the crash has to linger just a little longer on most samples. We always add separate tracks and manually create the cymbals/rides on the keyboard---just embellish the MIDI performance of the drums- so as the crash (from the drummers performance) just starts to descend,we leave a "trail" mixed from different samples,that adds that "live" sound>>>>i.e. starting from maybe the bell samples of the cymbals tone---to the sides and blend! This has worked wonders for us over 10 years..

 

Kindly cjogo

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not a purist, but I can tell you there is electronic kits simply cannot compare to acoustic kits. The reason is the performance you get from drummers. I think most drummers play from an emotional or "feel" level... i.e. the best drummers know that a good drum recording is about understanding the feel of a song and making their performance support that. You cannot get the same kind of immediate tactile response from electonic kits the way you can with acoustic. I record and perform with both and it's like night and day. The V Drums come awfully damn close. Their newer kits at NAMM were stunning. Close, but not quite there. To capture the best performance out of a drummer, there is no substitute for that stick to head back to the ears kind of vibe. Not to mention the magic of mic placement, room, and all the other intangibles. There is far more art and far better results from live kits.

 

My 2 cents.

 

 

This message has been edited by sidereal on 04-20-2001 at 07:28 PM

Just for the record.
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I could speak from a drummer's point of view, I have played drums for many years and actually spent some of those years doing some serious woodshedding.

 

BUT

 

I won't because to me what matters most is the listeners' perspective.

 

As a listener of music, I immediately lose my desire when I hear electronic drums, programmed or played. Acoustic drums mixed well or badly still sound better and move the spirit in a way electronic simply never will.

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Truth: Amen! Totally agree.

 

When I'm playing guitar I wanna stand in front of the drummer and feel the hair go up on the back of my neck when the drums start moving air. Try that with an electric kit. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gif

 

--Lee

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I am a drummer/vocalist who has been playing v-drums for two years now and I would never go back to acoustic drums....what a pain in the ass...

dragging all those huge cases around and all that hardware...I can set a v-drum kit up in 15-20 minutes..and tear it down even quicker...

 

A V-drum kit pumped out of its own monitoring system is truly amazing...

I use two JBL EON G2's and a subwoofer and it beats the crap out of any acoustic rig I've ever had...at my fingertips I have my module routed to my Mackie mixer, sonic maximizer, and samplers, and my band mates love it cause the on stage decibel level is totally manageable....

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Truth: Amen! Totally agree.

 

When I'm playing guitar I wanna stand in front of the drummer and feel the hair go up on the back of my neck when the drums start moving air. Try that with an electric kit. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gif

 

--Lee

 

Exactly,

The combustion sound waves, the sound of a good kit, and for some reason, I prefer watching someone play acoustic drums over electric.

I do incorporate electric in with acoustic via Drum Kat and samplers, mostly for FX, sequences, enhancements etc...

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OK, Looks like everyone agrees that in most cases, the Electronic kit should *NOT* replace the Acoustic. But, what does everyone think about incorporating electronics into the acoustic set-up? To accentuate and color much in the same way all of the other voices in your set do?

Keep it coming!

DJ

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I am starting to love my electrics and I think I was the first to knock them!

 

Guitarists can't feel the wind in your hair...well, let me crank up the 3000 watt QSC.

 

I really think hitting those little pads squarely in the center have been improving my control.

 

I'm not going to trash my sonors yet though...yes I have incorporated electrics with acoustics...I will be posting MP3 snippets as soon as they are toast. The tune is called "March of the Zombies"-hope you will like it.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all. Great topic. I have been a drummer for 37 years, classically trained, (symphonic tympani), spent 4 years at Berklee in Boston, (comp major), been on the road in the 80s with a prog rock/fusion band, (Carl Palmer size kit), and now own my own recording studio where I engineer and produce as well as play drum tracks. Acoustic vs. electric? It all depends on the application.

I still have my old road kit, ('71 Slingerlands), an undersized jazz kit, and various drum brains with choices of pads. Even an old set of Pollard Syndrums, (early analog drum synth, pre-MIDI). On one recent CD I used digital kick and toms, acoustic cymbals and my Noble and Cooley snare. Great sound, minimum mic set up, no bleed on the tracks. I would never play electrics on a jazz session, but they are great on pop/techno/new age whatever. (Live, in a wedding/corp band the electrics give you great control on volume.) Would you use heavy Zildjin rock crashes on a mellow ballad or do you switch to Sabian Control Sounds. Don't think of one as better or worse, they are all just different sounds and colors to draw from depending on the music. After all, keyboardists have hundreds of presets to choose from, guitarists have huge pedal boards and processors, why should we be restricted to only one sound? Embrace and enjoy the diversity that technology has offered us.

 

 

------------------

Derry Hirsch

Platamoose Productions

platamoose@visi.com

Derry Hirsch

Platamoose Productions

platamoose@visi.com

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I have had this ideology of using a minimum amount of drums to create a maximum emotional effect on the listener for some time now. Sorta like how a black and white photo is Vs. a color photo. And I always thought it might be cheating using bigger kits or electronics as opposed to technique, feel and attitude. I personally think it is a more noble endeavor to try and accomplish this in one's compositions using a minimalist (as in sound sources) approach. But I see the point of adding additional color to one's sound....

 

In this day in age a fine balance should be observed of the above and the infinite amount of tonal sources available to the drummer today. That is the tricky part.

 

Felix Stein

"the expert"

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