Check Position Sensing — ddrum4

***Attention Do-it-yourselfers or anyone else who wants to see how well their pads play positionally using a ddrum4 module.***

(Posted May 22, 2001 on the Ddrums.com site by me–regarding my pads used with a Ddrum4 module)

This is really cool. I just figured it out the other day and finally tried it out earlier today. You don’t even need to use positional ddrum samples!!!

See page 19 of the ddrum4 manual where it refers to the “NOTE P” function of each channel. Apparently, the ddrum4 will send positional information via midi according to this Note P setting. Either 1,2,4 or 8 consecutive midi notes will be assigned to different positions on a pad, starting from the center and moving outward.

I used a DMPro for this experiment, triggered via midi by the ddrum4 and my Rhythm Traveler pads. For the sake of clearly differentiating the different positions, I used 8 separate chromatic samples (marimba) tuned progressively lower than each other and corresponding to 8 consecutive midi numbers (I used 38 thru 45). I assigned the ddrum4 channel to 38 and set “Note P” to 8 and hit my pad all over. I tried it with 4 and 2 as well.

If your pad is positionally accurate, you will hear the highest note in the center with progressively lower notes as you move outward and the lowest note closest to the rim.

You can probably do the same experiment with the ddrum4 only. Set up a single trigger pad and choose a default midi number. Assign seven other channels to the proper consecutive midi numbers and set up the samples so you can distinguish between positions as well as the positional order. Plug in the midi cable to both the in and out jacks of the ddrum4. Turn off the local control so you only hear what is played via midi.

Remember that not all ddrum4 samples are set up with positional sounds–thus the benefit of assigning different samples and testing via midi. This is especially helpful for people like me who are trying to convert their own pads to play like the ddrums, and for those who use samplers and want to create their own positional samples.

Josh T.


ADDED June 19, 2001 in response to a question…

Surely if you can hear positional changes in the marimba notes in the “slave” module you can also hear changes in the controller ddrum module’s drum sounds UNLESS the ddrum sounds are not set up with position sensing. I have tried many of the mega snare sounds with no sign of position capability. I’ve only tried a few toms. The 6-8 samples really (unfortunately)seem to be only for velocity. Therefore, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your pads.

On the other hand, snare samples 219, 220, and 221 have very obvious positional changes. I can hear two different zones with 219 & 221 and three zones with 220. I do find it ironic, however, that Clavia would give us such intricate position technology (as many as 8 zones) but not include many positional samples, especially with their best samples!

Also, I started this thread before I had a successful positional experiment. Since then, both successful experiments (old ddrum pad modification and 13″ snare conversion) have only reached 98% perfection. Note P value 8 does yield 8 zones, but 1 or 2 of the 8 notes seem to get skipped over some of the time. However, values 4 and 2 seem to work flawlessly. This is probably due to the narrowness of the 8 concentric zones vs. the wideness of 2 or 4-zone positioning.

Keep this in mind: when I had my TD-8 I only noticed TWO zones–ringy and non-ringy. The ddrum4 can read 8 zones with fair precision. Just think–a 6″ radius split into 8 sections; that’s an average zone width of 3/4″.

I wouldn’t worry about your soldering. I really don’t think it’s an issue here. I’d bet that people with the default cast precision pads would experience similar subtle inconsistencies. Remember also that I had the same success with a radio shack piezo and a non-stock aluminum plate as I did with the old ddrum plate and Clavia-supplied piezo.

Josh T.


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