As drummers know, we don’t always have the easiest gig
Sound engineers, bandmates and even audience members offer plenty of input. This can be anything from telling us to control our volume levels, reduce the amount of gear we have, or broadening our sonic horizons to attract interesting, regular work. Heeding this advice can bring its own issues. It might mean leaving our beloved and reliable old double kick drum setup at home, or down-sizing to a Cajon for certain gigs. However, restrictions don’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal satisfaction. Even with a small rig, by introducing electronics into your setup, your options drastically increase.
Reducing volume or down-sizing your kit doesn’t always lead to a watered-down playing experience for you or the audience. There are many ways in which exploring alternative options can breathe new life into your playing and open up new musical possibilities. V-Drums and electronic percussion allow you to play at a controllable volume with the same intensity that you, your fellow band members, and the audience enjoy. They also provide added benefits, both sonically and from a playing perspective. Once you are venue-friendly and musically adaptable, you might even land some new gigs that would have never previously come to you! Here are some of the areas where V-Drums can really help you, your playing style and where you perform.
V-Drums pack a lot of sound possibilities into a very small space
Depending on the model you choose, any pad or trigger can have almost any sound imaginable assigned to it. You no longer need to lug a set of congas or 10 different cymbals to the gig for extra sounds only used in one song.
Go-to Drummers Gadgets
The HPD-20 Hand-Sonic, for example, features hundreds of typical percussion, drum sounds and loops. You can import your own WAV files and connect a kick trigger to personalise your sound and performance possibilities. The incredibly popular SPD-SX sampling pad allows you to trigger samples from pads, footswitches and connected triggers. The SPD-SX is easy to position anywhere around your kit and can handle your backing tracks, clicks and sampled sounds all at the same time. It’s the essential toolbox for the modern drummer.
Check out more options for expanding your setup here.
- Hybrid Theory – Acoustic and Electronic Drums
- Using the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad live – Ryan Jenkinson
LESS TIME SPENT SETTING UP AND PACKING DOWN
V-Drums TD-1KP: Fold your kit up and go!
For possibly the first time in your drumming career, you can actually be the last to arrive and first to leave. Simply fold the pads and cymbals inwards and carry the entire kit to the car. A five piece kit can even fit into the back seat. At the gig, you simply fold-out and connect the left and right outs to the sound system and you’re ready to play. There’s no tuning and time consuming microphone setup to sit through any more.
MONITORING AND VOLUME
With headphones and main outputs right on the module, you’re easily able integrate click or backing tracks. You can also keep the balance of the cymbals and drums while maintaining a comfortable stage volume throughout the set. (TD-25 module is shown).
The front of house audio engineer will have your drums in full stereo or multi-channel at the sound desk. Fill out the stage sound using conventional fold-back speaker wedges, or use in-ear monitoring for no stage volume.
With no microphones on the drums, there are no feedback or sound bleed issues. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding the ideal placement of the noisy guitar or bass amps!
QUICKER (AND BETTER) SOUNDCHECKS
Use the built-in sound demos included with the V-Drums or easily record your very own sound-check to suit your playing. Now you have a good excuse for not letting the singer on your drums!
Simply press play on the module and you can listen to your drum performance out the front, just like the audience.
For the first time, you will be able to hear how your drums will sound as an audience member. Tweak any of the module parameters such as volume, tuning, muffling or reverb to your heart’s content – all without playing a note. The sound engineer will be happy and the other band members could even play along. This will allow you to hear the whole band play, which can really assist you in honing your sound.
When done with the sound-check, simply save the module settings to a USB stick for the next time you play at the venue.
GIG AND RECORDING
Playing the show
With V-Drums, it’s possible to set up shortcuts to your favourite kits. This means you can simply press a single button or just hit a pad to choose any kit. Setting up kits in order of your set list as a ‘chain’ makes the gig a breeze. You can also continue to make changes to kits or the set order as you go. Different chains of kits can be setup depending on the band, music or even the venue.
Recording the show
A major advantage of V-Drums is the ease with which you can record them. Connect using the left and right outputs for stereo, or use the direct outs for a multi-track studio-quality recording of your performance. Needless to say, no noise, microphone bleed or the phasing issues that can often occur with multiple microphone setups will be present.
Rubber pads and mesh heads mean no more broken sticks and head replacements. Sticks and acoustic drum heads are very costly so using V-Drums is a great way to reduce your ongoing expenses.
The design of V-Drums rewards your wallet by enormously extending the life of crucial components; you are no longer hitting hard plastic or metal surfaces that cause so much damage.
The sound you hear from V-Drums is unaffected by the tension of the drum heads. As such, the rebound of the drum is adjustable to suit your preferred feel, separate from the sound itself. And of course, V-Drums never go out of tune, even on stage under hot lights!
Outlined in this article are some of the reasons drummers use V-Drums. If you have an electronic kit or are contemplating using one onstage, hopefully we’ve shed some extra light on how V-Drums can work for you. The sound control, portability and playability options of V-Drums are great reasons for you to try them out if you’re new to electronic drums.