Author Topic: Does anyone have an explanation of how Alesis triggers/cymbals work? (DM8 Pro)  (Read 120 times)

I just bought some cheap second hand Alesis triggers from the DM8 Pro kit (a 14" crash, 16" ride and 12" snare pad) and I'm hoping to get some schematics or explanation of how they work so I can better use them with my 2Box drum module.

The Snare seems straightforward enough, 1 x TRS socket which sends both main pad and rim triggers, but when I opened it up it seemed like both piezos were just on top of each other, rather than one being located in the rim. I guess vibrations transfer differently depending on where you hit, but I'd love to find out if accuracy/sensitivity can be improved as I'm finding my rim is being triggered when I hit my main pad and vice versa.

With the cymbals, I'm seeing an 'A' and 'B' output; it seems like they're both TRS but inside it looks like there's just 1 x piezo and then a couple of ribbon cables assumedly going to other triggers or the choke switch. One of the cymbals also came with a dummy TRS plug in it and on my 2Box module it seems like it only registers hits when this is inserted, so I'd love to know what that does too, whether it just 'completes' the circuit or breaks a circuit or what?

I thought I'd have to use a Y-split cable to get all 3 zones (bell, bow and edge) working but it seems like my 2Box works differently so maybe I'll just have to put up with only 2 zones on each cymbal...

Any knowledge would be most appreciated! :-)

Offline Chaser

I just bought some cheap second hand Alesis triggers from the DM8 Pro kit (a 14" crash, 16" ride and 12" snare pad) and I'm hoping to get some schematics or explanation of how they work so I can better use them with my 2Box drum module.

The Snare seems straightforward enough, 1 x TRS socket which sends both main pad and rim triggers, but when I opened it up it seemed like both piezos were just on top of each other, rather than one being located in the rim. I guess vibrations transfer differently depending on where you hit, but I'd love to find out if accuracy/sensitivity can be improved as I'm finding my rim is being triggered when I hit my main pad and vice versa.

With the cymbals, I'm seeing an 'A' and 'B' output; it seems like they're both TRS but inside it looks like there's just 1 x piezo and then a couple of ribbon cables assumedly going to other triggers or the choke switch. One of the cymbals also came with a dummy TRS plug in it and on my 2Box module it seems like it only registers hits when this is inserted, so I'd love to know what that does too, whether it just 'completes' the circuit or breaks a circuit or what?

I thought I'd have to use a Y-split cable to get all 3 zones (bell, bow and edge) working but it seems like my 2Box works differently so maybe I'll just have to put up with only 2 zones on each cymbal...

Any knowledge would be most appreciated! :-)

Which module?..the Drumit 5 you could only pick bow/bell or bow/edge not 3 zones or a Y cable..DrumIt 3 you can use 2 inputs.
Zourman Drums had as a conversion module for dual cable Roland Rides (same ride cymbals are also compatible with Alesis Dual Cable modules.. original DM10 and STRIKE...and presume the DM8) and the DrumIt 5.The conversion module also works with ATV

The DM8 is/was a slimmed down version of the original DM10 OS and used the same triggers(cymbals and toms) so you would follow the same DM10 setup in the 2box module.
I had some of the DM8 toms and they were single zone only and had no rim piezo installed.
Alesis/Medeli pads all have the rim piezo centered on the bottom of the shell with the Head Piezo(or Piezos) directly above.The early steel reflection plate rests on the foam and had the head piezo centered and suspended off a plastic resonator disc.
Some had resistors on the output jack usually on a small pcb board.
The later mesh toms basically was the same designed flipped..steel plate(s) on the bottom mounted to the shell,the large foam discs were replaced by foam columns and now 2 piezos for the head that sit on or below a plastic resonator plate with the foam columns connecting the mesh head to the resonator and a "sensitivity knob" on a pcb board which is/was basically a blend for the inner and outer piezo.The vibration from the Rim is then equal from all sides.
The STRIKE Multipad has the earlier design with the piezos on a plastic resonator plate on foam for the top 3 pads..which is why they require harder hits.

I don't know which module/OS you have but there is a CrossTalk manual(2020) for Piezo/Piezo toms (OS 1.34.10 and up)

The dual cable cymbals require either a cable or a dummy plug in the 2nd output to complete the circuit or the cymbal will not function.
These were usually ride cymbals for dual port modules.Using just a Y cable will not work as you need to separate the edge and bell switch.
Zourman has a Yamaha Y cable to use the dual cable rides..don't know if something similar can be made for the DrumIt 5 as I see Conversion Modules instead.
Since the CY15R is compatible on the dual cable Alesis modules (original DM10/STRIKE) try the settings for a Dual Dual Cable setup (if DrumIt 3..DrumIt 5 supposedly requires conversion boxes as it is mentioned in the pdf)..It looks like all the dual cable cymbals have the same settings except for the gain.

If you have the DrumIt 3 it looks like you can address everything in your post in the module...DrumIt 5 might be another story.

Other than that you'll probably have better luck at the Unofficial 2 Box Forum.
I am sure someone has used these as the original DM10 is listed in the DrumIt 3 Compatibility List

DrumIt 5 Manual

DrumIt 3 Manual

DrumIt 3 Compatibility List

DrumIt3 Crosstalk Manual for OS 1.34.10 and up

DrumIt 3 Roland VH Hi Hat and Rides (Dual Cable)

Zourman Conversion Modules

EDIT:
Fixed a bad link
« Last Edit: November 04, 2021, 02:17:34 PM by Chaser »

Hey thanks Chaser, I REALLY appreciate all the info; this will definitely help me use some of these triggers to the best of their ability.

So my 2Box module (I should've probably said this already, my bad) is the DrumIt 5 (Mk 1). I think this means sadly it's not quite as capable as some of the others, but should still give me plenty of options to play with.

Finding out that the DM8 is essentially treated the same as the DM10 is a big help as I see the DM10 triggers mentioned in the 2Box manual so great to know I can just do the same for these DM8 pads as I would for those.

So I guess if I really wanted a true 3 zone ride I could buy one of those Zourman boxes, but I might just make do with 2-zone for now. I paid $20 each (!!) for these cymbals so I can't really be mad at not getting all 3 zones, and hey maybe if I upgrade my 2Box some day I will get all 3....

I'm getting a mesh head delivered today for my 12" 'snare' pad, so hopefully that'll swap out without too much hassle; from my googling/learning on this forum it looks like if you have trouble swapping to mesh the answer is always some kind of foam so hopefully I can figure that out (my pad is the kind without the thick white foam so maybe I'll need to add more to better separate the rim trigger from the head? And also to make sure I'm not directly hitting the head trigger through the mesh?)

I'm still a little fuzzy on how the 'dummy plug' works.... I have noticed without the plug I get no audio in my 2Box kit, but the 2 cymbals only came with 1 dummy plug so maybe I'll just have to find some other random jack plug to stick in the other one, or does it have to be specifically a 'dummy' plug?

Anyway, thanks again for all the useful info; I really appreciate it!

Offline Chaser

Hey thanks Chaser, I REALLY appreciate all the info; this will definitely help me use some of these triggers to the best of their ability.

So my 2Box module (I should've probably said this already, my bad) is the DrumIt 5 (Mk 1). I think this means sadly it's not quite as capable as some of the others, but should still give me plenty of options to play with.

Finding out that the DM8 is essentially treated the same as the DM10 is a big help as I see the DM10 triggers mentioned in the 2Box manual so great to know I can just do the same for these DM8 pads as I would for those.

So I guess if I really wanted a true 3 zone ride I could buy one of those Zourman boxes, but I might just make do with 2-zone for now. I paid $20 each (!!) for these cymbals so I can't really be mad at not getting all 3 zones, and hey maybe if I upgrade my 2Box some day I will get all 3....

I'm getting a mesh head delivered today for my 12" 'snare' pad, so hopefully that'll swap out without too much hassle; from my googling/learning on this forum it looks like if you have trouble swapping to mesh the answer is always some kind of foam so hopefully I can figure that out (my pad is the kind without the thick white foam so maybe I'll need to add more to better separate the rim trigger from the head? And also to make sure I'm not directly hitting the head trigger through the mesh?)

I'm still a little fuzzy on how the 'dummy plug' works.... I have noticed without the plug I get no audio in my 2Box kit, but the 2 cymbals only came with 1 dummy plug so maybe I'll just have to find some other random jack plug to stick in the other one, or does it have to be specifically a 'dummy' plug?

Anyway, thanks again for all the useful info; I really appreciate it!

Happy to help...there's plenty of info on the foam layers/mesh conversion in the search...just make sure you move the plate down otherwise you'll be banging on the steel plate and the signal will be way too hot and the piezo will die quickly as it will flex too much and the wiring eventually fails.

You can  use a 1/4"(6.35mm) x 1/8" (3.5mm) Headphone adapter..there's a billion styles these days and cheap/easy to find..those work great and you don't have to ruin a cable cutting an end off...or finding an Alesis dummy plug which I have seen go for stupid money..


Thanks, on both counts.

I received my mesh head today; I figured it needed some foam above it so I just put one of the two 'rings' of thin foam above it which works ok but a lot of cross triggering between rim and head so I'm going to need to mess with it a bit more. Do you think it'd need one of those foam 'cones' other mfrs use or is that overkill? I've seen a method where you ditch the metal plate and basically sandwich the two piezos almost on top of each other, but that would probs require a cone... Maybe with a bit more isolation between the two I can work it out.

Also kudos on the headphone adapter idea, thats exactly what I was planning on using :-) just didn't know if its job was to isolate the tip/ring from the sleeve or to actually connect them....

Offline Chaser

Thanks, on both counts.

I received my mesh head today; I figured it needed some foam above it so I just put one of the two 'rings' of thin foam above it which works ok but a lot of cross triggering between rim and head so I'm going to need to mess with it a bit more. Do you think it'd need one of those foam 'cones' other mfrs use or is that overkill? I've seen a method where you ditch the metal plate and basically sandwich the two piezos almost on top of each other, but that would probs require a cone... Maybe with a bit more isolation between the two I can work it out.

Also kudos on the headphone adapter idea, thats exactly what I was planning on using :-) just didn't know if its job was to isolate the tip/ring from the sleeve or to actually connect them....

X-Talk is always a pain to deal with , the DM8/DM10 had a Zone X-Talk (2 piezos-1 cable)
In the link above for the X-Talk manual for OS 1.34 there is a X-TLK feature.
I presume it's the same OS for all modules..I don't know which OS you have installed.

The earlier v1.32 there was LXTR (Local X-Talk Reduction)

OS UPDATE 1.32 DrumIt 5

LXTR
This parameter allows you to eliminate or minimize crosstalk between the head and the
rim channels (local xtalk reduction).
High values mean that crosstalk is attenuated more radically.
The following parameters are available: Off, Low, Med, High, vHigh
There were (2) versions of 12" Triggers/Pads/Drums...the early model is like the other Realheads and had a flat bottom..the later one is shallow with a recessed bottom.Those were difficult to dial in the X-Talk after the mesh conversion..The shallow version has the Rim and Head piezo nearly touching.If you can't dial it in I would consider moving the piezo to the wood shell or try a smaller piezo.

There is the 682 Alesis conversion if you are looking at a cone conversion to compare to...I have heard both good and bad over the years...Hot spot and Deadspots

Here is a video with a different take on the 682 being installed on a 12" shallow version.

682Drums Alesis mesh head conversion 12" shallow


Again, many thanks. Yes I definitely have the pad with the recessed bottom; I guess that's the later one?

My DrumIt 5 is on OS 1.36.3 which I believe is the latest one at the time of posting. I was messing wih the X-TLK menu earlier today but try as I might I couldn't get the separation that I used to have on my Roland PD-120 (which I had to sadly sell along with most of my other decent pads/cymbals when I moved from the UK to the USA).

I'm guessing I'm either going to have to do some physical separation with foam or a cone, or like you mentioned maybe try moving the rim piezo to the shell itself. Seems like moving the rim piezo might actually be even better at separating than using a foam cone... Will let you know how I get on! 👍

Just a small update to say - I re-ordered the 'layers' within the trigger and it's made the crosstalk issue much better, though I still feel it could be even better. I basically put all the foam (well the 2 thin layers it has) between the bottom 'rim' and top 'head' triggers, and that separation seems to have helped immensely. I'd say it's 90% accurate now.

My only concern is that now I'm basically drumming directly onto the plate that holds the head piezo - well, I'm hitting the tight mesh head, below which is the thin rubber layer on the back of the metal plate and then the piezo below that - so even though I'm not directly hitting the piezo I do kind of worry that maybe I'll damage it over time.... but I don't know if that's a reasonable concern? My next course of action would probably be to emulate what I've seen people with the 682 kits do by sandwiching the piezos together almost touching and then cutting myself a little cone out of foam but we'll see how this holds up first. If I damage my head piezo it shouldn't be too difficult for me to replace it.