Author Topic: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven  (Read 7394 times)

Offline Trondster

Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« on: May 09, 2012, 03:36:32 PM »
I was at a friends house testing his brand new TD-4x2 - fun to compare with my Dm10 setup.

Compared to my own Dm10 Pro kit, for me the three major difference were as follows:
- The sounds were much, much inferior to the Dm10, especially the variation - all the hihats were the same "ting", only with and without reverb.
- The crosstalk was much better - or lack thereof - there was no crosstalk.
- The dynamics felt better - when I smacked the pad harder for an accent, the sound was just that little bit harder.


So - the crosstalk is not an issue anymore on my kit, it has for all practival purposes been eradicated. :)
But - I rather liked the extra dynamics on the TD-4 kit - to have the possibility of adding an accent - I don't feel that I have that on my own setup.


Well, then - I want that extra dynamic range - I want to be able to hit the pad just that little bit harder and be rewarded with a sound reflecting that I hit it harder.


But - how to do it?
I'd love to get some information from you - how you configure your setup and how you have the curves, trigger settings, instrument tweaks and how you solve the problem of getting more dynamics.


I've had a look at it myself, and I've come up with the following:

- Turn the volume up on the headphones and the main volume! It sounds trivial, but makes a world of difference! When it's not loud, you tend to hit the pads hard all the time to keep it loud. You want to hit the pads with less than maximum velocity for "normal" hits - otherwise you won't get accents if you hit them harder. And - turning the volume up makes you do just that. :)

- Any changes to instruments, triggers and whatever must be made while the volume is turned up - otherwise you end up tweaking the module to play at max volume all the time.

- Add just a little bit of "Vel>Pitch" to the pads - then they will increase just that little bit in pitch when you hit them hard - and will sound louder. I found a value of 8-12 for my snare made wonders! :)

- Tweak the curve and sensitivity with the volume turned up - watch the level of the hit when the ext trigger pages are open when you hit the trigger, and adjust the settings so that you only max out the bar on an extra hard accent - "normal" hits should be less than max. You may want to change to another curve to be able to control the volume better. Remember to use both your weak and your strong hand when tuning the snare parameters. But then again - you should already be hitting just as hard with both hands. :)

- (Re-) audition the various instruments for your favourite kit with the volume turned up - it just might be that you actually prefer another instrument when you're not playing them at maximum volume all the time.


So - what do you think - and have any of you got any good tips/techniques to share on this subject? :)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 03:42:30 PM by Trondster »
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Offline Hellfire

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2012, 04:02:07 PM »
Good post Trondster!

I can only add a couple of things. Use a little "Vel>Pitch" on your cymbals as well. Not as much as your drums. Say maybe half as much. It makes a big difference in the feel.

The second thing is, try maxing out the level setting for your instrument and then go back and re-adjust your trigger settings. You should only hear max trigger sounds when you really hit the trigger hard.
For more edrum info, be sure to visit my web site at:
          www.HellfireDrums.com                    
My current set-up:  Alesis DM10 and Trigger I/O with modified & DIY pads

Offline Trondster

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 04:19:43 PM »
Yes - I've been thinking about the samples. The instruments have several - typically four? - different sounds each. I guess that a great way to get a special sound for the hardest hits would be to make sure that the loudest sample is only triggered on extra hard accents - in that way you would always have something extra to go on for the harder hits.
And - maybe that's just the right way to do it - maybe the sounds are recorded to be used just like that? :)
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Offline Trondster

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 12:26:07 PM »
I have tried a bit more, and I've really come to like the Spline curves. Previously, I used Log1-Log3 curves, where hard hit tended to plateau at max volume, with diminishing returns.
I have changed most pads to Spline curves now - now the plateau is at a medium-high volume, where I now both can hit soft hits as ghost notes lower than the plateau, as well as extra hard hits as accents.

Turn up the volume and try yourself! Changing to Spline curves may also require raising the Sensitivity a bit.
Most of my Log1/Log2 curves were typically changed to Spline3, while Log3 was changed to Spline4. I kept some of the cymbals and all of the rims with Log curves, though.

Volume up + spline curves + a bit of Vel>Pitch on all the instruments in the kit = awesome dynamics! Whoo!
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 02:02:57 PM »
Hi, regarding curves, ive always found that splines, (mostly three) combined with carefull setting of trigger levels and velocity level gives the best results for the pads, and to fully appreciate the dynamic range always use as high a volume as possible through the monitors, a total power of over 500watts would really be required to get close to the range of an acoustic kit.
Human hearing does not have a linear response to volume, it is logarithmic, thats why volume pots on radio's, stereos etc are logarithmic.
For a given sound pressure level to SOUND twice as loud, ten times more power is required, ie:- 10watts needs to be increased to 100watts to sound twice the volume. However, at high sound pressure levels, certain psyco acoustic phenomenons make us "feel" the sound. To try to protect us from damage, physiological changes start to take place which can cause both temporary and permanent deafness as well.
WARNING!!!! excessive volume, especially in headphones, runs a real risk of hearing damage.
Sorry, what did you say? I saw your lips moving but didn't catch it!!!! ha ha!
Seriously folks, look after your hearing, once its gone, its gone! ;D

Offline Trondster

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 04:29:04 PM »
Hmm - I thought it was 6dB and not 10dB that sounded "twice as loud" (about 3dB is twice the power).

Anyway - for me there's no point in cranking it up to acoustic levels - if so, I would need ear plugs. So - I'll go for "loud", but not "as loud as possible". ;)
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 12:36:08 PM »
Yes its one or the other, maybe my brain is fuddled!!! anyway, you know what I mean ;) 
   A few months ago we put it though the P.A, 5.5kw!!! sounded awesome but got loads of false triggering/feedback!!
We really only use the E.kit for writing new material and rehearsing for which it seems to do just fine ;D
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 12:41:23 PM by recklessrog »

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 02:45:55 PM »
Great info in this thread!

I've been tweaking a couple of my custom kits the past couple days, and have definitely achieved better dynamic response. Better snare/tom rolls, smoother cymbal crescendos, and nice accented sounds on very hard hits.

Generally -
changed Vel>Level setting to around 75 on snare and toms - now softer hits do not approach 0 volume.
changed Vel>Level setting to around 80 on hi-hat, crashes, and ride cymbal - now softer hits respond better
changed Vel>Pitch setting to around 12 on snare and toms
changed Vel>Pitch setting to around 8 on cymbals
changed curved to spline4 (instead of Log3) on snare and toms

Comments -
Was surprised Vel>Level default settings on cymbals were 60 in most cases; made for uneven sounding cymbal rolls.
Was surprised some lower toms' Vel>Pitch setting were set as low as -20, causing lower pitch on harder hits. Not sure why that was desired. I would think in all cases a very hard hit would put more pressure on an acoustic drum head and increase the pitch to some extent. Anyone know why they did that?
Not totally sure/convinced about the spline setting on toms, may go back to log3... BUT I did notice that with the spline setting you get a good response for medium strength hits, and a nice louder sound on full strength hits instead of the sound already being maxxed out.

Thanks to all for your insights and sharing ideas!
E-drum setup: Alesis DM10 Module, S&S Industries Stinger XL snare & Stinger P1 toms, Alesis DMPad cymbals, Roland PD-8 & KD-7, Gibraltar rack/hardware, Tama hardware, Hart Maxxum/Magnum Mesh Heads, Roland KC-350 amp, Audio Technica ATH-M50s headphones

Offline Trondster

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 03:13:21 PM »
And - do turn up the volume more on the amp/headphones/whatever to get more out of the splines, so that the "normal" hits still are pretty loud - when you do, you might want to go down to spline3.. :)

And - great to hear about your settings, Burning Tires! :)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 03:29:06 PM by Trondster »
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.

Offline rhysT

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2014, 01:50:18 AM »
This topic and a recent comment on the forum about the quality of DM10 cymbal sounds, has me interested in how they can be improved by fine tuning the voice parameters.

Also has anyone tried mixing the DM10's built-in cymbal sounds on the A&B pad layers, as I've used a similar technique in my Yamaha kits to improve a variety of the instrument sounds including cymbals and snares?

Offline Khes74

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2014, 07:38:52 AM »
This topic and a recent comment on the forum about the quality of DM10 cymbal sounds, has me interested in how they can be improved by fine tuning the voice parameters.

Also has anyone tried mixing the DM10's built-in cymbal sounds on the A&B pad layers, as I've used a similar technique in my Yamaha kits to improve a variety of the instrument sounds including cymbals and snares?

Absolutely! I use Z dark 17" and K Con on the same crash. Then I use 16" Ac stick and  S Fierce" on another. Try tweaking the rest of the initial dynamics also as stated before in the post. Using this cymbals provides the right amount of attack and wash in my own opinion.

Offline Hellfire

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2014, 08:09:03 AM »
I've played around with using the velocity layer switching trick. Some cymbal sounds "roll" better than others, and by using two different sounds you can get better results. As I stated earlier in the topic you can use a little Vel>Pitch. Vel>Filter can be effective too. Mainly making the cymbal sound "brighter" the harder you hit it. You might want to check out these topics:

THREE ZONE SNARE (with one dual zone trigger!)

Yes I know it has to do with a snare drum, but the technique can be used with cymbals as well (meaning the velocity switching technique that is used for the rim).

MORE REALISTIC CYMBAL CHOKES

Unfortunately I haven't completed this one yet, but if you know your way around the DM10 the description will get you in the right direction. It's not really difficult to do I just haven't had the time to take pics of the DM10 screen to finish the write-up.
For more edrum info, be sure to visit my web site at:
          www.HellfireDrums.com                    
My current set-up:  Alesis DM10 and Trigger I/O with modified & DIY pads

Offline RZ

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 10:17:22 AM »
The TD-4 is a nice enough unit, but it is very entry level.  The TD-9 would be a great set to replicate. 

Offline rhysT

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2014, 11:26:09 PM »
Thanks for the info guys - the 3 zone snare idea and other dynamics settings will be very useful.

Also can the DM10 be tweaked to simulate partially open hihat sounds with the foot pedal fully released?

*Update - as my query isn't related to this topic and I'd like to get some more detail about the hihat mod suggested by Trondster, I've moved it to another thread: http://www.dmdrummer.com/index.php?topic=5160.0
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 10:12:22 PM by rhysT »

Offline Trondster

Re: Dynamics - making the Dm10 go to eleven
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 01:03:31 AM »
Yes, you can tweak the hi-hat - by increasing the trim values, by adding a hardware switch with a resistor in parallel.
But - this thread is about tweaking the dynamics of the Dm10. :)
DM10 Pro kit with dampened rack, extra crashes, mesh heads, Gibraltar stands, P2002C and a dream cherry snare by Diamond Drums.