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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Pimp My Drums

Actually pimp Shelley's drums.

Black rack from e-bay with the original drum mountings sprayed black to match.

Added an iPod holder next to the controller.  Modified from an in-car mount.  Plus, as you can see, the skull theme.  These are cotton printed bandanas from and there is also a massive choice on ebay.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Gear4Music DR-30 Drum Monitor Amp Review

I was a little sceptical about buying a low cost amplifier to use with the electronic drums.  I had read that drums need a very wide range from low to high frequency responses.  I had already tried putting them through my normal home stereo but that was not good enough, rubbish would be a better description.  The sound of the sticks on the plastic can be heard clearly instead of the drum voices.

Headphones sound excellent with all the drum sounds clear and they completely blot out the tap of stick on plastic that everyone else can hear but for the odd jamming session we needed to be able to hear the drums out loud.

Having looked a lot on the Internet there was very little choice in lower cost dedicated drum amps.  PA systems were not much different and most active speakers are a bit small to get a decent base sound.

The Gear4Music (SubZero) DR-30 drum amp description was exactly what I was looking for but it was advertised at less than £100 and there was nothing similar at that sort of price.  The rest with a similar spec, like the Roland PM-10 were all over £200.

For the few times it was going to be used it was worth taking a chance on.  It arrived today and I am very pleasantly surprised.  The drums come out very clearly and the two volume controls allow mixing the background tracks with the drum sounds to whatever you desire.

It is even much louder than we will ever need for our small rooms.  It allows you to play the drums without headphones and they sound like drums.  It is very sturdy, has feet on two sides and most importantly has a good deep base sound as well as clarity.

My only surprise is how big it is.  I neglected to check the dimensions and it is about twice the size and weight that I expected.

Not sure how I expected them to fit a 10" speaker in a smaller box. 

I have nothing more expensive to compare it to but for the purpose it was intended it works very well.  If you want a low cost drum monitor amp I would thoroughly recommend the Gear4Music DR-30 (now branded SubZero DR-30.)

That's Min by the way assisting with drum practice.

Monday 22 August 2011

Electronic Drum Monitor Amps

Very quick comment.  Drums like Electric Keyboards need high quality sound amplification.  Guitar amps are low quality and not appropriate.

Headphones, no matter how low cost, are likely to sound much better than any amp.

Electronic drums are therefore best used with expensive PA or Keyboard amps or dedictaed drum amps which have good low to high ranges.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Drum Stick Markings

I didn't think I'd ever have anything to say on drumsticks!  Well I just bought Shelley a set of Electronic Drums for her birthday so very rapidly I have had to come up to speed.

One of the things I found surprisingly difficult to find was consistent information on drum sticks.  That's the normal ones, there's plenty of detail about all the odd brushes and hammers you can use instead.  So a quick simplistic summary about ordinary sticks.

Drum Stick Sizes:  They are numbered with the lowest number being the thickest and therefore heavier and  correspondingly the highest number being the thinner and lighter.  The commonly available sizes are 2, 5 and 7 but some of the intervening sizes are also out there.  Size 5 being in the middle is the most popular but all sources say you should try them out.

Drum Stick Shape:  The other marking on a drum stick refers to its use which tends to affect the shape of the taper.  Shape 'A' typically being longer and thinner towards the tip than 'B' and 'S'.  Apparently 'A' is for more orchestral and finer works and 'B', well as Shelley put it, is for more bashing.  No idea about 'S'.

Different manufacturers sizes, weights and shapes vary for the same marking code.  They are usually close so the numbers are still a good guide.   Popular drum stick sizes tend to be '5A' and '5B'.

Many manufactures also put the suffix 'N' after the shape marking to indicate Nylon tip.  For example, '5BN'.

As far as I can tell the only disadvantage with a Nylon tip is that sometimes they come off!
So far Shelley prefers them.

The following web sites have similar but slightly differing information:

Saturday 13 August 2011

La Wally Opera In Holland Park

The lead is played by Gweneth-Ann Jeffers.

The following are interviews with those people who have just been to see it:

And this is our take...