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Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums

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Chris Tucker:
So, a little more details on the venue...
We currently have a 4 pc kit, fully mic'd, and we run an in-ear system coupled with a butt kicker.  As far as what we get in the in-ears, the drums sound great and the drummers love playing them.
As far as the room goes, I don't believe it was designed for just acoustical music, i.e. organ/choir.  We've never really done that, but we do try to do a healthy mix of contemporary - traditional songs.  The sound reinforcement below 300hz is not musical at all, but for the most part, vocals can sound really nice in there.  A kick drum and bass guitar though is a challenge.  Typically, I feel like the 88-90 dB (A) is where the mix is most comfortable, but I feel the drums start to really be heard through the system closer to 95 dB instead of through the shield.  The shield around the drums doesn't seem to do much other than reduce the high frequencies of the kit.  There are some things I hope to address with the room and the PA, but I do believe the drums at their acoustic volume are a problem.  Size of drums sticks, not sure, drummers range in age to 19-40 years of age.  All of our drummers are very talented, but some do hit harder than others...

Brad Weber:
Tom's right that this has been discussed often, but that was on the old fourm which is not, or at least not yet, searchable from here.  Until that is resolved there is little to search for.

I think you get to the heart of the matter when you noted "Leadership is thinking of going with an electronic kit.  Of course all the drummers cringe at the thought - dynamics are questionable, feel is not the same, etc."  While you note the potential problems that the drummers you envision, it seems that the church leadership is also perceiving some problem(s) that have lead them to considering a change to electronic drums.  Any potential solution should probably consider both sides but when it comes down to it, the vision of the church leadership is usually what defines the church's perspective so it would help to better understand their concerns and goals.

It should be noted that "a 1000 seat venue" is rather limited in how it defines the space and the existing conditions.  Pictures, sketches, descriptions, etc. might help people better understand the situation.  Fir instance, what is the current shield like, where are the drums located and what is behind them?  When you note the levels, are you referencing peak or average levels?  And when you say that feel the drums start to be more through the system at 95dB, is that at the mix position and if so, where is that located?  If that is at the rear of the space then chances are good that the drums are still being heard directly for much of the congregation and if that is the case then maybe a full enclosure would be more appropriate than just a shield.

Arnold B. Krueger:

--- Quote from: Chris Tucker on January 19, 2011, 05:30:21 PM ---We have a 1000 seat venue and currently have acoustic drums with a drum shield (Plexiglas) surrounding them.  It is a challenge to get the drums to sound good (it sounds like a drum kit behind a Plexiglas shield)  within a reasonable volume (reasonable for a church service at 8:00 am). 

--- End quote ---

I've never seen acoustic drums used without a drum shield, no matter how large the venue, and I've been in churches with over 5,000 seats.

I'm glad to see someone finally admit in public that acoustic drums in a little plexiglass room sound like dumrs in a little plexiglass room. I thought that maybe people had figured out how to suspend the laws of physics or something. I suspect that proper application of acoustic materials might mitigate the problem to some degree. OTOH, I've seen the same problem in churches with demonstrated ability to obtain a good sounding worship room. Somebody who knows something about acoustics must be on the premeses, at least occastionally.

--- Quote ---Leadership is thinking of going with an electronic kit.  Of course all the drummers cringe at the thought - dynamics are questionable, feel is not the same, etc.

--- End quote ---

This just reinforces what I know about some musicans: They often just play for themselves and/or  they don't know what they sound like from 20 feet or 200 feet. How could they?

We've been blessed with young drummers who tend to be more respectful of leadership and have fewer prejudices.  We've always had only the Roland TD 12 kit and it works fine for them. and all of the rest of us. I've asked them how they feel about the Roland kit, and they say that the big difference is that they have to hit a little harder. They move back and forth between acoustic drums at home and at school and the electronic drums at church quite freely.

We also had an experienced amateur drummer for about a year and he ended up getting a Roland kit for home, which very much pleased his wife if you know what I mean.

Jamie Vernon:
Hello all.

Most of what I know has already been discussed here, so I won't rehash any of that. 

I actually play drums in a venue that seats approximately the same number of people that you mention.  The acoustics are okay, but the bottom end is a bit flabby.  We have a Clearsonic shield that goes entirely around the kit with the top on and the acoustic pads placed on the inside to kill those early reflections.  We don't have the back on, so the mids and lows from the kit still hit the back wall and come out pretty hot. 

I do know that all a shield is going to do is tame the direct sound (i.e. the highs and upper mids).  It's not going to help with muddiness (i.e. lows and low mids).  We use an overhead to capture the cymbals and close mic the toms, snare, and bass drum.  I don't like to mic this way as I prefer to get most of my kit sound from the oh's, however, this only works well if you have a drummer that can play with good dynamics and doesn't hit the cymbals too hard.

Another issue you might be dealing with is the whole use of in-ears with drummers.  Some drummers like to have everyone else turned up louder than them so that they can hear when they are in the pocket.  Others like to have themselves louder than everyone else so they can hear all the subtleties of their playing.  I kind of fall in between on that one. 

What I have noticed about this is if drummers don't have a hot enough level of themselves in their ears they WILL play louder than if they had a floor monitor.   

When I can hear myself I do play with better dynamics and control.


Blake Ross:
Hi Jamie, maybe these articles will help, or just add to the confusion  :)


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