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Church and H.O.W. Forums for HOW Sound and AV - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Church and HOW Forums => Church Sound => Topic started by: Chris Tucker on January 19, 2011, 05:30:21 PM

Title: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Chris Tucker on January 19, 2011, 05:30:21 PM
Well, I'm sure this is not the first time this has been discussed, and feel free to point me to a thread if there is one out there.

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).  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.  So, I'm wondering what others are doing?  Do you think that in a venue that size, we should be able to use acoustic drums?  Are there better ways to isolate the drums?  Is an electronic kit the best win, despite the disadvantages of feel and dynamics?  It has been proposed that perhaps a smaller kit with triggers could be an answer?  I'm just looking to start a dialogue with those that have faced this same challenge.
Thanks!
Chris
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Tom Young on January 19, 2011, 06:37:40 PM
This *has* been discussed before. You can search using obvious key words.

In short, the "drums are too loud" issue most often becomes a cyclical exercise in futility and wasted money. Many HOW go from acoustic drums to drums with shields to electronic drums to electronic drums with a monitor that is run too loud or an electronic kit that sounds like crap (or both) and then they go back to acoustic. Then they change Minister of Music or the drummer and start all over again. I know this is very cynical .... but basically it is also true.

Your options are:

1. reduce the level of the acoustic drums by building a"real" gobo system with as much or more absorption as reflection (plexi) and with the plexi designed (shaped) to not reflect into a rear reflective wall and with reduced reflections into the mic's. You can do this by buying one of F. Alton Everest's master books on acoustics (Amazon, new or used). You also can buy real gobo's that are far better than "shields" but they'll cost a pretty penny.

2. research, try and buy a very good electronic drum kit. Read the manual. Spend the time to do whatever it takes to tweak it so it sounds good. Set up a monitor rig that does not defeat what you have achieved. A personal monitor mixing system with headphones and butt kickers would do the trick. A monitor speaker system for the drummer will lead to excessive volume levels all over again. Trust me on this.

3. get a mature and professional drummer who knows how to play to the room. I know this is far easier said than done.

4. stop wasting money and buy a pipe organ and go traditional  ;D

HTH
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Taylor Phillips on January 19, 2011, 06:47:14 PM
How loud do you run your service?  In a 1000 seat space volume from the drum kit shouldn't be too much of a problem.  I would take down the shield and see how that sounds before considering purchasing something different.  In my opinion, electronic drums don't have much of a place outside a musician's apartment. 
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Michael Galica on January 19, 2011, 08:45:54 PM
Could you give some details of the room?  Is it reverberant?  Was the building originally designed for acoustic or amplified worship?

For that matter, are the drums mic'd or behind the shield by itself?
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Thomas Lamb on January 19, 2011, 10:20:33 PM
By far this is my favorite!!!!

Exactly what is your setup now? Kit? Microphones? Drum heads?

How old are you drummers? What is their monitor setup and what size sticks do they use


4. stop wasting money and buy a pipe organ and go traditional 


?
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Chris Tucker on January 20, 2011, 01:04:36 AM
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...
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Brad Weber on January 20, 2011, 07:35:51 AM
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.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 20, 2011, 08:48:53 AM
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). 

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.

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.

Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Jamie Vernon on January 20, 2011, 09:18:07 AM
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.

Jamie

Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Blake Ross on January 20, 2011, 12:46:34 PM
Hi Jamie, maybe these articles will help, or just add to the confusion  :)

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/can_i_get_a_rim_shot_working_with_electronic_drums/

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/controlling_worsip_drums/
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Taylor Phillips on January 20, 2011, 02:24:51 PM
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've never liked acoustic drums behind shields for that reason.  People also seem to forget that acoustic drums are made to fill a room with sound without reinforcement, and manufacturers make different kits for different styles and thus different volumes.  Many churches buy acoustic kits made for loud rock music and made to keep up with several loud guitar and bass cabinets that are likely to be turned up too loud, rather than a jazz kit that is made to match the volume of other acoustic instruments.  My sister played acoustic drums (no mics, or shield) in our 120 seat church for years before she got married and moved away.  Most of the time we didn't mic the baby grand either. 

Also, I don't how I forgot about these in my last post, but hot rod sticks can be a good solution to calm down loud drums, and I like their sound better than regular sticks.  I've made some recordings recently and used both sticks and rods for different takes, and decided to use the track with rods over the sticks in each instance.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Michael Prudhomme on January 21, 2011, 06:05:57 PM
We have drums behind plexiglass with lid panals and the rear closed in. The panals are sound absorbing. I Audix mics on the kick, toms, snare and use 2 condensors on phantom power to pick up the cymbols except for the High hat it's has it's own mic which I have all the lows pulled out on the EQ. I use compresson on the snare and the kick and put the same reverb that I use for my vocals on the toms. With out compresson and Reverb, our drums would sound like a cheap toy drum set. Our drummer also has some dampning gels on the toms. If you need to purchase a kick drum mic go with the AKG D112. Our Audix mic had the diaphram blown do to the volume of air from the kick. Having the drums fully inclosed is great. We now can control the over all volume. You might need to put some of the drums in your monitor mix if not all your singers have inner ears. This will help with them draging on the vocal timing.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Brad Weber on January 22, 2011, 08:58:07 AM
Like Arnold's comments, I have known some churches and some very good drummers that preferred electronic drums, especially for the variety of sounds possible.  I also have encountered drummers many that detest electronic drums for various reasons, in some cases they have valid points while in others I think it is just because they belive that they should.  However the best drummer I ever played with was happy to use whatever he was given as long as it meant that he could play.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Thomas Harkin on January 22, 2011, 10:25:55 AM
Like Arnold's comments, I have known some churches and some very good drummers that preferred electronic drums, especially for the variety of sounds possible.  I also have encountered drummers many that detest electronic drums for various reasons, in some cases they have valid points while in others I think it is just because they belive that they should.  However the best drummer I ever played with was happy to use whatever he was given as long as it meant that he could play.

I, too, have encountered all those "same" drummers.

Remember, it took time to master the instrument (acoustic drums) and it takes time and effort to master another (electronic drums).  Use the presets as a staring point, only!  Read and understand the manual, so that you will understand the instrument.  Every e-drum that I have been around, as a mixer, was adjustable.

Play with the settings for sensitivity, especially if the pads have mesh heads, not just the rubber pads.

We, the band director, drummer, and I, spent most of one Saturday adjusting settings and building "kits" for each type of song the band normally plays. It can work very successfully!

Thomas
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Michael Galica on January 24, 2011, 11:45:52 AM
[Many churches buy acoustic kits made for loud rock music and made to keep up with several loud guitar and bass cabinets that are likely to be turned up too loud, rather than a jazz kit that is made to match the volume of other acoustic instruments.]

Jazz kits made to match the volume of other acoustic instruments?
Really??

While it may sound a little silly, in practice this is true.  Most entry-level drumsets are built with 6ply shells made out Maple, Poplar or a composite.  The 6-ply shells gives volume and cut, and woods like Maple have a rather punchy tone.  Jazz-style kits typically use thinner shells with 4-ply Birch shells, which sacrifice volume for a lighter, airier tone.  The kits with the thinner shells sound better at lower volumes than the more common 6-ply kits, which require a harder hit to get the heavier shell to vibrate.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Kent Thompson on January 24, 2011, 05:56:48 PM
Change out the thick cymbals for nice flexible thin ones that don't make so much noise. In our case its the cymbals that cause all the issues.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Dave Scarlett on January 25, 2011, 03:04:24 PM
For sure. When I've either been playing in a band or mixing for one, no one has ever said "the cymbals are too quiet"! (except outdoors)
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: BobWitte on January 26, 2011, 01:10:53 PM
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. 

If the sound reproduction system (speakers/amps/EQ/room dynamics) is poor (and I assume you can have a good mix since the IEM sound is good)  as you state below 300 Hz, then you will have a problem with electronic drums too. Correct the "reinforcement system" first, then work on the drum problem.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: BrianAbington on January 27, 2011, 12:02:00 PM
I would check with your local music/pro audio store that sells the drum enclosures and ask them for prices on the absorption panels, then ask them if you can borrow or rent them for a week if you explain whats going on they may at least let you rent them.

Get enough panels to enclose the top and across the back with a few extras to switch out some of the plexi panels.

you may find that just across the top and back is enough...or you may need to reduce your plexi to just a window across the front.

Once its enclosed remove your overheads and try under micing all the cymbals.

Then ask the drummer who is the most passionate about keeping an acoustic kit if he would come in a couple nights that week and help you work with rearranging the plexi and absorbers

Then see if the pastor notices a difference in sound on Sunday Morning :)

Also the not sounding good below 300hz...that 300-200 range may be a node issue with the room, or a frequency response issue with the full range speakers.

Anything below 200 may be a sub placement issue...have you walked around the room during practice and services to see how it sounds in different points around the room?

I helped out with a college ministry when I was younger. They had their own services in a small warehouse that was separate from the main church. The room was perfectly square with the stage set across a corner. It had floor seats and then risers along one wall. The sub was a Cerwin Vega folded horn with a single 18 that was set off to the right of the stage and at a 90 degree angle to the stage. It sounded horrible, not musical at all, it was very much a one note wonder, it couldn't be heard on the opposite side of the stage, was to loud on 90% of the floor and when you got over into the corner or up in the upper two rows of the risers it would give you a headache. So most people would come down to the floor during music then go sit up in the stands for the message. The mains also sounded like they were lacking because what was coming from the sub was not musical.

When I was asked to run sound the first thing I did was move that sub, I laid it down on its side directly in front center of the stage and it sounded completely different. You could hear all the notes of the bass, the low end synth sounded like it should and a kick sounded like a kick. The mains sounded way better and everything blended together.

You may need to move your sub, or even add another one. Try moving it around and see if you notice any difference.

My old church in Omaha added a line array and they had a special night of worship for the congregation to come in. They told them it was an opportunity to EQ the new system with a room full of people.

You may find doing a special service like that to be a good thing. Make it a night with dinner and worship and be up front about the fact that the system has issues, and you guys will be playing with the drum enclosure, EQ and maybe even the sub placement.

It will be a lot of fun.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Per Sovik on January 30, 2011, 05:36:13 AM
I recently talked the drummer into taking his "practice at home" electronic set to the church gig instead of his usual Pearl acoustic set. We also ran the instruments straigt to the mixer and had the whole band on IEM, only having monitors for the singers and the choir. The result was a much cleaner mix where even the drums sounded better despite the limitations of an electronic set. The drums didn't sound as good as an acoustic set in a studio, and maybe not as good as an acoustic set on a riser on an outdoor festival stage with lots of space, but they were still a lot cleaner and defined than we could hope to achieve in a setting with confined space and brick walls. Having the 14 vocal mikes pick up only the vocals and a slight reverberation (that I would have added anyway) made everything sound better. There was still an issue with the grand piano, being loud at the front seats and coming thru a bit weak at the back when the balance was right in the centre of the hall, and still some sound off the back of the monitors that muffled the sound for the front centre rows. Front fills will solve the latter problem, and I've got a feeling that a $700 stage piano will outperform a $70K concert grand in this setting.
Moral: It is not about the best sound for individual instruments, but what achieves the best overall sound.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on January 31, 2011, 03:50:20 PM
There was still an issue with the grand piano, being loud at the front seats and coming thru a bit weak at the back when the balance was right in the centre of the hall, and still some sound off the back of the monitors that muffled the sound for the front centre rows. Front fills will solve the latter problem, and I've got a feeling that a $700 stage piano will outperform a $70K concert grand in this setting.
Moral: It is not about the best sound for individual instruments, but what achieves the best overall sound.

I'm glad to hear of your good experiences with the electronic drums, as it is similar to our experiences with Roland TD 12s. I get a really clean life-like sound out of them, with some parametric eq.

On the subject of electronic versus a concert grand, my experience goes the other way.

Our Kawai grand might be classed as being semi-electronic because we run it with the lid closed and a PZM in roughly the center of the underside of the lid with heavy parametric eq tuned to match the piano's acoustic sound. It sounds way better than anything I've heard yet from our >$2k Yamaha synth. 

Ditto for our pipe organ.  The synth's pipe organ patches sound nice, but no matter what its player and I do, we can't really come close to the sound of the pipes on our 16' Moeller. This bugs me because I've played CDs made from the line output of some other church's high end (>$40k) electonic organ, and it sounds pretty close.

Maybe there are some magic patches we need to load onto the Yammy...
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Taylor Phillips on January 31, 2011, 05:35:04 PM
I've got a feeling that a $700 stage piano will outperform a $70K concert grand in this setting.
  Maybe if the grand is out of tune or cracked somewhere.

Anyway, back to the drums.  I just had a thought and wondered if it might work at all: place some sort of cushions or pillows around the bottom of the inside of the drums shield to absorb the sound.  I know this would look really odd, but would it work well sound wise? 
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Per Sovik on January 31, 2011, 06:45:02 PM
  Maybe if the grand is out of tune or cracked somewhere.
Yeah, I went through the recording from another night and found that the grand was in average 30 cents above standard tune, but I was more thinking of the positive benefit of having an acoustically silent instrument on stage and not having to balance the PA against an acousticly loud instrument.

Quote
Anyway, back to the drums.  I just had a thought and wondered if it might work at all: place some sort of cushions or pillows around the bottom of the inside of the drums shield to absorb the sound.  I know this would look really odd, but would it work well sound wise?
Cushion filler is an exellent dampener, stuffing all the drums with spare bedroom stuff and taping up the cymbals goes a long way. Once you have a "dead" drumset, you can fix it with eq, reverb, sidechain gates and what have you. Going electronic is so much easier. A compromize is to use an electronic drumset and adding acoustic hi-hat and one or two cymballs.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Taylor Phillips on February 01, 2011, 10:43:34 PM
Yeah, I went through the recording from another night and found that the grand was in average 30 cents above standard tune, but I was more thinking of the positive benefit of having an acoustically silent instrument on stage and not having to balance the PA against an acousticly loud instrument.
I was actually referring to the overall sound quality.  It seems like your drums were causing more than just balance problems - bleed, reflections - while your piano is just a bit loud here, a bit quiet there.  The trade off between balance of instruments and sound quality won't be the same. 
Quote
Cushion filler is an exellent dampener, stuffing all the drums with spare bedroom stuff and taping up the cymbals goes a long way. Once you have a "dead" drumset, you can fix it with eq, reverb, sidechain gates and what have you. Going electronic is so much easier.
Well, that is quite a lot of trouble there, and I don't know why it would be necessary to go that far. I was more curious of how the cushions would do around the kit, rather than inside the drums. 
Quote
A compromize is to use an electronic drumset and adding acoustic hi-hat and one or two cymballs.
I actually had a drummer a while ago who did this and didn't find it to be any better than going all electric or all acoustic.

Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Jamie Vernon on February 02, 2011, 10:41:28 AM
As a drummer I've played electronic kits and I've played acoustic kits. I have fun either way.  :) 

I found this video from this past NAMM on YouTube.  It's Zildjans's new Gen 16 cymbal system.  It looks interesting and I thought it would fit well within this thread.

Evidently they are extremely quiet "real" cymbals with condenser mics mounted underneath.  Then they use some sort of tone shaping with samples to create the sounds. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9G4_GZ_zk4

Thanks,
Jamie


Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: George Dougherty on February 02, 2011, 12:31:13 PM
If the sound reproduction system (speakers/amps/EQ/room dynamics) is poor (and I assume you can have a good mix since the IEM sound is good)  as you state below 300 Hz, then you will have a problem with electronic drums too. Correct the "reinforcement system" first, then work on the drum problem.

+1 For most insightful so far.  This was my first thought when you mentioned the reinforcement in the room issues.  Unless the real issue is that you've got people with poor skills behind the board doing a poor job mixing the kit, an electronic kit won't do much for you as you're dealing with poor reinforcement in the room before anything else.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: John Fiorello on February 02, 2011, 03:11:17 PM
I found this video from this past NAMM on YouTube.  It's Zildjans's new Gen 16 cymbal system.  It looks interesting and I thought it would fit well within this thread.


I saw that on PSW last week.  Very interesting.  I'll definitely be giving them a listen when they show up at the closest GC. 



JF
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Ryan Fluharty on February 02, 2011, 07:14:06 PM
As a drummer, I am very interested in the idea of the Gen 16 AE cymbals.  These could be a God send for electric kits as imo the cymbals are always the worst sounding and most unrealistic sound of the kit.

I have a few reservations of using them with an acoustic kit though.  I feel like drummers will bash them harder b/c they're quieter, and that will cause them to bash the rest of the kit harder, which is not as quiet.  Like mentioned before, they won't sound good through a poor system.

Now if they could figure out a way to make a good sounding acoustic-electric drumset, that would be ideal.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Jamie Vernon on February 02, 2011, 10:58:16 PM
I've never tried this before with an electric kit, but has anyone tried localizing the amplification of the kit actually at the kit?

I mean, we always try to patch the things straight into FOH when drums are meant to be heard in a space.  I know there's ambiance added into each sample that's coming out of the drum module, but what if you used a dry kit and used a full range (stereo) setup at the kit.  If you worked on it enough you could get it to sound like a kit in an actual space (i.e. the room).

Yes, you'd have stage volume, but now you could control the level of each piece of the kit.  Add a little bit of the stereo mix to FOH and I think you'd have something that was controlled AND sounded good in the performance space. 

This is all a mute point if the space is extremely large.

Jamie
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Brad Weber on February 03, 2011, 09:27:44 AM
Jamie's point of how the environment can affect the sound is likely very relevant to the issue as some of the low frequency problems being experienced are likely due to the sound of the acoustic drums interacting with the room, other live sources and the reinforced sound.  Electronic drums reproduced through a well designed and operated audio system, and as Bob noted the sound system being properly designed for the space is critical, could potentially address many of those issues.  However, the same electronic drums with the speakers located at the drums would likely encounter many of the same problematic interactions as the acoustic drums.

In a 1,000 capacity worship space I doubt that 200-300Hz issues are room mode related as those would be very high order modes where the density and level most likely means they are not perceived as discrete modes.  But these are the types of issues where knowing more about the current space and audio system can really help in assessing what is happening and potential solutions.

Perhaps the bigger issue here is that you can't look at just the drums and drummers, you really have to take a more encompassing view that includes the physical conditions, the people and the goals involved in each individual application.  Have the same drummer and drums in two different churches and the results could be and/or be perceived quite differently.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Taylor Phillips on February 03, 2011, 10:11:57 PM
Those cymbals are a fascinating concept.  I wonder how loud the cymbals are unamplified and how those omni-directional mics that are made to pick up such a quiet source are going to interact with stage full of instruments and voices.

I've never tried this before with an electric kit, but has anyone tried localizing the amplification of the kit actually at the kit?
I think this would probably give you the worst of both worlds rather than the best.  I've done it kind of like that, with a monitor on stage loud enough for the musicians to hear without putting much of the kit through the wedges, but not with the intention of the monitor being the primary source of the kit sound.  Stage volume would be just as loud as an acoustic kit with a decent drummer, anyway.  You would have the exact same amount of control over the pieces of the kit as you would running direct to FOH - that's going to depend on how many outputs the module has either way. 

Anyway, why has no one mentioned staging?  That can have a pretty big impact on how things sound.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Johnathan Larsen on February 03, 2011, 11:06:30 PM
In making the transition both to, and back from an electronic kit, there were several aspects which we had to deal with at my church. We actually went through several different electronic kits, each time progressing in sophistication, until ending up with the top of the line V-Drums, and finally going back to an acoustic kit. One has already been noted, in another post, that when we switched to an e-kit, we dealt with a monitor level that was on par with a live kit. Although the monitor was pointed at the drummer, there was still quite a large amount of bleed and it was heavily clouding he house mix. Another issue with the electronic kit, as also noted earlier, was that the feel of the drum kit, i.e.; stick bounce, limited dynamics; actually led to medical problems for every one of the drummers at our church, tendinitis, carpal tunnel, even tennis elbow. Basically, through these experiences, we've come to the conclusion that trying to make everyone happy, eventually leads to no one being happy, do what sounds right and let God take care of the rest.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: John Fiorello on February 04, 2011, 12:45:05 PM
. We actually went through several different electronic kits, each time progressing in sophistication, until ending up with the top of the line V-Drums, and finally going back to an acoustic kit.

Nice  ;D 



JF
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: BrianAbington on February 05, 2011, 04:24:45 PM
I really like that new zildgian kit...I think that opens a whole new world of possibilities for when you need to control over all volume.

I know that the controller gives you the ability to change sounds but does how hard you hit them change the volume or is that always consistent? Also does it change sound when hitting the edge vs the bell of the cymbal?

Anybody have any idea how much these kits sell for?
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Ryan Fluharty on February 06, 2011, 10:21:47 PM

I know that the controller gives you the ability to change sounds but does how hard you hit them change the volume or is that always consistent? Also does it change sound when hitting the edge vs the bell of the cymbal?

They are acoustic cymbals...so anything you do with an acoustic cymbal (loudness, hit placement, etc) changes the sound like a regular cymbal would.  The only difference is that these are low volume and go through a lot of DSP.

Quote
Anybody have any idea how much these kits sell for?

They said that the street value would be $750-$950 for the different kit configs.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Jasen Jacobsen on February 07, 2011, 01:42:39 PM
Here's my "cool story bro'".

Our church that sits ~1200 had e-drums for several years. The main player always disliked them and never learned to program them or store settings. We finally went to acoustics in a full shield.

- Jasen.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Brad Weber on February 08, 2011, 07:28:26 AM
Our church that sits ~1200 had e-drums for several years. The main player always disliked them and never learned to program them or store settings. We finally went to acoustics in a full shield.
How did this work out from the drummer's, other musician's and listeners' perspectives?  Live drums in worship settings is often all about compromise and that often works best if some compromise is made on all sides.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Per Sovik on February 08, 2011, 07:35:34 AM
........Although the monitor was pointed at the drummer, there was still quite a large amount of bleed and it was heavily clouding he house mix. Another issue with the electronic kit, as also noted earlier, was that the feel of the drum kit, i.e.; stick bounce, limited dynamics; actually led to medical problems for every one of the drummers at our church, tendinitis, carpal tunnel, even tennis elbow.

I believe that an essential ingredient in using electronic drum sets on stage is the iem. The iem needs to be loud enough that the drummer is happy with the level without having to bash the set to pieces to get enough sound out of the set.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Jasen Jacobsen on February 08, 2011, 10:21:26 AM
How did this work out from the drummer's, other musician's and listeners' perspectives?  Live drums in worship settings is often all about compromise and that often works best if some compromise is made on all sides.
Seems to be working OK. I run the record board and not FOH, so I don't interact with the musicians & stage personnel much. Some of the other sound guys have said that the drum kit we're using is pretty bad, but I haven't heard any negative feedback from any of the stage people. *shrug*

The cage/booth the drums are in mutes the sound pretty well. All of the vocalists wear IEM. As a record guy, I liked the electronic drums better. NO bleed into other mics!

As for the listeners... IMHO, most people can't tell the difference.  :-X

Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Brian Ehlers on February 08, 2011, 12:59:34 PM
I'll post my experience and let you draw your own conclusions.

My church has a low-quality acoustic drum kit which is played by two different musicians.  One musician is a professional with his own successful jazz trio.  He can play many styles, has a knack for playing just the right amount of notes (leaving plenty of space in between), and knows how to dial his volume down.  The other musician is thankfully beyond his teen years now but still plays much like a teen in a garage band:  not perfect timing, too many notes, and too loud.

I NEVER have a problem with the volume level of the pro and, in fact, often have to encourage him to let loose -- not just because he plays soft, but because he's worth listening to.  I ALWAYS have a problem with the non-pro and have to ask him to dial it back -- not just because he's the loudest thing on stage, but because the music would often be better without him.

I know it's easier to tell people to get a better drummer than it is to find one.  I'm just saying that a lot of the "drums are too loud" problem won't go away no matter what you do with the kit or the PA system.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Tom Young on February 08, 2011, 04:37:32 PM
I'll post my experience and let you draw your own conclusions.

My church has a low-quality acoustic drum kit which is played by two different musicians.  One musician is a professional with his own successful jazz trio.  He can play many styles, has a knack for playing just the right amount of notes (leaving plenty of space in between), and knows how to dial his volume down.  The other musician is thankfully beyond his teen years now but still plays much like a teen in a garage band:  not perfect timing, too many notes, and too loud.

I NEVER have a problem with the volume level of the pro and, in fact, often have to encourage him to let loose -- not just because he plays soft, but because he's worth listening to.  I ALWAYS have a problem with the non-pro and have to ask him to dial it back -- not just because he's the loudest thing on stage, but because the music would often be better without him.

I know it's easier to tell people to get a better drummer than it is to find one.  I'm just saying that a lot of the "drums are too loud" problem won't go away no matter what you do with the kit or the PA system.

Very good post. This matches my own experiences over the past 4+ decades and working with secular performers (all styles) and churches.

Over the years I have worked for various performers that were at the mercy of uncooperative "too loud" players ..... usually guitarists and drummers. But more often than not the problem was eventually resolved by changing personnel. 

Churches are more often "held hostage" due to their dependence on volunteers from within the church body.

No news. That's just the way it is.
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Scott Raymond on February 09, 2011, 11:12:14 AM
Very good post. This matches my own experiences over the past 4+ decades and working with secular performers (all styles) and churches.

Over the years I have worked for various performers that were at the mercy of uncooperative "too loud" players ..... usually guitarists and drummers. But more often than not the problem was eventually resolved by changing personnel. 

Churches are more often "held hostage" due to their dependence on volunteers from within the church body.

No news. That's just the way it is.

Very good points Brian and Tom.  Very, very true.  To add another point, there are drummers that have grown up "a product of their environment".  We've been blessed in our small church to have an abundance of good drummers to draw from.  A couple of them play much harder then others.  One grew up playing in a family band that never mic'ed drums so I suspect he learned playing loud from the start.  Another grew up playing heavy metal.  Neither have any kind of attitude or ego, they literally just never learned playing "soft."  The latter is a good friend and I know he wishes he could play different but he said it affects his timing when he tries to play soft.  We use a full shield, I mix according to who is playing and it works out OK.  The Aviom for the band helps a lot as well.

Scott
Title: Re: Electronic Drums or Acoustic Drums
Post by: Michael Robertson on February 10, 2011, 10:13:53 PM
Our church has is 4 years old. When we started we bought Roland's top of the line kit w/ a TD-20 module. We are still portable and our gear stays in a cold trailer, so we still have that kit. All of the tech team, vox, and instrumentalists can't wait to get a permanent home and acoustic drums.

Once the time was taken to drill down and get the kit set up well they sounded "pretty good", but now we are having issues with random volume changes, failing triggers, etc. The drummers dislike the feel. I like having complete control over the volume, but I dislike the sound. I would say that e-drums have their place. They have suited us pretty well in an environment that would have done in an acoustic set, but they just lack the tonal quality and the presence of an acoustic kit.

I guess what I'm saying is everything has it's place. My place for e-drums would be in the dumpster.  ;)