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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: Art Hays on April 10, 2011, 10:32:03 am

Title: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Art Hays on April 10, 2011, 10:32:03 am
Have you noticed current generation edrums being any more embraced by drummers?  For any churches that use them how bad (and expensive) is the maintenance issue?
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Thomas Lamb on April 10, 2011, 03:26:05 pm
NO!!




Seriously
I have had many experiences with e drums and know of very few drummers who like them (actually 1 out of maybe 100 and that guys kinda weird anyway). I being a sound guy really used to think I loved them. I was wrong! I loved the idea behind less stage volume but honestly didn't really care for the tone. However, I tolerated it because it was for the greater good. I Primarely work with churches and church musicians now days and have adopted the theory of tackling it directly. Sometimes this may be through the worship leader or sometimes directly with the drummer depending on the relationship. (sidenote)This morning during sound check i was up by the stage and they were asking for less of this more of that and i said i needed less snare and the drummer said "i can move the mic further away from the snare" I laughed on the inside and politely too him no Its too loud right here at the stage and it's not in the house he said oh ok and no problem the rest of the day! I digress. However, I know there are many good arguments against drum shields and rooms and why they are bad but if they can help at all I use them not so much in our 1000 seat room but in our 200 cap rooms definitely. I also have an understanding and I use this as a threat more than anything. If we can't keep it down we might have to use e drums. I don't really mean it but it keeps them thinking about playing to the dynamics of the room. We keep an open discussion about the drums and most of my drummers come up and ask me after sound check if they are playing to loud. I always say something positive before I nail them about the snare or open hat. It seems to work.
My .02
T
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Jeff Scott on April 10, 2011, 07:46:03 pm
Our band uses them and loves them. Our sound...especially in small venues is fantastic. I mean.."we sound like the CD" ...is the comment most heard. the sound is even thruought the venue....we can play as loudly or as quietly as needed. We are going to be integrating the sounds and articulation from Superior Drummer in the near future. We currently use the Stock Yamaha kits that came with the Drum brain. Good enough but a far cry from Superior Drummer. As a Sound tech..I don't like what drum shields do to the "tone" of the kit. You've got a huge amount of sound bouncing around inside of a whole bunch of hard surfaces. Makes Phase cancellation a major issue. I've found that a shields ability to really lower the volume is marginal at best. Unless you are working inside a totally enclosed case...the sound is still bouncing out into the room at a slightly lower level.

Our drummer took an old set of acoustic drums he had and converted the skins over to Edrums. He did it in such a way that he uses the same skins as he used to..only they trigger the Yamaha E brain. The feel or response of the stick on skin is the same as a "true acoustic' kit...just that there is no Acoustic drum tone. The only criticism i would make is that there is a "slight" difference in a drummers ability to impart dynamics. However...our drummer has almost minimized that with careful attention to articulation, internal Brain settings etc.

The bottom line is...are you going to let 1 individual determine what the balance of the congregation hears? I mean...as a guitar player...I'd like nothing more than to crank my amp so that I can soak myself into the tone of my Power tubes on 10. But in respect to the rest of the congregation..I have to turn it down and consequently live with a "poor" tone...or use a modelling pedal of some sort that may or may not reflect what the amp truly sounds like.  Same goes for the drummer. Sure....it feels differently..and the articulation may be a little different....but WHO is this about? This is a worship service. You are there to serve. Serving does not mean dictating what 3 or 400 other people will hear. It does mean working within the whole to serve the many. I've st thru too many worship services whose volume level was dictated by the individual sitting on the drum stool. Enough already. Edrum technology..especially with the integration of Studio quality drum platforms like Superior Drummer or Steven Slate Digital...have come to the point where drum shields and band aid solutions will no longer be required. Get your drummer to learn how to put together an Acoustic / hybrid kit as i mentioned above...and enjoy the richness of studio quality drum sounds in your sanctuary.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Art Hays on April 11, 2011, 12:06:47 pm

Our drummer took an old set of acoustic drums he had and converted the skins over to Edrums. He did it in such a way that he uses the same skins as he used to..only they trigger the Yamaha E brain. The feel or response of the stick on skin is the same as a "true acoustic' kit...just that there is no Acoustic drum tone.


Jeff- can you please provide some more details on this conversion process?  I'm not quite following how it was done.  Thanks!
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Michael Galica on April 11, 2011, 12:22:11 pm
I'm a drummer who used to be vehemently opposed to e-drums, emphasis on used to be.  Basically what changed my mind was two things.  The first was that the quality of e-drums has increased steadily over the years--both sound quality and "feel".  The second was the realization that e-drums v. acoustic drums is really the same as a keyboard/synth v. a piano.  A keyboard can do quite a bit more than a piano can, with multiple samples like strings, pads, leads, harpsichords, organs, and can even be a pretty convincing piano, but a good acoustic piano will almost always sound better than the sampled piano sound from the keyboard.

In the same way, e-drums have a lot more variety than acoustic drums.  If I'm playing an upbeat song, I can switch to a preset with more attack and punch.  When we go into the quieter songs, I can switch to a preset to match it.  Do they sound as good as a quality, well-tuned acoustic kit?  No.  But I'm willing to trade a little bit of tonal quality for the increased versatility.  (And quite a bit less cost.)

Of course, to get the the point where e-drums are behave correctly requires a good deal of work, both on the part of the drummer and the sound tech.  They are a different beast, and it requires a good deal of cooperation.  Personally, I think the benefits of e-drums (the versatility, negligent acoustic noise, and not having to an hour to tune them regularly) make them worth it, even though in a perfect world I'd much rather play or mix a good, well-tuned acoustic kit.

Yet there are still lots of drummers who are unwilling to try e-drums, either due to perceptions or a bad experience several years ago.  For me, it was the latter.  But current-generation kits are light years ahead of what was out even five years ago.

TL;DR Converting to e-drums will likely be a touchy issue, but remember: e-drums are to acoustic drums what keyboards are to pianos.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 11, 2011, 05:27:28 pm
Have you noticed current generation edrums being any more embraced by drummers?  For any churches that use them how bad (and expensive) is the maintenance issue?
Embraced by churches, yes, drummers not so much.  The good kits seem to be pretty resilient, but I've seen a couple of kits where one of the pads stopped working.  Not sure if it was an age or wiring issue, but they are constantly hit with sticks, so you can't expect them to last forever.  In those cases, the drummers just took that pad off and used another one for whatever drum it was supposed to be - sacrificing an extra tom or cymbal.

I haven't had much good experience with e-drums.  One drummer spends a bunch of time getting all the right sounds and it sounds good one week, then the fill-in guy the next week accidentally changes the hi-hat to a whistle sound - never had that problem with acoustic drums.  There are a lot of different sounds you can get from e-drums, but none of them as good as a decent drummer who knows how to change style to match the song.  It also seems like I have to really ride the fader on e-drums more than acoustics, especially if the drummer is used to playing acoustic kits in small room right (not hitting very hard).  The drum volume is controlled entirely at the booth, rather than onstage.  It makes transitions from loud songs to soft songs pretty tough. The other thing that bothers me with them is that drum rolls sound very unnatural.

I'm not sure how to convert acoustic drums using the same heads, but you can put silent mesh heads and triggers on acoustic kits and make the electric.  I had a drummer who did this a while back.  It's a whole lot less trouble and money if you get your drummer some multi-rods, though. And don't forget that different acoustic drum kits are made for deferent volumes and styles.  Look at jazz kits for a church setting.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Jeff Scott on April 11, 2011, 07:35:35 pm
Jeff- can you please provide some more details on this conversion process?  I'm not quite following how it was done.  Thanks!

Hi Art...I don't have the info in front of me at the moment...but I can point you in the right direction. Go to Electronicdrums.com. There is a nominal membership fee to get to the advanced tutorials on how to do this but it's well worth it.

Essentially...it involves attaching a "sandwich" of foam, a resonating plate, the piezo and some more foam. This is then placed just up against the Drum head. When the drummer plays the drummer there is a muting effect of the Foam/piezo sandwick but he recieves the feel and give of the drum head itself. It feels much better than the Roland type mesh heads and far better than the Yamaha / practice pad type pads.

That's a condensed, simplistic version. You'll have to go over to the website. They have an excellent pictoral tutorial to follow.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Mike Spitzer on April 12, 2011, 11:11:09 am
My experience has been mixed. I'm not a drummer, so I can't really speak for the feel, but I do know that most drummers don't like the feel of most e-drums. Also, I've mixed a few that sounded like somebody was just banging on Tupperware. I've had standard kits sound like that, too, though. I did visit a church at one point that used e-drums and all of the drummers swore it felt like a real kit. They only needed the one, since it was easily configurable and it sounded awesome. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have realized that they were e-drums.

Unfortunately, I believe the guy said they spent over $8k on all of the equipment they used to get that sound. Not sure how much of that was the kit itself. It looked like it was running into some kind of processor before being sent to the board.

So, basically, some e-kits can sound great. Even those that do, though, may not be comfortable for your drummers. If they're not comfortable, it's probably not going to sound good, no matter how good the equipment is.

-mS
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on April 12, 2011, 11:16:43 am
Have you noticed current generation edrums being any more embraced by drummers? 

I went to a churchmusic festival a few years back, and the only groups that I felt weren't tryiing to sing and play over their drums were using e-drums. I'd bet money that many of the groups would deny that they were having problems, but that's how they sounded to me.

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For any churches that use them how bad (and expensive) is the maintenance issue?

We've been using our Roland TD-12 set for about 6 years and the only *maintenance* was getting an Aviom system to  help exploit them. ;-)
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 12, 2011, 10:22:51 pm
I went to a churchmusic festival a few years back, and the only groups that I felt weren't tryiing to sing and play over their drums were using e-drums. I'd bet money that many of the groups would deny that they were having problems, but that's how they sounded to me.
I wonder if any of that could've been mental, or your opinion of the mix.  Most times I've been at worship services with e-drums, it seems they always get buried in the mix and therefore the music lacks a good bit of energy.  I was at Disney World a while back and one of the bands that came out and did a show in one of the parks used e-drums, and it was the first time I'd heard an electric kit sound anything close to right.  I'd say it was because they actually turned them up pretty loud to match the band. 

Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: chris harwood on April 13, 2011, 12:23:28 am
Except in a large secular venue, I'm not sure I've heard kits sounding as good as Superior by Toontrack.  welll....Hillsong drums are some nice sounding cannons....
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Aiden Garrett on April 13, 2011, 01:54:25 pm
First things first: I'm not a drummer! Just an engineer.
That said, I do like to have a bang on them :P

I've never mixed E-Drums but I can deffinately see the pros. As for the feel for drummers, I'm not wholly convinved! There is something satisfying about hitting an acoustic drum... for anyone!

My main positives for acoustic drums is the ability for the drummer to "step on it" for want of a better way of putting it. By this, I mean that if the engineer isn't brilliant, the drummer can play slightly louder to compensate. To me, this is an advantage in a church where it is manned by volunteers who have the desire to serve, but lack the know how and experience (sorry if that's anyone looking at this post!). Also, you get that punch from acoustic drums in small sound systems (those without subs), that you would miss from an electric drum kit...

My 2 pence anyway!
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on April 14, 2011, 08:42:29 am
I went to a churchmusic festival a few years back, and the only groups that I felt weren't tryiing to sing and play over their drums were using e-drums. I'd bet money that many of the groups would deny that they were having problems, but that's how they sounded to me.
I wonder if any of that could've been mental, or your opinion of the mix.


Well it wasn't a blind test so my opinions may have entered in. ;-)

On balance, this was long before we had our own edrums, or even had a drummer in the sanctuary praise team so I was probably just judging by the quality of the mix and the body language of the other members of the praise teams.  BTW, some of these struggling groups were playing out-of-doors.

Quote

Most times I've been at worship services with e-drums, it seems they always get buried in the mix and therefore the music lacks a good bit of energy.  I was at Disney World a while back and one of the bands that came out and did a show in one of the parks used e-drums, and it was the first time I'd heard an electric kit sound anything close to right.  I'd say it was because they actually turned them up pretty loud to match the band.

It is questionble to me whether fully acoustic drums are ever mixed by the guy operating the console.

Put the drums into a shield and they aren't fully acoustic - they are e-drums built up using mics and acoustical baffles instead of wave tables and transducers.

The question of "matching the band" is just about 100% subjective.

When the drums are fully acoustic then either the drummer is in charge of that part of the mix, or he's unable to play the drums exactly the way he wants to and nobody is in charge.  Either condition is not unusual.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Brad Weber on April 14, 2011, 10:31:16 am
My main positives for acoustic drums is the ability for the drummer to "step on it" for want of a better way of putting it. By this, I mean that if the engineer isn't brilliant, the drummer can play slightly louder to compensate. To me, this is an advantage in a church where it is manned by volunteers who have the desire to serve, but lack the know how and experience (sorry if that's anyone looking at this post!).
I don't understand this.  How does the drummer know what it sounds like to or needs to be done for the listeners out in the space?  And wouldn't this likely just end up in a loop of the drummer making a 'correction' only to have the tech compensate for it so the drummer makes more 'correction' and so on?
 
I remember working with a band that had never had anyone mixing who knew their songs and as a result, they were used to trying to do everything themselves on stage, playing louder for solos, stepping things down down for quieter songs, etc.  When I started working with them on a regular basis I soon had to have a talk with them and explain that if the drummer was playing louder of softer or the guitar players were turning their amps up to get a certain sound then that was fine, but otherwise I would take care of adjusting the levels and they no longer needed to worry about that.  That was a totally new experience for them and I have to wonder how often a similar issue may apply and cause the performers to try to 'mix' from the stage simply because they don't know better.
 
Also, you get that punch from acoustic drums in small sound systems (those without subs), that you would miss from an electric drum kit...
The quality of the sound system for both the listeners and the monitors on stage is definitely a factor for e-drums or acoustic drums.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 14, 2011, 05:31:59 pm
I don't understand this.  How does the drummer know what it sounds like to or needs to be done for the listeners out in the space?  And wouldn't this likely just end up in a loop of the drummer making a 'correction' only to have the tech compensate for it so the drummer makes more 'correction' and so on?
Unless the musicians are hearing the house mix, or your using post-fade aux sends for monitors, no this shouldn't happen.  The musicians may not know exactly what the house mix sounds like, but they can know how they sound in relation to everyone else.  This certainly can make it easier on an engineer who doesn't have a good handle on how to mix things, which is the situation which Aiden was referring to.  It could also open some avenues of creativity for experienced engineers like a situation I read of over in the old forums a while back where someone talked about mixing a band whose guitarist used a volume pedal to bring himself up during the solos, so the engineer consentrated on how the bass and drums fit into the mix to compliment the guitar rather than just push the guitar up louder.  If you don't have an engineer who will adjust the mix song to song and all the musicians play at the same volume throughout the set or service, it may not be dull if the players are good, but it certain won't have the same energy.

It is questionble to me whether fully acoustic drums are ever mixed by the guy operating the console.
This all depends on how loud the drummer is and the size of the venue.  We just changed from e-drums to acoustics for the service I run on Tuesday nights and while the first few rows definitely hear a mix of what's coming from stage and what's coming through the speakers, about half way back all you hear is coming from the speakers, so at that point the drum sound is all on me.
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Put the drums into a shield and they aren't fully acoustic - they are e-drums built up using mics and acoustical baffles instead of wave tables and transducers.
No, they're acoustic drums mic'd up and run through the sound system :)  Anyway, drums behind a shield sound like crap if you can't turn them up louder than they are acoustically.  Remember, shields don't help with volume, they help with bleed.  There is certainly use for them, but not as a way to control stage volume.  You can also reduce bleed my moving the kit to one side of stage instead of right behind your singers.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Aiden Garrett on April 14, 2011, 07:17:16 pm
My main positives for acoustic drums is the ability for the drummer to "step on it" for want of a better way of putting it. By this, I mean that if the engineer isn't brilliant, the drummer can play slightly louder to compensate. To me, this is an advantage in a church where it is manned by volunteers who have the desire to serve, but lack the know how and experience (sorry if that's anyone looking at this post!).
I don't understand this.  How does the drummer know what it sounds like to or needs to be done for the listeners out in the space?  And wouldn't this likely just end up in a loop of the drummer making a 'correction' only to have the tech compensate for it so the drummer makes more 'correction' and so on?
 

As Taylor Phillips has well explained: "... they can know how they sound in relation to everyone else". To add to this, they should know how they sound in relation to the room. For a drummer, this is tuning their drums to the room. I worked (volunteered) with a drummer who for 3 years would consistently turn up at 9 to set his drums up (admittedly, his kit was huge), and part of the setting up process was tuning/adjusting the drums to the sound of the room (a large, relatively boomy hall). An electric guitarist should take a similar role, adjusting the EQ on the amp (or a pedal), to account for the rooms acoustics. Again, a part of this is adjusting the volume for the room and what not...

Furthermore, I expect all musicians to adjust themselves to suit the dynamics of the song. For example, vocalists are expected to be further away from a mic when they are singing a loud part; so drummers should play quieter at subtler points in songs (is this possible with an electric kit?); and guitarists to engage their own boosts for solos. As an engineer, I am not the musical director, I am simply there to ensure the reproduction of the band (or spoken word, etc) is true to what the band intended the sound to be, but for a much larger scale.

When mixing drums, I try and listen to how the drums sound naturally, and I try and reflect this in the mixing style. After all, the drummer spends hours tuning, practicing and perfecting their sound; who am I to mess with it? I also find this approach works well with guitars, BVs...
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on April 15, 2011, 07:37:25 am
I don't understand this.  How does the drummer know what it sounds like to or needs to be done for the listeners out in the space?

They depend on reflections from the room, which takes a lot of learning and is at its core unrelaible. It puts a tremendous amount of power in the hands of someone who "has a dog in the fight". But, this can be done if you have experienced, disciplined musicans. Demanding that all musicans be that experienced and have that kind of discipline puts a tremendous burden on small and starting-out churches.

A little anecdote. After 10 years of praying and politicking, I finally got sound absorbers installed across the front of our balcony which had been sending everything back to the platform about 180 millisedonds later, and loud!  So, all of a sudden about 2 weeks after the installation was finished (the insallation was done in thirds over a period of 6 months)  our lead vocalist stops the rehearsal and asks me something like "Can people hear me? I have no sense that my voice is getting out into the room". It seems clear to me that he was gauging how loud to sing by the reflection from the room that has now gone away.

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And wouldn't this likely just end up in a loop of the drummer making a 'correction' only to have the tech compensate for it so the drummer makes more 'correction' and so on?

Hence my comment about truely live drums never being under the control of the sound board op. Which was reinforced by a live drums advocate who conceeded my point for thr front however many seats in his room. If the room is small and the drummer is not self-conscious, the whole room could be out of the control of the board op.
 
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As Taylor Phillips has well explained: "... they can know how they sound in relation to everyone else".

To which I would add "to some degree". There can be no doubt that a skilled board op sitting in the middle of the seating area can do that far better than anybody on the platform ever will  because he's there and he's got the tools to make it happen rignt. Nobody else has those tools. Nobody on the platform knows that well what things sound like in the middle of the seating area.

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To add to this, they should know how they sound in relation to the room.

Aye, there's the rub! ;-)

Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: BobWitte on April 15, 2011, 01:18:24 pm
Have you noticed current generation edrums being any more embraced by drummers?  For any churches that use them how bad (and expensive) is the maintenance issue?

Unless I (the mix engineer) have access to individual channels of Kick/SN/Hat/Toms/Cymbals, I really dislike edrums. Nothing bugs me more than song that needs to be driven by the kick or snare and I can't do that without making the entire kit louder. Yes, the drummer may compensate a bit since they know the song, but the drummer does not hear the main system/congregation sound contribution to the final sound outcome that I, as the mix engineer needs to adjust for.

So I heavily prefer as acoustic kit. Now this assumes that an acoustic kit is playable in the acoustics/room as others have pointed out. We are in a large sanctuary (1700), with an enclosed/and covered top with absorption (open back) drumset with good mics on kick/snare/hat/toms/overheads.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 15, 2011, 05:50:52 pm
Unless I (the mix engineer) have access to individual channels of Kick/SN/Hat/Toms/Cymbals, I really dislike edrums. Nothing bugs me more than song that needs to be driven by the kick or snare and I can't do that without making the entire kit louder. Yes, the drummer may compensate a bit since they know the song, but the drummer does not hear the main system/congregation sound contribution to the final sound outcome that I, as the mix engineer needs to adjust for.
This is probably the biggest negative dealing with most e-drums as they only have L/R outputs.  The cheapest module with more outputs I can find is over $1000.  My former church in another state paid $650 including hardware for their birch Gretsch kit that sounds better than any electric kit out there (not to mention most other acoustic kits) while being fine a fine fit for our 120 seat sanctuary.  I think the dimensions of the room were about 40X40 with 14ft ceilings there, tiny stage in the corner.  We didn't mic the drums there, no shield either, and the piano mic only went to the monitors.  We did spend a good bit of time at a specialized drums and percussion store talking to the folks there to find the best kit to match our situation.
 
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We are in a large sanctuary (1700), with an enclosed/and covered top with absorption (open back) drumset with good mics on kick/snare/hat/toms/overheads.
For my current Tuesday night gig where we just switched to acoustic, we've got a PDP kit (doesn't sound near as good as that Gretsch) in the open (curtain behind it, though) with mics on the kick and snare, plus two overheads. We're only in a 250 seat room so it was to my surprise the drums are just as loud in the board mix as the e-drums were.  Sounds the same through the headphones at FOH as it does with them off.  I'm pretty certain the multi-rods the drummer uses is a huge factor in this.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Brad Weber on April 16, 2011, 08:24:10 am
As Taylor Phillips has well explained: "... they can know how they sound in relation to everyone else". To add to this, they should know how they sound in relation to the room. For a drummer, this is tuning their drums to the room. I worked (volunteered) with a drummer who for 3 years would consistently turn up at 9 to set his drums up (admittedly, his kit was huge), and part of the setting up process was tuning/adjusting the drums to the sound of the room (a large, relatively boomy hall). An electric guitarist should take a similar role, adjusting the EQ on the amp (or a pedal), to account for the rooms acoustics. Again, a part of this is adjusting the volume for the room and what not...
The aspects noted above seem to be things happening in advance of the performance where the musician and tech can work together and coordinate everything.  Maybe I misunderstood the original comments as I thought they were referencing musicians making adjustments during performances.  While someone could adjust their playing or settings based on what they hear during a performance, they are almost always making such judgments based on something other than what the listeners hear.  The simple example is that someone on in-ears is not going to have much of a feel for the room except maybe through an ambient mic and I've seen monitor mixes where people only want a very limited mix and intentionally do not want to hear much, if any, of some sources.
 
Furthermore, I expect all musicians to adjust themselves to suit the dynamics of the song. For example, vocalists are expected to be further away from a mic when they are singing a loud part; so drummers should play quieter at subtler points in songs (is this possible with an electric kit?); and guitarists to engage their own boosts for solos. As an engineer, I am not the musical director, I am simply there to ensure the reproduction of the band (or spoken word, etc) is true to what the band intended the sound to be, but for a much larger scale.
The performers certainly should adjust their playing to fit the piece and the intended mood.  And I agree that the goal is to translate the overall musical vision to the listeners.  However, the musician's should be playing and adjusting their playing to fit the performance and not in order to try to 'mix' for the listeners from the stage.
 
I agree with Arnold that the scenario presented seems to assume having highly talented and skilled musicians and less competent system operators.  That all the musicians are able to adjust and control their playing at will.  That they all know how the sound on stage translates to what is heard by the listeners.  That nothing (stage setup, instruments, musicians, etc.) changes.  The reality is that the church that has the blessing of such skilled perfomers probably also has skilled operators while the church whose tech resources are limited is more likely to also have more limited musical resources.  In fact going back to the original topic, I think that considering e-drums is sometimes a direct response to drummers who cannot adjust their playing or play with any subtlety.  And yes, modern e-drums are pressure sensitive, although the nuances are sometimes not up to the real thing.
 
Based on personal experience, when working with musicians that make adjustments on stage based on what they think the audience will hear I have quite literally found myself fighting to try to get a good mix.  I'm sure that many can share their stories of guitarists who decided that they needed to turn up their amps with the result that you can take them completely out of the mix and still have to bring everything else up more than desired in order to get any reasonable mix out in the house (one explanation offered when this happened was that the venue was larger than normal so they thought they had to turn everything up).  Or experiences with establishing good gain structure and levels during sound check and then having someone on stage change levels, intentionally or just being caught up in the moment, thus losing all headroom at, if not clipping, the input.  Back the trim down to compensate and that affects everywhere that channel is routed.
 
When mixing drums, I try and listen to how the drums sound naturally, and I try and reflect this in the mixing style. After all, the drummer spends hours tuning, practicing and perfecting their sound; who am I to mess with it? I also find this approach works well with guitars, BVs...
That's actually part of my point, they spent hours getting the the sound they wanted and it appeared that you were advocating their then changing that on the fly from the stage to try make up for the room and mix.  There is a lot of give and take during rehearsals and sound check but once the performance starts I believe that it is generally for the best if the musicians focus on doing what they need to perfom the best while the tech focuses on optimizing how that transfers to the listeners.  They can discuss ideas and suggestions for one another later, but it tends to be the listeners who suffer if either tries to do the other's job during a performance.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Jannice Torres on April 16, 2011, 06:25:19 pm
My brother is the drummer and he doesn't like it at all.  He brings his hi-hat and pedal from home and he hates the way the cymbals don't provide a subtle gradual sound.  We have a Yamaha DTXPRESS IV.

Everyone else, including me, loves it. The sound is great, even, deep, controllable, etc. 

I would say, if your sound guy is good at controlling the drums sound with the plastic wall dampers and the mic mix, then go for acoustic drums.  If sound guy is lacking (mine is, LOL) go for electronic, which helps control sound better.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 16, 2011, 09:57:55 pm
While someone could adjust their playing or settings based on what they hear during a performance, they are almost always making such judgments based on something other than what the listeners hear. 
I think what we have hear is confusion on mixing versus blending.  Mixing being getting everything at the right levels for the venue, blending being adjusting your voice or instrument to the particular song.  I would agree the only time the musicians should be mixing is if they are playing in a small venue with no one at front of house, or if the drum kit is unmic'd, in which case the drummer is the only who really needs to adjust, and the adjustments should be made before the performance and not during.  The dynamics of the songs themselves don't change based on venue.   Plenty of musicians are guilty of mixing rather than blending, which is probably what the group you mentioned before was having.
My brother is the drummer and he doesn't like it at all.  He brings his hi-hat and pedal from home and he hates the way the cymbals don't provide a subtle gradual sound.  We have a Yamaha DTXPRESS IV.

Everyone else, including me, loves it. The sound is great, even, deep, controllable, etc. 

I would say, if your sound guy is good at controlling the drums sound with the plastic wall dampers and the mic mix, then go for acoustic drums.  If sound guy is lacking (mine is, LOL) go for electronic, which helps control sound better.

While I agree that a bad sound guy can really mess up a drum mix, the choice between electric and acoustic should be based more around the drummer.  In most churches I know of, an acoustic kit without mics will do just fine with a decent drummer if you don't want the guy in the booth screwing things up.  If the drummer can't keep things under control, then there may be reason to look at the electric option.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Kent Thompson on April 18, 2011, 01:11:30 pm
 It's all about choices.
 Would I rather have a bad sounding acoustical set or a mediocre electric set?
 Is the volume just too loud with acoustical set?
 You need to form your own set of questions to come up with the right answer.
 While I don't particularly care for electronic drums under the right circumstances I would take them over an acoustic set.
 If there are insurmountable (or impractical) obstacles in using an acoustical set then by all means go electronic.
 Something to keep in mind when shopping for electronic drums, like everything else in audio you get what you pay for.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Rob Truesdell on April 19, 2011, 03:22:27 am
Hello everyone, first post. As a drummer Im not crazy about edrums but I do understand stage volume and dislike shields even more.
One of the issues I run across traveling from church to church in a traveling worship band is that the drums are really the wrong drumset for the venue.
Granted most of the churches we play in are rather small, I find most if not all the drumsets that are set on stage behind a drum shield are old 70's or 80's power drums. Large deep shells. One of the last sets had tom sizes of 12x10, 13x12 and a 16x16 and just about all the kick drums have been 18x22.

My personal set I use smaller toms and a kick. I also use cymbals with a fast decay. I feel that if a church would choose a drumset that would fit there church rather than let the drummer bring his old set in things would be much better.

I know it also its the drummer too, meaning the drummer really needs to loose the heavy large sticks and learn to play a bit softer but my point is mainly smaller shells really help in controlling the sound.

Most of these drumsets are not even mic'ed up sometimes too! Makes it hard for a fellow like me who plays soft, gets stuck in a shield and nobody can hear the drums. Seems to happen all the time. I even had the sound engineer speak into my head phones once saying "drummer, can you hit a littler harder now"!

Still, even if the drumset behind a shield is a nice quality tuned kit, the shield thing kills it for me. Im probably in the minority in my drumming style, I learned to play in a real small church vs the 80's power drummer plus I do enjoy the art of SR and know that sacrifices have to be made and for this drummer, give me the electrics over a shield!
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on April 19, 2011, 09:08:20 am
My brother is the drummer and he doesn't like it at all.  He brings his hi-hat and pedal from home and he hates the way the cymbals don't provide a subtle gradual sound.  We have a Yamaha DTXPRESS IV.

This begs the question, who is supposed to be in charge of the overall sound? I guess ultimately, its the WD, and that is only true as he is subject to the church goverence and The Lord. 

Hmm, interesting, the drummer and even the sound guy are so far down the list that they didn't get mentioned. ;-) 

I know that as sound guy I sometimes tend to get caught up in refining subtleties that no board member ever notices. I know that there is a ton of subtlety that never makes it out of the Orchestra pit. 

In the end any other idea that "I've got to sound good to me" is just pride.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: drew gandy on April 20, 2011, 10:09:24 pm
My thoughts on the topic (for whatever its worth).

A) My experience has shown that the better the band, the less I have to do (as a sound guy) during the course of the performance.  I think this has as much to do with the arrangements of the music as it does the dynamics of the musicians but both play heavily into it. 

B) When a drum shield is mildly effective, and that's typically the most we can hope for, it's usually because it makes the drummer play softer (it's much louder at the stool with that plexi around the set).  Some drummers don't respond to this and play just as hard or harder.  ymmv.

C) Electronic sets are usually awful horrid things.

1) Cheesy sounds
2) Mediocre drummers - it seems that electronic sets tend to inhibit a drummer's ability to learn nuance.  Not that electric guitar players don't have this problem as well;)
3) That terrible thwack sound that comes off the pads acoustically and masks the actual sound of the sample.
4) Pathetic monitoring that keeps the drummer from hearing even a semblance of what they're actually contributing to the mix. 

drew
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Michael Galica on April 21, 2011, 12:17:17 pm
C) Electronic sets are usually awful horrid things.

1) Cheesy sounds
2) Mediocre drummers - it seems that electronic sets tend to inhibit a drummer's ability to learn nuance.  Not that electric guitar players don't have this problem as well;)
3) That terrible thwack sound that comes off the pads acoustically and masks the actual sound of the sample.
4) Pathetic monitoring that keeps the drummer from hearing even a semblance of what they're actually contributing to the mix. 

drew

Drew, out of curiosity what electric drum kits have you worked with?  While they all have the "cheesy sounds", most modules also have some very legitimate drum sounds these days.  I'm also curious what "terrible thwack" you're mentioning.  Mesh head kits have very little acoustic noise, and even the kits with mylar or rubber have never interfered with my house mix.  Also, please expand on what constitutes "pathetic monitoring".  I'm unclear on why that is the fault of the edrums and not the sound system/tech.

As to the "mediocre drummers" part, I think that's an issue regardless of acoustic or electric.  It's the "oOo thing.  I hit! *bam*" experience.  I've run into many more drummers that just don't get that you can get different sounds/volumes by hitting the drum in a different spot.  Edrums by nature will have less variety of tone than acoustic drums, but (mine at least) still have a good amount you can do if you know how to create it.

I've said it before: edrums are to acoustic drums what a keyboard is to a piano.  The electronic version offers more options in creating sounds, but lacks the nuance and (usually) sound quality of the acoustic version.
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 21, 2011, 06:46:33 pm
Drew, out of curiosity what electric drum kits have you worked with?  While they all have the "cheesy sounds", most modules also have some very legitimate drum sounds these days.  I'm also curious what "terrible thwack" you're mentioning.  Mesh head kits have very little acoustic noise, and even the kits with mylar or rubber have never interfered with my house mix.  Also, please expand on what constitutes "pathetic monitoring".  I'm unclear on why that is the fault of the edrums and not the sound system/tech.
Well, I'm not Drew, but  I've worked with a Roland TD-12 and a Yamaha DTXtreme II, both of which are pretty legit kits in the electronic drum world I would think, and never really found any sounds that weren't somewhat 'cheesy' in nature.  The Yamaha for the most part was less cheesy sounding than the Roland, but the mesh heads of the Roland were better liked than the rubber Yamahas.  While the 'thwack' sound isn't going to interfere with your house mix unless you mix the drums way too quiet, it can drive the musicians on stage a bit crazy.  I also understand where Drew is coming from on the monitoring.  Using wedges and trying to keep the stage volume down, the aforementioned 'thwack' can sometimes overshadow the sound of the drums to the drummer.  Trying to get it loud enough for him to hear the nuances that are there, it's like having an acoustic kit on stage.  Switching to an acoustic kit recently I've seen this first hand, since the drums in my board mix going from electric to acoustic are at the same level - they just sound better - and the wedge mixes are much cleaner since I don't have to send any drum signal to them.  I had to turn the e-drums up quite a bit in the wedges for the musicians start to feel the beat.
Quote
I've said it before: edrums are to acoustic drums what a keyboard is to a piano.  The electronic version offers more options in creating sounds, but lacks the nuance and (usually) sound quality of the acoustic version.
While I accompanied a choir in college, I absolutely hated having to play on the keyboard when we did shows.  I had to for several shows off campus, but when the college theater had loaned out their Steinway for some event on the other side of campus that was the same day as our concert, I, with the help of a couple other guys, pushed the old upright from the directors office down the street a block to the theater so I could play on a real piano.  With keyboards, the sound is pretty good, though it's still a bit of trouble to get the sound right, the problem I have with them is feel.  Practicing on the Yamaha baby grand in the choir room, the uprights in the practice rooms and occasionally the theater's Steinway, meant that I had no real feel for how to play the keyboard and the director could really tell that I struggled to get the music right on it.  So, yeah, I guess you're right.  :)
Title: Re: edrums acceptance?
Post by: Brad Weber on April 25, 2011, 11:04:54 am
Just some general observations.  First, it sounds like many times the perception of shields/enclosures and e-drums versus acoustic kits is the result of a combination of multiple factors that sometimes end up all being assigned to one.  A poor shield setup leading to poor results may give the perception that shields in general are bad.  Use a less than optimal e-drums rig along with poor monitoring and the perception could end up being that e-drums are always bad.  Use the wrong acoustic kit with a lesser musician and the resulting perception may be that acoustic drums are generally bad.  The results with, and perception of, every one of these concepts or approaches is dependent on not just implementing the general concept, but also on how they are implemented.  It seems that too many people tend to gain a less than favorable perception of a concept or approach based on a single experience with a specific, and often less than optimal, implementation when it may be the implementation rather than the concept that is the greatly what is being assessed.
 
This is a generalization, however I have found that drummers that can readily adapt their playing to varying situations are typically better at adpating to, and more willing to try, e-drums.  It's not necessarily that they prefer them but rather simply that they are better able to adapt.  Conversely, drummers that have difficulty varying or adapting their playing in general may struggle with any changes, including e-drums.  The irony is that in some cases the players for whom the most benefit may be gained may be the very ones that are least comfortable with or most resistant to ideas such as using e-drums.
 
The human resources available to churches varies greatly.  I've worked with churches that have professional performers and technicians and with churches that can hold auditions within their own membership and get highly skilled personnel.  I've also worked with churches that struggle to get any performers and techs or that allow anyone who wishes to participate to do so.  Obviously this affects the viability and effectiveness of potential options and approaches.  Thus there is no one single answer or approach that necessarily applies to all churches, you have to look at the specific situation as other churches may not have the same situation as yours.