Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Using Reason Fixes Roland V-Drums Lite Crappy Kick Pedal

Just a quick note, I picked up the cheapest Roland V-Drums unit out there. I want a fancier option and can afford it, but I have a kind of harsh rule about musical instruments, which is that you get the cheapest thing that can possibly work and upgrade only if you actually make good music with it. This is probably perverse of me, and has certainly had some nasty consequences with the V-Drums. The kick pedal is crappy beyond words and frequently makes the entire drum set shake, which results in misfires, but the whole reason I'm blogging about it at all is because the solution is easy. You use Reason for your drum sounds instead of the Roland "brain," which is pretty crappy. Just plug a MIDI cable into it and you're good. In Reason, it's really easy to set a velocity minimum on an individual sample in the NN-XT sampler. The purpose of this is velocity windows, and you'll use this if you want to play a different snare sample when you hit the drum hard versus when you hit the drum softly. (It's really an if, not a when.) But what's cool is the kick pedal misfires all occur at low velocity, so just set your kick sample velocity floor a little higher than normal, and you're good to go.

(Velocity windows are also a useful way to train yourself to accurately modulate how hard you hit the drum. Assign completely different sounds to the top end of the velocity range and the bottom. Then do triplets and make sure you get the high end sound on the 1 and the low end sound on the 2 and the 3.)