XM eDrum interview with George Weis, Melbourne drumming teacher, about his experience playing an XM eDrum kit


1. XM: Hi George, as a drumming teacher I expect you’ve played electronic drum kits before?
George Weis: Yes, I own a Roland TD-4 kit.
2. XM: Today you played the XM Classy Series C-Plus-9SR eDrum kit. How did you think it compared with your Roland kit in terms of look, feel and sound?

George Weis: Put simply, it went above and beyond on all fronts. First of all, it looks very cool; I like the realistic looking drum shells. Secondly, I could really hear the accents when I was playing, which I’ve never experienced before on a digital kit. I also like the drumhead skin’s feedback, and am very impressed by the rim-shot functionality.

3. XM: What do you think about this kit’s sensitivity? The sound of your hits also alters depending on how hard you hit the skin.

George Weis: I’d like to play around more with the trigger’s tone settings, as I like the idea of changing sound when you hit softly or hard, as opposed to just the usual change in volume.

4. XM: You can adjust the tuning of your cymbals and drums. Would you use this function?

George Weis: The module has a MIDI Out jack, so I could see changing keys as being a very good option when making recordings. I also saw a line out port, which I’d use to go DI into live PA systems.

5. XM: This Classy Series eDrum kit comes with 8 built-in drum kit sounds you can mix and match for each drum’s triggers. How was your experience with these?

George Weis: They were cool. I quickly stumbled upon different sounds like cowbells and D.J. scratches. The ‘Effect’ kit sounded great for Drum and Bass techno drumming.

6. XM: This kit can work together with programs like Easy Drummer, Pro Tools and Ableton, via a USB and laptop. Your thoughts?

George Weis: This would be great for bedroom recordings, both pre and post-production.

7. XM: You can download WAVE files of any sound you like, and download more drum sounds online via the special XM driver file for samples. What could you see you or your students doing with these?

George Weis: It would help practicing in general, especially as you could use your own favourite sounds. I’d also love to record different fun kits to play on. The feel and sensitivity are very good, so students could truly learn about drumming. I usually tell kids not to learn on rubber pad eDrum kits, as they’d miss out on many subtleties within drumming. Here they wouldn’t miss out on anything.

George Weis, Melbourne drumming teacher, interview about playing an XM eDrum kit

George Weis, Melbourne drumming teacher, playing an XM Classy Series C-Plus-9SR eDrum kit

8. XM: Each drum has 3 triggered sounds: Hoop, drumhead and rim shot. Many eDrums on the market only have 1. You can program each of these triggers individually. What would you do with this functionality?

George Weis: I think this would be great for live performances. I’d have an extra digital drum with 3 sounds integrated into the rest of my acoustic kit. I might even get one of those XM Evolution eDrum Skins so I could use the drum both acoustically and electronically.

9. XM: Each cymbal has 4 triggered sounds: bell, surface, edge and choke. You can program them individually. How would you use them?

George Weis: I’d use them as I would normal cymbals. However, I could also imagine boosting the volume on one of the cymbal’s triggers (and turn the other two down) to simplify things if there was a song where I only needed a single sound from that cymbal.

10. XM: You can plug your MP3 player into the module via a CD-input (phone-in, phone-out jacks). Would you use this to play along with your favourite tunes? You don’t even need a laptop.

George Weis: Definitely! Playing along to popular songs you like is a great way for drumming students to learn.

11. XM: How do the drums actually feel?

George Weis: As I said previously, the response when you hit the drumhead is very nice. I need to learn how to program the sensitivity levels. Both drum speed and touch felt very natural. I also think it would be easy to program some drum skins (or drum kits) to sound ‘dead’.

12. XM: What do you think of the hi-hats? It is very difficult to replicate real metal cymbals. The XM hi-hats offer Surface, Bell and Choke sounds, as well as 4 adjustable positions. You can also do foot splashes.

George Weis: I like the hi-hats a lot. I just need to learn about how to adjust the sensitivity. The foot action is great.

13. XM: What did you think of the loudness and clarity of the foldback speaker?

George Weis: You can tell it was built for attack. I usually play with headphones on at home, but it sounded really good.

14. XM: There is 128Mb storage in the module. Do you think this is enough for you?

George Weis: It’s obvious that this is not enough space to hold everything, but I’m sure it would be fine if you have another device or computer attached.

XM eDrum interview with George Weis, Melbourne drumming teacher, about his experience playing an XM eDrum kit

George Weis testing out all the parameters of the XM eDrum kit

15. XM: You get Midi-in and Midi-out, which essentially makes the kit a full MIDI interface. What do you think?

George Weis: It’s great. It would be really handy for recording, as you could adapt fills and move your beats around.

16. XM: There is a maximum of 14 inputs, with auxiliaries for extra drums or cymbals. Is this enough?

George Weis: Yep, definitely. I usually play a 4-piece kit!

17. XM: The metronome function does time signatures of 1/4 up to 6/4. You can adjust the tempo and the beat. What do you think?

George Weis: This would be very good for teaching. I’d also use it on my own songs, and to create new drumming patterns. I like old drum signatures.

18. XM: The Tempo beats run from 30bpm to 250bpm. What do you think about these speed limitations?

George Weis: It’s enough. I’ve only ever practiced below 30bpm a couple of times in my life. If I had to I’d just work to the next subdivision, using quavers and then semi-quavers.

19. XM: What do you think about the XM Drum Recorder program, which automatically shows you the beat you just played in notation form?

George Weis: This sounds very cool. I think it would be very helpful for teaching, recording and arranging.

20. XM: Some drummers have said they would like to play along to their own drum loops. The 9S module’s loops can play for up to six seconds.

George Weis: Six seconds is long enough. I can imagine this function being very cool for live performances, as you could mix samples into your songs.

21. XM: You can change sounds on the go with the intuitive interface that shows a picture of the drum kit configuration you’ve programmed. All you have to do is hit the drum 3 times to rotate the drum function. What do you think?

George Weis: It would be good for practice, but it might be hard to use live. The three hits that change the sound would need to be completely muted.

22. XM: What do you think of the XM Rock Steady Bass Drum System and its special brace bar that holds the bass drum?

George Weis: The bass drum felt great! I’ve never kicked a digital bass drum that felt this good.

23. XM: XM noise cancelling headphones. Would you use these?

George Weis: At home I usually play with headphones, as it means I don’t hurt my housemates’ or neighbours’ ears. I currently have a 10:00pm drumming curfew. If I played my acoustic kit it would be 6:00pm. These headphones would be great for students, teachers and performers.

24. XM: What do you think of the XM Learning machine?

George Weis: As a drumming tutorial device it would be very helpful. A lot of other digital drum tutors are over-simplistic in construction. This one sounds very useful.

25. XM: This doesn’t relate to your experience with the Classy Series C-Plus-9SR EDrum kit, but what do you think about the concept of the XM Evolution Meshhead EDrum Skin? You sounded interested.

George Weis: Having one or two of these drumhead skins on a normal acoustic kit set-up to play triggered sounds of any type I like would be very fun. It would also be good for my drumming students, as they could put the skins onto their acoustic kit at home, and then quietly play digitally without needing to buy a whole second eDrum kit. It’s sweet. Thanks for the experience XM. It was really fun!

Melbourne drumming teacher George Weis with XM eDrum's Wendy Jen and XM's friend Jesse Somer

Melbourne drum teacher George Weis, XM eDrum’s Wendy Jen, and XM’s friend Jesse Somer

By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum

XM World Review: XM Groove Series J-8SR eDrum Kit


2012 has now seen the release of XM World’s newest addition to its many different series of eDrum kits. The Groove Series, made especially for jazz and funk style drummers has hit the stage, and the result has been a resounding beat of pleasure amongst percussion enthusiasts. Within XM’s Groove Series there are currently two models to choose from, the J-9SR and the J-8SR eDrum sets. Today, we look closely at what the XM Groove Series J-8SR can do.

The Look of the J-8SR eDrum kit:

Silver XM World J-8SR Groove Series eDrum Kit

The silver XM World J-8SR Groove Series eDrum Kit

As soon as you set your eyes upon the Groove Series J-8SR, you know you are dealing with something very special. This kit has silver shells with black rims, and looks as professional as any acoustic drum kit you’d see in the shops for a similar cost. You can also get redwood, teak, black, white wood, light brown, dark brown, or red coloured shells. Of course the cymbals are black rubber, as opposed to being metal, but otherwise this is almost a true replica of a small sized acoustic drum kit.

The first thing you notice about the J-8SR is how compact it is. This kit sits in an area of 150cm by 130cm, including where the drummer is located. The ramifications of this small size are ironically great. You can practice at home in a small room, and when you’ve got a gig at a local pub, club, or even café stage, the rest of the band will still be able to fit in front of you.

Redwood coloured XM World Groove Series J-8SR Front View

Redwood coloured J-8SR Front View

Redwood XM World Groove Series J-8SR Top View

Redwood J-8SR Top View

XM has spent a lot of time developing its eBass drums, and the J-8SR eBass drum looks great. Forget the days of tiny rubber bass pads; this looks like a real bass drum. It’s 18” in diameter, and utilises XM’s revolutionary Rock Steady Bass Drum System. This rack ensures no matter how hard you kick the bass drum, it will never move. If you’ve ever scratched a floor with your eBass drum’s pin, you’ll know how important this is.

The standard kit also comes with a 12” eSnare drum, two 10” eTom toms, and one 12” eFloor tom. You get two 13” eCymbals, one 11” eCymbal, and the XH7 13” eHi-hat cymbal with hi-hat stand. You still have the ability to expand the kit, as the 8S eDrum touch panel module (also included) supports up to 14 drums or cymbals.

The Functionality of the J-8SR eDrum kit:

In terms of functionality, the Groove Series J-8SR is a true delight of innovation and design for the eDrum world. The snare drum, both toms and the floor tom all have three sounds that can be programmed independently: Hoop, drumhead and rim shot. The bass drum has a single drumhead sound. The two larger cymbals have choke, edge, surface and bell functions, while the third smaller cymbal has a surface sound.

This is amazing enough, but there is another level of complexity that you can play with. The 8S module has the unique ability (amongst all XM eDrum series) to have two overlapping sounds emitted from a single eDrum trigger. Two distinct sounds are triggered simultaneously, and can be independently programmed on each drumhead, drum rim, rim shot, or cymbal (surface, edge, or bell), except for the hi-hats.

The hi-hat cymbal has surface, bell and choke functions, and can be set to four positions: full open, half open, ¼ open and fully closed (although you choose whether fully closed sounds closed – you may like the cymbal to have that ‘just touching’ sound. Jazz enthusiasts will love the responsive ‘foot splashes’ they can do on the hi-hat pedal. The Full Body eDrum Rack comes with L-Ball clamps, which allow you to adjust each drum’s position to your exact needs.

The user-friendly touchscreen module interface is extremely intuitive. There are seven complete ready-to-use standard drum kits to choose from: Jazz, Funk, Pop, Rock, Effect, R&B and Metal. There is also a metronome function that can be adjusted to perform a wide range of sequenced rhythms for you to play along with.

The Sound and Feel of the J-8SR eDrum kit:

If you’ve been playing eDrum kits for many years, you will be well aware of the gap that has always existed between an acoustic kit and a digital drum set. XM World does not focus on having thousands of digital sounds (although you have the ability to download any sound you like); their aim is to make the crossover between digital and acoustic seamless. They’ve done well here.

The responsiveness of the meshhead drum skins is excellent – very bouncy, and the sound is incredibly realistic. XM have sampled sounds from the highest-level acoustic drum kits to create their standard kit sounds, and there is a noticeable difference to the usual sound quality you’ll find in most eDrums. The verdict is in – the Groove Series J-8SR is a professional quality eDrum kit made for jazz and funk musicians, as well as those who don’t have much room at home, but want the best small-sized eDrum kit they can get on the market today.

Light brown coloured XM World Groove Series J-8SR eDrum kit

Light brown coloured J-8SR

White Wood coloured XM World Groove Series J-8SR eDrum kit

White Wood coloured J-8SR

By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum