By XM eDrum
As of May 2012, the world of being a drumming busker or street musician has changed for the better. With the advent of the XM Busker Series eDrum kits, and in particular the B18-9SR model, you are getting a world-class digital drum kit that is easy to carry around, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
At just over 30kg including all of the necessary drums, cymbals and stands, the Busker Series B18-9SR eDrum kit will be easy to pick up and move when you find foot traffic in another location is more lucrative. Besides a low price and being so lightweight, the B18-9SR only takes up 1.1m x 1.1m of space, including the drummer’s sitting position. This means you can set-up on the footpath and still have room for pedestrians to walk by, not to mention for your money collection hat or cymbal bag.
It’s cheap, small and lightweight, but the true advantage of the B18-9SR is the amount of versatility it brings to such a minimalist drum kit. The B18-9SR comes with XM’s top of the line touchscreen module, so your basic 12” snare, 13” hi-hat, 10” tom tom, 18” bass drum and 13″ cymbal set-up has many options. It’ll literally blow your mind.
This tiny eDrum kit’s 9S module comes with 8 built-in drum kit sounds (Rock, Jazz, Pop, Effect, Funk, R&B, Metal and Percussion), which you can then mix and match sounds from. You can also download Wave files of your favourite sampled sounds (drums or other instruments), and add these into the mix.
Independently program up to 3 unique sounds on each instrument – snare and tom (drumhead, rim, rim shot), cymbal (edge, surface, bell, choke) and hi-hat (surface, bell, choke). Can you imagine how many sounds you could get out of a kit so small?
Program the rim shot on your snare as a cowbell, the rim as a Splash cymbal, and the drumhead as your favourite acoustic snare sound. That is just the snare! Now try three different cymbal sounds on the one cymbal: Ride on the bell, Crash on the surface and China on the edge. Why not download a 6-second drum loop onto the tom tom’s rim shot to play along to? The options are seemingly endless, and you can alter the sounds for each song you play.
Now for some of the magic of the advanced XM 9S module…this module has the ability to reproduce the subtle changes in sound between soft and hard drum hits, both in tone and volume. The result is the actual tone of each eDrum can be programmed to change for when you hit harder or softer, just like an acoustic drum skin’s tone changes when you hit it harder. Wow!
Secondly, the 18” bass drum usually has a single drumhead sound, but in Jazz and Rock modes a harder kick can be programmed (via sensitivity levels) to trigger a second separate sound: Too cool.
Note: A short message about the XM Busker Series B18-9SR eDrum kit’s little sister: the B10-8SR. At 28.5kg it is the lightest eDrum kit XM World has ever designed.
The XM Busker Series has been created for people who make their living by bashing out beats on the streets around the world. Turn a small drum kit into a big sound with XM’s new Busker Series.
By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum
When you’re drumming, tempo determines how quickly the beat is played. With the XM Tempo Series T-5SR eDrum kit, we find an electronic drum kit designed to help students learn to drum as quickly as possible. Whether you are a drumming teacher that wants to use several digital kits in a classroom, or are looking for a great eDrum kit to introduce your students to for home practice, the T-5SR is an excellent option.
Compared to similar models in the electronic drum kit market, the Tempo Series T-5SR is priced very well for the functionality you receive, not to mention how good it looks, sounds and feels compared to its competitors.
The T-5SR’s three 10” tom toms (2 x rack, 1 x floor) have two sounds each, which can be independently programmed for when you hit their drumhead or hoop. The 10” snare goes one step further, and has 3 sounds (hoop, drumhead and rim shot), which again can be set to play very different sounds. For example, you could have the snare’s rim shot programmed to sound like a cowbell.
The single sound bass drum is also 10” in diameter, and it’s held in place perfectly by XM’s revolutionary Rock Steady Bass Drum System. No matter how hard you kick this bass drum, it will never move or scratch your floor.
You can set-up the two cymbals as a Ride and a Crash, with the former having bell and surface sounds, and the latter having surface and choke functions. The hi-hat has two programmable functions – open and closed, with a surface sound for each.
The Tempo Series XSM-5S module is a simple and easy-to-use interface that can have up to 14 drums or cymbals plugged into it. There are five pre-programmed full drum kit sounds to use, or mix and match sounds from: Standard, Jazz, Latin, Dance and Rock. However, if you do already have a Roland V-drum module, these XM drums and cymbals can still be played together with it.
The entire drum kit including where you sit takes up 1.2m by 1.3m, so it easily fits into a small area. You get a bass drum pedal included, as well as cables, while the XM Full Body eDrum Rack holds everything together.
The XM Tempo Series T-5SR eDrum kit is great value for money, and an excellent option for drumming students wanting to have a good digital kit with better than standard functionality, plus admirable sound and feel quality. In addition, it looks so much better than the competition in the same price range. Just look at these photos! The T-5SR will help students easily crossover from their digital kit at home to a real drum kit.
By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum
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.
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.
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.
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!
By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum
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:
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.
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.
By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum
Dave Hicks (The Eyeball Kicks): Put simply, it sounded great.
15. XM: There is 128Mb storage in the module. Do you think this is enough for you?
Dave Hicks: I can understand why there is a smaller data allowance. Simple software and less memory make for a more responsive experience with no lag between hit and sound. You create your bank of sounds in your laptop and load them up when you need them. It works for me.
16.XM: You get Midi-in and Midi-out, essentially a MIDI interface. Your thoughts?
Dave Hicks: At the moment it only works with a Windows-based PC, and not on a Mac, which is what I use. More and more people around the world are using Macs now, so I think XM needs to make this happen for us too.
17. XM: There is a maximum of 14 inputs, with auxiliaries for extra drums or cymbals. Is this enough?
Dave Hicks: This is heaps!
18. XM: The metronome function does time signatures of 1/4 up to 6/4. You can adjust the tempo and the beat. Your thoughts?
Dave Hicks: This is very cool. It’s good for working on your timing. Drummers should always keep working on their timing. It’s also great for learning odd time meters – for advanced drummers.
19. XM: The Tempo beats run from 30bpm to 250bpm. What do you think?
Dave Hicks: It’s good for most drummers, but maybe not all heavy metal. I’m not sure.
20. XM: What do you think of the touchscreen interface?
Dave Hicks: It’s very easy to use. After 15 minutes I fully understood how it worked.
21. XM: What do you think of the XM Drum Recorder program that automatically shows you the beat you played in notation form?
Dave Hicks: Wild!
22. XM: You said you’d like to play along to your own drum loops. These loops can play for up to 6 seconds. Is that enough for you?
Dave Hicks: I’d like it to be longer – 30 seconds would be great. For example, I’d like to have software that could close the rest of the Edrum kit down, so it wouldn’t affect memory or responsiveness when I played a 30 second Nelson Mandela speech over an entire intro to a song.
23. XM: You can change sounds on the fly with the highly intuitive interface, which 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. How was it?
Dave Hicks: Cool, once you get used to it. Is there a ‘Master Save’ to change the whole kit you’re on? Of course there would be. I’d like it if you were able to change between entire kits you created the sounds for, as well as between standard kits.
24. What do you think of the XM Rock Steady Bass Drum System and its special brace bar that holds the bass drum?
Dave Hicks: It never moves. Let me tell you, the Roland one I’ve used moves, and the pin scratches the floor! I scratched our tiles at home, because I forgot to put down a piece of carpet. This XM bass drum is safe. It feels very secure.
25. XM We let you try out the XM noise cancelling headphones. What did you think of them?
Dave Hicks: They make drumming a very intimate experience. It’s just you and the drums and a candlelit dinner. It doesn’t matter if the TV is on, or if the kids are fighting outside; you can still be in your own world.
26. What do you think of the XM Learning machine?
Dave Hicks: I didn’t get a chance to use it, but it sounds very cool.
27. We know this doesn’t relate to the Classy Series C-Plus-9SR Edrum kit you played, but you sounded very excited when you heard about the XM Evolution Meshhead Edrum Skin. What do you think of the concept?
Dave Hicks: It sounds like a secret Edrum – you can keep your own acoustic kit. The skin is easy to change over, as there’s no screwdriver or alterations needed. Digital drums normally appeal to non-live drumming scenarios, but now you can easily crossover. There’s also no stigma, as your kit looks the same as everyone else’s. It’s great for people who already have kits and don’t want a second one. I’d mix acoustic and digital sounds, for example, use sensitivity of drum hits to trigger the second sound. You could have a bass guitar sound together with your acoustic bass drum. Awesome!
By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum
If you haven’t read the ‘Interview with Dave Hicks of rock band ‘The Eyeball Kicks’ about the XM Classy Series C-Plus-9SR Edrum kit (Part 1)’, click here.
Dave Hicks (The Eyeball Kicks): Yes, I’ve played a rather old Roland TD-3 V-drum kit with rubber pads quite a bit, but I also play newer Edrum kits whenever I visit music shops.
2. XM: How did the XM Classy Series C-Plus-9SR Edrum kit compare with the Roland one in terms of look, feel and sound?
Dave Hicks: Look, they really are incomparable. The XM kit’s drumhead skins were made of a new type of mesh; it’s the closest thing I’ve played to a real drum. The sensitive feedback in your hand was just like a real kit, so you could use more sensitivity in your playing. Rubber pads and Roland V-drums just don’t give you as much. As far as looks go, these are great looking drums, and the XM cables look really pro and slick. The interface was very easy to use. It took about 15 minutes to figure it out without any instruction. It’s very intuitive.
3. XM: What do you think about this kit’s sensitivity? There are 99 levels.
Dave Hicks: The fact that you can program it so harder hits trigger second sounds is awesome. You just have to hit the drum harder – you don’t have to adjust any settings. I’ve never seen anything like it. Harder hits also had richer tones, and not only a change in volume. This would be very useful for playing different styles of music in a single set. You could play jazz and turn the sensitivity down, and then you could play some heavy rock and turn it right up. I liked the fact that even if you hit the drumhead softly you could program it to sound loud. The adjustment in volume would also help a lot when practicing at home.
4. XM: You can adjust the actual tuning of your cymbals and drums. Is this useful?
Dave Hicks: Yeah, more control over the surface means you can emulate a live kit, just like you’d adjust an acoustic kit’s skin, nuts etc. It’s not just emulation that is important here. You can truly make a unique sound for yourself, rather than sticking to using stock settings. All drummers want their own sound, and you’ll have it here because you can control all of the parameters.
5. XM: This XM Classy Series Edrum kit comes with 8 built-in drum kit sounds you can mix and match for each drum’s individual triggers. What are your thoughts on this?
Dave Hicks: There are not as many kits as with many other brands, but once you hook the module up to a PC you can have any sound you want. I love triggering non-drum sampled sounds. Australia already supports live drums at home, as we have sound proofed garages and larger living spaces. For me, I’m excited about the digital sampling element in Edrums.
Dave Hicks: This is paramount because you can then have total control over the sampling capabilities.
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 yourself doing with this function?
Dave Hicks: I’d download sounds that last for a bar or two, and then play along with it as it runs. Really, I’d like to be able to play along to looped beats.
8. XM: Each drum has 3 triggered sounds: Hoop, drumhead and rimshot. Many Edrums on the market only have 1. You can program each trigger individually. What could you do with this?
Dave Hicks: I’d totally freak it out! I’d do some crazy stuff with it. For example, I could create a send and return loop from trigger to trigger, which would be great for reggae music, as well as innovative songs.
9. XM: Each cymbal has 4 triggered sounds: bell, surface, edge and choke. You can program them individually. What could you do with them?
Dave Hicks: I’d create a basic drum machine on a single cymbal; I’d put actual drum sounds on the cymbal! I like to think outside of the box; I’d use it in a way that isn’t necessarily what it was created for. Traditionally, you could also turn one cymbal parameter right up, and turn the others down, E.G for a song that you only need a choke on. This could simplify your playing.
10. XM: The skin is like a real drum, but it lasts for up to 3 years. Do you feel like you can play heavily on it?
Dave Hicks: Yeah. The true test though is a live gig with a band. Give it a real bashing. It handled hard hits well. I’m amazed this meshhead skin lasts 4 or 5 times longer than a real drum skin. Great!
11. XM: You can plug your MP3 player into the module via a CD-input (phone-in, phone-out jacks). Would you use this function to play along to your favourite songs? No laptop is needed.
Dave Hicks: I’d use this function to write new beats to recorded guitar tracks etc. You could record what you play as you go via MIDI output. Then I’d send the beats straight back to the guitarist. You could move to London, but keep the band together! I’m joking…
12. XM: How do the drums actually feel?
Dave Hicks: They’re bouncy, fast and responsive – very intuitive. For me though, I’d like to be able to have floor toms that feel flat, slow and dead. Can XM also create a mesh that feels soft and unresponsive?
13. XM: What do you think of the hi-hats? It is very difficult to emulate real metal cymbals. The XM hi-hats offer Surface, Bell and Choke functions, as well as 4 adjustable positions. You can even do Foot splashes.
Dave Hicks: Personally, they seemed too soft for hi-hats. They didn’t feel dynamic enough. It’s the hardware, not the software that could be better, and this goes for all brands of Edrum kits. They’re all typically rubber. I’d like something harder and more bouncy. As far as these functions go, the more options the better, so it’s good to see XM attempting to be like real hi-hats. The software is like a real hi-hat. A hi-hat is the most versatile part of the drum kit. We use it for timing, use it with every beat, and hit it the quickest – it’s a very important piece. It really needs to feel right. I don’t use foot splashes like funk and jazz drummers. This entire kit would be great for progressive jazz drummers.
By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum