Interview with Dave Hicks of rock band ‘The Eyeball Kicks’ about the XM Classy Series C-Plus-9SR Edrum kit (Part 1)

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1. XM: Hi Dave, first of all, have you played any Edrum kits before? If so, which brands or models were they?

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.

6. XM: This kit can work together with programs like Easy Drummer, Pro Tools and Ableton, via a USB and laptop. What do think about this?

Dave Hicks: This is paramount because you can then have total control over the sampling capabilities.

XM Classy Series C-PLUS-9SR electronic drum kit

The XM Classy Series C-PLUS-9SR electronic drum kit played by Dave Hicks of The Eyeball Kicks.

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

(Continued in Part 2)

XM World Master Series C-MAX-9SR e-Drum kit

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As of the end of the year 2011, the C-MAX-9SR is the top of line when it comes to e-Drum sets around the world. This XM World e-Drum kit is made especially for experts who desire an elaborate electronic drum set with the maximum number of drums and cymbals. The optimum number of triggers is used on each instrument to create the most sounds possible. The result is the most realistic digital drum set in the world today.

The XM Master Series C-MAX-9SR comes complete with 2 x 18” bass drums, 5 x tom toms (3 x 10” toms, and 2 x 12” floor toms), a 12” snare drum, 3 x 13” cymbals, and a 13” hi-hat. It has 3 crossbars in its rack system, and like a real double bass drum kit, the hi-hat is attached to one of these crossbars for extra stability. There are enough ports in the drum module to add 2 more drums/cymbals if desired, which would bring your e-Drum kit’s total to 14 triggered instruments. All XM E-drum sets come with the bass drum connected to the unique XM Rock Steady Bass Drum System to ensure it never moves, even with double bass drums attached to the rack crossbar.

XM World Master Series CMAX-9SR Drum kit

Have you ever seen an Edrum kit that looked this awesome? We don’t think so.

High Quality Drum Module and Dual Trigger System

The full touchscreen drum module sits in the middle of the kit, behind the smaller tom toms for easy access. This drum module can download Wav files of your favourite drum sounds (or any other sound for that matter) from a PC, which is then transferred via special XM software. This drum module also includes a fully adjustable metronome covering all the major drum time sequences.

All the drums and cymbals, except for the bass drums (which don’t need more than one), have two dual triggers, which can create 3 sounds on a snare or tom, or 3 sounds plus a ‘choke’ on a cymbal. The hi-hat has been created with its own trigger system to provide many more realistic sound options.

For example, the snare drum can be hit in the centre on the drumhead, on the edge (hoop), or you can hit both together in a ‘rim shot’. This goes the same for all 3 tom tom drums. The cymbals can be struck on the bell, the surface, the edge, or you can choke the edge.

Digital e-Drum Hi-Hats

The XM digital hi-hat’s special triggered controller can read 4 different heights, so you can set it for closed, ¼ open, ½ open, or fully open. However, these hi-hats can be adjusted between 80 different levels, so if you desire you can set fully closed for slightly open, or fully open as still slightly touching.

Different drummers like varied hi-hat sounds, so we’ve done our best to offer as many options as possible. You can hit the surface, bell, or choke, but of course there is no edge sound. This top-level e-Drum hi-hat system can also do ‘foot splashes’ with your heel!

XM Edrum Master Series CMAX-9SR drum kit.

Real touch, real look, real sound: The XM Master Series Edrum kits truly replicate an acoustic drumming experience.

What can you do with the e-Drum kit’s sound?

First of all, there are 8 built-in drum kits to work with: Rock, Jazz, Pop, Dance, Funk, R & B, Metal and Percussion (congas, bongos etc.). However, you can mix any of these sounds into a single kit, as well as other sounds you’ve downloaded from your PC’s Wav files. This is only the beginning.

Each drum and cymbal can faithfully reproduce hits that range from very soft to extremely hard. This is not simply amplifying the same sound (as is done with many other e-Drums like those at Yamaha), but the tone itself changes its nuances of skin texture and reverberation (in Rock and Jazz functions). You can also manually change the individual tuning of each drum’s sound. Getting excited?

Drum Sound Quality

All XM e-Drum sounds are recorded from real drums, with each drum kit having varied sounds. The XM Master Series C-MAX-9SR is top of the line, so drum sounds are of DVD quality, and originate from the best acoustic drum kits in the world.

This kit comes with 2 bass drum pedals, all necessary cables, as well as 1 pair of long maple wood drumsticks. We use ‘futuristic’ long drumsticks so you can easily move your hands from the base to the middle of the stick to change the hardness of your hits.

If you want the ultimate e-Drum experience, The XM Master Series C-MAX-9SR is the e-Drum kit you’ve been looking for!

By Jesse S. Somer, XM eDrum