XM will take part in Melbourne Entech Exhibition in Australia this July, come to our booth# A18 and give it a hit!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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