MyMIDIDrumRig_1

My MIDI Drum Tracking Rig v2

I get a ton of questions from comments and e-mails about my rig and what I’m using to track with all this gear and it’s actually a fairly simple setup.



I’m on a quest to find the most efficient, durable, responsive, and portable drum rig whether it be MIDI or not, and I’ve been getting closer over the past couple years.

Please leave any requests, suggestions, questions or comments in the comment section below.

Thanks!

Click here to view my older rig which is similar but with Guitar Hero pedals.

Roland Octapad SPD-30 Digital Percussion Pad

Roland’s SPD-30 Octapad is the most responsive and accurate MIDI controller for drummers I have ever played, and I’ve played on almost everything out there that’s electronic you can hit with a stick.

I’ve owned a ton of Guitar Hero drum controllers (at least 30), Rock Band and Ion Kits, a Roland TD-10 & TD-20 kit, and a Roland SPD-S.

The most common issue I’ve found with MIDI drum controllers is not being able to pick up those light taps for ghost notes and crescendos, or even just upbeat hits on the Hi Hat. So what do you do when this happens? Turn up the sensitivity 1 notch at a time until it starts picking up those low velocity hits.

The problem with this is when you turn up the sensitivity on one pad, hitting other pads around the controller/kit might fire off a hit with your pad with low sensitivity now. This is what we call cross talking.

I have yet to experience any double hits with the SPD-30 either. This happened pretty frequently with other controllers where you would get flam-like MIDI output sporadically throughout your performance.

These are easily the most common problems with drum MIDI controllers these days, and Roland Octapad SPD-30 Digital Percussion Pad had none of these issues straight out of the box. The SPD-30 also features a USB port to plug in directly via USB so you don’t need an audio interface such as an Mbox or any fancy adaptors like MIDI to USB.


Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0

The combination of the Octapad and Superior 2.0 is absolutely awesome. It’s allowed me to track demos and even full-on final recordings at 4 AM in my apartment. Using MIDI output with Superior 2.0 has never been easier to get a good fully modifiable drum sound.

Superior 2.0 delivers amazing sounds straight out of the box, and comes with a bunch of presets to make them sound better, and you don’t need to know the first thing about audio production or mixing. At the same time, the software allows you to run Multi Output to go straight into your DAW (Logic, Protools, Reason etc.), and treat them as actual drum tracks letting you add your own plugins like Compression, EQ, Noise Gates, Reverb and etc.

Superior Drummer 2.0’s samples were recorded by Pat Thrall, Neil Dorfsman, and Nir Z at Hit Factory, Avatar Studios, and Allaire studios, NY. The three have worked with artists as diverse as Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Nick Lachey, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Beyoncé, Björk, Kiss, Joss Stone, Genesis, John Mayer, and Chris Cornell.
It has recently gained more popularity with bands like Periphery, Meshuggah, and Animals As Leaders.

APC-33 Clamp

I thought it was interesting how many people would comment on my videos about how much the Octapad wobbled when I played it while resting on a snare stand. I didn’t even notice it, and it didn’t bother me, but after I got one of these off of ebay I haven’t looked back. I just took the bottom half of a cymbal stand to use as a base, and clamped this onto the top and screwed in the mounting playe to the SPD-30 and I was ready to go in a couple of minutes. Makes it loads easier to carry around too since the Octapad basically becomes attached to the cymbal stand. Also much easier to add on to an acoustic drum kit since you can clamp it onto almost any hardware or stand.

Roland PD-8 Dual Trigger Pad

Ah, the classic PD-8’s. Responsive, durable, small, and two zones so you can trigger 2 differet MIDI notes on the same pad depending on if you hit it on the head or the rim. They also registers cymbal chokes if you grab the front of the rim and press firmly with your thumb and index finger.

I have 3 of these, and I keep at least 2 mounted up in case O want a china or some extra MIDI notes specific to what I’m working on without having to manually move the notes after tracking. It also is great for showmanship. More pads are cool, right?

I have yet to find a way to mount these 100% efficiently though. It’s hard to find hardware that will cater towards essentially playing with a snare (the octapad). I need a percussion mount that will let me swivel things around and tilt themwhich leads me to the next item.

Rhythm Tech DSM Quad Mount

I took the top half of the cymbal stand I initially used as the base to mount the APC-33 on for the Octapad, and attached it to the base using the Gibraltar Grab Clamp (listed next) as well with this percussion mount on top.

It fits two Roland PD-8’s comfortably, but I’m unable to adjust their angle to lean towards the kit effectively without covering too much of the top of the Octapad’s real estate which leads to accidental hits sometimes, so I keeping them on flat for now until I find a better solution (pictured at the top).

Gibraltar Grab Clamp 2 Hole

Nothing particularly special about this specific brand or model. I just needed something to clamp on the base of the cymbal stand, and to attach the upper half of the same cymbal stand so it sticks up and above the octapad because you can’t mount anything from the same stand otherwise with the Octapad in the way.

Pearl P120P Power Shifter Single Bass Drum Pedal

Pedals are always "that one thing that keeps breaking" for me. I’ve snapped chains, broken double kick braces, and have had a kick beater snap mid-set before. I knew I needed something that will last, and something I could really lay into if I wanted to, but not break the bank. After doing a bunch of research and trying out a ton of different kick pedals, I found that the Pearl P-120P is the cheapest yet most durable pedal you could get for theh price on ebay (about $50 shipped). I bought 2 for just under $100 shipped.

Roland KD-7 Kick Trigger

Everyone swears by the Roland KD-120 (or even the earlier models) and how they feel like you’re playing an actual kick, but I love the KD-7’s because they’re small, light, durable, feel great, and hardly take up any room in cases or luggage. You can daisy chain 1 to the other so it only eats up 1 input on the SPD-30 (or whatever brain/module you might be using). I unboxed them new, and plugged them in immedately and they’ve since registered everything and haven’t picked up any cross talk and never double hit at all.

Roland FD-8 Hi-Hat Control Pedal

This has pedal has been great to me. It doesn’t slip or slide around, works great, and is great for portability. I’ve tried the ones that come with the TD-10 or TD-20 kits, but you need actual Hi-Hat hardware to mount more rubber pads. With the FD-8 Pedal, you can just choose which pad corresponds to the Hi Hat, and you can even use it as a switch so you could potentially have two kits setup in your rig. One for when the pedal is pressed down, and another for when the pedal is up. This is more of an SPD-30 feature though, but still! I’ve tried other hi hat pedals before and most of them either don’t work, or aren’t responsive enough. The FD-8 is my favorite thus far.

ROC-N-SOC Gas Lift Drum Throne

I have fully converted to Roc-n-soc drum thrones for their durability, look, and their ability to adjust to heights I need to be able to perform. I’m about 6 ft. 1 in. tall, and I keep my snare almost at waist height if I stand next to it, so it’s not often I come across thrones that can actually go that high.

Also pulling the lever to adjust your height is fun cause it’s so smooth.

ROC-N-SOC Back Rest

I have yet to find a desk/office chair that can rotate, doesn’t have arms, and goes high enough to accompany my comfortable playing height, so I got one of these to use to mount onto my ROC-N-SOC throne so I can use it as my normal desk chair for long hours. Switching to the ROC-N-SOC with a backrest has saved a lot of time and space when performing parts and editing sounds and performances back-to-back constantly. Just swivel, and adjust the height with a pull of a lever. So good.

If anyone has any other recommendations or would like to share how they set their computers up next to their drums I would love to hear about them.

Oh, yeah mine’s black. Not sure why Amazon only shows a red one.

Doormat

This is one of the most important parts of the setup. It’s rude to travel around without any sort of mat, rug, or carpet. Not only will your pedals skid around when you’re trying to play, but it’ll ruin whatever floor you’re on whether it’s carpet or hardwood. Those spikes that screw through your pedals are supposed to go into a drum rug, not a living room rug!

There’s nothing special about this one in particular. I just use whatever one I had already and it’s fine. Just make sure it’s at least 28 inches wide if you’re planning on placing 3 pedals on it.

Non-Slip Mat

I picked up one of these and just set it down on the floor first before putting down the door mat to ensure nothing slides around or swivels at all, and it works great. Best $5 I ever spent.

Dota 2 song

I recently got some invites to the Dota 2 beta and it’s extremely addicting. I’m normally not into RTS games or Starcraft/Warcraft or anything, but this game is a ton of fun.

There’s a lot of moments in the game where you’re grinding and farming and building up your character before you start actually attacking the other team, and for some reason, the “badger” song just pops into my head while fishing for XP, and naturally I just felt I had to crank out something similar.

iPhone Drum Medley

Every time I hear an iPhone ring, or just about any music that doesn’t have drums, I’m always thinking of what I would put under it as a backing track. I guess that’s what happens to your melon after being a drummer for a while.

I put this together a few weeks back by hand, then was delayed in doing an actual take when my camera decided to kick the bucket. Thankfully, after a few emails and $10 shipping later, it’s functioning again.

I had a fierce battle with iMovie with the screenshot overlays, and I ended up just going with the garbliness and inconsistencies of the images in this video, so my apologies for that, but there’s nothing I could do. My Apologies!

I had a lot of fun making this, and if you have any requests, or comments, let me know!

Oh, and I put up my OSD (Online Session Drummer) page to help get the word out there for potential new clients, so take a look at that too when you get a chance!

Thanks!
andy

My MIDI drum tracking rig

 

 
I get a ton of questions from comments and e-mails about my rig and what I’m using to track with all this gear and it’s actually a fairly simple setup. Leave any questions or comments in the comment section below. Thanks!

 


Roland SPD-30 Octapad

Roland SPD-30 Octapad

Roland’s SPD-30 Octapad is the most responsive and accurate MIDI controller for drummers I have ever played, and I’ve played on almost everything out there that’s electronic you can hit with a stick.
I’ve owned a ton of Guitar Hero drum controllers (at least 30), Rock Band and Ion Kits, a Roland TD-10 & TD-20 kit, and a Roland SPD-S.

The most common issue I’ve found with MIDI drum controllers is not being able to pick up those light taps for ghost notes and crescendos, or even just upbeat hits on the Hi Hat. So what do you do when this happens? Turn up the sensitivity 1 notch at a time until it starts picking up those low velocity hits.

The problem with this is when you turn up the sensitivity on one pad, hitting other pads around the controller/kit might fire off a hit with your pad with low sensitivity now. This is what we call cross talking.

I have yet to experience any double hits with the SPD-30 either. This happened pretty frequently with other controllers where you would get flam-like MIDI output sporadically throughout your performance.

These are easily the most common problems with drum MIDI controllers these days, and the Roland SPD-30 Octapad had none of these issues straight out of the box.


Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0

Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0
The combination of the Octapad and Superior 2.0 is absolutely awesome. It’s allowed me to track demos and even full-on final recordings at 4 AM in my apartment. Using MIDI output with Superior 2.0 has never been easier to get a good fully modifiable drum sound.
Superior 2.0 delivers amazing sounds straight out of the box, and comes with a bunch of presets to make them sound better, and you don’t need to know the first thing about audio production or mixing. At the same time, the software allows you to run Multi Output to go straight into your DAW (Logic, Protools, Reason etc.), and treat them as actual drum tracks letting you add your own plugins like Compression, EQ, Noise Gates, Reverb and etc.

Superior Drummer 2.0’s samples were recorded by Pat Thrall, Neil Dorfsman, and Nir Z at Hit Factory, Avatar Studios, and Allaire studios, NY. The three have worked with artists as diverse as Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Nick Lachey, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Beyoncé, Björk, Kiss, Joss Stone, Genesis, John Mayer, and Chris Cornell.

It has recently gained more popularity with bands like Periphery, Meshuggah, and Animals As Leaders.


Digidesign Mbox 2 USB Audio/MIDI Pro Tools LE Interface

Digidesign Mbox 2 USB Audio/MIDI Pro Tools LE Interface This bad boy plugs into your Mac or PC via USB, and lets you plug your Octapad into its MIDI-in with a MIDI cable.

I would recommend the M-Audio USB Uno 1X1 MIDI Interface if you’re just recording MIDI output, otherwise the Mbox 2 has multiple inputs allowing you to record vocals, guitar, and etc. with its analog and digital inputs.


Pro Co MIDI Plug 5-Pin Hot All Wired 3 Foot

Pro Co MIDI Plug 5-Pin Hot All Wired 3 Foot
This guy runs from my Octapad into the mbox which carries all the magic.

 
Simple enough.


Sound Percussion SP880SS Double Braced Snare Stand Standard

Sound Percussion SP880SS Double Braced Snare Stand Standard
This is a spare snare stand that I’ve had for about 6 years now, with no problems at all. A lot of snare stands don’t go high enough to my liking (which is unusually high), but this one does.

 
Pretty.


ROC-N-SOC Lunar Series Gas Lift Drum Throne Black

ROC-N-SOC Lunar Series Gas Lift Drum Throne Black
I have fully converted to Roc-n-soc drum thrones for their durability, look, and their ability to adjust to heights I need to be able to perform. I’m about 6 ft. 1 in. tall, and I keep my snare almost at waist height if I stand next to it, so it’s not often I come across thrones that can actually go that high.

Also pulling the lever to adjust your height is fun, cause it’s so smooth.

 
Warning: very addicting. Once you have a roc-n-soc you won’t go back.
ROC-N-SOC Back Rest Black I have yet to find a desk/office chair that can rotate, doesn’t have arms, and goes high enough to accompany my comfortable playing height, so I got one of these to use as my normal desk chair. Switching to the Roc-n-Soc with a backrest has saved a lot of time and space when performing parts and editing sounds and performances back-to-back constantly. Just swivel, and adjust the height with a pull of a lever. So good.

If anyone has any other recommendations I would love to hear them, because this is hard to top.

Guitar Hero Kick Pedals


Say what you want about Guitar Hero Kick Pedals, but they cost me nothing and get the job done, and they are more responsive and dynamic than you think. All I needed was a couple 1/8 to 1/4 inch adaptors to plug into the Octapad’s expansion slots, and voilà.

I’m currently looking into products such as the Roland KD8 Kick Drum Trigger Pad, but it’s not totally necessary at the moment (even though one of my pedals is being held together with duct tape..

Well that’s pretty much it (minus things like my mixer, sticks, PC, and headphones and what not).

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything you need help with!

-andy

Autotune the News – Drum Intruder

It’s pretty unbelievable that a random dude on the news expressed his mind about the current situation happened to blow up all over the internet overnight. Not only does the original video have 26 million hits (to date), the “Auto tune the news guys” (aka “The Gregory Brothers“), took some initiative and pieced the audio together to form an instant, catchy hit that’s being played everywhere.

So anyway, the story behind me covering it is this: I was really just simply bored and hitting stumble video while sitting at the octapad, and playing along to whatever video would come up, then a pretty sweet Bed Intruder marching band cover popped up which lead me to playing along to the original video and hitting record.

While I could have really planned the drum part really in-depth and even extended the song into different arrangements, I just decided to keep it simple. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did playing it.

Watch


Listen

http://soundcloud.com/andythps/drum-bed-intruder-cover

New Super Mario Bros Wii – Koopa Kid Castle Music

I. Love. Mario. Music.

Though there’s nothing I loathe more than seeing some guy cover the Super Mario Bros. 1-1 theme song though. Seriously, how many people have covered that, and in how many different ways?

I even remember seeing a video of a group of guys who set up a hefty amount of bottles in a line with varying amounts of liquids in them so they could drive an RC car along-side them with silverware sticking out to play each note of the theme.

ANYWAY. The first time I heard the music for this particular level in the game, I was just dying to do a rock (metal?) cover of it. I just tempo mapped it, looped it twice, and threw down a scratch drum track, and showed it to a buddy of mine, Alex Leffelman.

You can expect many more video game covers coming from us…

We got some guitar parts down, then threw down a better drum track (what you’re hearing), and here we are..

Listen

New Super Mario Bros Wii Koopa Kid Castle Music Cover by andyTHPS

You can check out Alex’s website at http://leffelmania.wordpress.com/, and be jealous of his Power Hour App, and War with Friends App for Android.

Quick shout out to YouTuber agwawaf for letting us use his speed run. If you get a chance, check out his channel on YouTube for a ton of other amazing speed runs he’s done.

Watch

Brian Effinger – Mordekaiser

Slappin’ da bass, mon. This one is a really comfortable BPM for me to add in tons of little flairs and fills. Really digging the riffs in this one too, Brian is a pretty sick guitar player.

I actually worked with Brian Effinger at Neversoft for a couple years, and he’s a really cool dude. We had a lot of pretty awesome late-night Left 4 Dead sessions. He wrote this to compete in a community-based League of Legends contest which is pretty sweet.

“Each winner and up to four band members will receive 2800 RP for their musical mastery”

YES!

haha.

Listen

Watch

Nathan Matthew David – Disarming

Another great piece by Nathan Matthew David.

I really enjoyed working on this one. Lots of room for fills and energy. Definitely don’t want to get too crazy and drown out the mood. This was one of those tracks where there were so many possibilities and such a great piece, that it was hard to decide on which drum parts to go for and when to switch from one to the other.

In the beginning I opened with a double floor tom build-up to a flam to really explode into the big open beat which leaves open a lot of breathing room for the tremelo on the guitars to really show in between snare accents, and I think it sounds great.

Listen

You can check Nate’s IMDB profile or his website at http://nathanmatthewdavid.com.

haha, it’s all about the 16th tom fills with the syncopated double kick to pierce through the mix like a machine gun.

ruh-duh-guh-duh-guh-duh anyone?

Watch




Nathan Matthew David – Metatronic

Nathan has been a pretty close friend of mine for a while now, and it’s always a pleasure to work on compositions of his. I hold a lot of respect for him considering the type of approach he takes with keeping the big-picture in mind at all times.

Most of his work is done scoring films ranging from independent to full-length features.

Listen

You can check out his IMDB profile or his website at http://nathanmatthewdavid.com.

This piece was a bit challenging to find a straight-forward rhythm that wouldn’t sound too busy, but still had a drive.

With the song being at a slower tempo and in 6/4, and after toying around with the snare accents on the “3” and “6”, I/we found that placing them on the and of “2” and on the downbeat of “4” and “6” worked a lot better. Even though it ended up being a simple track, it was really fun and easy to get into.

Watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zos79eKe2SA