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Piezo Elements Audio Interfaces
Old 26th September 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Piezo Elements

I'm sure this isn't the first time people have asked this question, and i'm certain it won't be the last. There was also a big DIY eDrums thread with lots of links that i can't find anymore

please excuse my noobness - but my question is slightly more technical anyway

i'm looking at using contact microphones, and either just recording the audio or sending it through a drum brain and record the MIDI - for the snare... just as a kind of insurance policy so i can blend in some samples with the spot mic recording incase it isn't as beefy enough etc

i'm on an obvious budget and the drum kit that we're setting up is going to be a semi-permenant thing so taking them on and off all the time isn't going to be a problem

first thing really... these piezo elements

5 27mm Piezo Elements Sounder Sensor Trigger Drum Disc on eBay (end time 25-Oct-10 16:37:14 BST)

what's on the other end? just a bare cable? and what would i do with a bare cable? solder a 1/4" jack on the other end and plug it into my interface/drum brain?

Cheers people
x
Old 27th September 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
cyrano's Avatar
 

Piëzo's need a high impedance input. A jack connector and an instrument input should do nicely.
Old 27th September 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

so solder a regular mono 1/4" jack onto the end of it... and putting it through the m-audio fast track ultra 8r interface - would that be cool?

thanx for the help
Old 27th September 2010
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

also what effect do the size of the Piezo elements have on the signal recorded?
Old 28th September 2010
  #5
Gear Guru
 

you can use the actual snare mic itself to trigger the samples

whatever it's lack of 'beef' it is certainly not going to be any less present than the audio signal generated by a cheap piezo.

the actual audio signal captured by these triggers is going to be utter crap, they are useful only as triggers, (maybe) and you already have a 'trigger' in the form of your snare mic. I say maybe because I have not had much luck with really cheap piezos and ended up with Barcus-Berry and DDrum for my live triggering.


you could split the snare mic into your drum brain, but MIDI is so 20th century, why not just get some drum replacement software and use the recording mics as your triggers?
Old 28th September 2010
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

yeah the thing is, i've been using my top snare mic and sending it through drumagog to varying results and recently just going through it in logic and placing the MIDI data in myself manually

i just thought a contact microphone on the snare would save me a lot of time, and a lot of hassle - it's just an easier way to collect snare triggering data

i might just record the signal and do the triggering in Logic, or send it through a drum brain and record the MIDI - but it depends on the accuracy of the piezo...

which is why i asked -- what effect does the size of these things have?
Old 28th September 2010
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hansisland View Post
yeah the thing is, i've been using my top snare mic and sending it through drumagog to varying results and recently just going through it in logic and placing the MIDI data in myself manually

i just thought a contact microphone on the snare would save me a lot of time, and a lot of hassle - it's just an easier way to collect snare triggering data
well perhaps the piezos will help, but I for one am surprised that the mic pointed right at the snare is problematical as a trigger source. I am not that familiar with drumagog, but I remember from my live triggering days that fine tuning the sensitivity of the trigger sensor was an art in itself. Maybe you just need to play with it some more.
Quote:
i might just record the signal and do the triggering in Logic, or send it through a drum brain and record the MIDI - but it depends on the accuracy of the piezo...

which is why i asked -- what effect does the size of these things have?
I have no idea why the size would be any clue to the piezo's accuracy, but IME they can be pretty sensitive to placement.

I ended up with my Barcus-Berrys sitting on fun-tak (bulletin board putty) on the bearing edge facing up at the skin. They were not touching - just an RCH below the skin.

that a fRaction of an inCH
Old 29th September 2010
  #8
Gear Nut
 
asmonica's Avatar
 

Piezo Elements

If you are using logic, make a midi groove template out of the snare track. It works very well as long as you experiment with settings. You may still have to go thru and clean up any accidental midi notes, but for the most part you will have. Very dynamic, almost perfect midi track. Trust me, I've been doing this in logic or a while. As for using a piezo to trigger an acoustic drum, you need a transient to trigger the note, but then the vibration needs to DIE or you will severely confuse your drum brain and get double(at the very least) triggers. I've experimented alot with piezos and with sample replacing in logic so if you have an more specific questions, feel free to pm me. Good luck!
Old 29th September 2010
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

yeah i've been using the audio to score function in Logic myself for a while also,

i copy the snare track, HP all the bleed out of the copy, boost it's most active frequencies, gate it - bounce it, and then run the audio to score function on that. It works most of the time, but i do have to go back and check a few times to make sure every snare hit is correct -- and also, things like rolls and drags are a pain to trigger and i have to go back in and manually input the MIDI which takes ages

i'm just thinking of using Piezos - so it obviously eliminates any bleed, and makes the whole audio to score function a lot easier.

also; how responsive are Piezo's to velocity, and things like drags and rolls on the snare?

thanx for the help mate
Old 29th September 2010
  #10
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hansisland View Post
also; how responsive are Piezo's to velocity, and things like drags and rolls on the snare?
I don't know those ebay triggers, so I have no idea. OTOH they are not expensive, so maybe worth a try.

my experience
Real Drum- obviously the standard for dynamics, and drags and rolls = perfect
Dedicated Pads - 'unsatisfying' rolls and drags = less than perfect but serviceable
Triggers Mounted on drums- inadequate for picking up drags and rolls = not good



I think it also depends a lot on how and where they are mounted.

Putting them on the head, for example will be very sensitive to how the drum is tuned and muffled and how close it is to other drums. Some people tape them to the heads, and some people glue them to the shell. I set mine on putty.



Then there is how you set your software to pay attention to it. You might miss some quiet notes, and then when you go to fix that, you get doubled notes and false triggering.

It took a lot of tweaking for me to find that happy medium
Old 29th September 2010
  #11
Gear Nut
 
asmonica's Avatar
 

i think just slapping a piezo on the shell will be an accurate representation of at least the original energy of the drum, but with limited frequency response. but who knows? i stuck one inside my acoustic guitar cause i like the trashy ass sound, and it certainly has dynamic range. you should just see what happens. but ill say again that i dont think you'll ever get it to cooperate with a drum module, at least for rolls and drags. i think you are correct in the assumption that it will accomplish the same thing as a mic for triggering, but without the bleed
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