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New Electronic Percussion For 2010

Alesis’s new DM10 Studio is a reality-based e-kit

Alesis dedicated a generous corner spot at its booth to push the new DM10 Studio Kit and USB Studio Kit. The DM10 Studio builds on the DM10 Pro and features two 8" and two 10" dual-zone tom pads, real alloy Surge cymbals, and real Mylar heads that are tension adjustable and replaceable with heads from any manufacturer. The kit features a continuous-control hi-hat, a triple-zone ride with choke, and a crash with choke, as well as a high-end chrome-plated ErgoRack with die-cast clamps. The DM10 module, the first new Alesis drum module in ten years, holds more than 128MB of memory (to the DM5’s 16MB) as well as 1,000 uncompressed samples of real drums and cymbals with Alesis’ exclusive Dynamic Articulation. A big breakthrough for this kit is the ability to load sound samples via USB from third-party developers like Ocean Way and FXpansion made specifically for the DM10, as well as the ability to use the kit as a trigger-to-MIDI interface. If all you need is the hardware, each element of the kit is available as a component as well, including, for the first time, the DM10 module at a list price of $699. Or, better yet, you can take a look at the new USB Studio Kit. With no brain of its own, the USB Studio is strictly a MIDI-controller drum set designed to work with any drum module or software. Same hardware as the DM10 Studio, but with DMPad rubber cymbals with multiple zones and choke. USB Studio lists at $599 while the DM10 Studio is $999.

Ddrum’s DD-1 gives entry-level electronic drummers something to crow about

Ddrum made a low-key return to the electronic drum market, which it once dominated about 20 years or so ago, with the DD-1, an affordable electronic drum set meant for entry-level players and intended as a way for Ddrum to once again make its electronic drum division profitable before moving back into the pro and consumer electronics business. All pads and cymbals are single-zone, which makes this kit good for practice or a small gig. The company’s working on expansion, USB in and out, and iPod hookup, but right now it’s just designed for the hookups that come with it. Ddrum’s DRT triggers offer a new world of custom sound for snare, toms, and bass drum. The inconspicuous units wear rugged metal housing, secure XLR connectors, and easily replaceable transducers. The DRT Snare Trigger reads the rim separately for various rim-click effects.

Hitman drums continues to infiltrate the e-drum market from the ground floor with the HD-010 electronic kit, which delivers Natural Bounce, dual-zone heads, and chokable cymbals on a Pro Style rack with fibered ABS joints. Electronics include 16 MIDI channels in, USB plug-n-play interface in a sweeping spaceship-looking module with quick edit buttons, and a backlit LCD for perusing the kit’s 518 voices.

Good to see Korg’s Wavedrum again

Korg made some big waves in the e-percussion field this year with the second generation of its much-lauded Wave Drum, an electronic percussion pad that does just about anything, from positional sensing of your brush sweeps on the real drumhead, to reproducing the response of everything from sticks to mallets to hands with shocking authenticity and sensitivity. And with 100 preset programs plus another 100 user-defined programs, a Live Mode that stores up to 12 instant-recall programs, and AUX input for play along to mp3s or CDs, the possibilities for musical expression are virtually limitless. List price of $899.

Talk of the show: Pearl’s E-Pro

Pearl took electronic drums to a whole new level with the E-Pro Live kit, which marries the worlds of acoustic and electronic drumming like nothing else on the market. Featuring real 6-ply wood acoustic drum shells in a 10", 14", and 20" configuration with a full-sized 14" snare, all outfitted with TruTrac dual-zone drumheads. We were amazed at how convincingly these drums mimic real acoustics, especially when you swap out the TruTrac heads for real drumheads to turn this e-kit instantly into an a-kit. The set also comes with either EPC2 rubber cymbals or E-Classic real-brass cymbals including a three-zone chokable ride, a chokable crash, and a set of real-feel hi-hats. Shells come in either Jet Black or Artisan II Quilted Maple Fade finishes. The brains behind the operation is the r.e.d.Box drum module, featuring 128MB of RAM, 100 hi-def kits, and 1,000 hi-def sounds, all of which are fully editable with parameters like tuning, decay, panning, reverb, EQ, and so on. You can also download a huge array of specially designed kits from third-party software developers like Ocean Way, BFD, Sonic Reality, and others.

Roland welcomes back the Octapad — a classic controller with new features

Roland’s sprawling encampment in the Convention Center’s arena dome drew big crowds, especially during the demos for the newly reintroduced and thoroughly overhauled Octapad percussion controller, which features 50 kits, sounds from all over the world, synth and bass leads, limitless sound effects, the works. The pad’s four dual-trigger outputs allow you to turn it into a mini electronic kit or hook it into an acoustic drum set for sampling or triggering. With the push of a button, you can record a pattern and play along to yourself, then use the USB/MIDI outputs to plug into a computer and trigger sounds from software programs, trigger video, or whatever else you can think of. The eight rubber pads use V-drums pad technology and are physically isolated to eliminate cross-talk. The new addition to the TD drum set line is the TD-12KX V-Stage kit, which replaces the original TD-12S kit in both form and function. The 12KX includes a significant software upgrade that makes the TD-12 brain’s constant-editing grammars the same as an unexpanded TD-20, with features like five mike positions on every drum and cymbal, eight levels of snare buzz on the kick and toms, and more. The new MDS-12X rack allows for the pass-through of all the cables and comes with ball mounts on all the toms and snare. New MDY-12U cymbal arm is a hiding-boom design. Other key upgrades include the 10" PD-105 floor tom pad replacing the 8" PD-85, and the beefy 12" KD-120 mesh-head kick.

Yamaha’s new DTX 900 proved they don’t call it “Best In Show” for nothin’

Yamaha captured the coveted Best In Show award with its innovative new DTX kits, on display in the company’s spread at the Marriott across from the Convention Center: the DTX 900, a 5-piece kit with a 12" snare drum, two 10" mounted toms, and one 10" floor tom; and the DTX 900K, which adds an extra 10" floor tom to the above configuration. Both kits come with three-zone cymbals, 15" ride, two 13" crashes, and real hi-hat trigger. But the key feature is the new DTX pad technology, which is formed from a textured cellular silicone foam with air bubbles blown in for a more natural response. Shock-mounted snare and tom pads feature different head densities to reflect the different tunings of acoustic drums. “They feel more like acoustic pads so you don’t have to adjust your playing,” says Zak Bond, one of the kit’s developers.

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