Monday, March 21, 2011

Drums – For the kick of it (literally)

What started off for me, was the challenge – “can I do it” and for me that has been for a lot of things, both good and bad... and this, a perfect example - both good and bad…
The good – I got around to doing this and the bad, once I knew all works, I don’t have the enthusiasm anymore to finish it.

To put this info along with the pictures and all this info is a drag; let me be honest about it. But, if I can help someone else or give them the nudge to start doing something like this, guess, all this effort makes some sense in a way.

This is how it all started: Was doing a whole bunch of home recordings and was browsing the web to see if I can find a DIY kinda stuff for a drum kit, (got tired of using the drum loops that came along with my recording software). I found this Youtube video ( and I thought to myself, man this is cool and there the million dollar question for me – “can I do it?” Looking though the comments on the video someone had commented about this DIY community doing this MIDI drum triggers. Searched for this and sure enough, there was this – Megadrum. This had some great reviews ( and a fantastic forum and to make things even more interesting was that there was someone who could sell the PCB along with the micro-controller. I was hooked. I started reading through their forums, of what was the general feeling among the users who chose to take this route, they all had good thing s to say.

Journey: I ordered the PCB and the micro controllers from Synthex (the official – authorized seller of the megadrum kit). Even before I could get the PCB and microcontrollers, I took a printout of the component list and was headed to the single source of electronic spares in Bangalore- SP road (Not really single store but single place where there are so many electronic stores, it’s hard to count) [My wife tells me that I become like a kid in a candy store when I get there – It is true, what a place – computer spares, HDD’s , motherboards, laptops, printers, electronic components.. I can go on and on] got carried away there...
Then picked up all the components – cost me less than $ 10.00 (WOW). The PCB arrived.

Got started and was done in a few hours, soldering, cleaning, and checking….

Now came the difficult part of getting all the connectors soldered, crimped, tied and it looked like I was done.

Housing: Went to my candy store, and picked up this nice looking ABS box. Made some measurements, drilled (drilled wrong sometimes - learnt what I should not do with a hand drill) and mounted all the connectors, PCBs, etc.

Next came the triggers. Again, back to my favorite candy store (stores) SP road (sometimes I wonder if I keep finding reasons to go there) and I picked up these peizo triggers for like $ 1. I read a lot of posts from various people on how they did it and am still not sure what works best. Made some prototypes and yet to start doing some real tests (again, now that I know this entire works, need that push…)

The saga continues...

Wondering what is Megadrum?
MegaDrum is a very powerful MIDI drum trigger. It can be used with many varieties of Edrum kits/pads/cymbals and outputs MIDI signals which can be fed to a computer with drum sampling software,e.g. BFD, Toontrack, Addictive Drums, to produce wide variety of drum sounds or it can be connected to a drum machine. It can be compared with Roland TMC-6 but with more inputs and more capabilities. MegaDrum gives you flexibility in what module you can build and what components to use. MegaDrum is fully plug-n-play with an optional PIC18F2550 and is USB MIDI class compliant, i.e. will work with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux without additional drivers!

1 comment:

Lawrence Doss said...

PART - 2