Live Superior Drummer triggering with Roland e-drums

  • I came to this forum as a result of a previous similar topic. It’s great to see such good and knowledgeable advice!


    My problem is, the stock sounds in my Roland TD 50 are just not doing it for me, and I’m looking at SD3 running alongside for live work. It’s going to cost in the order of £1,500 (ouch), but there’s not much worse than playing and not getting to sound you want. The previous topic gave good information on audio interfaces, but I already had an idea on another possible solution, which I hope you guys could give an opinion on.


    I plan to build my kits in SD, EQ’d and processed for live, and route it out on a stereo bus. The FOH desk will be set up with a clear stereo channel (for once the sound guy would have to trust me). I route the stereo bus from SD to the TD, via USB. From there, I can route it to the master out (to the FOH), route it to my monitoring, and also mix the monitor feed from the rest of the band coming back. And all on the TD 50. Is there any reason why this would not work?


    Also, it would nice to switch between SD kits without fumbling around with the laptop. Is there a way of doing this? What would be peachy is if SD could respond to Program Change messages, but I just don’t know.

    Tama Granstar 7 piece kit, 24" kick and power toms, Zildjian cymbals. Roland TD 50.


    "Rock is a dish best eaten hot"!

  • Welcome to the forums! I trigger Superior Drummer 3 in my home studio using a TD30K.


    Some questions:

    1) What are your motives for using an electronic drumkit live? Before you dive in, ask yourself that question seriously. Even a mid range acoustic drumkit can sound better than the samples on an electronic kit, and it will be much more dynamic because it is the real thing.


    2) If you are deadset on using the e-kit, I'd invest in a good laptop. I'd recommend a Macbook Pro, since the OS is much more stable than Windows, which often crashes at inappropriate times.


    3) I'm not familiar with the TD50, but I don't think you can transfer sounds using midi to the TD50. The USB is mainly used for transferring audio FROM the TD50, but not the other way around. Or at least that's what I could make out.


    4) Given No. 3, I'd recommend a decent interface to go with the laptop. That will allow you to route the audio from Superior to the FOH. For all your other routing, I would recommend just letting the FOH guy do his work by setting up your personal mix, monitor mixes, etc.

  • Thanks Nightlight. I weighed it all up a few years ago against an pro Tama kit, and finally decided to go for the TD 30 for all the benefits that e-drums provide. I did some great recordings, and had about 5 kits for live which were great (once tuned in for the PA). Then I upgraded to the TD 50, solely for the snare which is larger and responds more evenly across the head. But I just cannot get the sound that's in my head, I've tried coming at it from a number of directions. The toms are where I'm suffering most, the kick is just about fine, and the rest OK. So in this journey I'm on, I've come to a bit of a desert.


    I've ruled out using SD samples in the Roland, I will lose all expression and articulation, hence now looking to trigger SD live from my TD. A 1Tb SSD PC isn't cheap. I would need to have confidence that this will do what I want, not find out down the line that there is some limitation that will frustrate my efforts (again).


    Currently for recording, I route the guide track from my DAW to the TD, and that does work fine. In fact, I have two stereo channels available this way. So I think I can do this live, it's a simpler setup and saves space with extra gear. We don't always have FOH engineer, so I would set for live starting in SD. If I win the lottery I will just do it and let you know. In the meantime, any guidance will be much appreciated.

    Tama Granstar 7 piece kit, 24" kick and power toms, Zildjian cymbals. Roland TD 50.


    "Rock is a dish best eaten hot"!

  • I use TD20, SD3, MacBook Pro and Apogee Interface - works like a charm in the studio - the more powerful the computer the better the latency will be...happy to help with any specifics mate.

    Suhr Custom Strats - PRS Custom 22's - Diezel VH4 - Bogner Goldfinger 45 - Badcat Blackcat 30R - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.

  • What would be peachy is if SD could respond to Program Change messages, but I just don’t know.

    I'm currently transitioning from EZ to Superior 3 (studio / sequencing only) so I thought I'd check. Apparently this is a long standing feature request and still not available.


    https://www.toontrack.com/foru…am-change-message-in-sd3/


    Even so, trying to change kits live has some drawbacks. Depending on the kit it can take a bit to load a new one, which could disrupt the flow of the set.

  • All valid points but i don't agree that MacOS is more stable then Win 10. It's not, not anymore. I work with both systems, there's no difference in speed, reliability nor workflow when equaliy specced machines.


    On the other hand, when not going the Mac Route, you could use the spare cash, well a lot of spare cash on better audio hardware.


    Love both Mac and Windows, but i still can't believe that there are people claming MacOS/Macs to be a more reliable bet to justify Apple's insane pricing. Apple produces exquisit hardware and software, but better it is not...

  • I've been programming for a living since 89, working on Microsoft operating systems. I chose that path at the time because for every 1 job coding for a Mac, there were 100,000 for a PC. Back then, a PC running DOS was a blunt weapon and a Mac was an elegant instrument . As you say, things have equalized since then.


    Today, they both do the same things (and crash with the same frequency). The differences are more about your computer's specs, the version of OS you're running and the wisdom of your choices in installing software of dubious integrity, not the brand of your computer / OS. However, Apple still retains their prestige from the old days, and they do a lot of ego based marketing ("You're elite if you use Apple") to compensate for the fact that Windows owns the mass market. Nonsense, of course, but effective nonetheless.


    The one place I found a difference between Apple and competitors was polish. While it's less of a factor on a desktop, when I first started using smart phones I went Android because I'm a programmer and a locked down system offended me. Eventually I realized I didn't want to code for mobile devices. Once I was just a user, I started buying Apple phones / pads because if people are only going to support one mobile OS with their app, it'll be Apple. Again, Android did the same stuff iOS does. However, the Apple stuff felt much more polished. In comparison, Android felt like software written by amateurs. As with matters of functionality, polish has largely equalized between mobile platforms these days.


    Old perceptions die hard, however. In the music world, Pro Tools is the "industry standard" because once upon a time, it was the only high quality choice available to pro recording studios. You had to have their dedicated DSP hardware because computers of the day (gasp - even Macs!) didn't have the horsepower to run native. They were the only game in town for pros but eventually other DAWs got into the act. Then computers became robust enough that you really didn't need the offloaded DSP hardware.


    These days professionals of every stripe use Logic, Cubase, Sonar / Cakewalk, Reaper and many others. They all do the same thing. They all crash about as often. And yet, Pro Tools still has the reputation of being "for professionals" and everything else carries the comparative stigma of being "for hobbyists." Nonsense, of course, but old perceptions die hard. And people are just as gullible as they've ever been, which is how marketing guys pay their rent.

  • Hi Tamablaster,

    to be honest, I'm not sure it's a good idea to provide FOH with a Stereo Mix only. Different venues are very different acoustically and a drumkit is a complex beast. Let me give you an example. :)


    Let's say you want a fat bodied kickdrum sound. While your sound might be fine for a small venue, it might be terrible in a large roomy venue where the subs and the actual room provide plenty of "body" anyway. In this scenario the FoH engineer would have to gate your kick considerably to control it. But he can't do that in a simple stereo mix.


    I won't go through all the individual elements of a drumkit, I think the kickdrum example was enough to point out the issues. It would be better to at least provide him a couple of groups. Kick (mono), Snare (mono), Hihat (mono), Toms (stereo), Overheads (stereo), aux instruments like cowbell or tambourine (mono).


    This would result in 8 channels total, 4 mono and 2 stereo, and would make life MUCH easier for FoH.

  • lightbox summed(!) up perfectly what I wanted to say. Martin even distributed the splits exactly as I would have suggested.


    I'd forget about using the TD module as a routing hub and go with an interface instead. It doesn't have to be of great quality for this purpose, so you should be able to find something that's very-cheap that'll do the job.


    No surprises here, but I'd recommend MOTU (as I usually do) for many reasons. Huge range; you're spoiled for choice.

  • All valid points but i don't agree that MacOS is more stable then Win 10. It's not, not anymore. I work with both systems, there's no difference in speed, reliability nor workflow when equaliy specced machines.


    On the other hand, when not going the Mac Route, you could use the spare cash, well a lot of spare cash on better audio hardware.


    Love both Mac and Windows, but i still can't believe that there are people claming MacOS/Macs to be a more reliable bet to justify Apple's insane pricing. Apple produces exquisit hardware and software, but better it is not...


    Perhaps it is indeed a legacy issue. FWIW, I have a boot camp partition on my Mac and for some reason, the mouse keeps disappearing.


    For audio, I think Macs are better. Try the Mac’s Core audio drivers vs the Windows one. Of course, you could use Asio4All, but I haven’t done a comparison..

  • Perhaps it is indeed a legacy issue. FWIW, I have a boot camp partition on my Mac and for some reason, the mouse keeps disappearing.


    For audio, I think Macs are better. Try the Mac’s Core audio drivers vs the Windows one. Of course, you could use Asio4All, but I haven’t done a comparison..

    Core Audio is indeed a very stable audio platform but has lang been equalled by the ASIO standard which offers low and stable latency. I've been using an external audio interface (t.c. electronic Konnekt 24D) since 2010. I used it both on my Mac and PC. There never has been any difference between the two platforms. I must agree that the standard Windows audio driver is utter bollocks, but one shouldn't compare 'Apples' to oranges.


    The vanishing mouse... I guess the Mac bootlader does not like Windows partititions, ditch bootcamp and use Clover instead ;-).

  • In my recent metal band project "DVIL" we use edrums in all studio, rehearsal and live situations. I have been struggling with the same question whether to use a DAW with audio interface live or not. We ended up using a 2BOX drummit five module, which is the only module available that allows you to import and use your own multisamples. Using the SDSE software to transfer nearly every bigger VSTi on the market like SD2, SD3 with all expansions, AD, BFD, SSD4 and other kontakt libraries this was quite a bit of work but i have to say it is a great sounding and stable setup for live use without having a DAW onstage. Sure, since all samples are mixed down to stereo you cannot change the miking mix afterwards but this is not really a problem. Using exactly the same sounds live as in the studio without all the problems that come with acoustic drums just feels like you are beginning playing music for the second time. We have the kicks, snares, toms and cymbals routed in stereo groups out of the 8 outputs of the 2Box module into a X32 mixer which feeds our IEM mixes. Using Kempers this silent stage approach allows for a perfect sounding mix even in the smallest spaces. Btw, the kit we use is made by Jobeky in UK.


    [Blocked Image: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1cfm1wi2xtet2a8/WhatsApp%20Image%202017-03-12%20at%2018.12.41.jpeg?dl=0]

  • 2BOX is excellent, Till. A lot of work depending on how many libraries you choose to transfer, but great nevertheless, as you know.


    The OP would have to sell his TD kit and module, but wouldn't have to buy a laptop, so it's theoretically-doable.


    I would say that a full Jobeky kit with metal cymbals and a 2BOX Module will probabaly not even cost half the price of a TD-50, but it sounds, plays and looks better than the roland stuff. Drum-Tec from Germany builds similar real looking edrums at an even higher quality but they are way more expensive. The new darker Jobeky cymbals look fantastic btw.

  • Jobecky look fab....my drummer has been 6 months trying to contact them for a shipping quote and no reply...so apart from me wanting to 'upgrade' my Roland cymbals with theirs...I am unsure of their service.

    Suhr Custom Strats - PRS Custom 22's - Diezel VH4 - Bogner Goldfinger 45 - Badcat Blackcat 30R - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.

  • 2BOX is excellent, Till. A lot of work depending on how many libraries you choose to transfer, but great nevertheless, as you know.


    The OP would have to sell his TD kit and module, but wouldn't have to buy a laptop, so it's theoretically-doable.


    Wouldn't even have to sell the kit. You can just replace the module.


    That said, the Roland stuff *plays* better than any other kit on the market, thanks to the patents they hold. If you use a software like Superior Drummer 3, there are options available for Roland kits that are not available for other kits, because of things like positional sensing.


    I would prefer to use the Roland brain with a VST any day over something like a 2Box. The sounds just aren't loaded into the brain, otherwise it is the same sounds, and you can also make use of positional sensing and the newer stuff they have incorporated into the TD50 snare (along with the kick and hi-hat, the most important parts of the kit, where you need more dynamics).

  • I would say that a full Jobeky kit with metal cymbals and a 2BOX Module will probabaly not even cost half the price of a TD-50, but it sounds, plays and looks better than the roland stuff. Drum-Tec from Germany builds similar real looking edrums at an even higher quality but they are way more expensive. The new darker Jobeky cymbals look fantastic btw.


    You don't even need to go to this kit builders. Just buy the cheapest acoustic drum kit you can find. Then get some mesh heads and ready made triggers. Install the triggers and mesh heads in the drums. Done!


    As for cymbals, I would buy a low noise Zildjian cymbal set and then install J-Man's triggers so that they can be hooked up to your electronic kit. Because these are metal and larger in diameter, they play better and also look much better on stage.

  • I'm not sure it's a good idea to provide FOH with a Stereo Mix only

    I totally agree. It's a compromise, but we play mostly small to medium venues and have a digital PA with a 'core' setup. It always needs some tweaking, on the desk and in the module. When we have an engineer, I send him 8 directs (as mentioned in this thread), with EQ, comp, and Ambience bypassed.

    Tama Granstar 7 piece kit, 24" kick and power toms, Zildjian cymbals. Roland TD 50.


    "Rock is a dish best eaten hot"!

  • Wouldn't even have to sell the kit. You can just replace the module.


    That said, the Roland stuff *plays* better than any other kit on the market, thanks to the patents they hold. If you use a software like Superior Drummer 3, there are options available for Roland kits that are not available for other kits, because of things like positional sensing.


    I would prefer to use the Roland brain with a VST any day over something like a 2Box. The sounds just aren't loaded into the brain, otherwise it is the same sounds, and you can also make use of positional sensing and the newer stuff they have incorporated into the TD50 snare (along with the kick and hi-hat, the most important parts of the kit, where you need more dynamics).

    Replacing my TD 50 module is not an option, that would mean dumping the digital ride and the digital snare (probably the best part of the kit and my sole reason for upgrading from TD 30). And you are right, if a VST can use the Roland TD 50 midi implementation to the full, you will have great drums - in the studio!


    It seems to me that the pivot point in all of this is that VST's are designed principally for the studio (doesn't mean they can't be used on the road), and for live work, modules that are sample based seem to be preferred. The TD 50 uses modeled sounds ('Prismatic' per Roland), which gives great control of tuning and playing nuances (such as the positional sensing you mentioned, but loads more), but limited in the stock sounds they produce. I've seen comments from others who are dissatisfied with these sounds, let's hope Roland jump back in with better kits on the next release, which must be due shortly.

    Tama Granstar 7 piece kit, 24" kick and power toms, Zildjian cymbals. Roland TD 50.


    "Rock is a dish best eaten hot"!

  • Thanks to everyone for the good advice and information which has helped crystallise my thoughts. I’m going to have to compromise, but it has to be better than carrying on with a kit I don’t feel at one with.


    So I’ve decided to go with EZ2 and just suck it and see. It won’t break the bank, and besides I think as an e-drummer I should have decent VST drums anyway. I can trial it easier, as it does not demand the high resources of SD3, and if it goes great I can cross-grade to SD3. EZ2 will also respond to Program Change messages if I need it to (thanks for the link Chris Duncan ).


    So I plan to build the first kit carefully, strip out the eq, comp, fx and any ambient effects, and then cut 2-layer samples for loading into the TD 50. This will provide a dry kit for FOH, I will re-apply processing in the TD 50 for my monitoring. I know the compromise will be in giving up expression and articulation features, but I’m hoping the better sounds will more than compensate.


    I’ll come back and let you know the results, thanks again.

    Tama Granstar 7 piece kit, 24" kick and power toms, Zildjian cymbals. Roland TD 50.


    "Rock is a dish best eaten hot"!