A typical electronic drummers disease is the urge to add more and more pads or cymbals. The problem is that many modules have a restricted number of pad inputs. But there are still some ways to expand your kit.
1. Rolands Percussion Set
Some Roland Modules like TD-9, 12, 20, 30 and 50 have a MIDI Input together with a Percussion Set. So it is possible to connect an additional trigger module like the Alesis Trigger IO, the Roland TMC-6 or let’s say a TD-4 via MIDI cable. This way it is possible to connect a lot more pads, both stereo and mono. The secondary module has to be set to MIDI Channel 11, this is not possible on older modules like the Roland TD-3.
The Percussion set is basically an instrument selection which can be modified independently from the main sounds of your main module. All main module instruments can be assigned and triggered through the secondary module. This is the best way to extend a Roland kit, but sadly not possible with Roland TD-11, 15 and 25.
2. Drum Splitters
As some modules do not have a percussion set, they can be extended with the help of drum splitters. This could be a cable or a box which splits the 2 zones of a stereo pad into 2 mono pads. The drum splitter is not a normal splitter cable. It has to have a built in 100Kohm resistor to be able to work. Many Roland sets have 2 zones (head and rim) on almost every part. And who needs the rim click on a tom? So the rim can be used as an additional cymbal for example. Both, the tom and the cymbal are mono triggers after splitting. That means there is no choke function available for the cymbal pad and it is also not possible to hit both split pads at the same time, because the module recognizes this as a rim shot. A lot of adjustments have to be made in the module too. It is a nice and cheap solution to add extra pads, but still a compromise.
3. Set into Set
Almost every e-drum module has a stereo input for MP3-Players. Connect the headphone out of the second drum with the MP3 input of the parent module. This works with all kinds of normal e-drum modules (not with TMC-6). You could end up with different module sounds if you don’t use identical modules.
4. The MIDI Mate 2
If you are using a drum software like Addictive Drummer, EZdrummer or Superior Drummer and trigger their sounds through your PC, it is possible to connect 2 modules via MIDI cable with your PC. The MIDI Mate 2 has a USB cable on one side and 2 MIDI cables on the other side. This interface recognises if you want to use the 2 MIDI ends as in- or output. Every e-drum module (even the newer ones) has at least a MIDI out. You can connect 2 modules to the MIDI Mate and trigger the preferred drum software through one cable. This guy is using a MIDI Mate 2 with two TD-12’s. This is one of my favourite solutions, as it makes it possible to use every e-drum module.
Ezdrummer2 allows you to connect 2 modules simultaneously via an interface or directly. In this picture I have connected a TD-30 via direct USB and a TD-20X via MIDI Cable that is wired to a Tascam MIDI interface, that is connected to the Mac via USB cable. The Module drivers and interface drivers have to be installed and that’s it.
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