Dual Trigger Pad

Dual trigger pads can either be expensive or still too small. I converted a 14′ pearl rhythm traveler pad into a dual trigger pad. The goal was to create a similar trigger system like the original Roland pads, with a trigger cone in the center. The easiest way would have been a bar construction. You might call me crazy, but I don’t like the look of bar trigger systems. It looks cheap and the way to the rim trigger is different at every spot.

So I went for the “cake pan method”. This is basically an aluminium disk applied by angles to the lug screws. The pad is closed and the system is protected. The metal angles have a slotted hole, so they are perfect for height adjustments. However, I had to search for ages to find these angles.

A company specialist in metal sheet cutting called “Blechking” made the disk. I wouldn’t be able to accurately cut it out myself. Unless I had a table saw to do it properly and in a professional way, like the one from Aluminium is the best material for such a purpose. Easy to drill, it does not rust and it is light. Drum lugs do usually have M4 windings, and the angles have 5mm holes. I bought a view M5 and M4 screws including washers. The original lug screws are too short. As the rhythm traveler pads are open, I decided to apply the jack plug directly to the disk. The cable is getting connected from the bottom side.

The most important parts are piezos and the cone. I recommend to everyone who builds DIY trigger systems, to go for the systems from R-drums. I tried different piezos and cones from other companies, but they are usually trash. The guys from R-drums, studied the subject and they provide piezos, made and prepared for this purpose only. Piezos have a polarity; you can see a black and a red cable. But that doesn’t mean the plus pole has to be the red cable. It can be the opposite, cause most piezos are not tested. Because of their original purpose, as noise aggregator, their polarity does not matter.

The guys from R-drums measure every single piezo with an oscilloscope and mark the minus cables with a white ring. This is really important for dual trigger pads. Other than that, they provide foam dots to apply the piezos. This is also important, as the piezo has to swing. Basically, their piezos and foam systems do not even require massive setting changes in the module. Plug and play.

A decoupler is needed to separate the head piezo from the rim piezo. It is the same for this part. They know what they’re doing. Adhesive tape or glue can be used to attach the foam decoupler. I decided to use spray adhesive. This product can be found from multiple industrial companies, such as (go to website). Spray adhesives are often better for a quick application and improved accuracy. This is why it’s often preferable to foam adhesive. When creating this dual trigger pad, the rim piezo is applied as close to the middle as possible. And the all piezos are applied with foam dots made for their size. The wiring diagram is also important. You can download it here. The trigger cone has to overlap the drums bearing edge. It should be 1,5mm higher. No problem, thanks to the slotted angles.

The setting I used for this pad:

Pad type: PD-125; Sensitivity: 9; Threshold: 2; Rim Gain: 1.8; Rimshot Adj.: 1.7

Price list for the trigger system only:

  • Aluminium disc incl. shipping: 20€
  • Metal angles: 3€
  • Screws and washers: 3€
  • Piezo cone and decoupler incl. shipping: 30€
  • Jack plug: 1€
  • Spray adhesive: 6€

A high-end trigger system for 64€. Of course you need a mesh head and rim noise eliminator. And you need a drill and soldering gear too. But I think even then, it is cheaper and more fun than just buying something.

BTW. I bought a second hand drill press for 60€, after all those projects I will re-sell it for at least 80€.

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