GEWA Drum Workstation G9 – Impression
A “new” player will enter the electronic drum world soon.
The GEWA Drum Workstation G9 is an all in one electronic drum flagship set from DW, GEWA and Remo.
These guys did their homework
It feels a bit like electronic drum manufacturers have spies’ in the e-drum community. In this case really good ones, as GEWA has made an electronic drum kit we have been waiting for.
Roland has only listened partially to the “e-drum community’s” demands for the perfect flagship e-drum set, by providing bigger cymbals and real size kick drums, but not the best sounding module with their Roland TD-50KV. Pearl has filled this market gap with the Pearl Mimic Pro, a modern high-end e-drum module with a touchscreen, high-quality drum samples from Steven Slate but without the popular Positional Sensing feature.
Roland is still unbeaten in terms of trigger dynamic with the patented Positional Sensing and their Digital Trigger Pads with touch sensing, while Pearl delivered the high-quality VST drum sounds and the modern touch interface.
If you want to build the perfect triggering e-drum set, you need to buy pads and cymbals from Company A (Roland) and combine them with best sounding module from Company-B (Pearl) and since you cannot use Roland’s Digital Pads with anything but the TD-50 Soundmodule, you need snare and big ride cymbals from Company-C (ATV).
There is simply no perfect “All in One solution” that fur fills all the e-drummer’s wishes at the same time.
GEWA could potentially fill this gap. This company listened very well to the desires of the e-drum community. They combined almost all demanded features and came up with the GEWA Drum Workstation G9, an electronic drum set that seems to have it all: (Realistic shell- and cymbal sizes, VST sounds, a modern touchscreen module and highly dynamic triggering capabilities).
The GEWA Drum Workstation G9 comes in 2 different variations. One set with real acoustic drum shells and a “pad-version” with flat pads for the user with limited space.
The GEWA PRO 6/ EX 6 is a 6-piece shell set (14″ x 5 “snare, 10/5″, 2 x 12/5″, 14/5″ Toms, 18″ x 14” Bass drum) with 2 separate rack units. While the more compact GEWA Studio 5 comes as a 5-price set (12″ x 5 ” Snare, 2 x 10″, 1 x 12″ Tom, 10″ Kick Drum Pad) with one big rack unit.
Both configurations include a 14” hi-hat, 2x 14” crashes and an 18” Ride.
The shell set contains a 14” snare, 10, 12 and 14” toms and an 18” kick drum. Those are acoustic shells available in either “Carbon Ply” or “Walnut Burst” look. Both of them look very good.
The 2-ply mesh heads are made by Remo, which makes me believe they are essentially Roland Mesh Heads with a different Logo.
The triggers look like the DDT triggers and are a plastic version of the “R-Drums RTS construction”. A softer trigger cone promises a reduced hot spot. Another problem that needed to be solved. The triggers enable a “Positional Sensing” which different from Roland’s patented version of that very feature.
Positional Sensing: The Module recognizes wheatear the pad is hit in the centre or off centre while adjusting the snare pitch accordingly.
The cymbals come in great sizes. You get a 14” hi-hat, 14” crashes and an 18” ride cymbal. They look very futuristic with their divided top surface areas. Will people find this appealing? My personal opinion about this design later. The cymbals are prevented from rotating and modelled to respond and behave like real acoustic cymbals.
The “G9 Workstation – Sound Module” is similar to the Pearl Mimic Pro with a bigger 10” touch screen and thankfully 4 control knobs instead of only one. The interface looks like a modern recording software, which I find very appealing.
14 dual trigger inputs are perfect for potential drum set expansions. 8 separate audio outputs with routable sound mapping option make this module suitable for live gigs, as the drummer need to send individual signals to the mixing desk when playing live.
The design of the module deserves a price. No toy-like colours, but a modern looking carbon case with busted metal elements.
Here are some module specs:
- 128GB memory
- 4GB flash memory
- Bluetooth and Wifi connection
- 14 trigger inputs
- Instrument sound modelling
- EQ for each instrument
- 4 ambience effects
- 2 XLR Outs
The module does even come with Wi-Fi. The purpose is to have it connected to a shop system where you can buy sounds without using a computer.
It can be layered into a DAW to directly record from the module. This feature is known from the Roland TD-50 Sound Module, but only useful if the module sounds are made of a certain quality.
The sounds have been recorded for this drum set exclusively. I imagine the recording process done in a similar way than Toontrack or Steven Slate did it for their respective VST’s.
I’ve heard of some people enjoying pumping their VST’s through phono preamps.
The drum-rack is from DW, made out of high-quality components and there to skyrocket the price of the set. There is no doubt that you get great gear here, but the rack is the part where I would invest the least amount of money, to keep the price low. But fair play to GEWA for choosing only best quality at every component of the set.
The hi-hat stand and drum pedal included are designed to reduce kick pad impact. Finally, an e-drum manufacture that addresses the potential noise issue and presents a solution without expensive add-on products.
What I like:
Having Angled Cables on the module-side is a brilliant idea and I wonder why any other company chose straight jacks plugs here. Straight jacks are impractical, as they take up too much space and they also mess up the looks.
Another company that designed an e-drum set with No Childlike Colours. Instead, you get a cool carbon optic, a very nice lug design and white mesh heads. What a beauty!
Everybody who plays live shoes with an electronic drum set relies on analogue controls for certain functions. You can’t control a touch screen with sweaty hands. Pearl has overseen this with the Mimic Pro while GEWA gave its module 4 Analogue Knobs. (Hopefully for the right functions).
You can route any instrument to any of the 8 Audio Outputs. This is what live e-drummers desperately need these days. The instrument sound has to be processed externally, therefore you cannot have enough audio outs.
14x Dual Trigger Inputs are enough for most drummers to be able to connect their preferred amount of pads and cymbals.
The Interface of the Module is just gorgeous. It looks like a professional DAW. Well done for a design that does not look rushed and cheaply made.
The Cymbal Sizes are great. The e-drum community is tired of small cymbals, we want big crashes and even bigger rides.
The module is Made in Germany. Every electronic drum product coming from Germany so far came at an excellent quality and worked well for a long time. Drum-tec, R-Drums, DDT Drums and Wronkadrums made very good e-drum gear. This makes me hope that GEWA Workstation might be at the same level of quality.
The set includes Hi-hat Stand, Snare Stand and Kick Pedal with an Integrated Noise Isolation System. Noise isolation is a big deal for so many e-drummers. I think it is great that GEWA comes up with an integrated solution.
The shells are closed and have a Resonant Mesh Head.
What I don’t like:
The look of the cymbals was driven by a designer who seems to love Iron Man. The Top looks like a futurist battle suit. Some might like it, however, it is not my exact taste. But the real “unpretty” part is the bottom side of the cymbal. The side that faces the audience, looks like something that is not supposed to be seen at all.
The rim protectors are not only weird looking but a bit too short. In my opinion hoop rubbers have to surround the full drum hoop, otherwise, it becomes more obvious that this is an e-drum kit. And besides, it looks kind of strange. If I would buy this set, the rim rubbers would be the first thing I would replace.
The Cable Management reminds me of the typical bottom side of my office desk. Cables are messy, so you try to hide or manage them. In this case with a not so appealing looking cable sleeve that draws more attention than the cables itself.
Why do 18” Bass Drums even exist? I played the ATV aDrums bass drum, which is 18” in diameter too. It looked like a fallen over floor tom. Why did only Roland spot the demand for big bass drums with their 22” KD-220A kick-adapter? If people talk about real size kick drums, they refer to at least 20”. On the plus side, the GEWA kick drum is raised which makes it seem bigger than it is.
Additional Drum Sounds will not be free, it is not an open source system. For a flagship price, I expect the module to be loaded with all sounds I could possibly need and additional sounds later for free.
Let’s hope they are at least cheap enough.
What is unclear?
- Is the module cross-compatible with other e-drum gear? Will we be able to use Roland pads or ATV cymbals with it?
- Will the GEWA G9 Workstation be better than the Pearl Mimic Pro in terms of sound quality and how is the triggering compared to the Roland TD-50?
- Can this module be bought separately?
- Will there be a double pedal version of the noise reduced DW pedal?
- How much will it cost? Drum-tec leaked some prices this week, but is this a reliable source?
I feel like Roland should have extended some patents. The result of not doing so is everyone and their mother making e-drum sets, with white mesh heads, big shells and even Positional Sensing.
However, I am excited to see a (partially) German player in the scene who promises to give the e-drum community what they want. Real sounding e-drums, colour displays and real looking drum sets.
The space in the top range e-drum sections gets tight. Roland is not alone anymore. Companies like ATV, Pearl and now GEWA fight for the throne.