Hackers vs. Manufacturers

Recently I stumbled upon a video from one of my favorite e-drum channels drum-tec. In this Video they show how it is not possible to assign a cowbell sound to the tom rims. What happens is that you have to change both zones of the tom pad together. They are bound and you end up having a full cowbell pad. The latest generation of modules and even the recent TD-11 made it possible to assign the 2 tom zones independently from each other. It is even possible to assign different pan levels and volumes on my old TD-9.

This feature enabled possibilities like splitting the pads with so called drumsplitters and connect 2 mono triggers to one stereo cable. A well known feature in the electronic drums community, only possible because of the person who hacked the system and evolved that splitter cable with a resistor inside.

As this is a very cheap way to connect much more pads to your drum kit without upgrading or adding an extra module, Roland must have said to them self: “Mhhh… how can we make them buy or upgrade instead of building their own solution? Let’s get rid of this feature, so they can’t use their DIY stuff and have to buy a TM-2 if they want to add a cowbell!“

This might sound a little harsh, but I think it is reality. Blocking this feature is only a small change in the module software, nothing that would be much more or less expensive in the production.

Limiting the abilities of the module purposely

Another example is the TD-4KP. It is basically a normal TD-4 sound module with a castrated Software and one cable missing, to make it impossible to add another crash cymbal, which becomes a standard after a while, even for a beginner on drums. Again, the difference does not make this module more or less expensive.

In my opinion the manufacturer should work together with – and not against the DIY people.

Recently I red a post where someone stated: „The Noise Eater is a rip off from the E-drum DIY Community.“ I don’t know if this is true or not. I am a big fan of innovation and think it is always good to create new products. And there is a need for products like the noise eater. But There is absolutely no need to limit a product to force people into buying more and more stuff.

Roland and I will probably never become best friends. Especially since I am showing people how to fix gear, instead of buying it new. I don’t want a 16 year old guy to be broke after buying expensive new stuff just because his old gear is broken. I understand the concept of a business and that it has to make money, but not with forcing people into buying new stuff. And make it as hard as possible to get spare parts.

The good news is that the DIY community will always find a way to go around those limitations. R-drums and others provide more and more spare parts for broken e-drum gear. The Electronic drum community will share more and more information on how to fix and improve gear. There will be less secrets thanks to the internet. And I do my best with V-drumtips to show you guys how to save some bugs.

If you have a TD-25 and want to assign a cowbell to the tom rim, don’t buy another module. Get Superior Drummer 2 and use its amazing sounds and features. You can assign anything, regardless of the limitations of the TD-25. You just have to map the Midi note of the rim of the instrument of your choice. That is what I like about drum sample softwares. They make it possible to hack the limitations of the e-drum manufactures.

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