Two readers have sent follow-up videos (well, one a sort of slide show with audio) regarding tools previously mentioned on CDM, so it’s time to check in and see if we can learn more about these products.

Electronic Kits

Get your kit on.

Some readers lamented that the Zendrum MIDI controller was a compact unit with pads rather than arrayed like a traditional drum kit. True, that’s part of the point — supreme portability — but if you like your MIDI triggers in a conventional configuration and still want something expressive and unique, you should have a look at the NS2 electronic drum kits from RET. Zendrummer John Emrich must also love the NS2, because he does the demo performance of the NS2, as well — with even more convincing, realistic effect. (Disclaimer, since this evidently upset people last time: using a sampled acoustic kit as the drum sound for the trigger says a lot about the controller, because it reveals how sensitive and consistent the controller is, much as our ears can easily hear how good a MIDI keyboard is by listening to a sampled grand. These are the sounds we know well. Some of you just don’t like drum kits, so you guys I can’t really help.)

R.E.T. Percussion [Audio demo by John plays as soon as you open the page, with accompanying digital slide show]

I know nothing about the NS2, but from what I can tell — and from John’s endorsement — it merits consideration. Thanks to Bryan Tewell for the tip!

Updated: I couldn’t find this on the page but sure enough, there’s a full demo video by John from summer NAMM.

Latest from Universal Audio

Could this be the shape of things to come?

The DCS (Desktop Console System) already caught our eye with beautiful design and an interesting philosophy: give computer audio users a high-end mic pre and DI in a compact form factor, perfect for project studios. The demo video from UA offers up more details, but it also teases us with something at the end:

DCS Remote Pre Demo [Universal Audio; video links]

“S” from tychomusic writes:

“If you go watch the demo video for the DCS preamp, at the end there’s mention of the forthcoming Monitor Master and the screen print artwork is shown briefly. This seems like a cool piece, since the only real options in that department are the big knob (pretty bad) and the central station (quite good, but probably not as good as a UA piece) Anyways, I can’t find any real images of it anywhere on the web, this seems to be the only thing out there right now.

Monitor master — sounds good to me, and definitely in line with the ideas behind the DCS pre.

  • danny

    $1000 for 2 channels is much cheaper than UA has charged in the past. There are a lot of cool bells and whistles on this thing, but is it too good to be true? I feel they must have skimped on the mic pre's which they cryptically describe as "console-grade". Most people by pre's because they want something better than they'be got in their console.

  • S

    OK. I have crummy little built-in iBook speakers, but my ear says the buzzy "snare" sound is pretty accurate, but the sharp impact strokes lack a certain hollow/resonant sound that I presume comes from the sound waves bouncing around inside the sides of the drum case. It's as if the sound is "pinched", in the same way that you might miss, say, the "brightness" of a trumpet. Obviously, I'm way behind the technology here, but I know what I hear — even through these tinny little things. Maybe it's my hearing?

  • Valis

    Danny, imo they're targeting people who don't want to use a console. Certainly if u want exotic pre's you'd either use the other inputs (C), use additional pre's wired into your AD or go with a passive monitoring solution and your own choice of pre's wired directly into your AD. At least they didn't do an integrated AD/DA section.

  • TheOne

    RET Percussion just blew my mind!