Typing with a MIDI drum set

[Autuin] picked up the drums at the age of 18, but by his own admission he’s no [Bonzo], [Buddy Rich] or [Ringo]. Practicing always seems to fall off the end of his to-do list, and there really is only one way to Carnegie Hall. One thing [Autuin] is really fast at is typing, so he figured he could improve his drumming skills by banging a few paragraphs out.

The core of the build is a Yamaha DTX drum module, a MIDI-to-USB adapter, and little light coding. Basically, [Autuin] made a chorded keyboard out of his drums; by hitting one (or two, or three) drum heads at the same time, he can type characters in Open Office.

For going outside the comfort zone of a steady rock beat, we’re thinking [Autuin]‘s build might just be useful. He’ll be displaying his Keyboard/Drum mashup at Vancouver’s East Side Culture Crawl alongside a horrible device of artistic merit. If you promise not to break anything, drop in on him in a few weeks.

Vidia after the break.

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Portable electronic drum kit made from plastic bowls

portable-drum-kit

[Ian Cole’s] son is learning to play the drums on an electronic drum set, and he wanted a way to continue practicing during his frequent visits to his grandparents’ house. [Ian] had picked up a Spikenzielabs “Drum Kit Kit All-Inclusive” (DKKAI) earlier this summer, and set out to build an easily transportable drum set.

The DKKAI comes with an ATmega168-based board and a set of piezos that can be used to register hits. It was up to [Ian] to provide the rest of the kit, so he set off to IKEA in search of cheap, durable drum heads. He returned with a handful of 1/2 Liter plastic bowls, which he mounted on a PVC pipe drum stand.

The piezos were mounted on thin aluminum discs, which were in turn glued to the back side of the bowl lids. The piezos were wired to the DKKAI kit via the PVC tubing, with the signals ultimately fed into an iPad running Garage Band. [Ian] says that his portable drum set works quite well, and although there are some things that require changing, his son is very happy with his new practice set.

Check out the video below to see the portable drum kit in action.

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MIDI Air Drums let you play anywhere

arduino_midi_air_drums

[Maayan Migdal] wrote in to share a really cool drum kit he constructed that has one special twist – no drums at all. Using a simple MIDI device and an Arduino, his “Air Drums” look pretty sweet.

The hack makes use of a pair of garden rakes, which serve as his drum sticks. The rakes were cut down and modified to allow the addition of accelerometers and some USB cables. The left stick contains a single accelerometer for registering hi-hat hits, while the right stick is armed with a pair of the modules, which are used to trigger snare and crash symbol strikes. He modified a pair of sandals to fit better while drumming before adding a sensor to each shoe. The left sandal contains an accelerometer to register bass drum hits, while the right shoe uses a light sensor to simulate the use of a hi-hat pedal.

We think that the results are awesome, but feel free to check out the video below to see what we mean. If Guitar Hero wasn’t dead in the water on hiatus, we think this sort of setup would make a great replacement for the flimsy drum set that comes with the game.

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chipKIT Sketch: Mini Polyphonic Sampling Synth

In our hands-on review of the Digilent chipKIT Uno32, we posed the question of what the lasting appeal might be for a 32-bit Arduino work-alike. We felt it needed some novel applications exploiting its special features…not just the same old Arduino sketches with MOAR BITS. After the fractal demo, we’ve hit upon something unique and fun…

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Adding a pedal to a Yamaha DD35 drum kit

[Paul] Wrote in to tell us about a quick project that might be useful to others out there. He was having some problems with the DC jack on his Yamaha DD35 portable drum kit. Naturally, he did what most of us would do and just broke out the soldering iron and prepared to solder it back in place(hot glue it afterwards, that always helps too). That part isn’t a big deal, we’ve all seen it a million times. However, while inspecting the DC jack, he noticed something silk screened on the board right next to it.  As it turns out, that was a kick pedal jack. After a few minutes hunting for a victim around the house that would be sacrificed for its plug, he got his hands on one. A few moments later he was jamming away with a kick pedal.

We absolutely love these super quick upgrades. [Paul] thought maybe this feature was left out at the last minute, and we’ve seen this type of thing for a number of reasons. Maybe that was a feature kept aside for a more expensive model, maybe there was some other reason it was left off. Frankly, we don’t care, we just think it is awesome that it works!

Stay with us to see a quick video demonstration.

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MIDI drum interface helps you step up your game

rb_drum_trigger

[Dan] likes Rock Band, but playing it makes him feel as useful as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking a drumming contest. He says that even using his friend’s ION kit leaves him searching out excuses as to why he’s not as good as he should be on the drums.

Eventually, he decided that he would settle things once and for all. The final excuse he came up with was that it is too difficult to press the drum pedal rapidly without getting tired, as the Rock Band gear does not properly simulate real drum equipment. Bass pedals on professional kits are weighted and balanced to allow the drummer to exert the least amount of work for the most return, resulting in a less tiring experience.

To give him a leg up while playing the game, he decided to rig a trigger to his Yamaha MIDI bass pedal, which is properly weighted. He consulted the Rock Band forums, and after looking at a couple of different circuit diagrams, he designed his own. He etched a PCB, mounted his SMD components, and was well on his way to becoming a drum legend.

He says that the pedal interface works quite well, and despite a couple of tiny soldering setbacks, he has yet to see any errant hits register in-game.

Be sure to check out the video below of his drum trigger undergoing some tests.

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Robot band gives us so much to make fun of

[Pat Metheny] has a robot armada backing him up when he performs on stage. They’re going on tour and he’s done an interview explaining his mechanical band. Like the auto-drummer, this setup uses multitudes of solenoids to play the percussion instruments, each getting commands from a computer. It’s pretty wicked to see him use his guitar as a marimba controller; it’s so responsive that he can tremolo and the solenoid follows in kind.

But there’s a lot more going on here. We love to see crazy facial hair from time-to-time, but this guy’s just got crazy hair! This easy listening isn’t exactly hair-band material but more like live-action Animusic. It’s also reminiscent of the automated orchestras at House on the Rock, an attraction you may remember reading about in American Gods. It’s fun to kid, but whether you like the music or not, he’s certainly talented when it comes to this genre.

[Thanks Grey]