For a while i have been eyeing of electronic drum kits in various stores and on ebay. Problem with these setups for me is always the size, and the price... I always tend to buy new toys for myself, especially music ones, and never ever use them to their full potential.
When i was in highschool ( a long time ago ) i bought a little yammaha electronic drum kit on a whim, so i could jam with some friends who played guitar. Being the early 90's this thing was pretty simple, with no midi and banks of pads that resulted in some pretty cheesy sounds through the tinny speakers. Needless to say my guitar playing friends scoffed at this kit, and it was soon boxed up and sold to a pawn shop.
So with great curiousity i have been eyeing off these cheap Chinese Roll up drum usb pads you can find all over ebay and other auction sites. While the units all seem to look the same, some say they are osx midi and osx compatible, so when i found one for $19.95 AUD i took the plunge.
Taking it out of the box, the unit is quite simple and generic, smelling like a blow up pool toy or a bike tyre. Saying that its quite nice to thump if thin. Will it stand up to some live beatings or repeated drum recording? only time will tell.. Playing with your hands is far more satisfying than playing with the thin and tiny sticks supplied, but i have some drum sticks at home and will give them a bash.
The first thing that struck me was plugging the unit into my Mac resulted in nothing.. Live didn't recognise the unit as usb or midi. It comes with a mini disk and a pc program on it, which is of course useless to anyone with a mac. I was pretty pissed, sending off a message to the ebay shop i bought it off..
After much googling i found a website called the gadgeteer.com and their review of the unit, which gave me some hope.
it seems one of the very clever users there had made a small program to covert the signal the drums send to midi for osx. YAY!!
So i downloaded it with much excitement, whoops ... crash. The aptly titled Dream Cheeky Music app crashed straigh away. I sent off a quick email to the creater Ben Schmidt and within 10 min he had replied and i was sending him crash logs. Few hours later i had a fully working program running as midi under live 8. Brilliant!!
Forget any kind of velocity, the drum seems to send strickly on and off only, but thats easily fixed in live by turning out the release. Of course through live its a great little controller, for kits or samples. Although i did have to turn on the Small Device option so it didnt play multiple samples.
But for what it does, and the price it does it for.. its pretty damn good!