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After being away from my system for a few sick days, I’m finally back to it and patching again! This week’s video is a special one, based on a project I first encountered when I started experimenting with electronic music and sounds 17 years ago, building electronic drum pads. And since we’ve just had the release of the Mutable Music Thing Ears, and Chris Randall’s great use cases for piezo elements, I figured I’d share how I use these extremely handy and cheap components.
About 16 or 17 years ago, I was living in Boston, playing in a fusion band and looking for ways to expand the palette of sounds available in my acoustic drum set. I took a fantastic electronic percussion course at Berklee with Steve Wilkes, which made use of the incredible DrumKat, and I pined for a set of Roland V-Drums. But for a college student, these were unobtainably expensive.
A friend introduced me to piezo transducers as drum triggers, and I started making my own, buying the parts and cables at Radio Shack and teaching myself to solder using them. Thankfully, this is a hard project to mess up, so I was able to create a number of cheap, durable drum triggers for extremely cheap, which then ran into an old Alesis DM-5 drum brain.
After some discussion and experimentation with others in the music community in Boston, I began inserting the piezos into Remo practice pads. Using the technique we examine here, I would tape a piezo to a coffee can lid, solder it to an RCA lead, and then slide them into a practice pad, effectively turning it into an electronic drum pad.
Once I started exploring the Eurorack world, I found myself wondering if these tools would be compatible, and to my delight, they are! This is a cheap and reliable way to get interactive with your system. And more importantly, you don’t have to make drum pads, you can make all kinds of triggers and instruments with piezo transducers.
What are you going to build? Tell us about it in the comments!