9 tracks done and counting

well, it’s coming down to the wire, and i’m not optimistic that i’ll have this album done by christmas.

9 tracks are completed, and a handful more need final editing and completing.

i’m loving how the tracks are sounding, so i’m not too upset. i’ve been reminding myself that it’s not the end of the world if the completion date slides a little, considering the trade off.

a lot of things have been happening in my life, including a career change that has occupied the better part of my attention for the last six weeks.

i pounding away at it, and will try to update a little more often with progress reports.

cheers

 

chez

Review: Yamaha DTXPLORER VS. Alesis DM-7

For a while now, i’ve wanted to add an electronic drum kit to the studio. Though I’ve never been very good at it, I’ve always loved playing the drums. I think that having a kit adds a lot to any jam experience.

I’ve had my eye on the Yamaha DTEXPLORER for a while now (approx retail price of $700 pre tax). Then Alesis announced their DM-7 product, and I thought that I’d like to give it a try too (approx retail price $800 pre tax).

In an attempt to make the best decision, I wanted to do an actual head to head comparison. So I did what any good obsessive compulsive would do – I bought both of them, brought them to the studio, set them up, played with them until I figured out which one i like best, and returned the one that I liked least.

Here is my analysis and review of the two kits, which i used to make my purchase decision (disclaimer – i am not a professional reviewer, i am not an expert on drums or anything else for that matter – i’m just a guy who wanted to by some drums and decided to write about the experience :-)  ).

First off, here is a quick shot of the setup.

The DTX is on the left, and the DM-7 is on the right.

Here are some manufacturer images (taken from their websites) so you can get a better idea of what they look like, along with images of the ‘brains’ for each set.

A note about my setup: I am using Sonar Producer, and use an Alesis Multimix Firewire 16 mixer audio interface to bring in my signals. I connected both kits up to the mixer using the 1/4″ output jacks, and I also connected the midi cables to my recording pc. I checked the sound quality of the units by conducting tests using headphones and using my studio monitors.

General Notes:

  • Yamaha DTX comes with two single zone cymbals, one hi-hat pad (which looks the same as a tom pad), one hi-hat foot pedal controller, one single zone snare pad, three single zone tom pads, a kick pad, a kick pedal, a mounting rack, and the ‘brain’ or control module
  • Alesis DM-7 comes with one single zone cymbal, one dual zone cymbal (that is “chokable” – which means that after you hit it, if you grab it with your hand, the noise will stop), one hi-hat pad (which looks like a smaller cymbal), one hi-hat foot pedal controller, one three-zone snare pad (middle, and two rim strike zones), three single zone tom pads, a kick pad, and a mounting rack, a pair of drum sticks, and the ‘brain’ or control module.  NO kick pedal is supplied, despite it appearing in every picture of the kit I’ve ever seen. Note that although the DM-7 snare pad is coloured white, it is NOT a fabric pad as I was led to believe, but rather, it is the same kind of rubber pad used on the toms but coloured white.

Pros and cons:

  • DTX rack is more sturdy and robust than the DM-7
  • DM-7 has no kick pedal, so allow some $$ for that. The DTX comes with one, but I’m sure that a real drummer will tell you that it’s not that great.
  • I give the edge to the DTX for the tom pads – the Alesis toms felt a bit cheap – not a big deal though
  • DM-7 snare is much nicer that the Yamaha. It has three zones, which allows you to control three different sounds with one pad – very nice.
  • DM-7 has 50 kits, the DTX has 30 kits
  • Hi-hat on the Alesis is definitely nicer – more natural than playing a pad
  • I couldn’t really notice any difference between the hi-hat food pedals
  • The kick pedal mount on the DTX is definitely more sturdy
  • I give the edge to Yamaha for the quality of sounds
  • the cymbals on the DM-7 look more realistic, and have multi zones, compared to the single zone cymbals on the DTX. If you want to be able to have a bell noise as well as a crash noise on the same cymbal, then the Alesis is the only one that will do it
  • Kick noises are all too low on the DM-7 – this means that you have to go in and adjust all of the instrument levels each time you go to use any of the kits. This was  a major pain in the ass as compared to the Yamaha where all the instrument levels sounded great without adjustment.
  • DM-7 brain user interface is a little nicer, and little more user friendly than the DTX

I found the the output signal of the Alesis to be veryweak. That is to say that I had to push the slider on the mixer all the way to the top and crank the DM-7 module volume knob all the way to the max just to get the sound to be on par with any of the other instruments that I had connected to the mixer. This is much different from the DTXPLORER, which had a great output level (more than enough to cause peaking, which you need to watch out for when recording the audio signal – if you have it set too high, the recording will be a useless, crackling, buzzing mess). Also, I found the quality of the samples in the Alesis to be not nearly as good as the quality of the Yamaha samples, even though there are more kits in the DM-7 brain.

Midi Notes:

  • both units can export signals via MIDI to your computer, allowing you to control a virtual drum kit.
  • DTX uses a conventional MIDI cable, DM-7 uses a usb cable (this cable only transmits the midi data, not the audio data in case you were wondering like i was)

Final Decision:

In the end, I opted for the Yamaha. If I could have my choice, I’d make up a composite of the two kits, where I would take the Yamaha brain, kick, toms, and frame, and use the Alesis snare, hi hat, and cymbals. But I digress! I agonized over the decision, jumping back and forth between the two kits, trying to figure out which one made me happier. My personal opinion is that I like the Yamaha better. It works great as a midi trigger for my virtual drums, and the audio output drums sound great too. It is a great kit for jamming with friends, and improving your drumming technique. I hope you enjoyed the read, and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to try to help out.

Make more music.

chez

New Albm ‘micro’ is now available

Hey Folks

After two years of painful and rewarding recording, editing, chopping, re-recording, editing, tweaking and general fiddling around, my fifth album ‘micro’ is now available to the general public. (you can buy a hard copy at cdbaby)

I am thrilled with the way it has turned out, and am very excited for you all to hear it.

Please do let me know what you think via email – it means a great deal to me.

thanks again for listening

chez 

micro album cover

Wow… long time, no posts

i can’t believe how long it has been since i’ve taken the time to update this area.

the year has been flying by.

callum turned one year old in october, and you can read all about our family activities here:

http://shonesy.blogspot.com/

as for the music world, fear not. the fifth album is feverishly being worked on, and i expect to have it completed by christmas.

the working title is ‘micro’, and i’m very happy with the content. final editing is the hardest for me. i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again – when is ok to sit back and say ‘there…. now it’s finished’ ?

at any rate, work is progressing, and i’m dealing with the artwork details, liner notes, credits, etc as well as trying to polish off the tracks musically and taking care of mastering….

keep your fingers crossed, and i’ll hopefully be posting a little more often in the near future.

all the best

chez

buy the new album HEAD UNDER HEELS @ CD Baby

cd baby logoCD Baby is a great place to find independent music at good prices (or, if you’re so inclined, you can even find Chez Jonesy stuff there too!). They do a great job marketing independent musicians from around the world, and have agreed to sell my new album as well. So if you’re looking to get your hands on a ‘hard copy’ of Head Under Heels, then go and check them out here.

 

 

Incidently, here’s the new album cover:

huh cover.jpg

And here’s a link where you can check out the album on the official Chez Jonesy website:

-clike here-

 

cheers

 chez

 

 

Chez Jonesy on Blips and Ifs

blips and ifs logo

 

afternoon, folks. thought i’d post a little note to let you all know that Blips and Ifs has posted a Chez Jonesy track on their site.

Blips and Ifs is an original concept, and provides listeners with “your daily dose of electronic content from the world’s 1st hybrid blog and record label.”

they have posted the track ‘separation anxiety’ from my latest album, ‘Head Under Heels’.  

thanks very much to them for the exposure, and for providing us with free, cutting edge music to listen to in a time when pop music is effing us all up.

keep making music.

chez

Telelife – A track from years back

DSCF0005.JPGI’ve been wanting to put this track on-line for a long time, but haven’t had the chance. It’s long been one of my absolute favorites, but I fear that it will never find a home on one of my albums due to it’s long length. But you never know. I remember coming home late at night (or early morning) on many occaissions, lying down on the floor with my head between two speakers, closing my eyes, and listening to the tune start to finish. It’s quite a ride… but don’t take my word for it.

 

The  song is called Telelife, and is available on mp3 for listening ride here.

 

PS. a good set of headphones would probably do just as well.

 

chez