Hi there, this is Andreas with XpressPads Finger Drumming and today I’d like to speak about basics of finger drumming So, when you want to become a finger drummer you need a piece of hardware. That’s your pad controller or groove production studio and you need a piece of software which would be a virtual drum kit or virtual drum module or something like that. And today’s tutorial is really focused completely on the hardware. I won’t play anything. I do this in other tutorials. I will just talk about pad controllers.
The ones that I have the groove production studios that I have and my experience with them and of course what I think is important about pad controllers when you want to use them for finger drumming, especially with the XpressPads finger drumming technique. First of all. the biggest thing about pad controllers are the pads. The pads really need to be superb. Meaning for me, that they need to be very sensitive. Because in finger drumming you want to do something different from static loops that you can find everywhere. You.
Want to play drum grooves that sound realistic. For that purpose you need to have a virtual drum kit that sounds realistic and you need an input device like a pad controller or groove production studio which has a great pad section which is very responsive to your hits and which is tweakable to your liking, so if you have stronger fingers, stronger hands, you maybe need less sensitivity. If you have hands not that strong, you might need a higher sensitivity on your pads. And most pad controllers offer this option to change the.
The Best Drum Machines For Finger Drumming
Pad sensitivity, but some do not. The second thing that is really important about pad controllers and groove production studios is the placement of the knobs and faders on the device. In general, if you play finger drumming, you have two basic hand postures. One is like that and the other one is like that. And when you think about knobs and sliders that would be too high on the surface in that area, you’d constantly hit these control elements which would result in either you hurting yourself or you damaging the device.
Which both is not really desirable. And the ones that you see here, these pad controllers and groove production studios, they all have a good placement of knobs and sliders, so they never get in the way when you play them. That’s really important. Also, what I like about pad controllers, is if they give me visual feedback on the pads. Either about the velocity I hit them with, or just the pure fact if I hit them or not, because that gives me a visual reflection on what I play and if I for example don’t hear.
A sound when I hit a pad, I can still see whether is really hin and something in the software is probably wrong. In general about the difference between pad controllers and groove production studios I need to say that with pad controllers it’s quite simple because they don’t come with a piece of software that they are built for or which the hardware is integrated into which means that you can use them for actually every digital audio workstation or every virtual drum module that you can buy wheras with.
The groove production studios like the Maschine Studio or MPC Element or also the Ableton Push controller they are built really specifically for one software that the manufacturer also provides which also makes them of course much more expensive than the regular pad controller which comes as a standalone device which sends MIDI data that can be received by every DAW, right. But also what I want to mention is that even with the groove production studios, they usually have a mode with which you can use just purely the MIDI data that.
The pads send when you hit them. Also pricing is as I said a factor that needs to be considered when you make your purchase decision. These regular pad controllers and with regular pad controllers I mean pad controllers that have a 4 x 4 pad section. These regular pad controllers they start at about 100 euros and go up to about 200 250 euros, but I think for the devices that I show here that’s quite a fair price for most of them. As said prices. The MAudio Trigger Finger in not available.
Anymore but back then it costed about 150 euros. There’s a successor now, that’s the Trigger Finger Pro. It is different, because it also goes in the direction of groove production studios with lots of features and it even contains onboard sounds and so on, but I’m not sure about that. I once bought it when it was launched to the market and I was really happy with the pads, but I wasn’t happy with the price back then because when they launched it, it was quite expensive, more than 300 euros and.
For the features that it offered it was too expensive for me, however I have a price alert. So, when it drops below 200 Euros I’ll probably buy it. But I can say The pad section on the legacy device the Trigger Finger is really great. I love the pad sensitivity here. And also on the newer Trigger Finger Pro the pad sensitivity is really good and the reason why I would buy it again. Then we have the Korg PadKontrol. I think this is one of THE standard pad controllers around. Many people use it.
And it costs about 150 to 200 euros and is probably in the same area in dollars. And also here you have sensitive pads, you have quite a good software editor with which you can preconfigure it. That’s also something One reason why I sent the Trigger Finger Pro back. Becaue I didn’t find software editor. Maybe they have had one, but I really searched hard for it, but didn’t find one. And I usually want to have a software editor if possible. Makes it easier. saves time and so on. Here this.
QuNeo from Keith McMillen is also a great pad controller and this one is probably the most sensitive pad controller that I have. The pads are really highly sensitive which I think isn’t a bad thing. It really depends on the strength of your hands as I said and also maybe the kind of music that you want to play with it. So, for example, if you want to play Metal on a pad controller, so Metal drumming, doublebass, blastbeats and so on. there is quite a lot of pressure and hits going on on the pads. You don’t want to hurt yourself when you do.
Finger drumming. Although it’s fun and so on you must not overdo it and if you then have a pad controller that has a high velocity sensitivity it’s actually good. Becaue after two hours of playing your fingers won’t hurt which can be the case if you have a controller with a lower pad sensitivity. Also, you see knobs and sliders here. They have these sliders here without haptic or tactile elements like knobs and faders. That’s also solved quite nicely if you ask me. Then the iRig Pads. That’s a pad controller.
That comes from IK Multimedia. It’s quite new on the market. I think have launched it end of last year or so in 2014. And, well it’s really a good device. It doesn’t cost a lot. It costs 120 euros 150 dollars. By the way this one costs about 150 to 200 euros dollars. The good thing about this pad controller is that it is really straightforward. It’s easy to tweak. You have an editor software that comes with it, but even the onboard editing functions that you have here are really.
Straightforward. The pad sensitivity is good. Probably, of all these devices here it is one of the the pad sensitivity that needs the highest hit velocity. The triggering threshold for hitting it is rather high. That needs to be considered if you have not that strong hands you should consider maybe buying another one, but overall, a really gut device. And here we have the AKAI MPD 18. The AKAI MPD 18 as you see, I just have one here here I have two of these controllers and there’s a reason for it.
Which I am coming to, soon. The AKAI MPD 18 costs about 100 euros, but if you’re asking me it has the unfortunately not the best pad section. There are two reasons for that. First of all The velocity sensitivity is not very good. You have pads if you hit them in a row it’s not straight. It’s not equal, right. I had that a couple of times that I wanted to play some grooves and I had really big variances in the velocity or in the volume of the sounds that came out of my DAW. That’s the reason why I almost never use it.
I also had the MPD 26 or 24 and the MPD 32. There the problem was that they had the sliders and knobs all over the place and I was hitting them all the time. I had to get rid of them, unfortunately. I don’t really remember how the pad sensitivity was with these pad controllers, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter today, because I can’t use them because of the knobs and sliders. Ok, so these are the pad controllers the basic pad controllers and I think these are the.
Basic options if you don’t want to play finger drumming on a groove production studio like the AKAI MPC, Maschine, or the Ableton Push. The reason why I have two pad controllers here is that you can play finger drumming with two pad controllers at least with the XpressPads finger drumming technique and that’s the reason why I have two of them. And then price really matters again, because with 150 euros or 120 or 150 here, 150 there and this one as I said about twohundredsomthing I think it’s ok to buy two.
And thereby double the amount of kit pieces you can play finger drumming with, which makes it a bit different if you go over here to Maschine Studio or to the AKAI MPC Studio or Renaissance, which probably are the biggest competitors of the Maschine Mikro and the Maschine Studio, because those start at 300 350 euros the smaller ones and the flagship groove production studios like the Maschine Studio and the AKAI MPC Renaissance respectively. they cost about a grand. 1000 euros, 900 euros, 800 euros. I don’t know what the.
Store price is right now, but that’s quite a lot of money if you just think about finger drumming. You should have an additional purpose for that device next to finger drumming. If it’s only finger drumming pad controllers fine you know but with these other devices you really should have a second reason for buying them. Okay, that said about pad controllers. the regular ones. There are some smaller ones like here this one from Steinberg. The PD pad controller. really small. good, if you want to do it in the.
Subway or somewhere on the road, probably I wouldn’t use it on a daily basis because the pads are so small. That requires you to be much more precise in your playing, but what you can say about this one is It’s padsensitive. That’s really good, because those ones here, the Launchpads, they aren’t padsensitive, meaning you only have on or offinformation on each and every pad. I think this one costs about 100 euros or 120 euros. As I was just mentioning the Lauchpads here. These are the early Launchpads.
From Ableton and from Novation. These are also. they are actually used for controlling Ableton Live or FLStudio. They come with a template for FLStudio as well. And these are more control surfaces than they are pad controllers for finger drumming. That’s the reason why I can’t really recommended them for finger drumming, because they only have one velocity with which the samples are firedoff when you press them. So it’s more like buttons that you press than pads that you hit. and that makes a big difference. However, I’ve seen that Ableton oh, no sorry Novation.
the manufacturer of these hardware devices has announced to launch the Launchpad Pro which will cost about 300 euros dollars, and this one will contain sensitive pads and that will make this device very interesting for finger drumming because then you can although the pads are relatively small That opens up your imagination of what you can play if you have 64 pads instead of 16. So, that offers a lot of additional sound options that you have later. Now let’s speak about groove production studios like for example the.
MPC Element from AKAI. This is the smalles groove production studio version that they and probably the cheapest on the market compared to other groove production studios It comes with the MPC Elements software. I gave it a try and I just looked into it, tryed the getting started guide, but I have to be honest I didn’t really check it in depth. However, I know that a lot of people swear on it. Not maybe the AKAI MPC Element, but the AKAI MPC Studio and the AKAI MPC Renaissance, and for example.
David Haynes plays finger drumming on the MPC Studio and he is really a great finger drummer. He probably doesn’t play equipment that he doesn’t like. If you want to go for a groove production studio it’s probably worth giving it a try or go to the store and test it there. I once bought a bstock version of it of the MPC Studio and this one didn’t work for me, probably because it really had some errors in it, but it was a broken device, so I cannot comment on this one, but.
That said, there’s a huge followership of people that use it, so maybe you want to give it a try. The couterpart on the Native Instruments side is the Maschine Mikro. This one has also a great pad section and again the Maschine Studio and the Maschine Mikro both have great pad sections. Very sensitive, tweakable. via software you can change the pad sensitivity and for finger drumming I can recommend them and with the additional features on these groove production studios it really is some new endeavour for me, because so far.
probably until two months ago I always used pad controllers. Now I am getting more into the groove production area, which is great for loop based music and I really start appreciating the tactile feedback that you have and the tweakability of the software via the hardware. So far I can say I really appreciate that. Finally, you have these small pad controllers over there. You can see they only have 4 x 2 or 6 x 2 pads. They are also sensitive and the sensitivity is really good, especially on the AKAI LPD 8.
You can either use them just as they are to play some very basic grooves with some kit pieces, but you can also put them together as two and then play them as a 4 x 4 pad controller, because, that’s interesting maybe these two. the XpressPads finger drumming technique splits your pad section actually in half. It’s like a mirror in the middle. We have bass drums here, snare drums there, and so on. Especially with these controllers, that makes them very interesting. What I can’t recommend is this one here. it’s the ICON.
IStage or whatever. I had really a hard time getting the software installer running. You see now the pads are turning yellow which I really don’t like and also the pad sensitivity isn’t Great. It’s really cheap. I don’t know what I paid for it, but I think below 100 euros, but if you’re asking me you should invest a little bit more and get something serious. Lastly, I’d like to mention that I am not endorsed by any of these companies here. which’s products lie on the table. No one pays me, no one gives me free products.
Or supports me in any way. There is only one exception. That’s IK Multimedia. After I have done a review they contacted me and gave me a bit of free software and one pad controller, but that’s all and my positive impression on the iRig Pads I won before they gave me a little reward for that. Ok, I think that’s all I can say about pad controllers in this basic overview Over time I’ll probably produce different reviews for the different pieces of hardware here, also the way you can manipulate them, the way you can.
Change pad assignments and so on. And also, what I would like to mention is If you’re really interested in finger drumming please visit the website XpressPads There, you’ll also find the XpressPads layouts for different pad controllers, such as the Korg PadKontrol, iRig Pads, the QuNeo, for the MPD i have them there as well, definitively for the Maschine, and maybe also for the MPC Element. and then you can start finger drumming right away. If you have questions just leave them in the comments area on YouTube. If you like the tutorial, please give it a Like.