alt text

Me and a friend of mine are about to start a new experimental music project. The basic idea is that he’s gonna be playing drums and I'm going to use some contact mics to capture his playing and process it with my very-soon-to-be finished modular. Neither of us really know what we expect this to sound like, which is sort of the point. It will probably be noisy though.
I’m going for a pretty small setup to begin with, limiting myself to 84hp. Obviously this is never gonna be enough, but you gotta start somewhere. The modules in the rack are the ones I currently own, so there’s not a lot of room left. Only 14hp.

So, what do you suggest I fill the gap with?
I know I need an lfo and have had my eyes on the 2hp lfo v2 for some time. But I’m also considering a Peaks, seeing as it can do so many different things, is good value and the controls seem pretty straight forward.


You're going to be rather short on inputs if the idea here is to contact mic the entire kit. To do this optimally, EVERY drum needs to be fitted with a contact mic, each going to its individual preamp/envelope follower. Doing this with just one...well, if you're trying to create a single percussive effect device like a Syndrum or Clap Trap, that would be fine, but there's no decent way to make this work with a single Ears.

And for that matter, I don't think Ears is the right choice here. Something like Bastl's Kong, which is specifically designed for drum pickups like this and which also manages to cram two of the needed functions into 5 hp would be a far better choice.


Thanks for your feedback!

I won't be miking the whole kit, but rather one or two drums at a time. It should be said that this wasn't the initial purpose of the rack and it is still not supposed to be solely a drum mangler, but rather a external sound processor for live sound and/or samples. What sparked the idea of using Ears for this purpose was this demo:
However If the contact mic+drum thing doesn't work we'll try something else and save that idea for later and then I will definitely consider getting a Kong!


Well, the problem with the Ears should be pretty apparent: you're paying for an onboard contact mic that's not useful for the purpose you have in mind here. I also feel that putting a contact mic in a patchpanel is a pretty bad idea unless you can disable it somehow to avoid lots of extraneous clunking and banging around that'll get into your signal path. It might be cool-looking and all...but it's not the right tool.

Basically, you're talking about using this sort of thing: https://reverb.com/item/2274010-2x-piezo-elements-for-drum-triggers-contact-mics-fast-shipping , which is a piezo sensor that can also act as a contact microphone. These need a good bit of amplification to be musically useful along with the other parts of the needed module, namely the envelope follower. My concern is whether the Ears's input preamp is capable of the necessary level of amplification...if it's designed for line-level input signals, it might not be. But both my Dean Markley and John Pearse contact mic/pickups do need that, so I'm basing my observations on those. There are a few that have high outputs (AKG makes one that I've used before to amplify a chalkboard through a Peavey stack via its guitar-level input), but they're not piezos.

And I should note...the next consideration is going to be what you plan to do with the envelope following function, since there's no VCAs here or, for that matter, much else that the envelope follower can interact with. And if you're planning to use this with drums, that consideration is key.


This is just a terrible idea from the get-go. To do it right, you're going to need individual mics on each piece of the drum kit. You're going to need a preamp for each mic. You'll probably want a mixer with a minimum of 8 buses to get each drum sound (or stereo pair for overheads) out to your Eurorack. You'll also want a line to Eurorack level module with multiple inputs and outputs... else a bunch of single modules.

Now you have audio going into your Eurorack. If you want to turn your transients to gates, a logic module for each drum sound would be helpful. Once the audio goes above a certain voltage, you'll generate a gate through the logic module... just tap the "or" output. From there you can apply whatever you'd like. Envelope followers were also mentioned. That will generate CV based on the instantaneous amplitude of the signal.

You'll also need a compliment of envelopes, VCAs, or whatever else you're looking to run through.

Honestly, Eurorack isn't the best solution. You'd be better off with a laptop with an 8-in and 8-out interface and software like Ableton. From there you can process, envelope follow, and whatever the heck you want out of your inputs. But using Eurorack is just going to be a cluster with meager results.

Eurorack ain't for everything.


If you want to turn your transients to gates, a logic module for each drum sound would be helpful. Once the audio goes above a certain voltage, you'll generate a gate through the logic module... just tap the "or" output. From there you can apply whatever you'd like. Envelope followers were also mentioned. That will generate CV based on the instantaneous amplitude of the signal.

And a third device would work if the solution is to simply open/close a gate: a comparator. These also play nice with logic gates to allow strange polyrhythms and weird timing manipulations. But Ronin's on point when he says...

Honestly, Eurorack isn't the best solution. You'd be better off with a laptop with an 8-in and 8-out interface and software like Ableton. From there you can process, envelope follow, and whatever the heck you want out of your inputs. But using Eurorack is just going to be a cluster with meager results.

Eurorack ain't for everything.
-- Ronin1973

And I agree 100% there. This isn't really the right application for Eurorack, as such. It might make more sense to use an electronic drum kit and process its output mix through a Eurorack system, thereby avoiding the need for the piezos, the extra modules, etc etc etc. But doing this purely in Eurorack will get expensive and unwieldy pretty quickly.