MIDI Drums made from Margarine Tubs

Larry Hendry jlarryh at iquest.net
Tue May 5 01:11:03 CEST 1998

Gene, after reading this, I am questioning you sanity somewhat.  However,
this is one approach to homemade triggers I have never heard of.  For
others considering such a project, Aleisi also made a drum module called a
D-4 (similar to the DM5) that has the same functions.  I see them used for
about $175-00 these days.  Good internal sounds too.

Gene, did you use one pound, two pound, or the extra big 3 pound tubs?
:)  Larry

> From: Stopp,Gene <gene.stopp at telematics.com>
> To: 'synth-diy mail list' <synth-diy at mailhost.bpa.nl>
> Subject: MIDI Drums made from Margarine Tubs
> Date: Monday, May 04, 1998 12:58 PM
> Hi DIY,
> Here's something I built recently that may be of interest to
> DIY'ers.....
> I've built a MIDI drum set out of a bunch of margarine tubs - those
> little plastic round containers with snap-on lids. We have a big
> stockpile in the kitchen tupperware cupboard, so I put some of them to
> use for musical purposes. They are used as transducers to provide analog
> triggers into a trigger-to-MIDI box that I bought for this purpose.
> OK, I admit, I didn't build the trigger-to-MIDI box, I went out and
> bought an Alesis DM-5. Some things are just worth paying money for and
> skipping over the design and building process (at least for me at the
> moment). The DM-5 has 12 analog trigger inputs, MIDI output, and a bunch
> of pretty useable sounds built in as well. So the DIY portion of this
> post is in regards to the trigger pads.
> Here's the details: the margarine tubs are arranged in three rows on a
> piece of particle board - three on top, four in the middle, and three
> below, for a total of ten triggers. I left two triggers un-used for
> extra trigger pads, and ten is enough to simulate a typical drum kit.
> Inside of each tub is a small block of wood, screwed down through the
> bottom of the tub into the board. In the center of the block of wood is
> a hole about 3/4" diameter (drilled by a hole saw). Into the hole sits a
> PC speaker, with a tight fit by the use of tape wrapped around the
> speaker magnet. The speaker faces upward towards the lid of the tub. A
> piece of foam rubber, cut to the size of the speaker cone, sits on the
> cone, and is held in place by the lid of the tub, slightly compressed.
> The speaker wires run out of a hole in the side of the tub, to a 1/4"
> jack that plugs into a trigger input of the DM-5. The DM-5 is mounted
> underneath the board, so that the front panel controls are accessible
> under the front edge of the board. All of the trigger wires run over the
> back of the board and into the DM-5.
> It works great! The sensitivity parameters of the triggers are maxed out
> at 99, but the full range of velocity is available. The foam rubber
> under the plastic lid provides enough damped stiffness so that a
> drumstick will "bounce" on it, much like a real drum head, so that rolls
> are easy to do (assuming you have developed the required drum-roll
> technique, something I'll need to work on myself). I use real
> drumsticks, BTW. The kids love to bang on it, especially our 2-year-old
> duaghter. It's a good thing too, because I had to justify the cost of
> the DM-5 to my wife by saying "I'm doing it for the kids!". The DM-5 can
> be purchased for between $325-375 these days. The price may drop in the
> near future since Alesis has recently come out with a new improved
> version (I forget the model number).
> Anyway, just another use for PC speakers.....
>  - Gene

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