It seems that it is now possible to create a compact VST system that can replace the electronic drum module and it could look something like this:
About five years ago I looked in to the possibility of using off the self computers with software as a electronic drum module. Back then the major limitations were cost and size. I wanted to have the VST system mounted with the rest of the edrum set, but to keep costs down at the time it would have been a standard PC with a 14 inch flat panel monitor, mouse and Keyboard. Not exactly compact. It seems the technology finally caught up enough to make this, not only possible, but a cost feasible idea.
The picture above is an electronic drum set mock-up of a generic compact VST system . All the pieces in this picture are off the self components.
Here is the list of component for the VST system:
1) Alesis Trigger I/O, TMI
2) 7″ inch LCD touch screen, use to eliminate the keyboard & mouse
3) ITX base computer system with PIC slot & case to allow for a sound card.
4) OS and favorite VST drum software.
The 7″ inch LCD touch screen is the same type of touch screen use in some of todays cars. What make a touch screen nice for an electronic drum set, is that it allow you to make corrections on the fly during a live gig. The cost for these screen have really come down. You can buy one for about $200.00. The mini computer system with sound card could be made for about $400-600.00. The Alesis Trigger I/O runs about $160.00. Software (OS, & VST drums) will run about $300-500.00. That means you could build yourself a compact VST systems for about $1500-2000.00. That puts it in the same cost range as a Roland TDW-20 and Yamaha DTXtreme III drum modules. The best part is your DIY VST system could be more robust then either of those high end drum modules.
Just think of the possibilities!