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Home Drum Modules Hack For A Drum Module?

Hack For A Drum Module?

Published on August 8, 2007 by in Drum Modules

A few years ago, I was trying to find a cheaper way (with not to much work) to get a drum module (drum brain). I remembered back when I had a Yamaha DD-5 that it had a MIDI out jack on it. The great thing about a MIDI out jack is you can use that output to (in a sense) upgrade the Yamaha unit. The way you would upgrade the unit is to connect the MIDI output to your PC/Mac. Once hooked up to the computer, find a MIDI software package that lets you connect a MIDI keyboard and lets you trigger drum sounds with the keyboard. The Yamaha DD series acts just like a MIDI keyboard (with less keys) when connect to your computer. Now you can use the sounds from the software instead of the older Yamaha unit. The only problem was the DD-5 only had four pads. Four pads aren’t bad if you are going to use them to expand your current drum module. By the way, that is another great thing about MIDI output jacks on these Yamaha units, but I’ll write about that some other time. It was at this point that I remembered back in the day that a local music store once sold a Yamaha unit that looked like my old DD-6, but it had eight pad! Well, a little web surfing and I found out that it was called the DD-11. Quickly found that there were two more DD-12 and DD-14. At the time I was thinking of this hack the DD-50 was the current portable drum system by Yamaha. I didn’t want to by this unit because it was way to expansive, so the quest was on to see if I could buy a DD-11,12 or 14 off of eBay. It took me about a month, but I was able to purchase a Yamaha DD-14. I think I paid about $35.00 for it. Not bad when you consider that the DD-50 at the time was something like $200.00.

Yamaha DD-14 modThe hack is really pretty easy. Once I opened it up, I realized that I just had to drill some holes in the back of the DD-14 case, install (in this case) 1/8″ mini jacks, and splice the wire leads going to each pad on the DD unit. To splice the leads I used telecom connectors from All Electronics Corp. (part# CAT# UBC) Made a couple nice labels to number each jack and Voila done! (I will add a pic as soon as I find it.)

DD-55 ModI also did this to a DD-55 as well. (see pic) The pictures below are portable drum units that should be able to be hacked in to a drum module. They are not all Yamaha either. One unit is made by Casio. I also included a link to the manual if I could find one. Currently I use Apple’s Logic Express with a Midiman (now called M-Audio) USB Midisport 2X2 interface. This interface allows me to connect any MIDI device. I normally use my Roland TD-8, but I have been know to use my Yamaha DD-55 from time to time.

Yamaha DD-5 Yamaha DD-5 (Manual)

Yamaha DD-11 Yamaha DD-11 (Manual)

Yamaha DD-12 Yamaha DD-12 (Manual)

Yamaha DD-14 Yamaha DD-14 (Manual)

Yamaha DD-50 Yamaha DD-50 (Manual)

Yamaha DD-55 Yamaha DD-55 (Manual)

Casio LD80 Casio LD80 (Manual)

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4 Comments  comments 

4 Responses

  1. Jon Wilson

    Hey, This is exactly what I’ve been thinking of doing with my DD-55! I was very dissapointed with the feel from the DD-55’s pads. Could you pop up a pic of your wiring inside the box? P.S. Great site!

  2. Gary F

    I’m doing the Hack of a DD-55c as Phil explains and is in an eDrums article.
    I’m soldering my piezos for that today.. will be thru very soon.. in a week or so.. I have built my own DIY acoustic to e drums from an old used craigslist set minus cymbals.. so have to DIY them too. I have to find out about an interface for this too yet..
    Thank you for a great site.

  3. Allen Toler II

    Do you have a link to the work in detail what you did to the Yamaha DD-55? Thanks!

  4. Unfortunately, I no longer have these units. Basically it is just a matter of connecting the two wires from each pad on the Yamaha unit to an external jack. You just need some wire and the ability to solder.


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