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Old 5th September 2013, 10:15 AM   #1
didge is offline didge  United States
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Question A simple piezo snare drum

Hello all, I'm looking for input on an idea to make a "snare drum" out of a piezo sensor. I don't intend to use a piezo as a trigger for MIDI sounds through a brain, but want to make something simpler that goes right into the preamp. It should be something small--I already have enough instruments to carry and don't want to add something as large as an actual snare drum. I would want to play it not with drumsticks but with just hands and fingers. Does anyone here have any clever ideas for how to use a piezo to create snare-ish sounds?
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Old 5th September 2013, 10:54 AM   #2
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You probably need to look back to the 70's and 80's?, there were numerous such projects back then, essentially (going from memory) you generate a pulse from striking the piezo, this triggers a gate fed from a noise source, then filtering and shaping on the output.
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Old 5th September 2013, 05:32 PM   #3
didge is offline didge  United States
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Right, but like I said, I don't want to use the piezo as a trigger. This is for my performance rig which uses a Mackie DL1608 mixer. I don't think the mixer has enough options for me to be able to do something like that. It has gates on each channel, but wouldn't what you mentioned involve some kind of sidechaining? Anyway, I think I can get auitable sound with just a piezo mounted to the right kind of material/striking surface. Just gonna have to experiment.
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Old 5th September 2013, 05:51 PM   #4
SY is offline SY  United States
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You'll need signal conditioning, typically FET-based, since the piezo has a very high impedance. I suspect you'll be disappointed in the results, but it's cheap and easy to find out. I'd strongly recommend piezo film rather than a ceramic PZT since the latter will have a very strong resonant mode which will tend to cover up the sound you're trying to get. You can use some double-sided tape to stick the film onto a piece of (for exaple) wood used as the playing surface.
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Old 5th September 2013, 06:01 PM   #5
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You could try tincan with some spikes hammered through the top rattling loosly. That was my first drumkit as a kid. Or you could even experiment with real snare under the top.
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Old 5th September 2013, 06:13 PM   #6
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You could try tincan with some spikes hammered through the top rattling loosly. That was my first drumkit as a kid. Or you could even experiment with real snare under the top.
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Old 5th September 2013, 06:26 PM   #7
didge is offline didge  United States
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Thanks for the ideas. Perhaps I could plug it into one of the instrument inputs instead of mic inputs to deal with the high impedance?
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Old 5th September 2013, 06:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didge View Post
Right, but like I said, I don't want to use the piezo as a trigger.
You said not for MIDI - so I gave you a suggestion using a relatively small amount of components, that would sound 'something like' a snare drum, and plug directly in your mixer.

Just a piezo is never going to sound anything like one.
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Old 5th September 2013, 06:37 PM   #9
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didge View Post
Thanks for the ideas. Perhaps I could plug it into one of the instrument inputs instead of mic inputs to deal with the high impedance?
We're talking a few orders of magnitude higher impedance- trust me on this, you want a FET buffer.
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Old 6th September 2013, 04:16 AM   #10
Rylan is offline Rylan  United States
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maybe mount a piezo on one of those cheap shaker eggs, when you whack it, it might produce something snare like... or maybe tape one to a paper plate clamshell full of dry beans? trying to think low-tech.. lol
also yeah a piezo directly to a mixer ideally should run through a transistor somewhere first, but if this is a just for fun cheap project you can probably just crank the input trim knob all the way to your right, just be careful not to go too high as the output voltage of that piezo might spike pretty high when struck hard.
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