I know that cymball rolls is a common issue on electronic drum kits. I tested different kits (Yamaha and Roland) and I can't achieve to create a good and smooth cymbal roll. The sound suffer of a 'gunshot' effect (chopped).

Also, it is almost impossible to start at a piano dynamic.

The last high end kit I tested is the Yamaha DTX950K and same problem.

Is there any technique to create a good e-cymbal roll effect ?

Are the electro-accoustic cymbals suffering of the same behavior (like Zildjian ones) ?

Or any e-kit who do the job correctly ?

  • 1
    I haven't ever tried this, but perhaps you could run the cymbals through a thick reverb effect when you do the cymbal roll? This would soften and blend their attacks and allow the roll to ring for quite a while after you stopped. The trick would be finding a way to easily turn the reverb on and off.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 18:28
  • Thanks :) If about effect you mean sound processing, it is not very convenient :( But yeah in the same logic and as Stephen said, if the module can handle this directly it could work -at least partially- but I don't think modules are designed for this even if I didn't look much about high end modules functionnalities ;)
    – JoeBilly
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 19:44
  • This is not off topic, it's about a playing technique that doesn't transfer well from acoustic to digital drums, and how to overcome these issues. Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 10:28

2 Answers 2


All electronic drum kits even today basically just play back recorded samples with triggers shaped to match traditional drums. No matter how good the samples themselves are, the idea that each hit triggers a specific sample will never sound realistic when the same instrument (especially cymbals) is struck several times while it's still ringing.

This is because drum heads and cymbals don't behave linearly. The same cymbal hit in the same spot twice as hard doesn't sound just twice as loud. Instead, a larger proportion of the energy will be in higher frequencies, corresponding to denser modes of vibrations, and the sound pressure will be less than twice as much.

The same is true for two hits of the same cymbal at different times. When you hit a cymbal that's already ringing, the added energy will quickly shift to higher frequencies than it would in a previously still one.

In order to simulate this effect in electronic drums, the sound module would have to either use a non-sample-based model to create sound, or perhaps select a different sample based on the frequency content of the currently playing mix of the same instrument. It will be interesting to see who gets there first. Yamaha, Roland, Korg, or maybe some newcomer?

Electro-acoustic cymbals on the other hand are actual physical cymbals, whose sound is picked up, amplified, and perhaps equalized electr(on)ically, so they should in theory behave like traditional ones.


I've got a pretty modern yamaha dtx setup. I'm still new to the thing. But there are a =LOT= of settings you can tweak about hit recognition and what is fed to the sound module.

It might be that from the factory, they're set kind of unsensitive to keep duplicate/ghost hits (vibrations that should trigger the pad still triggering the pad) from happening.

I'd say dive into that manual and see what you can tune. And, really, you can't expect it to be exactly like an acoustic drum set. It's digital. It's got limitations, but it's also got extra capabilities.

  • I guess it is a good point and while writing this question I was thinking about "what the module can do". I still hope that somebody will contradict me but there's not enough sophisticated e-cymbal which can deal with it nowdays. I'll take a look about what Roland and Yahama modules provide. I haven't asked to a vendor in shop also, I'll ask them :)
    – JoeBilly
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 19:32

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