We all have that one friend, neighbor- or heck maybe you are that person- who has a thing for drums and wants to practice all day long. And here’s where you’ll face problems, like your parents, roommate, or neighbor getting annoyed and asking you to stop. Ne need to worry though, you can still practice drumming all you want without disturbing anyone around you. Aerodrums have been proven to be neighbor friendly, very portable, and a delight to play!
All you’ll need is the Aerodrums box; it basically has all the equipment that you’ll need to drum the day away.
- Aerodrums lamp:
Has a lens that’s connected to a computer
- Two drumsticks:
Has two reflector heads that take signals from the Aerodrums lamp, and they’re a very important part of the whole process.
- A pair of cardboard sunglasses:
Remember the drumsticks? Well they reflect a bright light, and in case your eyes are sensitive to that light, you can easily wear the glasses.
- Two-foot straps:
They provide you with a smooth playing experience with the drums and are used for the bass drum and hats.
- Product key and a PS high-speed camera:
Normally the camera is included within the box, but you’ll need to buy the camera separately if you’re buying it from the US market. Unfortunately, you can’t use any other camera like a PS4 camera. So you’ll have to stick with PS eye high speed camera.
How Do They Work?
It’s all about motion capture when it comes to air drums; it’s a technology that records your movements and simply produces the sound that you’re aiming for. What’s great about this air drum kit is that it’s fairly easy for you to know your way around. Just follow these steps and you’re good to go!
First, connect the lamp and PlayStation Eye Camera to the computer via USB ports. Secondly, download the Aerodrums software from their website, and don’t worry, you can download either the Mac OS x 10.6, the Windows 7,8,10, or Windows Vista. You’ll also need somewhere between 800 and 900 MB of free space in order to have the Aerodrums downloaded. The third step would be to launch the downloaded software, begin the installation process, and enter the product key that’s in the Aerodrums box. Then you’ll see instructions when you’re setting up the software. As soon as they show up, put the camera on the lamp, and you’re done.
Now the Aerodrums will show you where to sit, so before you do so, you might want to remove any objects that might be behind you in the background. Remove them and anything that reflects light for a more accurate camera quality. You can use your Aerodrums outdoors, but only if it’s at night because the camera won’t work properly in a bright environment. Now you’re done and ready to go! Happy drumming!
Familiarize yourself with Aerodrums
The software will automatically show you how to position your body to match the lamp and the camera. You’ll also see an illustration of your drums and where they’re placed, so you’ll know exactly where to hit those drumsticks. The illustration will tell you where to sit down, and how to position your “drum elements.” The illustration will also show you a drum sketch with purple and pink dots. These dots represent the heads of the sticks. The purpose of these illustrations is only to guide you and make your air drumming experience as easy as possible. So you wouldn’t need to worry about the location of the drum set and how to obtain the proper distance between you and the drums.
The Aerodrums provides you with seven combined drum kits, and a variety of 32 sounds of percussions, cymbals, and obviously, drums.
Anyone who’s experienced electronic drum kits knows they have a lot to offer, and that the Aerodrums kit might fall behind when it comes to sounds. But you don’t need to worry about that at all because you can easily overcome this. You have two options; you can either install your own samples that you can create on your computer, or since that the Aerodrums is compatible with MIDI options, you can easily connect your set to any hardware or software you want, and expand your number of sounds. Either scenario will allow you to have a larger variety of sounds, which gives you all the options to go crazy with your Aerodrums!
The Aerodrums Virtual Reality Project
The two great brains behind Aerodrums, Yann Moran and Richard Lee, have announced the VR upgrade to the air drum kit back in 2016. This is better in a way because, instead of just hitting an empty space, you’ll be hitting VR drums that you can actually see. This upgrade is extremely important, especially for beginners, since it makes everything easier.
Probably the only thing that you’ll need to buy other that the camera is the Oculus Rift headset.
Because everything has its pros and cons, here’s a list that sums it up for you.
- Neighbor friendly: The Aerodrums comes with its own set of headphones, so there is no way for your neighbors or roommates to hear you playing, and they have no excuse as to how loud or “noisy” your drums are. But if you want to hear the sounds of your drums anyway, you can always let them blast via the amplifier or speakers of your computer.
- Portable: 16.3 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches are the dimensions of your Aerodrums. This makes it ridiculously easy to carry your drums around; you can walk around with it in your backpack or even a plastic bag.It doesn’t matter where you are; you can always just plug in the lamp and the camera into a computer as long as they have the Aerodrums software, and let the drumming begin!
- Infinite Sounds: No matter how many sounds the drum kit comes with or how many you install, there’s no limit to the number of sounds you can have, produce, or play with.
- Software: The Aerodrums software is fairly intuitive, which is very important for beginners and drummers in general.
- Price: Surprisingly, the Aerodrums kit isn’t pricy at all, and is considered to be cheaper than any electronic drums in the market.
- Accuracy: The software helps you big time when it comes to accuracy. It provides you with illustrations and colorful dots to help you know exactly where everything is and maintain the right distance between you and the invisible drum set.
Unfortunately, the PS Eye Camera is so bright and sensitive to light that it doesn’t function properly or function at all in areas with a lot of light in the background, or if you want to play drums outdoors in the morning.The lamps too are sensitive to lights that involves anything from bright white walls, mirrors, or anything that reflects light really. Another setback the camera has is that it is bright, meaning some people can be sensitive to that light and they will probably have to protect their eyes with sunglasses. Not to worry though, cardboard sunglasses are provided in the Aerodrums box.
- The Setup:
Honestly the setup is pretty easy, but some people tend to find it confusing or maybe too complicated to go through. Another thing is that the setting up of the software does take time, and you can’t play Aerodrums on any computer unless it has the Aerodrums software, which is kind of limiting.
Are the Aerodrums Worth it?
Opinions may vary when it comes to whether the Aerodrums is worth it or not. So if you’re still hesitant, let me tell you that Aerodrums have very specific options for people, like the option for left-handed people that makes drumming easier.
Aerodrums have preset kits such as “My first Aerodrums Kit”, which is a very basic kit with a kick drum, a snare, and a Hi-Hat. There are full kits with 3 Toms, Kick drum, Snare, Hi-Hat, Crash and Ride cymbal, ride bell, and a snare cross-stick sound.
Yes, these kits are not as good as an electronic drum kit, but the trick is that you can create and make as many kits as you want without any limits, and have the freedom to choose all the sounds, whether they’re drums, percussion, or cymbals.
Aerodrums work with anything from VSTs/ recording software to virtual drum sound libraries like EZ Drummer, Superior Drummer, BFD, SSD, and Studio Drummer. So whichever software you are most comfortable with, the kit gives you enough room to maneuver without feeling like you’re limited to anything specific.
To personalize your setup, Aerodrums asks you to “place a firm snare hit” in the air, and wherever you hit, the software will memorize your position. All that’s left to do is to repeat the process for all drums and cymbals. Although Aerodrums can distinguish Rim Shots and HiHat taps and splashes, the downside is that it cannot differ between China, Crash or Ride Cymbal.
Are They Realistic?
The common opinion is no, which is pretty understandable because at the end of the day, you’re just hitting the air and there isn’t a real drum kit in front of you, but maybe that won’t be a lasting issue with the VR version. But just because the Aerodrums doesn’t feel realistic, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just different, and new!
This drum kit brings new varieties and options to the table that weren’t available before. Like being neighbor friendly, and very portable. Besides, it is only different when it comes to rebound, meaning when you hit the air nothing really hits back and it feels awkward in the beginning with your hands hanging in the air like that. But perhaps you will get used to that feeling the more you use Aerodrums.
The same premise applies when it comes to foot techniques. Yes, it will recognize bass drum strokes, whether you are playing heel-up, heel-down or even a mixture of both of them. Again, there won’t be a pedal to rebound like a real bass drum pedal. However, this is fixed by adding a training pedal, but that’s only if you really need one and you can’t drum without it.
The Aerodrums Kit
Overall, the Aerodrums is an amazing invention that we luckily have now, and is considered to be better then the alternative in many aspects. Yes, it may not feel as real as an actual drum kit, and it might not have as many sounds as the electronic drum kit. But it definitely makes up for it by being neighbor friendly and the fact that you can add as many sounds as you want.
So in a way, Aerodrums doesn’t really limit your collection of sounds. Also, when you consider the fact that it’s very portable, and you can easily move around with it. Imagine how easy these band practices and rehearsals will become, or how awesome it is to know that you can practice drumming in the comfort of your room without your parents yelling at you, or worse, your neighbors calling the police!
In all seriousness though, there are many great things that Aerodrums offer and will continue to offer. The Aerodrums virtual reality is just another upgrade to make the experience feel as real as possible, and to make it easier for beginners, and every drummer for that matter.
Remember that the Aerodrums are cheaper than the best electronic drum kits in the market, and obviously a real drum kit. Basically Aerodrums is trying to make drumming as enjoyable and as flexible as possible for all drummers out there. What makes everything better is that there is always a solution or an alternative to every setback in the Aerodrums kit, so if you know your way around it and can adapt to its uniqueness, you really have nothing to be bummed out about!