The Vaski drum trigger pad input modules let you connect your electronic drum kit directly to a Eurorack synthesizer. This page contains further information about how the drum pads work and what the Vaski modules are capable of.

Vaski drum pad input modules

Both of these input modules can handle all kinds of drum pads, and it’s easy to set up your drum kit with any combination of them. The real difference is that the 3Z module has independent outputs for all zones of a 3-zone drum pad (did you guess from the name?). The 2Z module gives up one zone output and instead has separate audio outputs for both zones of a 2-zone pad.

What does that mean? Why does it matter? Read on…

Different drum pad types

There are various different types of drum pads available on the market. For example, see the Wikipedia entry for Roland pad products and their different characteristics.

(For example, the Roland PDX-8 pad is available at a very reasonable price in Europe.)

Single-zone pads, multi-zone pads

The basic drum pad is built of a piezo microphone and a slab of rubber. The microphone is connected directly to a TRS jack, and with a TRS cable to a synthesizer module, such as the Vaski drum pad input modules. The microphone picks up the vibrations when you hit the pad, and the connected synthesizer module amplifies the input and responds to it.

A dual-zone pad can be made by connecting two microphones to the TRS connector.

Both of the microphones are built together into the same pad, and they will both pick up some sound when the pad is hit. It is up to the input module to filter the signals so that only the louder zone actually triggers.

Vaski 2Z dual-zone trigger pad input module is designed with a long enough sampling time to reliably distinguish the vibrations of both piezo mics and to identify the “louder” one. If you want to build your own drum pads, it is sufficient to balance the microphone signals so that the microphones mostly pick up the signal of the zone they are intended for. This balancing is an important part of commercial drum pad design.

Since there are two microphones, they both give their own unique audio signal as well. The 2Z module has two audio outputs so you can listen to both of the mics.

Piezo and Switched pads

The dual-zone pad above had two piezo microphones, and with a TRS cable that is the limit as each microphone requires one signal wire. But it is possible to add more zones if the second piezo mic is not needed. Three-zone pads can be built with (transistor) switches and a variable resistance.

In this configuration, hitting zone 2 connects the R(ing) wire of the TRS cable to ground, and hitting zone 3 connects it through a 10k resistor.

Vaski 3Z input module has 3 trigger+velocity outputs and can automatically detect such “switched” pads. Since there is only one microphone in such a pad, 3Z has only one audio output.

Vaski 2Z module, while being a 2-zone input module, supports 3-zone switched pads as well. Since it only has two zone trigger outs, zone 2 and zone 3 both trigger the second output. This module also has two audio outputs, and it will automatically switch the signal from the single piezo mic to the audio output of the triggered zone. So even when you hit zone 2, the audio will come from the same single piezo mic, but it’s routed to Audio Output 2.