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  SPD-6 At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 2001?  Specifications
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Mark Rossmore ( writes:
I bought this as a controller for my DM5 sound module. I wasn't very interested in the internal sounds as much as it's ability to control other instruments, which it proved to do very nicely once I got the hang of it.

It's definitely the equivalent of a "primer" as far as electronic drums go. For drummers, it's great as an electronic add-on. For keyboardists, it's a really cool way to add realistic-sounding percussion into your music. By realistic, I mean playing style (velocity, timing) rather than actual sounds, because you can control samplers with this unit and make your own sounds.

First, the good stuff:

1) Very nice pads - they respond very well to velocity. I played it for five hours between yesterday and today and haven't felt tired.

2) Sensitivity switch: There's a switch on the back which adjusts the sensitivity for playing either with hands or sticks.

3) The interface sucks, but once you get used to it it goes pretty quick.

4) Runs off batteries - you can just jam in bed with headphones on.

5) Extra trigger inputs - you can add in a hit-hat and bass drum pedal and make a little teeny-weeny drumkit (which is what I did.)

Okay, now the gripes:

1) NO DISPLAY! That's right - not even a 2-or-3 digit LCD. All navigation of functions is done by "Press the buttons 'Others/U4' and '#1' simulteneously, then press and hold '2'. 'Others/U4' will begin to flash...." It is really confusing at first - the manual is NECESSARY. If you lose the manual or buy it without it, get ready for some headaches.

2) The internal volume level is kinda low.

3) Has Mono-only output.

4) Roland's stand for it is REALLY expensive - 1/2 the price of the unit!

5) MIDI: It has only a MIDI out and is fixed on channel 10 - no way to adjust it. Manual even says so. I wish it had full MIDI implementation - that way I could back up my patch changes.

Summation: You get what you pay for. It is a very nice-playing padset and it feels really good with either hands or sticks. I would've gone for the SPD-20, but I didn't have the extra $450 to do it. (Besides, I'm not a drummer). The interface needs some work, as does the MIDI implementation, but overall it's a very useful, cool little unit.

I'm planning on upgrading to a Yamaha DTXPress one of these days - the SPD-6 is a very good intro into the world of electornic drums.

Gripes aside - once you get used to the interface, it's really a lot of fun!

Comments About the Sounds:
While you CAN use the internal sounds on this, they're not the best in the world. They are a typical GM soundset, so they're okay for general use, but they don't sound quite real. Recommendation: Get a dedicated drum module or a sampler and control it with the SPD-6.

(Thanks to Mark Rossmore for this info.)
and Jesper Eskildsen for the pic

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