Yamaha is one of the big players in the electronic percussion world. Their DTX drum kits - are now at the pinnacle of what is achievable in a full electronic kit, its pretty much them and Roland when it comes to the top of the heap. The DTX-Multi 12 takes the Octopad concept first adopted by Roland and ads another four pads to give a total of 12 (or 17 if you count the additional trigger inputs).
There's plenty of options with connections for up to five additional pads plus a Hi-Hat pedal. This makes it possible to set it up as an augmentation of a traditional acoustic kit, with triggers from the kick and snare or other judiciously placed pads, or the heart of a totally electronic system. Additionally, the DTX-M12 can also be triggered by hands or fingers, or even cats running over its surface, so you could use it as the electronic component of a percussion setup - or art installation.
Audio IO - Stereo output plus headphones with separate level control, with an additional Stereo Aux input can be routed to the LR+Phones or just phones.
On board sounds give you access to up to 50 programmable kits, with three built-in effects -all with discrete sends per pad and 1200 on board vioices ranging from acoustic to electronic kits, world percussion and wierd sound effects. The on board sounds are okay with plenty of potential for warping out with the on board effects - including compression, drive and distortion as well as the usual candidates, but the real appeal is going to be the on board sample RAM - 64MB into which you can load samples from USB storage. This memory is retained even after power up, and will just come right back when you switch it on - no loading required. And, you can apply the effects to the samples too.
Each pad can have up to four layers assigned to it, these can be velocity switching, sequenced -1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 on each consecutive hit, or triggered simultaneously. Sounds can also be pitched, filtered, enveloped, panned and played either mono or poly for multiple triggering.
Just Hit It
Construction is pretty sturdy, capable of taking some hard hits without complaining, however, you can use hand and finger modes if you'd rather, making it work for a variety of situations. The pads themselves are quite rubbery feeling with a reasonable bounce and arent too loud when hit.
There's also a built in pattern recorder, with 128 preset patterns, and 50 User locations. This is actually quite a comprehensive recorder with plenty of scope for some serious usage, those of you with a long memory, will recall some familiarity with the Yamaha drum machines, with Job settings
A couple of other noteworthy functions - there is the option for a separate click track which can be routed to the headphone output only if desired - you can either have the DTX play the notes while synced to the tempo setting or incoming clock, or via MIDI notes from the input - a nice touch.
These can be loaded from USB memory stick, or USB hard drive and yes, there does appear to be enough juice to power the drive - my WD pocket drive spun up when hooked up. Samples can be loaded into the internal 64MB ROM, though this does seem to take a while. Once inside the machine, they can be assigned to pads (up to four layers per pad) , and have all the parameters applied to then that regular voices can (env, mix, filter and effects). This is where the unit really does seem to work well - 64MB should be enough for all but the most demanding sets with space for loops and single hits alike - great if you are looking to take an album on the road and dont want to tether the drummer to a computer.
Repeat To Fade
A pretty impressive unit all in all, plenty of options, if you dont like the internal voices - load your own, effects are ample for most situations, there's a lot of potential to customize this to your setup with samples, triggering options and pattern playback. I'd say the DTX-Multi12 ia quite a contender for the gigging drummer or percussionists must-have unit.
Its not all perfect though- an external editor would certainly make the complex setups a little less fiddly and the ability to sample from the Aux In would also be welcome.
Yes it is a little more pricey than some of the other pad based systems out there, but a lot of thought has gone into the useability, as well as it being built well enough to stand the rigours of the road. The last thing you want in a live situation is to worry about your kit breaking or malfunctioning and the DTX feels like it is up to the job.