I can quote the simple answer from 2BOX myself: “The 2BOX Drumit 5 MKII is the world’s first (and currently only known to me) drum module with an open sound architecture and universal trigger interface.”
And so it is exactly the module I have always been looking for.
In my life as a drummer I have owned quite a few drum modules, and have played and tested many more. All of them have their own peculiarities. In terms of the internal acoustic sounds, they differ very clearly in some cases, while the drum kits with purely electronic sounds, such as TR808 and others, differ only slightly.
However, all drum modules have one thing in common: They are closed systems that I, as a user, cannot or hardly change in terms of sound. I can only use the internal sounds and edit or modify them with the internal effects that the manufacturers have implemented in the modules. But I can never use completely original sounds that I recorded myself. This means that none of these typical drum modules offer me what I want.
So I expanded my setup with another module, a sampling pad. After all, I was able to load and play my own sample sounds on it – but only ever exactly this one sound per pad, as it is and I imported it.
If I want to be able to play entire drum sets from completely my own sounds, all I have to do is control a computer via the midi interface of the drum modules.
In principle, I have all the options, but there are still some disadvantages when it comes to my own sounds.
I have to control software on the computer, either a DAW, which I use to equip my drum racks with the sounds I want, or special drum software. The best drum software out there is undoubtedly Superior Drummer 3 from Toontrack, which I also use for production. For beginners and drummers who want a good sound straight away and don’t want to deal with the settings of the professional software, I recommend Toontrack’s little brother EZ Drummer 3.
Loading your own sample sounds into the drum racks of a DAW or into Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3 is no problem at all. This works in the same way as the sampling pad mentioned above, but with it I only have this one sample sound in this one dynamic level, as it is. Unless you deal with midi notes and velocity mapping in Ableton Live, for example. You also have to get used to it first if you are not yet very familiar with MIDI applications.
If I want to have different dynamic levels of a single sound, like the acoustic drum has the entire range from the quietest to the loudest stroke, and can be played as a single instrument on a single pad – just like an acoustic drum – then it will be very complicated. Because in both the drum racks of the DAW software and in special drum software I have to take the fiddly detour of assigning each individual level, or let’s perhaps call it “layer”, of a sound to individual volume (velocity) values. With, let’s say, 10-40 levels per sound, that’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time.
Advantage 2BOX Drumit 5 MKII
And this is exactly where the 2BOX drum module, the 2BOX Drumit 5 MKII, comes into it as the game changer.
As already said: 2Box is the only manufacturer to offer an open sound architecture, and has now also packed a universal trigger interface into the 2BOX Drumit 5 MKII, which means that any type of pad or trigger can be connected to the module. Almost all pads from common electronic drum manufacturers work, regardless of whether they are drum pads, cymbals or hi-hats. Simply connect, briefly adjust the trigger settings and you’re ready to go.
I can tell all drummers who are not interested in their own sounds but who just want to play with acoustic drum sounds that are as realistic as possible on their e-drum set that the internal sounds of the 2BOX Drumit Five MKII are absolutely fantastic. I no longer hear any difference to a real acoustic drum kit, not even with the tricky, complex rolls, where you know the dreaded machine-gun effect of snare drums, which does not exist with 2BOX, and for example crescendo cymbals. Everything sounds real. When it comes to pre-installed internal sounds, 2BOX delivers the best I’ve ever heard. And 2BOX doesn’t stop there, but feeds a free sound library on the 2BOX website, where all 2BOX users can browse for new sounds, download them and load them into the 2BOX Drumit Five MKII to play them.
The open sound architecture makes this possible.
There are currently 676 different snare, bass drum, tom, cymbal and hi-hat sounds in this 2BOX library.
Knowledge: Difference between acoustic and electronic drum sounds.
Before I get to the most important part, I would like to explain the biggest difference between acoustic and electronic drum sounds. Electronic sounds generally do not have different dynamic levels. I can make an electronic sound louder and quieter, save it and play it at different levels from very quiet to very loud, but nothing changes in the sound itself. It’s just this one sound, just louder or quieter. The velocity or sharpness, the attack remains completely the same, etc. Nothing changes except the volume.
Things are completely different with acoustic drum sounds, and many factors come into play. The batter head and resonance head of a drum vibrate completely differently with different strengths of the drum hits, the drum generates completely different additional frequencies through overtones and produces different resonances. It sounds completely different if I hit the middle of the drum head, or at the very edge of the drum, or in between, etc. I can get a variety of different sounds out of an acoustic drum, and the slightest hit of a single sound has a completely different dynamic than that loudest one. This means that it is not just more quiet but also sounds different. That doesn’t happen with a single electronic sound. With an acoustic drum, the sound changes when I hit it with a wooden drumstick, a metal drumstick, or my bare hand. A thin drum stick sounds different than a thick drum stick. With an electronic drum pad on which I play an electronic sound, it doesn’t matter what I hit it with. I can use grandma’s worn-out cloth slippers, a dead cat or my head. The Electronic sound will always sound the same. As I said, it doesn’t have any dynamics, I can only use different volumes.
The 2BOX Drumit Five MKII changes this game.
Film: André Vard – About Making Music – 2BOX Drumit5MKII (EN)
Open sound architecture – own sounds
I can now record any acoustic drum, any acoustic instrument or any acoustic anything and import it into the 2BOX Drumit Five MKII.
And the special thing about it is that I can take the entire dynamic range, from the softest to the loudest beat on an acoustic sound source, with me to the 2BOX Drumit Five MKII. The overall sound of an acoustic sound source is simply saved with all velocity layers, thus faithfully reproducing the gradual change between weak and hard hits.
Again, because it’s so beautiful: faithfully reproduced! That is the secret.
Of course I can also create my own electronic sounds. This is exactly my thing. I can edit electronic sounds on the computer, and so, for example, not just make a TR808 sound sound louder or quieter, but also give each individual sound, from the strongest to the loudest beat, different dynamics, so that the beats at different volumes are also a bit different sound, and not just louder or quieter. This means that I can give an electronic sound a dynamic range that is as expressive as it is otherwise only with acoustic sounds, and with outstanding sound quality, which I determine myself. WOW, I can only say!
I save the individual sounds and sound levels – let’s agree on sound levels, okay ?! – and transfer it to the SD memory card of the 2BOX Drumit Five MKII using the 2BOX PC / Mac editor software. There I assign the sound levels all together to a certain drum or a certain e-drum pad or a certain area on the drum (for example only the rim of the snare) and can then play them as the one sound of this drum.
Of course, I can also import just a single sound at a single volume, entire loops, songs or playbacks or even complex multilayer sounds. I can manage all module settings with the 2BOX software on my computer.
This is paradise for all electro drummers who like to work and play with their own sounds.
Open sound architecture – third party sounds
This open sound architecture makes it logically possible for me to have unlimited access to other sound sources.
For example, I can convert sounds from known drum kit sound libraries and play these sounds in the DrumIt Five MKII sound module instead of triggering the sounds via MIDI on a computer. Wherever I get my sounds from – everything is possible – and I easily turn them into “internal sounds”. By playing the sounds from the module, there are no latency and time-consuming compatibility problems. Since the sounds are moved into the module, the feel is superior with extremely low latency and a large dynamic range.
This also means that I have significantly fewer sources of error when performing live on stage, where a problem can otherwise occur either on the computer, in the computer software or any additional cable connection.
This is an invaluable plus for all drummers who use e-drums live.
The 2BOX DrumIt Five MKII of course also offers all the usual functions that a drum module has, and is therefore also my control station. Thanks to the universal trigger interface of the DrumIt Five MKII, I can control all functions for a trigger. I can start and stop entire loops or a metronome by hitting a pad, or call up a new kit by hitting 2 pads, etc., for which I can also connect an additional foot switch. All these usual functions are already known from other drum modules.
But the open sound architecture described above makes the 2BOX DrumIt Five MKII absolutely unique and indispensable for me in my e-drum setup.
For me, the 2BOX DrumIt Five MKII makes the impossible possible!
The German distributor HYPERACTIVE says about the development of the new flagship module 2BOX DrumIt Five MKII:
“2BOX mastermind Bengt Lilja is no stranger to the industry, but a real e-drum guru. After the company was founded in Stockholm in 2007, the ambitious development work began with a team of drummers, sound engineers and software experts. The goal: a freely programmable e-drum module with extensive editing options and maximally authentic sounds, plus an editor software that allows you to create your own sounds.
In professional recording studios, elaborate 24-bit multisamples with sometimes over 100 individual sounds were created. A practically lossless compression process was specially developed and a suitable editor software was programmed. With the DrumIt Five Brain the first groundbreaking e-drum module by 2BOX came onto the market 10 years ago, which allowed drummers an ultra-realistic feel thanks to the spectacular factory sounds and their outstanding dynamics.
Now 2BOX presents its new top model DrumIt Five MKII, which is compatible with all common pads and trigger technologies and provides 32 GB of the finest 24-bit PCM sounds, which are used in 75 first-class programmed and freely editable factory kits.”
Specifications of the 2BOX Drumit 5 MKII
• first-class PCM sounds (24 bit / 44.1 kHz)
• 32 GB sound memory (SD card slot / SD card pre-installed, removable)
• 75 editable preset kits, 100 memory locations
• 14 universal trigger inputs configured as kick, snare with rim, 4 toms with rim, 1 hi-hat and 3 cymbals (6.35 mm TRS jack)
• 3-zone snare and cymbals are supported
• 6 separate line outputs (6.35 mm TS jack)
• Stereo line input (6.35 mm TRS jack)
• Stereo headphone output (6.35 mm TRS jack)
• MIDI In / Out (5-pin DIN)
• Professional sounds from famous drummers
• Extensive sound library for free download
• Sounds are layered for unparalleled sound quality and feel
• Trig and play-along to loops – freely assignable to each trigger input
• Song player (WAV file)
• Own media player (e.g. smartphone) can be connected to the line-in socket
• 2BOX kit and sound editor (Windows and Mac) to create your own kits and download your own
• Sounds and loops
• Trigger inputs accept most triggers based on piezo and switch technology
• Extended control functions enable trigger functions such as start / stop loops or metronome
• Switching kits up and down can be freely assigned to each of the 15 trigger inputs
• Multi-plug AC power supply 100-240V
• Module holder
Dimensions (BTH): 314 x 159 x 67 mm
Weight: 1.92 kg
2BOX Editor Software
The 2BOX editor software can be downloaded free of charge for Windows and Mac from the 2BOX website (EN).
This makes it easy to create ready-to-play 2BOX sounds by converting each WAV file into the innovative 2BOX format using the software.
• MULTI-ZONES: The creation of multi-zone sounds is supported:
◦ Kick, percussion, loop (1 zone)
◦ Snare, Tom (2 zones)
◦ pool (3 zones)
◦ Hihat (up to 16 types)
• LOOPS: Creating a loop is supported.
• WIZZARD: Hi-hat wizard to simplify the process of creating hi-hat sounds.
• BROWSER: Files in the browser (kit and sound mode) can be updated using the refresh button.
• STORAGE: Improved memory usage and overall performance.
• KIT SELECTION: The kit selection can be changed with the up and down arrows
• COPY & RENAME: Kits can be copied, moved and exchanged in the “Copy / Rename” dialog
• EXPORT SINGLE KIT: A selected kit can be exported as a single kit via “File> Export single kit”.
• IMPORT SINGLE KIT: A single kit can be imported to a specific position in a kit bank via “File> Import Single Kit”.
• A kit bank can be saved under a different name via “File> Save Kit Bank As”.
• SUGGESTED NAME> KIT: When exporting a single kit, the program suggests a file name based on the name in the kit bank.
• SAVE AS A LOOP: A single sound file that is dragged and dropped into the graphics area can be saved as a loop sound file by activating the Loop Sound check box in the properties.
• HI-HAT WIZARD: A hi-hat type setup wizard is available to configure a hi-hat based on the user’s needs. The types can be changed for each zone using a selection box.
• ZONE NAME: The name of a zone can be changed by double-clicking on the zone title. Sounds can be saved under a different name with “File> Save Sound As”.
• SUGGESTED NAME> SOUND: When saving a sound, the application suggests a name for the DSND file based on the stored wave files.
• CONNECT DEVICE: The DrumIt module is connected to the PC or Mac via a USB cable. Everything else can be found in the manual.
2BOX TrigIt Trigger Set
If I add the 5-piece 2BOX TrigIt Trigger Set, as a drummer who also uses e-drums, a complete package is available to me. This is because acoustic drums can be converted into an electronic or hybrid drum set in just two steps. In conjunction with a suitable e-drum module, such as the 2BOX DrumIt Five MK II described above, both the sound behavior and the feel of the game remain lifelike and realistic. So you can combine electronic sounds with acoustic sounds and electronic pads with acoustic drums, and unleash full sound flexibility.
The 2BOX Trigit Triggers are very robust and equipped with specially developed piezo sensors, which in the new edition achieve an even more precise scanning behavior or greater dynamic range. A particular plus for me is: My custom bass drum has a slightly wider hoop, which means that the distance from the head to the edge of the hoop is greater than normal. With other trigger, like the Roland for example, it is not possible for me to bring the trigger taut on the skin. I always had to do a diy-workaround with sticking a small plastic plate at the desired location on the bass drum batter head to reduce the distance so that the trigger got full contact. It was playable with that, but I could never use the full volume.
This gap problem is solved with the 2BOX Trigit Trigger.
It allows a much wider kick drum hoop and is freely adjustable. Hooray!
And in the silver satin finish, the things also look really good. They have a real metal housing. No plastic. In full live action you can accidentally hit it without something breaking or flaking off.
The snare and tom triggers are dual zone triggers that evaluate both head and rim signals. The kick drum trigger is a single zone trigger.
Features of the trigger set
• 1x kick trigger and 4x snare / tom trigger
• Snare / tom trigger with separate sensors for head and rim (dual zone)
for easy mounting on the hoop
• Compatible with all common e-drum modules
• perfectly matched to 2BOX modules DrumIt Three and DrumIt Five
• Long life piezo transducer with high output
• Sensor cushion made of memory foam for constant contact pressure
• ultra-precise response and outstanding dynamics
• robust, silver-satined metal housing
• Plastic elements prevent scratches on the hoops
• 6.35 mm TRS jack sockets on the side
• Tuning key included
Drummer Heart! What more do you want?