- Best Drum Set Buyers Guide
- How Do Electronic Drums Work?
- How Do You Choose A Good Electronic Drum Set?
- What are the benefits of an Electronic Drum Set?
- Choosing Accessories For Your Electronic Drum Kit
- Which Is Better, The Rubber Pads Or Mesh Heads?
- Can I Switch Between Electronic And Acoustic Drum Kits?
- Are Electronic Drum Sets for beginners as well as skilled drummers?
- Why Electronic Drum Sets Are Perfect For Beginners And Pros
- What Difficulties Will I Face With Electronic Drumming Kits?
- Top Choice: The Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Series Electronic Drum Set
- Premium Choice: The Roland TD-30K V-Pro Series Electronic Drum Kit
- Great Value: The Yamaha DTX400K Customizable Electronic Drum Set
- Which Electric Drum Kit Do I Choose?
Best Drum Set Buyers Guide
How Do Electronic Drums Work?
Even though electronic drum kits may look very similar to their predecessor, the acoustic drums, there are quite a few options that allow them to function the way they do. Unlike their acoustic brother, electronic drums include cables, trigger and sensors pads, modules and LCD screens to help them be as efficient as they are. Even though these terms may sound confusing at first glance, there is no need to worry, here they are explained!
An electronic drum kit functions much like an acoustic, traditional kit, if not for the few features that allow you to hammer away and not be heard by anyone! The pads that replace the acoustic drums in the electronic drum kit have built-in sensors that let-out a signal as you start playing and hitting against them with your drumsticks. If you are looking for a drum machine – click here for the full guide.
The Drum Module
The signal that you make when you hit against the censored pad then makes its way through the cables and heads to the drum module, also referred to as the “brain”. The drum module is present in all electronic drums and is the device that basically controls everything you do on your drum set, but chiefly it lets you produce appropriate sounds when you hit against the pads. When the signal reaches the module, it produces a sound depending on which pad you were hitting.
The drum module is also the place where you plug in the rest of the equipment, like the hi-hat or the cymbals. There are various inputs along the module, each labeled for convenience. Roland is one of the only brands that does the opposite: there is only one input for all of the pads on the drum module, and the various cables split and reach out towards the pads instead.
Usually back-lit, the LCD screens of the module make them easy to navigate no matter the time of day. They are the place where you can make all the kinds of changes to the sounds, effects, and tones of your digital gear. It’s the hub of all set-ups and is also where you will be setting up your coaching and training exercises. There’s no doubt you’ll be spending a lot of time navigating around this little device!
The trigger pads are tricky to explain; they have sensors located in the snares, kick-drum, toms, cymbals, and hi-hats. When you hit any of the sensors, the trigger pads pick that up and sense vibrations from your hit. No matter how hard or how soft you touch the pads with your drumsticks, they will produce an appropriate sound based on the intensity of the vibration of the hit.
Many advanced digital sets have advanced trigger pads that allow you to get different sounds from a single pad. Depending on which sensor you hit, whether it’s on the front, back or side, you will get a different reaction that you can incorporate into your playing accordingly.
How Do You Choose A Good Electronic Drum Set?
It’s no secret that electronic drum sets have become increasingly popular over that past few years thanks to their convenience. Due to the popularity, they have gained however, many top industry brands have made it their goal to produce the best electronic drum kit they can possibly offer to their audiences. The question remains: how do you choose the best kit for you?
It’s best to start off with knowing your budget when choosing your first digital drumming kit. Yamaha has many bundles available that are perfect for beginners that are just starting out without sacrificing quality. If you are willing to spend a little extra, Roland has fantastic kits for beginners too. Both brands offer compact, high-quality products that are also under 1000$. If you are looking for affordability and good value, these two brands will definitely offer you many solutions.
Each digital drum kit varies greatly from the other, it’s important to check the list of contents under the product you want to buy. It is very common that some electronic drum sets that are sold online don’t include seats, headphones, hi-hat stands, amps or drum pedals. These products have to usually be bought separately unless you have an all-inclusive bundle. The key fact is to check exactly what you will be buying, because even though these products may appear in the photo, they may not be on the list that makes up the drum gear.
Although it may sound banal, some electronic drum kits are not as versatile and as adjustable as others. It’s vital to check the actual dimensions of the kit you will be buying and measure if it will fit in the room you are intending to place it in. There are kits specifically designed for smaller living spaces and crowded rooms, they usually have the word “compact” within the title.
It’s important to decide whether you will be using your digital kit in studio sessions, at your home or on tour. There are kits specifically designed for each of these instances. Tour kits are usually very light-weight, drums for home or studio usage often take more liberty with the weight and are more compact in appearance.
Some home digital drums are not as easy to move as others, so it’s important for the buyer to make a decision early on as to what will best suit their needs. There are of course drums that get the best of both worlds, but he key idea it to decide where you will be using your drums and if it’s important to keep it light-weight or if it doesn’t matter.
It’s important to stay open-minded when choosing your first electric drum set. There are many reviews online that give one-star reviews for packaging or complain about parts missing when they weren’t listed in the set to begin with. Reading trustworthy reviews carefully and making a pros and cons list for each product should be helpful during the crucial process of choosing the equipment you will be using for the next couple of years.
What are the benefits of an Electronic Drum Set?
When you are going to buy your first electronic drum set you certainly want to first know what the equipment has to offer you. There are undoubtedly many advantages to owning one, and here are a few of them to put your mind at ease:
Unlike acoustic drums that bind you to one tone, electronic drum sets have libraries that include hundreds (sometimes thousands) of selections of tones and sounds. Whether you’re into pop, rock or jazz you can switch within seconds and without any fuss. This versatility is especially useful if you are a drummer that enjoys playing in various styles or if you are still trying to find your niche.
You can experiment, mix and match with different selections depending on the genre and music you like playing; you will never be forced to remain true to one idea. This kind of versatility gives a kind of freedom and liberation to drummers that want to go beyond the norm and are not afraid to think outside the box!
Many digital drum kits nowadays have a built-in feature that allows your kit to help you with training your timing, rhythm, and feel. There are many options and exercises that will help you reach your full potential as you can let your electronic drum kit lead the warm-up or practice session for you. Many digital drums also have built in metronomes, which proves to be way more convenient than having it as a separate entity.
This kind of coaching ensures that you will never be stagnant with your skill level and can always seek to improve by increasing the difficulty of the exercises; something that you have to organize on your own when using acoustic sets.
Electronic drum kits have another advantage: they allow you to edit, loop, playback and play around with your recorded sessions in any way you like. Whether you want to plug in your Mp3 or a CD player, it’s easy to play along with your favorite songs, record, and see where you went wrong. Similarly, there are drums that let you upload your recordings straight onto your computer!
This proves to be way more difficult and fussy when dealing with acoustic drums since they don’t let you have quality recordings of your sessions. You would have to go out of your way to buy separate recording equipment when you could get an all-inclusive electronic drum.
Something that also places digital drum kits above their acoustic counterparts is the fact that they are way lighter. They can fit in within a few bags and usually don’t weigh more than 30kg, a significant difference when you compare it to the 40-50kg acoustic drums available nowadays. It’s a definite plus if you are looking for something that is easy to set-up and take on tours or concerts instead of spending hours fiddling setting up the acoustic drumming sets.
Choosing Accessories For Your Electronic Drum Kit
Like we mentioned before, electronic drum kits rarely include a full bundle of all of the accessories you may need, and that’s why we found it important to list them and their functions. We encourage you to take the prices of all of these items and consider them when you will be close to purchasing your new equipment, especially if they are not included in the bundle.
This is indefinitely the place where you will be spending most of your time when drumming. Whether you will be writing a new song or trying to figure out what is going wrong in your practice sessions, you will be sitting on the seat also known as a drum throne. It’s extremely rare for these to come with a kit unless it states otherwise since this item depends highly upon personal choice.
There are many drum thrones to choose from, they have both saddle and round designs, soft and firm cushions and a hydraulic or spindle bottom. There are of course very fancy options too, that includes a pocket for storing drumsticks, cup holders for drinks and hangers for towels for when the drumming gets intense. Many drummers, however, find that to be more distracting than useful and usually go for the simplest, comfiest chair that they see first.
It’s best to test all the options in-store since you will be spending 100% of your practice on them. Choosing something online that may end up feeling like sitting on wood probably won’t help keep you engaged in your training.
You will also get to see the durability of the drum throne and just how sturdy it really is, which will make it match better for your weight and posture. You will also get to ask the staff about what kind of quality foam is included in each design and decide which is the best and comfiest option for you.
While it’s rather obvious that most drum kits are not lenient enough to also include high-quality headphones, you will need to take that into your own hands and search for a good match. Some bundles come with decent headphones, but most people are stunned by the difference when they decide to go out and purchase their own.
If you will be spending most of your time drumming silently with only the two muffs on your head, it’s critical to choose headphones that will match the quality of the drumming kit accordingly. If you buy a high-end electronic drumming kit it’s only natural that you will want to hear the sound it makes in all its grace and not with grainy low-quality headphones.
Make sure to spend some hours researching your perfect fit, since if you end up with a pair that has the questionable quality it could devalue and demotivate you during your practice sessions. The most notable brands to look into are Alesis, Sony and Vic Firth; some of these can also be used while practicing acoustically!
It may be difficult to choose drumsticks for your first digital kit; the options are endless and you will want something that could maybe go along with an acoustic set too. Most drummers turn to wood-tipped sticks, not only because they last a very long time when you play a digital drum kit, but also because nylon tipped ones eventually use their tips and may cause some damage.
To counter that, wooden drumsticks can end up splintering or cracking and damaging the mesh head if you like to be a bit more aggressive with your drumming endeavors. The sawdust can also gather underneath the mesh heads, which is close to impossible when using nylon tipped sticks. If you like to play hard, it’s best to seek out drumsticks that have special shock absorber inserts, which helps to keep the damage of stick down to a minimum.
Bass Drum Pedals
Although it’s hard to believe, most digital drum kits come without a bass pedal too. There as many options and variations of the bass pedals as there of drum thrones.
Although it may seem like the simplest item on the list, pedals come with a lot of different functions depending on what you need. That is probably also one of the reasons as to why the marketers encourage you to choose them on your own, instead of sticking something in a bundle that you might not be happy with.
It’s a bit more challenging to buy a pedal for an electronic drum kit since you have to focus not only the quality of the product but on the compatibility that it may or may not have with your specific kit. Take it easy and explore the possibilities and choose something that is both within your budget and suitable for your style of music!
What Is The Difference Between Mesh Heads And Rubber Pads?
There has been a long-time debate between electronic drum kits that include either mesh heads or rubber pads. Both are used extensively in many popular and professional electronic drums, which is why the heated discussion is always prevalent among drummers. There are however pros and cons for both, as both are two very different materials!
They have been praised all around for being the closest alternative to getting the feel of acoustic kit sounds. To add to that, although they are not completely silent when you start playing, they are as close as you can get to a silent jamming session that won’t be disturbing anyone.
They are a bit springier than normal pads and have more bounce than the rubber alternative, which is a bonus when practicing certain techniques and being easy on the wrists. Their best feature is definitely the insignificant amount of noise they make; whether you play predominantly during daytime or evening, no one will notice.
Many people prefer rubber pads on their drum kits because they have a harder surface than their mesh alternatives. This proves to be very useful when practicing since some people complain that mesh heads are too fragile and tear easily. This pro also has a con however, since it can be hard on the wrists and cause injuries if you are a hard-hitter and don’t pay attention when you get in the zone.
Due to their hardness, rubber pads are also a bit louder and probably not the most ideal for late-night practice if you don’t live alone. Regardless, the harder surface lets you get a feel of your strokes better than a more bouncier mesh surface.
Which Is Better, The Rubber Pads Or Mesh Heads?
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Some drummers have a habit of hitting against the pads very hard, which may inflict some long-lasting damage if they end up using a hard rubber surface to the strain instead of countering it with mesh heads.
If you are looking for a sturdy hard surface to practice on, the rubber pads are definitely your choice. To counter that, if you are a light drummer and need some more peace around the house, the mesh heads are definitely the choice for you.
Can I Switch Between Electronic And Acoustic Drum Kits?
When buying a digital drum kit, many beginners face the rather daunting question: what if I will want to switch to an acoustic kit later in my career? Will there be problems? And the answer generally is no, and that it shouldn’t cause a problem. There are a few reasons however that may cause some inconveniences during the first few weeks of switching.
Electronic drum kits are often easier to play thanks to the rebound they give when you hit against the pads. Acoustic drum kits don’t have such rebound; they are harder to play and control and need a bit more energy and time invested in them.
This absence may cause switching between an electronic and acoustic kit troublesome, because the arms need to get used to more labor. That is one of the reasons as to why some drummers prefer to go with rubber pads and not mesh heads, since they resemble the hardness of the acoustic drum kit better.
When switching between the two, it’s just a matter of getting used to a new medium. Electronic drums are often easier to play and don’t strain the limbs as much, while acoustic drum kits require a lot of your energy to make them sound like you want.
The electronic and acoustic drum kits are made of very different materials, and it will take a while to get used to the physical weight of the drums surrounding you. If you have only had experience with rubber cymbals used in electronic drum sets, it will be a surprise at first to feel heavy and metallic actual cymbals are when you strike them.
This also brings us to another point: there is nowhere to plug in an acoustic kit. You will be getting each of the raw sounds and experiencing them first-hand. It is highly recommended to invest in ear-plugs if you are planning to switch long-term to acoustic, as it can do a lot of damage to your ears otherwise. Especially in small spaces, where the sound doesn’t have anywhere to escape.
Some techniques are just easier to perform on electronic drum sets since there is not much difference between a hard and soft hit. This couldn’t be more untrue when looking at an acoustic kit; you will get a different sound depending on where and how hard you hit.
You can get a wide variety of different sound nuances depending on how you go about playing your drumming kit. While some more advanced electronic drum kits have features that try and stimulate this same feeling, it just isn’t the same.
One thing that you don’t have to do with electronic drums are fiddling with their tuning. Not getting used to this important aspect that every instrument seems to have may be a fallback later on.
You will have to tune each drum independently and more importantly, you will have to tune them all in a way that you will like and that will suit your playing. This is something that the electronic set doesn’t have to deal with, which makes it in many aspects way more efficient than the acoustic nightmare of tuning.
All in all, while the general differences are rather things that will take time to get used to, it will certainly be at least a bit challenging to switch. Mainly due to the different materials and textures, both an acoustic and electronic set will give you two different response. While you will need to adjust your techniques and invest a bit more into your training sessions when switching to an acoustic drumming set, it shouldn’t be too far-fetched to alter between the two!
Are Electronic Drum Sets for beginners as well as skilled drummers?
For a long time now, electronic drum kits have been widely recognized as a worthy contestant of the acoustic drums, and there are many reasons for it. One of which is that they are suitable for both the needs of a beginner and a skilled drummer, and here are a few features that prove why:
Electronic drum sets are ideal for beginners and professionals since they let you explore all kinds of genres, tones and sounds that are available when purchasing digital drums. They allow you to go find your true calling without getting tied down to one sound, something that often happens when buying acoustic drums. This advantage gives you more leverage and patience, since if you are a beginner and find out drums are not for you, at least you had the ability to try all the options open to you.
Likewise, as a professional drummer you can always reach out and try new songs and styles. This will ensure that you can always be on your toes when improving your skill levels.
Digital drum kits also have coaching options, as well as a metronome and a built-in library with dozens (sometimes hundreds) of pre-recorded songs that you can learn and play along with. When you feel like you’ve mastered something, there is always another feature to turn to improve your current abilities. This feature makes it ideal for beginners and professionals alike, since both parties are looking to get better in the most efficient way possible.
For beginners, acoustic drum kits often require a hands-on mentor since they can’t guide you on their own, which makes it rather impractical if you just spent 2000$ on your set and don’t know where to go from there.
Whether you just picked up your drumsticks for the first time or if you’ve been playing for decades, listening back to your own playing is invaluable. It’s especially vital for beginners since they will be able to see exactly where they are going wrong and immediately buckle down to improving.
For professionals, the playback function can allow them to experiment and even record their tracks with studio quality crisp sound. There’s no need for producers, microphones or room renting when you can do it all from your room!
USB and MIDI Ports
Another smart choice is to search out midi drum kits, which are drum kits that include USB/MIDI ports. These ports let you connect to endless tutorials and training options when you already master the built-in exercises your digital drum kit had to offer. This is perfect for professionals too since they can always seek more from their drumming experience by searching out new tutorials or exercises.
Why Electronic Drum Sets Are Perfect For Beginners And Pros
Many professionals choose electronic drum kits over acoustic kits because of all the conveniences they have to offer. Being a compact, quiet, small bundle full of variety and coaching features- it’s perfect for any drummer. All these features make an electronic drum set ideal for both the seasoned drummer and budding beginner thanks to the conveniences and helpful features they provide for each individual party.
What Difficulties Will I Face With Electronic Drumming Kits?
Although we have already listed the pros of using a digital drumming set, there are also a few difficulties that come along with using them.
Since digital drum kits have so many options, sounds, effects and tones to choose from it makes them the perfect instrument. However, it often happens that getting your perfect sound will come through exploring all of these functions and layering them on top of each other. This may take hours to do since there is just not one definite sound like with the acoustic drumming kit. If you will want an authentic sound akin to that of an acoustic kit, you will have to spend a bit of time figuring out and tweaking your drum kit to fit your expectations.
Various drumming Techniques
Electronic drum kits are built very differently from acoustic drumming kits, and that means that some techniques will be easier to perform than others. The rim-shot, buzz-roll or cross-stick are nigh impossible to perform. Which brings us to another point; the thickness, size, and textures of electronic drum kits are only replicas of the real deal, and often there is some kind of sound indication to back that up.
Whether you will have mesh heads or rubber pads will also depend on how you will go about practicing on your kit. While you can go from a very quiet roll to a loud bang with the acoustic kit, it’s much more difficult to achieve the same effect on an electronic kit. You will need to re-learn some techniques if you decide to switch to an acoustic kit, and digital drum kits can make you too reliant on your fingers instead of your wrists due to the springiness of the pads.
Even though electronic drum kits are compact, light-weight and easy to transport and take with you wherever you go, some countries have different power outlets that may not comply. While on tour, you will need to acquire some passes to certain countries and fiddle a bit more backstage to make the electronic kit work with the equipment available there.
While it may take time to get your digital drumming kit to function to its highest potential as you learn the ropes, the difficulties you will encounter are rather minor. You will learn to work around them and get the most out of your drumming experience!
Top Choice: The Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Series Electronic Drum Set
With Roland being one of the leading brands in the industry, we cannot deny that the Roland TD-11KSV is our best recommendation for an electronic drum set. Whether you live in a big house or a small apartment in the city, this compact kit will serve you well. This drum set is a perfect balance between affordability and quality equipment. It has all the features you could ask for; it’s a light-weight product, it’s very adjustable, doesn’t take up much space, has a great feel to it and possesses many settings.
One thing is sure: you will not get bored with this drum set anytime soon. It’s perfect for beginners and professionals alike, and the mesh cloth snare ensures that you get as close to an acoustic sounding kit as you can. The set-up is quick and painless and will be ready to play in under an hour upon arrival.
The Roland TD11-KSV is perfect for anyone looking to replace an old set with something of a higher quality. The durability and endurance of the Roland drum kits are unmatched. The sound is great and the price is fantastic for all the features it includes, you cannot go wrong with this digital drum set!
Premium Choice: The Roland TD-30K V-Pro Series Electronic Drum Kit
We have to go with another Roland product for our Premium Choice. The Roland TD-30K has been the flagship of the Roland series for a very long time, and it’s for good reasons. The advanced technology that this drum kit possess is simply stunning, an example would be the superNATURAL sounds. It’s a very accurate, sensitive and responsive piece of equipment that will give you only high-quality studio sounds.
The Roland TD-30KV is a compact, durable and sturdy drum kit with fantastic mesh pads that enhance your playing experience up a notch. It’s also easy to set-up and has very high-quality craftsmanship; you can hammer away and the Roland won’t budge or break anytime soon. The intuitive V-Edit mode is also a great feature that will help drummers raise their skills as they customize this electronic kit to their hearts’ content.
The Roland TD-30KV will respond to every drummer’s technique with surprising accuracy and sound and no doubt will serve many great drummers through their fruitful careers. There is no way of going around it, the Roland TD-30KV definitely reserves its place as our Premium Choice electronic drum kit!
Great Value: The Yamaha DTX400K Customizable Electronic Drum Set
The Yamaha DTX400k is by far our first choice when it concerns an electronic drum set of Great Value. The price is simply amazing for all the things that it has included. It comes in a bundle with a drum throne, headphones, drumsticks and the pads themselves; it really is the perfect set of its value.
Equipped with 10 sound settings it will let you explore all the new possibilities that a digital kit has to offer; there is absolutely no problem to program it to suit your needs. Like many Yamaha drum kits, this set doesn’t clog up your living space either, neither does it disturb the angry neighbors! It’s just as easy to set-up as the previous drums and ready to play from the get-go. It’s a simple, responsive electronic kit that does its job perfectly: it’s very affordable and includes everything a budding drummer could wish for.
If you are looking for the best electronic drum set based on its great value, we highly recommend the Yamaha DTX400K. There are no complaints about this great bundle and for good reason, Yamaha produces high-quality products that are available for everyone; a company that rivals Roland in many aspects!
Which Electric Drum Kit Do I Choose?
With all the top, premium and great value choices listed, it comes down to personal taste as to what the buyer will end up going for. Each electronic drum kit has its pros and cons, and they all depend on what the drummer will be using them for and how well they will choose a fitting match. Whether it will be a Roland, Yamaha or Alesis, it will certainly be a kit that will provide endless hours of fun and training, with the best quality!