Everything Electric Drum Sets
What it is
Electric drum sets are also known as digital percussion or even digital drums. The drum is a musical device that is designed to function as an alternative to the alternative acoustic drum. It is a synthesizer comprising of electronic or digital sound module which created synthesized or sample percussion sounds triggered by single or multiple sensors. The sensors are connected using drumsticks or hands depending in the drum pads selected. A set comes with a number of drums all designed to achieve different sounds and when you choose carefully you will definitely end up with the best one for your needs.
How the drums work
Electric drums operate on a simple principle. They are generally made up of rubber pads or mesh heads, which have sensors underneath them. When the pads are hit, the sensor then relays voltage value to sound module also known as the brain of the electric drums and in turn it translates the value so a given sound is achieved. The module features will of course determine whether it is cymbal, drum or any other. It is also important to mention that the module also translates velocity of strikes into dynamic values for softer or louder articulations to be produced as part of the performance.
Some of the drums and cymbals have pads with a number of sensors under their surface. It therefore means that a drummer is able to get different sounds using a single pad. For instance, it is possible for snare pad to achieve head sound or rim shot. You can also get a bell sound or bow from a cymbal pad. Electric drum sets have definitely revolutionized drumming!
Drum sets types
The move from acoustic to the electronic drums has come with lots of changes. The many options are some of the benefits that have come with the changes and it is therefore expected that the market will have different options for different drummer preferences. You can actually choose a full electric set or one that one that incorporates acoustic also If you are new to the drum sets, here are the most common types you will come across as you look for the best kits for you.
Electronic- acoustic hybrid kits
These types of electric drums are suitable for drummers who feel short with a fully electric set. The hybrid sets allow them to enjoy acoustic sound and still enjoy the versatility of electric drums as they deem necessary. With this option you simply get the best of both worlds. You can mix sounds at varying clarity and ranges to put together a performance that is superior and unique. The drum sets are easy to use even though you may require a little learning to get used to making the changes in technique, style and even the different music genres.
Full electronic set
They do not support acoustics, but offer endless varieties of cymbals, kicks, toms and snares. You can experiment with music as much as you want when you have this type of set so you are not restricted to drums as it would be the case with acoustics. The drum sets are versatile and easy when it comes to editing sounds as well as performances. Their major components are trigger pads and trigger interface. Most even have learning software free so learning easy.
Electric drum pad types
Electronic drums made an appearance back in the seventies and they have been going through change each better than the previous. Unlike then, when they felt more like tabletops, the drums come equipped with improved feel and response through the different pads and heads they are made of. The most common pad types you will find in the market include the following.
Rubber heads – They are traditional when it comes to the electric drum sets and has been in use for ages. They are consistent and this makes them a much better option for most drummers as they get sustained tones and it is easier for them to also trigger desired loops using the heads. Another thing that makes rubber a better option is that it is reasonably priced so you enjoy effective responses at an affordable price. The rubber pads are economical considering that you can also build your very own easily. Their compact size makes it possible for a drum set to be used in areas where space is a challenge; they make perfect choice even for dorm rooms.
Mesh pads – The mesh heads are also referred to as trigger pads and they come with as many as three sensors. Those with just one sensor produce single sounds while those with dual or three sensors trigger more than just one sound. The mesh heads are realistic and they emulate drums just perfectly. They are the closest you can get to the traditional drum heads. They have a controller that operates with compatible module to provide different sound responses in relation to the area you choose to strike. Some models are designed so as to create a number of sounds depending on where drummer strikes on the head. Brush sweeps can also be achieved using these pads. The mesh pads are also easy to tune to get the desired feel. This feature makes it possible for drummers to even get snare heads that are tight and bouncy tones too.
Mylar heads – The pads under this type have the same material as acoustic drums and have a feel that is very similar to the drums compared to the rubber heads. They are louder, especially comparing with mesh pads and a bit costly compared with other options.
By the way the electric drum set pad materials have changed, it will not be surprising if some new and improved pads find their way into the market. And considering that the changes can happen fast, it is best to find out what other options are available in the market so you can make your comparisons before choosing what you feel suits the drumming needs and expectations you have. This way you will also get something that falls into the kind of budget you have in place for your drum sets.
Electric drum modules and how to choose the best
The module when it comes to electronic drum sets is the brain of the set. The fact is that the drumming modules differ when it comes to sound types included, the number of the sounds and the quality. Most will have special effects, percussion, drum and instrument sounds so customized studio is created and live mixes done easily and distinctly.
The drum modules typically have preset electronic drum kits designed for specific music genres including rock, jazz, hip hop and others. By a push of a button a new kit can be pulled up for the desired genre effects to be achieved. Different drum modules make it possible for the drummer to create kits that are customized when selecting kick, drums, cymbals and even snares available within the module. Some premium modules even make it possible for drummers to download music online so you have sonic options that are endless. But what exactly matters when choosing a drum module?
The preset patterns – Considering that each electric drum set module comes with patterns that are preset, you need to know before making your choice. Usually the patterns are drum parts or bar patterns linked to specific drum kits or music styles. The patterns available can determine how possible it is for you to create drum parts that are customized and unique. You may also find modules with play-along tracks a good choice for your practice and enjoyment while at it.
The sounds – Your module will be as expensive as the quality and variety of sounds it comes with and hence you cannot afford to ignore the sounds present. Drum modules that are high in quality will have all standard sounds that any drummer could expect. They may also have other non-percussion instruments available and the ability to achieve dual effects among others. If you can edit your own sounds, then you know you have a good drum module.
Feel and sound – Fast trigger responses that are accurate is what every drummer yearns for. The response of your module will determine how it sounds and feels. The more accurate it is, the better it will be in giving your playing technique the best outcome. Some modules can be tweaked in terms of sensitivity and velocity of response so you get a playing experience that is as natural as it can be. Others make it possible for you to adjust cymbals and individual drums in the set for that balanced mix you are looking for. Find out what you can do with your module when choosing to avoid disappointments.
Electric drum sets accessories
Electronic drum sets do offer a lot more when it comes to features and sounds compared to the acoustic traditional drums. This however also means that you will need a lot more accessories to achieve the very best performance especially when you are getting your set for professional kind of use. Below are some of the other things you should consider buying alongside your drum set.
The amplifier will prove necessary, especially for drummers who wish to play together with other musicians or for those who wish to play minus headphones. Without an embedded amplifier on your site, you then would be required to connect the module to an amplifier with the help of an audio cable. Again, it is important to find out what features your drum set has so you are aware of other things necessary to buy for the kind of expectations you have.
They are not your ordinary headphones, but rather those that are designed for electric drumming. Some drum sets may come with the headphones while others may not have them. To protect your hearing especially with sets that can be quite loud ensure the volume remains at reasonable levels as you drum along. Consider the isolation of the headphones so your hearing is protected when using on an acoustic set.
When you have an electronic drum set, then you are at liberty to choose even standard drum sticks. But in case you are new to the drumming it is best that you start with size 5A that has a nylon tip. This is because wooden tips have the likelihood or splintering after using severally and when this happens, you might just end up damaging your drum heads. If wooden sticks are all you have then you can without doubt still use, but ensuring that you replace damaged ones because using them in that state for too long will lead to damage on the heads. Choose sticks that are balanced so that strokes from both hands achieve similar sounds with good technique and consistency. The market has a number of other sizes available, and they also vary in terms of weight so you can choose heavier or lighter models depending on your individual preferences.
It is also known as a drum stool and it will save you from lower back pains and discomforts. Poor sitting as well as ergonomics when you are busy drumming is the last thing you want and the stool will come in handy in improving your posture. However the thrones can be expensive, but in the long run it will all be worth the while so find a good stool to save yourself from health related complications. A regular stool will not do you any good so make sure that you get one that is specifically designed for drumming to enjoy its effects. With your posture improved, you can concentrate more on improving your drumming and becoming as creative as you possibly can with the sounds and effects.
This is another important accessory you should consider for your drum set. Even though most sets come with the pedal included in your set price for others you may need to make a separate purchase. Remember, there are double kick pedals too, so get familiar with the options and choose accordingly to get the best results with your drumming.
It is important to remember that some electric drum sets may come with most of the accessories mentioned above. In case yours lacks some that you feel are important and necessary for your drumming, you can always find a variety of options so you can get what you need separately. If you are looking at drumming professionally then the more tools you have, the better it will be for to perfect it.
The benefits of electronic drum sets
The drum sets offer noise control. One challenge that acoustic drums have is volume levels that are simply tremendous. With an electric drum set that is nothing to worry about considering they produce little noise during the drumming. The volume knob makes it possible for drummers to control the drum’s volumes. For this reason they make amazing choices for stages and churches and other settings where too much noise can be an issue. Those wishing to play at home will also find the electronic drums ideal as they can monitor sound using headphones; neighbors will have little to complain about and you can enjoy your drum set as much as you want.
They produce sound quality that is extraordinary. This is because their sound palette and recording capabilities can be expanded when connected to external sound systems or modules, software, computers and samplers. Whatever musical device you have, you can achieve exemplary results with your drum set. Most models in the market come with standard MIDI connector so you are able to take advantage of the software applications that you like.
The drum sets give recording flexibility. The electronic kit will give any drummer the ability to play tracks they love and even edit the notes and instruments as per their preferences. It means the desired groove can be achieved with balanced velocities here and there.
They make practicing simple. They manage to do this because of the practicing tools they have, play along and recording features. Most of the models have metronome with adjustable tempo and mix-in jack that connects to MP3 player or CD. You drumming skills can greatly improve thanks to such features and you will also find your practice sessions plenty of fun. With such tools, you can explore the different drumming styles and record.
They are quite portable. The drum sets are compact and portable as compared to the traditional acoustic sets or hand drums. Apart from being easy to carry to wherever you wish to play from, you should also have an easy time storing them. Their compact size makes it possible for drummers with limited space to still enjoy their numerous features and capabilities. Some models are collapsible and can be packed for easy carrying or travelling. Take your favorite drum set with you wherever whenever.
Top electronic drum sets brands
Contrary to what many people think, electric drums were actually available way back in the mid-seventies. The major difference now is that there are many brands in the market and they come with varying features to make it possible to achieve the desired drumming effects. The truth is that some brands are more popular than others and it helps to get familiar with the qualities of each and their options so that you can choose a drum set that will serve every one of your needs. Here are some of the most reputable brands when it comes to the drum sets and some that you should consider with your next purchase.
This manufacturer has been in the field for a considerable length of time and is definitely among the top brands you will find in the market. The brand has particular reputations for offering sets that serve different genres, thus suiting all kinds of drummers and their preferences. It has lots of drum kits under it with the Roland HD-3 V drum lite kit being one of the best when it comes to serving all drummer categories. It is the ideal model for beginners and professionals with its easy to use interface and adaptability so you can move up the levels as you become better and better.
Also worth checking out under this brand is the Roland TD-9KX2 V Tour that is more advanced suiting professionals more and the Roland TD-11K V Compact that is quick in response hence great for teaching, practicing and recording.
The manufacturer was the very first in making kits that are affordable and suiting every kind of drummer for that matter. The sets from this brand have dynamic articulation so you have control over how oft or hard you go with your music. You can simply get rich hits by hitting the pad harder and cool hits by softer hits. The articulation mechanism used by the brand has set it apart and ensures that every drum in the set produces as expected and remain audible for that matter.
The Alesis DM10 is one of the best models under the manufacturer. It is a six piece kits that features high definition drum module suitable for professional and home use. It was actually the first set, allowing USB usage to transfer drum sounds adding fun to drumming. The Alesis Forge is also an impressive model. It is an 8 piece electronic drum set that has forge drum module and comes with free drumsticks. You can of course, check out other models under Alesis to see what works for you.
It is one of the most popular brands when it comes to different electronics and the electric drums under it are just as impressive. The best thing about this brand is that it offers high quality sets that are pocket friendly. If you are just beginning in the drumming field, then this would be a good place to start with your search for the perfect set. Besides availing the equipment needed, the brand also has a reputation in music education. The materials under it are user friendly and suitable for all kinds of drummers. With continued on-board training mechanisms, there is really nothing you cannot achieve with your drumming.
You will especially love the groove tracker featured in training system that suits starters. You can even train your voice using the voice guidance mechanism. The DTX400K set is one of the best products, but there are other options you can always consider.
Simmons, KAT, Carlsbro, Pyle and Acorn Behringer are some of the other brands you will find with impressive products. When you know what you are looking for, your chances of finding the best electric drum set are high.
If you are just starting then you can consider some of these below.
Top 6 Electric drum set models you should consider
1. Alesis Nitro electric drum set
This electric drum set is an 8 piece kit that comes with dual zone snare drum, aluminum mounting rack, cymbals and drum module with hundreds of sounds and tracks that are inbuilt. It stands at 6 feet by four when set up, hence it is a little large compared to other models. It sturdiness is probably its strongest point. The dual zone snare drums give good response and feel, but unfortunately other pads produce only one sound at a time. Its 4 post mounting rack is designed to offer secure holding so you do not have to worry about everything crumbling especially when you are playing hard. It is therefore suitable even for rock bands!
It comes with 8 inch drum pads
It has hit-hat controller
The set has bass drum pedal included
The module is easy and intuitive
It is inexpensive
2. Yamaha DTX400K electric drum set
In this set from Yamaha you will find kick pedal controller, 3 cymbals, 4 drum pads, hit-hat controller and the TD400 drum module from the reputable brand. It makes the perfect kit for starters and it is lightweight and compact. The rack included has two legs good enough to keep you drumming your best tunes. Considering that every element making it up connects to the rack, it ends up being small and quite portable. The drum pads are made of solid rubber and have the hard plastic backing. All of them are single zone, but offer good rebound and velocity sensitivity. The matte black unit complete with LCD makes a great addition to any space besides making drumming fun. You will love the 10 preset kits that you can edit to your liking. You will find anything from vintage, hard rock, oak, jazz and even R&B. It is a great set for drummers wishing to improve their skills.
It has training modes that help in improving drumming
It is compatible with several apps from Yamaha offering endless possibilities
It is a small set that is extremely portable
It features soft pads and lacks kick drum beater for minimal noise
3. Roland TD-1K electric drum set
This drum set is made up of a hit-hat controller, 3 cymbal pads, kick drum controller and 4 rubber drum pads. If you are a beginner with a tight budget then this makes the ideal set for you. It is mounted on single riser that is sturdy enough thanks to its tripod base and the module is just above toms and between the cymbals for a good experience drumming. The tripod leg also acts as a barrier for the kick drum controller so it does not at any point go into conventional position during the playing. The set has velocity sensitive and responsive rubber pads that allow you to play with expression and dynamics. The dual zone cymbal pads offer freedom to play bell sounds, choke and even crash. With its minimal buttons, the drum module is simple and the 15 preset kits cover jazz and rock among others. The model is among those that come with an inbuilt metronome for timing and USB output making computer connection possible.
The set is easy to use and compact
It comes with tutorial functions to guide beginners
It is expandable so it is possible to add other trigger pads to the entire setup
It works with computers amazingly well
It is quite affordable
4. Alesis Strike Pro electric drum set
The Alesis Strike Pro consists of a module, 5 rubber cymbal pads and 5 mesh head pads. It is a flagship model that is very appealing as it resembles acoustic kit quite a lot. Noticeable is the size of the drums, which are like the traditional acoustic drum size. The snare is 14 inches, the toms are between 8 inches and 14 inches, whereas the kick pad is 14inches. This goes to tell you that the site is much bigger compared with other models available in the market, but it could be an advantage for drummers looking for that real feel when making the switch from acoustic to electronic. The set has mesh heads and adjustable sensitivity knobs so desired style and play length can be achieved. It has as much as 100 preset kits and preset sounds totaling 1600.
This drum set offer endless sounding preset kit sounds
It is very appealing aesthetically
Its shell size makes it look very realistic to the liking of many drummers
5. Yamaha DTX450K drum set
Another good model from this reputable brand that makes the perfect set for practicing. The set comes with a module that is easy to handle and produces good sounds simultaneously. You can actually plug a smartphone or your MP3 player so you are able to jam along to songs that are your favorite. The electric drum set is also impressive with its 297 sounds and preset kits making recording fun. You will also love the 12 training functions that are in-built with the RhythmGate being one of the best in training you to keep time.
This drum set produces sounds superior in quality
It offers 12 training functions
It has an easy to use and handle module
The kick pad is designed sensitive and broad enough even for double pedal
The set does not choke cymbals
The 10 preset kits are too few
It is an odd looking set, especially with the drum arrangement
6. KAT percussion KT4 drum set
This is a 5 piece drum set that has a classic acoustic set feel and look. The most outstanding features on the set include the 8 inch bass pad that is fitted with Mylar drum head and real time cymbal pad that offers sound control flexibility. The drum pads are dual zone and super sensitive, making any drumming experienced enhanced. The double pedal kick tower makes the performance even better. The vertical mounting instead of the usual horizontal makes it possible to make an individual adjustment of heights so you can play comfortably depending on your movements and sitting preferences. This drum set has 780 sounds, including percussion sounds, cymbals, DJ and drum as well as EFX. Also worth mentioning are the 18 hit-hat combos also featuring in the set. It is an easy to set up drum kit.
This drum set has state of the art cymbals and drum pads
It offers superior sounds
It is also very easy to set up
Features to look for an electronic drum set
With the huge variety of electric drum sets available, it is important to know exactly what matters in your set to make the right choice. The good thing about getting it right with your first purchase is that you do not waste your money and neither do you get disappointed. Here are some of the must have features to check when getting your drum set.
Mesh or rubber pads – They directly determine the kind of output you will get. Mesh pads tend to be responsive and accurate, especially in replicating the traditional acoustic drums. They could of course cost more, but their quality makes them worth.
Acoustic volume – The electric drum options may not be as good as acoustic drums, but you definitely can choose how loud or soft the output should be with the right accessories and choices.
Software – Some of the sets come complete with software to guide you through the features. Whereas it is an important feature as it is important to remember that it could determine the price of the set. If you need to get it separately, then it is best that you choose something that will give you and easy time using.
Components – Crash, tim, kick, snare and hi-hat are the components making up standard 5 piece drum set. This should mean that any set bigger than this should offer you a lot more sometimes even a microphone and a drumming throne. Choose according to what you feel is best for your drumming needs.
Appearance – It may be low in terms of priority, but you definitely want to end up with a drum set that you love playing and one that adds a touch of beauty or class into your space rather than looking drab. If you have an image you wish to portray, then choose a set that helps you reflect it.
Budget – The features and added effects on your set will determine the cost. It helps to have a budget so you know what range to stick to. Consider your entry level as well so you can start with something suitable or get a set that is adaptable as you hone your drumming skill. At the end of the day you just need to ensure that the set is really worth its price.
Brand – Your level of expertise and use of the drum set should be good enough to guide you to the right brand. The good thing about the top brands is that they have a number of models to choose from. So you can easily find a set that is perfect for you from a brand that you love.
Electronic drum sets have plenty of variations to make any drummer achieve their wildest dreams. It is however important to remember that not all sets are made equal. What you enjoy with one set may lack in another. For this reason you need to start by knowing the kind of drumming experience you expect so you can choose a set you will love to play. Your level should also be used to determine the best set. Some models are more suitable for beginners whereas others are best for the more experienced drummers. Some are best for home use and other casual events, but others are best used professionally. The wide range, however makes it possible for all drumming enthusiasts to find a kit that is most suitable for them. The best thing about the huge range is that the prices also differ so even when working with a tight budget. You still can find a set that you love drumming on. It is important to also consider the different but important accessories to have the best experience possible. You can never go wrong settling for models from reputable brands. It still helps to do a little comparison before finally making your final choice. Have your facts right, find the best set and start drumming away!