What Are Electronic Drum Sets?
Electric drum sets are also known as digital percussion or digital drums. Before we dig into what an electronic drum set is, let talk about what drums are. The drum is a musical device that is designed to function as an alternative to the alternative acoustic drum. The electric drum is exactly what it sounds like; an electric version of the traditional drums. A synthesizer comprising of electronic or digital sound modules which create synthesized or sample percussion sounds. These sounds are triggered by either single or multiple sensors. The sensors are connected using drumsticks or hands. Drumsticks or hands is determined by the type of drum pads selected. A set of electric drums comes with a number of drums. Each drum is designed to achieve a different sound. You should always choose carefully to make sure you get the electronic drum set that meets all of your needs.
How Do They Work?
Electric drums operate in a way that’s very simple and easy to understand. The drums 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 the sound module. The sound module, also known as the brain of the electric drums, translates the value so a given sound is achieved. The module features will of course determine what part of the set is being touched, whether it is cymbal, drum or any other piece. The module also translates velocity of strikes into dynamic values for softer or louder articulations. In simpler terms, the weight and speed of the strikes indicate how loud or soft the noise that will be produced as part of the performance is.
Some of the drums and cymbals have pads with a number of sensors under their surface. This means that a drummer is able to get different sounds using a single pad. For instance, it could be possible for a snare pad to achieve head sound or a rim shot. From a cymbal pad you could also get a bell sound or a bow thanks to different sensors. Electric drum sets have revolutionized drumming and truly brought the art up to modern standards!
What Does a Drum Set Include?
Depending on the price, brand, and style of your electronic drum set, it may come with different features. Understanding what features are included with your potential set will ensure you’re getting the best set to meet your needs.
The preset patterns
Most electric drum set module comes with patterns that are preset, but it’s important to know what is preset 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. The more patterns there are available, the more freedom you have to create a unique sound. You may also find that modules with play-along tracks are a good choice for your practice and enjoyment.
Besides preset patterns and play-along tracks, there are other additions you can look for in an electric drum set. For instance, a full electric set may include trigger pads, a trigger interface, and free learning software. Make sure you take a close look into what comes with your set before making a purchase. Many additions, including the free learning software, may make a fully electric kit your best option.
Types of Electric Drum Sets
The evolution from acoustic to electronic drums has come with many changes. Multiple options and types of sets are one of the benefits that have come with these changes. The market is filled with various options for different drummer preferences. You can choose between a full electric set or one that incorporates acoustic into the electric set. If you’re new to the drum sets and unsure of where to start, here’s an overview of the most common types of sets you will come across as you look for the best option for you.
Electronic- acoustic hybrid kits
This type of electric drums is suitable for drummers who feel something is missing with a fully electric set. The hybrid sets allow you to enjoy an acoustic sound while still having the versatility of electric drums. With this option you really do 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. A hybrid kit is easy to use, but you may face a small learning curve in the beginning. These kits require a little learning to get used to making the changes in technique, style, and even the different music genres.
Full electronic set
A fully electric set doesn’t support acoustics, but it does offer endless varieties of cymbals, kicks, toms, and snares. Your imagination is the only limit with this type of drum set. Endless experiments can be done to find new and unique sounds with an electric set, and the same can’t be said for those with acoustics. The drum sets are versatile and easy when it comes to editing sounds and performances. As we mentioned above, some other major key components that may come included with a full electric set are trigger pads, trigger interface, and learning software for free. Learning is easy and the possibilities are endless with an electric set.
Drum Pad Types
Electronic drums first made an appearance back in the seventies and they have been going through a constant evolution since then. Each new version is better than the last with these drum kits. Unlike in the seventies, when electric drums felt more like tabletops, the drums now come equipped with an improved feel and response through the different pads and heads they are made of. Knowing the different types of pads on the market can help you make a smarter purchase, so let’s talk about some of the most common types on the market right now.
Rubber heads are traditional when it comes to electric drum sets. These rubber heads have been in use for ages. They are consistent, which makes them a much better option for most drummers. These heads can get sustained tones and it is easier to trigger desired loops using these heads. Another thing that makes rubber a better option is that it is reasonably priced, so you can enjoy effective responses at an affordable price. Rubber pads are even more economical considering that you can build your very own easily. The compact size of rubber heads makes it possible for a drum set to be used in areas where space is a challenge; this makes them the perfect choice for spaces like dorm rooms.
Mesh heads, also referred to as trigger pads, 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. Mesh heads offer a very realistic sound that allows them to imitate drums perfectly. This is the closest you can get to a traditional drum head for an electric kit. These heads have a controller that operates with compatible module to provide different sound responses in relation to the specific area you choose to strike. Some models are even designed to create a number of different sounds depending on where the drummer strikes on the head. Brush sweeps can also be achieved using these pads. Mesh pads are easy to tune to get a desired feel, this feature makes it possible for drummers to get snare heads that give off tight and bouncy tones too.
This type of pads have the same material as acoustic drums and have a feel that is very similar to the drums, in comparison to the rubber heads. Mylar heads are louder than some other types, especially when compared with mesh pads. These heads come with a steep price tag compared to other options are the market as well.
The electric drum set pad materials have changed over time and that won’t be stopping anytime soon. A new and improved type of pad will surely find its way into the market at some point, so be sure to find out about any other options available before making your purchase. Finding the material and price that works for you is a vital step when picking out your drum kit.
Many things impact the price of an electric drum set. Your budget should be set in stone before you begin shopping around for your drum kit, but to come up with that budget you need to understand what affects the price. These are a few of the things that come into play when you’re pricing different drum kits.
Mesh or rubber pads
The type of pads directly determine the kind of sound output you will get. For example, mesh pads tend to be very responsive and accurate, especially when replicating the traditional acoustic drums. The mesh pads could of course cost more, but the added sound quality makes them worth the cost.
The electric drum options may not be as good as actual acoustic drums, but you can choose how loud or soft the output should be with the right accessories and knowledge. These accessories should be considered while you make your budget plan.
Some sets come complete with software to guide you through the features. This can cause a higher price tag, but it makes the learning process much easier. If your kit doesn’t include software, be sure the kit is one that will be easy to learn and use.
The crash, tom, kick, snare, and hi-hat are the components making up a standard 5-piece drum set. This means that any set that is supposedly bigger than this should offer you a lot more for a higher price tag. This may even include a microphone and a drumming throne. Choose your kit according to what you feel is best for your drumming needs.
It may be low in terms of priority, but you want to end up with a drum set that you love playing. A drum set should add a touch of beauty or class into your space, rather than making it look drab. If you have a specific style or image in mind, choose a set that helps display that.
Your level of expertise and use of the drum set should be good enough to guide you to the right brand. The good thing is that the top brands have many models to choose from. You should be able to easily find a set that is perfect for you and your budget from a brand that you love.
The benefits of electronic drum sets
Electric drum sets offer noise control
One challenge that acoustic drums come with is volume levels that are simply too loud to handle sometimes. With an electric drum set the noise is nothing to worry about. They produce little noise while drumming, which makes practicing and playing much easier. The volume knob makes it possible for drummers to control the drum’s volume at different times. For this reason, they make an amazing choice for stages, churches, other settings where too much noise could be an issue. Those wishing to play at home will also find the electronic drums ideal as they can monitor sound using headphones. Your neighbors will have nothing to complain about, and you can enjoy your drum set as much as you want.
They produce sound quality that is extraordinary
This can be credited to the fact that their sound palette and recording capabilities can be expanded when connected to external sound systems, modules, software, computers, and samplers. Whatever musical device you have, it can help you achieve exemplary results with your drum set. Most models on the market come with standard MIDI connector so you are able to take advantage of the software applications that you prefer on any device.
The drum sets give recording flexibility
The electronic kit will give any drummer the ability to play tracks they love. You can even edit the notes and instruments to meet your preferences. This 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, including play along and recording features. Most models come equipped with a metronome with adjustable tempo and mix-in jack that connects to your MP3 player or CD. Your drumming skills will reach new heights thanks to features like these. You these tools to explore, you’ll find your practice sessions to be more fun than you ever expected. With such tools, you can explore the different drumming styles and record as you learn.
They are quite portable
Compared to traditional acoustic sets or hand drums, electric drums are very portable. Not only are these drums easy to carry to wherever you wish to play, you should also have an easy time storing them. Their compact size makes it possible for drummers with limited space to still enjoy the numerous features and endless capabilities. Electric drum sets can be collapsible and can be packed for easy carrying or traveling. These compact models allow you to take your favorite drum set with you wherever, whenever.