Which Electric Drum Set is Right for Me? (by Eric Lacovara)
Over the last few years the electronic drum market has exploded with new models and features, quickly becoming an instrument that drummers and audio engineers are exploring more and more.
There are certainly differences between an electric drum set and an acoustic kit.
One of the main differences is ‘external’ sound. Being able to wear headphones and practice at night is certainly an advantage to owning an electronic drum kit where noise could be a factor.
Another difference is the ability to change sounds on the fly. You can go from a Jazz kit to a Rock kit with the touch of a button. Much faster than setting up a new drum set!
Two top industry leaders in electric drums are Yamaha and Roland. Let’s look at the 3 levels of electronic drum kits: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
The main parts of an electric drum set are:
- The Rack with which the electronic pads are mounted to
- The module (some call this the ‘brain’) of the entire kit. This is where the actual sound is generated.
- Pads/Triggers: These are what you hit with your sticks/pedals to trigger the sounds in the module
To keep cost at a minimum, most starter electric kits will have rubber pads.
The sound modules will usually have a few choices for different drum kit sounds. Fifty or so pre-programmed kits are pretty common with each manufacturer. Most also include an iPod or MP3 input so drummers can practice to their favorite tracks.
The beginner kits are usually very compact and don’t take up nearly as much room as the intermediate or advanced kits. Most of them are designed to fit comfortably in the corner of a bedroom.
As we move up to the Intermediate kits we find what are called “mesh heads” instead of the rubber pads. These feel more like traditional acoustic drum heads and the mesh technology offers more realism that most seasoned drummers prefer. Some drummers call this ‘bounce’ or ‘real feel’. Some intermediate kits will have a combination of mesh heads with rubber pads.
They also start adding higher quality sounds that may be needed for recording or playing live gigs (along with more internal sounds to choose from).
Advanced kits are usually for drummers that would like to expand (add more pads if necessary) or change the sounds of the kits. Advanced modules allow a player to ‘tune’ each drum and offer an array of sounds to create that ‘custom’ kit.
Some of the higher end electronic kits will also be outfitted with a hi-hat and/or kick pedal. It’s best to read all the product details so you are aware of which kits come with what accessories.
No matter which kit is right for you George’s Music has you covered! You can reach our professionals at 800-544-7625 with any questions to help make sure the kit you choose is the perfect fit!