As a musician, you may want to try things that go beyond the norm to find a sound that’s uniquely yours. Whether it’s a new riff or a new tone in the right place, guitarists and vocalists have a lot of tools at their disposal to make unique music.
As a drummer, however, you’re going to be a bit more limited on a standard acoustic drum kit. Sure, you’ve got your standard bag of tricks, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do for any given style of music. What you really need is a way to mix in more percussion sounds to your music; maybe a steel drum sound or a timpani, or even something as simple as a regular snare with a warmer sound.
Fortunately, there’s now a way you can have your choice of hundreds of percussion instruments all in one kit, all completely adjustable and all affordable. What you really need is an electronic drum kit.
What Is an Electric Drum Set?
For all that they do, electronic drum kits aren’t terribly complicated to use. At its most basic level, they are a set of electronically sensitive drum pads that, when struck, send a small electric signal to a control box that produces a set sound.
This control box is actually where most of your magic is going to happen; inside your control box (or your drum kit’s “brain”), you’ve got a library of sounds that you can associate with each drum pad’s strike. With just a few changes on the interface, you can set your electronic drum kit’s sound to either a factory preset standard, or simply mix and match your own.
Even though the idea is fairly simple and the basic concept of an electronic drum has been around since the 80‘s, the technology has improved by leaps and bounds since. One of the biggest innovations that’s now a hallmark of good electronic drum kits is the ability to not only detect when a particular drum pad is struck, but exactly where.
Using mathematical models and a wider array of sensors, the brains of these electronic drums can alter your sound to act just like a real drum, giving you the ability to play rim-shots, let your cymbals ring and dampen as you choose, and even to slightly distort the sound of your snare depending on exactly where on the pad you make contact.
Far from being like a button pressed on a computer, today’s electronic drum brains are really brains that think and act just like the real thing. Another feature that is perfect for the studio and the stage is the ability to assign different outputs to different soundboard channels, letting you balance your drums in a way that would be much more difficult on an acoustic set.
Because all the inputs are running through your electronic drum kit’s brain, balancing them is as easy as adjusting volume channels. Like most good electronics, the electronic drum kit has evolved to do some clearly incredible things and, in the right hands, can make your music sound even better than before.
Alesis Nitro Kit Review
The first electronic drum that comes in our best electronic drums list is the Alesis Nitro Kit.The Alesis Nitro Kit drum kit comes with 8 inches high-quality rubber drum pads with three single zone toms and dual zone snare. The pads are made with great care for providing you with a natural response. There is a kick pad tower included with a bass drum pedal to give you the professional feel. There are 10 inches cymbals which you can use to ride cymbal, hi – hat and crash for a virtually unlimited range of playing expressions. The kit is stable and flexible thanks to the super solid 4 post aluminum rack. The module is set up with hundreds of percussion sounds, 60 built in play along tracks and 40 different types of kits for giving you ample amount of learning practices.
- Play along modes for better learning experience.
- Graduated difficulty levels of the play along versions make it fun.
- Easy to set up.
- Amazing starter for the price range.
- The pads are sturdy and feel like they will last long.
- Comes with everything you need to start banging as soon as you get it out of the package.
- Number of playable sounds is limited and kind of similar sounding.
- The rack sits a little low.
Pyle-Pro PTED01 Electronic Table Digital Drum Kit Review
This versatile digital drum kit can be a valuable addition to your musically inclined self as this portable and a compact kit will become your partner of your beginning drummer life. You can play the drum with pre-recorded sounds such as rock, jazz, pop, techno, hip hop etc. and record your own performances as well.
The easy to handle audio configuration control lets you edit your records and turn them into masterpieces. You can plug in this kit when you are home, or put in 6 C size batteries if you plan to take this out with you. You can pump up the volume and play this kit for your audience, or plug in your headphones and jam in quite sessions which your neighbors will clearly approve of. There are 7 drum pads with 25 preset drum kits. There are 100 songs you can play along with.
- Great as a starter kit.
- It’s compact so you don’t need a lot of space for setting up.
- It has many songs to choose from to jam along with.
- It costs less for what it offers.
- Sometimes it does not register a hit, which can impact your rhythm and your recording.
Why Choose Electronic Drums?
While there still isn’t a perfect substitute for the real thing, an electronic drum set does have its own perks that you just can’t get on an acoustic set. There are also some minor disadvantages that an acoustic set has over an electronic version.
Advantages of Electronic Kits:
For starters, an electronic drum can be played at a much quieter level than traditional drum kits, which already alleviates a few drum-related problems; with a headphone jack, you can practice inside your home or even your apartment at any time without disturbing your neighbors. Without headphones, the volume can be controlled with the turn of a knob, making it an ideal fit for churches or a small stage.
While doing shows, this is a huge help as well, especially in tight quarters. Not only are electronic drums smaller and easier to transport, but on an electronic setup, you (and the other members of your band), won’t have to fight to be heard while playing next to the drum kit. Not only does this make hearing everyone else easier, but it’s a great remedy to the age-old problem of tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears that’s an unfortunately common problem in long-time drummers.
Whatever your style of music may be, the right electronic drum can give you a percussion sound that works with it. Since all of your sounds are programmable, it’s possible to pick out and refine a wide variety of sounds that will all work on the same setup, turning your one drum kit into an entire closet full of percussion instruments.
It’s entirely doable on most drum models to adjust the sound profile, so you get exactly the sound you and your band are looking for. If you’re using one of the higher end models, it’s also possible to adjust individual sounds; you could have a kick drum with a warm, full sound paired with an incredibly sharp snare, if that’s your preference.
They don’t warrant extremely high end microphone for recording like acoustic drums do. The sound can be received through line-out or MIDI connections. It makes electric drums a practical buy for education, practice, studio recording, or real performance uses.
SPACE and MAINTENANCE
In general, electric drum kits versions are slightly more compact than their acoustic drum competition, making it a good fit for tight quarters. Electronic drum sticks, brushes and mallets are likely to retain their use longer than the instruments used on acoustic drum kits because of the use of rubberized rims that don’t allow metal contact. Fine tuning an electric drum set will never occur as well.
Disadvantages of Electronic Kits:
One of the gripes you’ll hear is that electronic drum sets can’t duplicate the sound you’ll receive with an acoustic drum set. While in some cases this is true based on the repeated exposure to the drums (and sniff test), the technology behind electric drums are improving. The general consensus is to stay away from the extremely cheap electronic drum sets (unless purchasing for a baby or toddler) because the inexpensive ones use very cheap rubber and single triggered rubberized hard pads (or not real drum pedals).
In a large setting, these kits need some sort of amplification to be heard well, which is the opposite reason why they are ideal in smaller settings.