Being a drummer is difficult. Not only are you playing the most physically challenging instrument, but drums are also the loudest and the biggest. Practice sections are likely to upset the neighbors and induce noise complaints, and that’s if you can even fit a kit in your house.
On top of that, the instrument is also incredibly difficult to record. An electric drum kit can solve many of these issues. They’re smaller, you can practice them quietly, and they’re extremely easy to record with.
Here are seven compelling reasons why you need an electronic drum kit.
1. Less Volume
One of the biggest problems for drummers who want to practice is that drums are loud! Guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists all have the advantage of being able to turn down their instruments. Of course, this isn’t possible with acoustic drums. Even a relatively quiet session can be enough to get a noise complaint.
With electronic drums, you can finally have as much control over your volume as the other musicians in the band. With an electronic drum kit, you have complete control over the levels.
Of course, there’s still the sound of the sticks hitting the pads, but it’s so much quieter than a real kit. As long as you don’t live in a small apartment, it’s unlikely that the neighbors will complain.
You can even buy electronic drumsets where the sound of the drums hitting the pads is kept as quiet as possible.
As a drummer, hearing damage is a real concern. Electric drums let you practice without exposing yourself to high sound levels. It also means that you can rehearse at a lower volume as well.
2. Easier to Record
If you’ve ever tried to record a drumkit, you know just how much of a nightmare it can be. It’s no exaggeration to say that getting a good drum sound can sometimes be harder than recording the rest of the band.
To get a good sound, you’ll need a large collection of different microphones and microphone stands to get them in the right position. If you make a mistake during the recording process, it’s not uncommon to need to rerecord the whole drum track.
With electronic drums, making a record is incredibly easy. Almost every electronic drum kit has the ability to record MIDI. This means that you can easily use electronic drums as inputs for drum software such as Addictive Drums or Superior Drummer.
Not only do these programs give you professional quality drums, but you also have the ability to change the sound after the fact. Let’s say you record a drum track, but then when you add the guitars, you realize that the snare just isn’t cutting through.
If you have the MIDI data for the performance, it’s no problem. You can simply select a different snare. Every aspect of the previous performance, such as timing and velocity, will be maintained.
3. Easier to Fix Timing Issues
If the drummer plays out of time, it can really suck the life out of a record. In the studio, it’s not uncommon to use quantization to fix up an out-of-time recording. If you’ve recorded a track using acoustic drums, this can be quite difficult. With so many microphones picking up the kit, you’ll need to make edits on many different audio tracks to correct bad timing.
When correcting a drumkit recording, you have to take a lot of different tracks into account due to the use of many different microphones. When you have the MIDI data, it’s so much easier to fix a wonky performance.
You can simply find the out-of-time notes and quantize them, making them perfectly in time with the click track. If you don’t want the drums sounding too clinical, you can also add a little bit of quantization. Sometimes this will help to keep things in time while maintaining the original groove of the recording.
4. Wide Range of Sounds
One of the best things about electric drums is that you can trigger pretty much any sound imaginable. For example, you might use your kit to trigger sound effects, or you might even play something more melodic.
There are drum pads available that give you a lot of pads in a small space. Perfect for playing melodies.
You might also consider using drum machine sounds. For example, the sounds of the Roland 808 drum machine are on countless recordings. With an electric drumkit, you can easily get those sounds for yourself.
Being an electronic drummer gives you access to a huge range of percussion. One of the great things about electric drums is that you can completely change your entire drum sound at the press of a button. One minute you could be playing a realistic acoustic style kit, and then a 909 drum machine the next.
You could even change your kit sound in different sections of a song.
5. Space and Portability
Another problem faced by drummers is the sheer amount of space that a drumkit takes up. In a moderately sized house, you might struggle to find space to accommodate a kit.
The good news is that electric drums can help you. Many of these kits are designed with saving space in mind. Lots of electronic kits can easily be “collapsed,” meaning they’re easy to tuck away into a corner when you’re not using them.
They’re also a lot easier to fit in your car as well. If you’re sick of loading up your car with your acoustic kit, you might consider investing in an electronic drum set to take to your rehearsals.
A lot of the negativity surrounding electric kits is misguided. In the past, they were often quite poor. Older drum pads simply didn’t match up to the feeling of hitting a real drum. This often made it feel like you were hitting your kitchen table rather than a snare drum.
Thankfully, these issues have largely been solved. If you buy an electric kit of reasonable quality today, you can expect the sticks to react just like they would on your acoustic kit.
This means that your skills in the electric kit will translate directly to playing a real drum set.
7. Versatile Live Sound
As a drummer, you probably know that drum kits cause a lot of problems live. Setting up the drum sound often takes as long as the soundcheck for the rest of the band combined.
With an electric drum kit, you have the perfect drum sound ready to go. All the sound man needs to do is plug you into the PA, and you’re good to go. Of course, some electric kits also offer individual outs for the different drums, so you always have the option to give the sound engineer more if they want it.
In smaller venues, the sound engineer might not even mic up a drum kit at all. This might result in a poor mix since the mix engineer has limited control over the levels.
An Electronic Drum Can Do It All
As you can see, there are many compelling reasons to invest in an electronic drum kit. They’re great for keeping the sound levels down when practicing or rehearsing. They also have a lot of benefits when recording or playing live.
If you want to learn more about drumming and drum kits, take a look at our blog section.