While electronic drums sets have been around since 1980s, they have only recently made a comeback and have been gaining popularity ever since. Earlier versions of electronic drum sets were difficult to use and did not function like traditional acoustic drum sets, making it difficult for drummers to fully develop and hone their skills.
Fortunately, things have changed and now serious drummers can use electronic sets as an alternative to acoustic sets. However, with advancements in the world of music and technology, electronic drum kits are becoming more popular and a hit amongst newbies.
Why Are Drummers Going Digital
The main advantage of going digital is that drummers can experiment with a new array of sounds using only one drum set. Beginners or professionals can use electronic kits to play a variety of pre-recorded samples or an extensive collection of songs.
You can easily try a variety of effects if you are using a digital system. Another great advantage is that you don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors with an electronic system. Simply plug in your headphones and start practicing.
The Benefits Of Going Electronic
As mentioned above, an electronic drum set allows folks to tap into an endless variety of sounds, add effects to processing, such as delays and reverbs and incorporate pre-recorded songs and percussion phases into performances. However, there’s more than that. Here are a couple of benefits of opting for an electronic drum set:
Studio And Songwriting Versatility
When using an electronic kit, music enthusiasts can conveniently edit their performance by adjusting the sounds and timings to better suit their recordings. This makes editing performances a much easier task. Beginners can conveniently elevate a track, turning it into something extraordinary in just a matter of seconds.
In an electronic setting, your performance can be captured as MIDI data, hence editing and mixing your performance becomes a much more straightforward task than dicing or slicing audio tracks.
If you have access to a recording studio, you can directly plug your instrument into the mixing board. This makes it easier to get a good drum sound without setting up a microphone. This means you no longer have to worry about arriving early at the recording studio to work with the engineer to get the song right, allowing you to focus on what’s more important: playing the drums.
Practice Wherever You Want
While most guitar players can practice in the comfort of their own bedrooms, drummers are usually asked to move their instrument to the basement or the garage because of the noise. When working with an acoustic drum, drummers find it difficult to control extreme volume levels. Fortunately, an electronic drum kit features cymbal pads that make little noise.
Not to mention, you can conveniently control the volume knob. Music enthusiasts can use headphones to monitor the sound of the drums and can practice playing the drums all night long. As for recording enthusiasts, electronic sets make it easier for folks to create professional sounding tracks without the use of multiple preamplifiers and microphones.
Compact And Portable
Electronic drum sets are more portable and compact compared to their traditional acoustic counterparts. You can conveniently store and carry your new drum set in a couple of cases and soft bags. Electronic drum sets also take up less space in band vans, crowded stages and practice stages.
You Won’t Be Able To Tell The Difference
Most advanced electronic kits are able to replicate the exact sound and field of an acoustic model: all you need are swinging cymbals and mesh heads. Electric kits are sometimes cheaper than their acoustic counterparts and take up less space. This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds without any hassle.
Unlimited Sounds With Just A Tap
Regardless of the music setting you opt for, electronic drum sets are the ultimate option that can offer a limitless range of sounds that can be used in a variety of music genres. This makes it an ideal choice for drummers who work with a wide range of music styles every day, be it jazz, pop quartet, R&B or any other genre. This is because you no longer need mics to capture your instrument’s sounds.
Not to mention, setup is much easier and you don’t have to worry about a cluttered stage. The absence of mics also eliminates the problem of sound bleed from other surrounding instruments. Setting up an electronic drum kit is also much easier. Drummers also have greater volume control when setting up their drums in small venues, such as houses or places of worship.
Easier To Practice
Another noticeable advantage of an electronic drum set is it is easier to learn and practice on. Most electronic drums feature built-in patterns that are beneficial for beginners. These drum patterns are also helpful for beginners who are learning how to play the drums.
Playing along to these patterns helps boost coordination skills and muscle memory required to become a solid drummer. In fact, some drum modules feature specific metronome functions and learning tools that help new drummers develop their ability and timing to maintain a groove.
Additionally, musicians can use the auxiliary input or USB connector to connect their instruments to external music players, such as computers and iOS devices. This allows drummers to play along to their favorite songs and then use an external app or software to edit the music.
Comparing Rubber And Mesh Heads
When purchasing electronic drum kits, drummers need to take into account the type of drum pads they will be using. Electronic drums rely on drum pads that trigger sounds. These pads are typically made using mesh or heard rubber. Here’s how you can decide which option to choose.
Rubber pads have rebound and closely resemble traditional practice pads. Additionally, they also offer more consistency that makes it an exceptional choice for sustained tines and triggering loops. Rubber pads are typically used in more affordable drum sets. Here are a couple of advantages of using rubber pads:
- Economical - Rubber pads are a more affordable option, making it the perfect choice for beginners who want to build a new setup or start their music career.
- Greater Consistency - Many drummers rely on rubber pads since they offer more consistency. Ideally, drummers want their controllers to produce identical response and rebounds as they transition from pad to pad. This is different than the range of tensions you get from acoustic heads as you play the snare and toms. Using a rubber pad is more appropriate if you want to create alternative sounds using the percussion controller. The consistency of the pads offers better output that result in better performance.
- Compact - Drummers that are always on tour will be pleased to know that a rubber pad can be easily slipped into small spaces. You can also fit it discreetly over the rims of your acoustic drums if you are not using an electronic kit. The compact kit will easily fit inside your dorm room, apartment or garage – you name it.
- Improved Design - Thanks to advancements in technology, rubber pads are now easier to work with than ever before. Years ago, drummers found rubber pad too hard to work with and often complained that it did not offer the rebound that they were looking for. An improved pad design with reformulated rubber offers a more natural bounce.
On the other hand, mesh heads feature a firm woven surface that is successful in responding more like an acoustic drum head. Drummers can use a drum key to tune to a preferred tension when using a mesh head. However, on the downside, mesh heads are costlier than rubber pads though they offer improved performance. Some advantages of using a mesh head includes:
- Tunable - One of the most notable advantages of using a mesh head is the ability to adjust the tension and rebound according to your needs. This allows you to customize the sound according to the track you are playing. For example, drummers can opt for a bouncy snare head even if they have selected a 70s style slack-tune, muffled deep snare.
- Sensitivity - When used with a module, a mesh head controller offers an array of sound responses, depending on where you strike. You can also play brush sweeps on some heads.
- Realistic - Experts claim you cannot beat mesh heads because they sound extraordinarily close to traditional drumheads. This makes mesh heads an ideal choice for drummers who do not want to lose the ‘feel’ of using a traditional drum head.
While choosing between rubber pads and mesh heads may seem difficult, it is important to realize that the best choice depends on what type better suits your needs, expectations and most important of all, budget.
Types Of Electronic Drums
For added convenience, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the popular types of electronic drums. Invest in an option that is best suited for you according to your needs and requirements. The most popular types include:
Portable Electric Drums
As the name indicates, portable electric drum sets are best suited for drummers who are always on the move or are frequently on tour. These drum sets typically feature a folding design that allows you to conveniently store the electric drum set anywhere you go. They are light-weight and feature a compact design that allows easy storage. Opt for a model that is loaded with tons of expressive sounds and has all the features you are looking for.
Tabletop Drum Set
Tabletop drum sets feature a super-space saving design that makes it highly portable for travel. These drum sets typically offer better volume control, excellent sound and greater portability.
As the name indicates, these instruments sit on the tabletop and are less expensive as compared to conventional designs. Some models have more features as compared to others, hence be sure to carefully read the specifications before investing in a particular model.
Silent Drum Set
As the name indicates, these drum sets offer a realistic, responsive feel required for practicing but without the noise! What more could you want? These drums are best suited for apartment dwellers who do not want to disturb their neighbors when they are practicing at night. However, this type may not be the best option for all drummers so read the specifications carefully.
Beginner Drum Set
As the name indicates, these drum sets are especially designed for beginners and are typically more affordable than high-end models. However, keep in mind that you may not be able to use a starter kit to its full potential since you might outgrow it as you get better at drumming.
For this reason, consider investing in an instrument that you can continue to use as your skills develop and enhance. To save money, consider investing in a pre-loved instrument that will not break the bank.
Electronic-Acoustic Hybrid Kits
If you are an old-fashioned drummer and find it difficult to work with an electronic kit, rest assured because it is now possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can do this by equipping a traditional kit with acoustic triggers. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of a digital drum module while benefiting from the feel of a real acoustic drum set.
Many brands sell multi-trigger bundle packs that makes things easier for you as a drummer. Some bundles may also include adapters and cables for integrating the triggers in your setup.
How To Play Electronic Drum
Electronic drums have become a new trend in town as youngsters are now option for digital options of their favorite instruments. While many gifted people possess natural talent that is waiting to be harnessed, even the best drummers have to practice several hours before they can make it big. Like any other instrument, playing the drums is all about learning the basics and practicing.
Fortunately, learning how to play a musical instrument has gotten much easier thanks to online video lessons. You can also search for special software that can help you get started. As a beginner, you need to brush up on your basics, also known as rudiments. Once you have practiced the basics, you can jam to almost any tune you want.
Do You Need Lessons
Well, this depends on your personal choice. While many drummers have succeeded without taking a single lesson, some of the best ones have studied their craft from mentors and professionals. While beginners can benefit from plenty of resources, such as online tutorials, books and CDs, you might feel the need for professional advice at some point of your journey. Many drummers benefit from having a mentor to turn to and ask questions.
Where Do You Get Started
If you are a beginner, we recommend that you start with some sticks and a practice pad. Once you have gotten the hang of it, you can invest in a beginners’ electronic drum set. However, keep in mind that you may not be able to use a starter kit to its full potential since you are likely outgrow it as you get better at drumming. For this reason, consider investing in an instrument that you can continue to use as your skills develop and enhance.
How To Purchase An Electronic Drum Set
To ensure you get the most out of your purchase, it is essential that you invest in a quality electronic drum set. An electronic drum set is meant to sound, feel and look like an acoustic instrument while offering the benefits of a digital design. A typical electronic set up consists of rubber-coated pads that work as surrogates for cymbals and drums.
Additionally, the pads feature sensors that transmit signals to an electric-powered module using a set of cables. The module effectively works to translate the impacts detect to create the appropriate cymbal or drum sound. Here are a couple of factors you should consider before investing in an electronic drum set:
Consider Where You Will Be Using The Drum Set
First things first, before you head over to buy the most expensive drum set in town, it is essential you consider where you will be using the drum set in the first place. If you are a beginner and simply need an electronic drum set to get started, you need not worry about how sophisticated the model is.
However, if you are a professional drummer, you will need to focus on how much degree of control you have over the particular module. This will help you select the best instrument for your gig.
For performance and recording purposes, don’t forget to check the different connection features on the model, including MIDI and USB. Carefully check the drum set specs to ensure whether the module allows each pad to create a separate sound. This will provide you greater control in terms of setting the drum set’s sound.
Decide Between Multi-Zone And Single-Zone
Before you invest in a set of electronic drums, it is essential you determine whether the kit is single-zone or multi-zone. As the name indicates, single-zone kits only feature a single sensor per pad. This means a single-zone crash cymbal will generate the same tone whether you play it on the bell or on its edge.
As expected, single-zone drums are typically inexpensive when compared to their multi-zone counterparts. However, they fail to provide a more realistic response similar to a multi-zone kit. For better results, you must ensure the drum kit has a dual-zone drum pad that produces both rim shots and strikes.
Assess The Pads
Before you invest in the perfect drums, don’t forget to assess the overall feel of the pads. Electronic drum sets typically feature pads that are made using mesh, rubber or sometimes cheaper materials, such as plastic.
While rubber pads are considered the best option for beginners, they aren’t durable and fail to produce realistic results due to high amount of stick rebound. Opt for mesh pads if you expect better performance but they tend to be more expensive. Avoid purchasing plastic pads as they are generally of a poor quality.
Assess The Drum Module
The drum module is among the most important components of a drum. Its main function is to handle the signals and turn them into sounds. If you are a beginner and simply need something to practice on, you can get away with a cheap set that offers basic functions.
However, if you are a hardcore drummer that needs the right instrument for recording application, ensure the model will work well with your digital audio workstation or recording software.
This means the drum set needs to have the right connections and offers ample amount of flexibility over each pad’s sensor. Ideally, drummers must be able to adjust the sensitivity, volume and sound of each sensor to record high-quality audio.
Check For Additional Accessories
To make the most of your purchase, ensure the drum module features a headphone jack and a built-in amplifier. While drummers may want an external amplifier for convenient recording applications, being able to plug in a set of headphones allows drummers to hear themselves play. This feature is particularly beneficial for silent practice sessions.
Once you have considered all these options and suggestions, you can browse various drum sets in leading online stores and music retailers. Consider purchasing products from reliable brands and don’t forget to read the specifications carefully to ensure the drum has all the features you want. It is best you opt for reliable brands that offer all the features you are looking for.
Hopefully, this handy guide has provided you enough information regarding the advantages of investing in an electronic drum set. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time you add one to your collection too.