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The Best Electronic Drum Kits
18th March, 2021

The Best Electronic Drum Kits For All Drummers

Over the last few years, Electronic Drum Kits have seen a massive quality improvement. Offering the perfect solution for replicating the live drumming experience, while remaining quiet enough to practice at home without disturbing your housemates, family, or neighbours! 

With sturdy racks and formidable trigger technology, it has never felt better playing an electronic drum set. So whether you’re a beginner drummer looking for an entry into drumming; or you’re a professional looking for something quieter to replace your acoustic drum kit; you’re sure to find an Electronic Drum Set that will take your live performances, quiet practice, and recordings to the next level.

But with so many options available, which drum kit is the best for you? In this article, we break down everything you need to know about electronic drum kits, rounding out our DJ City Top 5.

What is an Electronic Drum Kit

Simply put, an electronic drum kit gives you a digital solution for playing the drums. Housed in a much more compact setup, electronic drum kits are not only much easier to pick up and move around, but their rubber or mesh heads are significantly quieter when hit compared to traditional acoustic drums. The right electronic drum kit will also give you the option to connect straight to your computer via USB for recording, play through your speakers, or even through your headphones for private practice sessions!

So they’re a great alternative to acoustic drum kits when you want to be considerate of others.

The Difference Between a Regular Drum Kit and an Electronic Drum Kit

1. Physical Setup of Electronic Drums

A regular drum kit is large and bulky requiring more space for set up and storage than electronic drums. There are generally more components, such as acoustic drums, cymbals, drum pads, and hardware, compared to the more compact and combined electronic drum kit. Electronic drums are particularly suited for smaller rooms and studio set-ups.

2. Noise Level of Electronic Drums

An acoustic drum kit produces loud acoustic drum sounds when hit. This can be disruptive if you are playing in a residential or a shared living space. Electronic drums are quieter due to the rubber or mesh heads and drum pads and allow for easier practice without disturbing anyone else.

3. Portability of Electronic Drums

Electronic drum sets are more lightweight, portable and easy to transport. This makes electronic drums more suitable for performances and gigs, rehearsals and music production on the go. An acoustic kit is far heavier and cumbersome and not as easy to transport. The different components of an acoustic kit make it difficult to move and pack up/set up.

4. Connectivity and Recording of Electronic Drums

An acoustic kit does not offer any in-built connectivity options for direct recording but also requires no external microphones or complex technological set-up like electronic drums do. Electronic drum sets allow direct connection and recording through computer UB connections, provide versatile connectivity and allow players to record music digitally without any additional equipment.

5. Sound Output of Electronic Drums

An acoustic kit only produced natural, acoustic drum sounds that resonate within the room. The drum sounds’ quality will vary based on the drum pads, cymbal pads and other components. The electronic drums will enable you to make a wider range of sounds, and emulate various drum types and even electronic drums’ effects.

6. Maintenance and Durability of Electronic Drums

Acoustic drums, unlike electronic drums, require more ongoing regular maintenance such as tuning and cleaning. The drum pads, the bass drum pedal, the mesh heads and the other components all are susceptible to wear and tear with use and over time. Electronic drum sets are less susceptible to general degradation and are longer lasting as they are subjected to less physical use.

Electronic Drum Head Types

When it comes to the world of electronic drums, the choice of drum pads’ material can significantly impact your playing experience. 

Let’s dive into the different electronic kid drum pads available: Rubber heads, Mylar heads, and mesh heads each offering a unique blend of affordability, authenticity, and performance.

Rubber Heads

Traditionally, electronic drum sets have relied on rubber heads. Why? Because they offer an economical solution that gets the job done effectively. These rubber drum pads provide a decent playing surface, absorbing the impact of your drumsticks without breaking the bank.

While they might lack the exact feel of an acoustic drum, the best electronic drum kit heads serve as a practical starting point for beginners and budget-conscious drummers, offering a cost-effective entry into the world of electronic percussion.

Mylar Heads

Mylar heads are a step closer to the authenticity of acoustic drums. Crafted from the same material found on traditional drumheads, Mylar heads provide users of electronic drum sets with a playing experience that closely mimics the feel of acoustic drums.

This added authenticity, however, comes at a price – both literally and metaphorically. Mylar heads are generally louder than their rubber counterparts but do offer a more genuine drumming experience.

Mesh Heads

Mesh heads are the game-changers in the realm of electronic drum pads.

These innovative creations have completely transformed the way drummers interact with electronic drums.

Constructed from a synthetic material stretched tautly over a ring, mesh heads replicate the appearance of acoustic drum surfaces with remarkable accuracy.

What sets them apart is their exceptional sensitivity which allows drummers to practice intricate and dynamic drumming techniques effectively and seamlessly. The electronic drum sets’ pads respond to the touch with precision, capturing every nuance of your musical creativity playing style.

Moreover, mesh heads boast a significant advantage in that they are incredibly quiet. This makes them a perfect choice for late-night drumming practice sessions or shared living spaces, ensuring you can drum away on your electronic kits without disturbing the peace.

How Electronic Drum Sets Work

The beauty of electronic drum kits lies in the unparalleled versatility they offer. Unlike an acoustic drum kit, electronic drums aren’t confined to a static range of sounds.

With electronic drums rather than an acoustic kit, you’re not shackled to a limited preset of sounds. Depending on the vibe you’re aiming for, the mood of the song, or your creative intuition, you have the power to customise your electronic drum sounds.

It’s like having an entire array of percussion instruments literally in your hands and waiting to be tailored to suit the rhythm of the moment.

In other words, electronic drums empower you to load in and assign your preferred drum sounds, enabling you to sculpt your sonic landscape with precision and creativity. Whether you’re channelling the raw energy of rock, the smooth grooves of jazz, or the infectious beats of electronic music, your electronic drum kit becomes a canvas upon which your musical imagination can freely roam.

So, how do electronic drum kits work?

To put it simply, each piece on your kit will have sensors built in that generate a signal once hit. Then, that signal is transmitted through the cables to the drum module on your kit, which produces a certain sound associated with those drum pads. The great thing about electronic drum kits is that in many cases you’re not limited to the same sounds.

So it depends on the song you’re performing, the vibe you’re going for, and the sounds you want. You’re able to load in and assign your drum sounds to your setup.

What to look for in your first Electronic Drum Kit

If you’re thinking about getting new gear, there’s no doubt you’re excited. With so many electronic drum kit options available, you want to make sure you’re getting the right kit to suit your needs. One that’s going to help you learn and grow with you as you develop your skills.

Where do we start? Drum kits vary massively with options as small as two-piece kits, basic 5-piece kits, all the way up to 8 and 9-piece options. You’ll find the kick and snare are the staples for all kits. But for most beginners, a minimum of a 5-piece electronic drum kit is going to be a perfect balance and give you everything you need to drum up some great-sounding tracks without diving into all the extra bells and whistles that might leave you scratching your head!

Electronic Drum Set Question Checklist

To help you narrow down the various options, here are some questions to help you determine the right electronic kit for your needs and preferences.

Electronic Drum Purpose and Usage

  • What is going to be the primary purpose of your electronic drum set?
  • Will the electronic drum set be used for specific genres of music?
  • Is the electronic kit intended for personal practice and/or performances?

Electronic Drum Budget and Affordability

  • What is your budget for the electronic kit?
  • Are there any additional costs for accessories, such as pedals, headphones, or amplifiers for the electronic drum set?

Electronic Drum Space and Portability

  • How much space do you have for your electronic drum kit
  • Do the electric drums need to be portable for gigs or rehearsals elsewhere?

Electronic Drum Noise Level

  • Is the noise level from the electronic kit a concern?
  • Will the electronic drum set be used in a sound-sensitive environment?

Electronic Drum Pad Material

  • What type of drum pads material do you prefer in your electronic kit?
  • Is a realistic drum feel with your electronic kit important?

Electronic Drum Connectivity and Recording

  • Is the ability to connect the electronic kit to a computer or recording device necessary?
  • Does the electronic kit need MIDI capability so that it can be integrated with software or other electronic equipment?

Electronic Drum Sound Customisation

  • Is the ability to customise and load different drum sounds essential?
  • Do you want preset sound options?
  • Do you need the option to create their unique drum kits?

Electronic Drum Skill Level and Features

  • What skill level are you at as a drummer?
  • Do you need in-built coaching functions, metronome or practice tools?

Electronic Drum Brand Reputation and Reviews

  • Have you checked the reviews and ratings of the drum kits?
  • Do you recognise the drum kits’ brand name?

Recording Your Electronic Drums

Another benefit of most Electronic Drum Kits is the ability to take advantage of USB. This allows you to connect your drum kit directly to your computer through USB and have it function just like an ordinary MIDI Controller. This means you can record your high-quality drum sessions straight into your computer or into your favourite DAW. Rather than having to invest in dedicated drum microphones to adequately mic up your kit.

The 5 Best Electronic Drum Kits

Roland TD-07KV

The latest kit from Roland, the TD-07KV V-Drums embodies the most realistic, best playing, and sounding electronic drums on the market. Not only do you get acoustic drum and percussion sounds that have been captured precisely in professional studios. But they now behave just like their acoustic counterparts. You also get a wide range of electronic percussion as well as the ability to personalise every sound to your liking. There’s also built-in Bluetooth so you can stream and play along with your favourite songs, as well as acting as a USB/MIDI interface for connecting to your computer for recording!

SHOP: Roland TD-07KV Electronic Drum Kit

Roland TD1DMK

The Roland TD1DMK V Drums gives you an electronic drum kit designed for beginner drummers and practising students. You get everything you need in an electric kit at a more affordable price than the TD-07KV while also appealing to lapsed players looking for a fun, quieter way to get back into drumming. Offering a variety of realistic drum sounds, the TD1DMK V-Drums is organized into fifteen expressive drum kits and gives you an authentic acoustic playing feel thanks to its dual-ply-mesh snare and tom pads.

Included with the TD1DMK V Drums kit are a PDX-8 snare pad, soft-rubber kick pad, 3 PDX-6A tom pads, three CY-5 hi-hat/crash/ride cymbal pads, hi-hat control pedal, TD-1 sound module, and four-post rack stand. Other features include the durable, dual-ply-mesh heads which faithfully respond to the subtle nuances of your playing. Rest assured that every stick hit’s dynamics are detected and relayed accurately thanks to the incredibly fast processing of the TD1 module.

SHOP: Roland TD1DMK Electronic Drum Kit

Alesis Nitro Mesh

One of the best value-for-money options, the Alesis Nitro Mesh electronic drum kit is a winner. Including an 8-inch dual-zone mesh snare, three 8-inch single-zone mesh toms, a 10-inch dual-zone crash (chokeable), two additional single-zone cymbals, a hi-hat controller pedal, and a complete four-post drum rack.

The drum module also houses 385 sounds, 40 kits, and 60 play-along songs, and the layout is great for quickly smashing out new tracks. All in all, the Alesis Nitro Mesh is a great choice if you’re just starting drumming or if you’re looking for a quieter value-for-money practice kit.

SHOP:Electronic Drum Kits

Behringer XD8USB Electric Drum Kit

The cheapest option on this list, Behringers XD8USB is a high-performance 8-piece electronic drum kit complete with a sound module loaded with 123 Sounds, 15 Drum Sets, and USB Interface. Perfect for any aspiring drummer wanting a flexible and great-sounding electronic kit. It includes a professional-grade kick pedal with trigger pad; dual-zone snare for standard head and rim play; 3 x 8-inch single-zone pads; 3 x 12-inch cymbals; and a hi-hat control pedal.

SHOP: Behringer XD8USB Electronic Drum Kit

Alesis CompactKit 4

A real budget-friendly beginner option, the CompactKit 4 doesn’t look like your traditional electronic drum kit. This tabletop electronic drum kit has everything a young drummer needs to sharpen their skills on their way to stardom! Four velocity-sensitive drum pads deliver realistic drum sound with the feel and response of real drums with 70 percussion voices, 10 effect voices built-in, and 50 songs to play along with.

The CompactKit 4 electronic drum has a stripped-down feature set compared to other electronic kits. But it sure is a budget-friendly option for young and aspiring drummers!

SHOP: Alesis CompactKit 4 Electronic Drum Kit

Electronic Drum Kit: The Final Say

Above all, electronic drum kits offer the perfect digital solution for learning the drums while being a lot quieter than a traditional acoustic kit. Depending on your budget, every electronic drum kit option on this page will be a great starting point to get you started on your drum journey.

Check out our complete electronic drum kit range below!

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