Top Electric Drum Sets Guide

The Ultimate Electronic Drum Set Guide

So, now that you are all set to purchase your first electric drum kit, you are aware that you must have it but don't have much information about this musical instrument. So, it makes sense that before taking out your wallet you ask some important and relevant questions.

Start thinking about what is the purpose of purchasing an electronic drum set kit. Do you want it mainly for your practice do that your neighbors and family members do not get disturbed? Or, do you have plans of using it for recording and producing music? Are you planning to give a live performance with the kit? Or do you want to purchase one for all the above reasons?

Top Electric Drum Sets Guide

Why Choose An Electric Drum Set?

What Is An Electronic Drum Set?

An electric drum is also referred to as digital percussion or digital drums. It is a special kind of synthesizer or a contemporary electronic musical device whose aim is to function as an alternative to a percussion instrument such as an acoustic drum.

This drum comprises a digital or an electronic sound module that creates either sample or synthesized percussion sounds where either a single or multiple electric sensors trigger the sounds. Just in the case of regular drums, these sensors are connected by the drumsticks or even by hands, based on the kind of drum pad used. An electric drum is played in a manner similar to the acoustic drum kit.

Requirements May Change

While you are thinking on the purpose of purchasing an electric drum set, you should not just contemplate about your present requirements but also think how your requirements may change and expand within the next few years. When you plan in this manner, you can avoid spending unnecessarily for a premature upgrade thus saving your money. Buying an electric drum is similar to purchasing a computer. So, it is no point waiting for the next advanced kit to launch. After all, there may be something better in the market always.

How Electric Drum Sets Work?

In case you are a beginner in the field of electronic drums, it is not unusual for you to wonder how an electronic drum works. There has been an amazing revolution in the field of digital media, which has changed the way musical instruments work. This is especially applicable for electronic drums.

Today, the electronic drum kit is the first choice for the beginners to learn the instrument. The key reason for this is that an electronic drum kit offers low noise levels. People who have unfriendly neighbors or do not have a sound proof cellar can derive the perfect solution in form of digital drums. It is also possible to plug in your headphones thus ensuring that you have quiet practice sessions. Here is how an electronic drum set work.

Electronic Drum Set Sound Module or Drum Module

Another name for a sound or drum module is the "brain". In simple terminology, it is a synthesizer, which produces the various drum sounds and is responsible for running the various features of your drum kit.


Today, even the basic drum kit models come with a variety of kit sounds. Hence, whenever you play a rock track, it is simple to choose an appropriate rock kit. Usually, you can get most of the widely used music styles such as vintage electronic, brush, jazz and rock in your kit.

When you opt for a superior kit, you get more options of kit presets. Moreover, a well-equipped kit can provide the capability of setting up your individual kit from individual drum sounds and to edit the sounds if needed.

PCM Sound Technology

The PCM sound technology is used to operate most of the drum modules. Thus it replays superior quality drum sounds that have been digitally recorded when you strike the trigger pads. Some other characteristics of the drum module are to feature accompaniment styles, the ability of recording performances and inboard coaching exercises. Although in various respects a brain resembles the synthesizer sound module, the rear set connections make it distinct.

Electric Drum Trigger Pads - Drum Triggers

Drum triggers are the bits in an electronic drum, which you play. A majority of the electronic drums are a five-piece, standard configuration similar to the kind of an acoustic drum kit, which you would usually use to play on. It consists of input for three toms, rides cymbal, crash cymbal, kick drum, 2 cymbals for hi-Hat. If you have opted for a drum module with higher specifications, it can provide extra trigger inputs so that you can add more in the future of you wish to do so.


In their simplest forms, a drum trigger can sense vibrations. If a trigger gets struck, it can sense that the trigger is hit along with the degree of hardness as per the vibration level. It is true that contemporary triggers have more sophisticated features as compared to this explanation.

Today, many kits come with drum triggers with multiple zones so that a variety of sounds can be triggered. Moreover, many triggers use multiple pickups to ensure responsive and dynamic triggering. In a nutshell, this is how an electric drum operates.

Main Benefits of Electronic Drum Sets

    Control over noise

Acoustic drums, percussion, and cymbals are known for a major challenge, which are the tremendous volume levels produced by them. On the other hand, an electric drum produces little acoustic noises while being played. Moreover, the volume of an electric drum's volume can be controlled quite easily with its volume knob.


Such features make an electric drum an excellent choice for small churches, stages and any other places where stage volume can be a major issue. If you are at home, you can monitor the sound quite easily with headphones so that drumming in apartments and late nights are extremely practical.

If you are a recording enthusiast, an electric drum makes it simpler to accomplish professional soundtracks as they do away with the requirement of multiple amplifiers and multiple microphones.

    Extraordinary sound quality

The recording capabilities and sound palette of an electric drum can be expanded when you connect the kit to samplers, external sound modules, software, computers as well as other musical devices through MIDI. Incidentally, MIDI is the global standard to connect computers and electronic musical devices. There are many electric drum models today that are equipped with a standard MIDI out connector needing distinct MIDI interfaces these techniques allow your electric drum to make use of software applications.

    Change sounds

An electric drum kit enables you to alter your drum kit's sound only by touching a button. An electric drum kit enables several hundreds of effects, percussion and drum sound all at your easy accessibility. Moreover, it is easy for you to play different authentic sounds in several types of musical styles.

    Studio adjustments (tune, elevate, capture as MIDI, edit)

When you have an electric drum kit at your disposal, it is easy to make changes in your performance by adjusting the sounds and timing as per your recording. Making changes to some notes or to an entire performance is quite an easy process. There is a variety of sounds at your disposal and so percussive sweetening is capable of elevating your tracks from being mediocre to extraordinary pieces. As your recording can be captured in form of MIDI data, editing and mixing the performance of your drum is much easier. When you are in a recording studio, an electric drum will allow you to directly plug it into a mixing board. Thus it is easy and quick to produce a great drum sound. It can be achieved without using even a single microphone. Think how simple your life will be since you do not have to arrive early at your recording studios for working with a sound engineer or getting the sound right. Now, you can concentrate solely on playing your drums.


    Easier to practice

An electric drum set consists of recording, play along and precious practice tools. Moreover, many models are powered by an inbuilt metronome that comes with an adjustable tempo along with a mix-in-Jack to connect it to a CD or an MP3 player so that you can listen to the songs you love. There are some models that can even improve your drumming skills and give feedback on how you performed. There are models that allow you to explore various drumming styles as they can play the inboard music as well as musical patterns while using a USB drive to access WAV and MP3.files. There are simple recording features which enable you to record and then play back a drumming performance.

    Easy to carry and store

An electric drum is more portable and compact as compared to a traditional drum set. It is easy for you to store and carry them along while traveling by putting them in cases or soft bags. Moreover, they occupy less space on crowded stages, a band can or where you are practicing. You can put the kit easily at the back of your van. It is in tune always and sounds almost like the real thing. The advantage of an electric drum being portable is that you can easily collapse the entire set and can even carry some of them under your arm.


What Type of Pads to Choose?

Electronic drums first made their appearance in the seventies but have gone through drastic changes since then. Back then, it gave a feel of playing on a tabletop while playing them.min fact, playing an electric drum then was quite an exhausting experience for the players' arms, wrist, and hands, especially when the gig was a lengthy one. But today, an electric drum is equipped with an improved response and feels using either mesh heads or rubberized pads.


Mesh heads or trigger pads can have a maximum of 3 sensors. A mesh head with a single sensor can trigger only a single sound while a mesh head with three or dual heads can trigger more than one sound. Here are some of the advantages of a mesh head.


Drums with mesh heads sound realistic and great for emulating drums. They give a feel that is quite close to the traditional drum heads.


When a mesh head controller is used with a compatible module, it provides a variety of sound responses depending on the location selected to strike. There are some models that can form a variety of sounds depending on where a user strikes the head. On the basis of a sound module, the user can also play brush sweeps.


This is one of the instant merits of mesh heads as their tension can be easily adjusted to get a feel, which will suit you well, such a feature allows the player to produce a bouncy and tight snare head though he or she selected a seventies style muffled and slack-tuned deep snare.


A rubberized pad has rebound and has a feel similar to a traditional practice pad. Contrary to an electronic mesh head or an acoustic drum head! Rubber pads usually have a similar feel in all its pads. This feature of consistency makes rubber pads a good option for sustained tones and triggering loops. These pads are typically found in more reasonably priced electronic drum models. Some other benefits are as follows:


Rubber pads typically cost less and so you can build up your set up easily with very little investment. When the budget is a concern, you can opt for rubberized pads.


There are several players who want that their controllers to produce a similar response as well as rebound while moving from one pad to the next contrary to the heads of acoustic drums that produce varying tensions.

A pad is often more appropriate when percussion controllers are used for producing alternative sounds and for triggering sustained loops or tones. In such scenarios, the consistency feature of rubber pads come much handier


Space is a big challenge when you add electronic sounds to an acoustic drum kit. However, a drum pad in fit in the most compact spaces and can also for on your acoustic drums' rums. A compact drum kit can be accommodated within a dorm room or inside an apartment.

New and Improved Pads

There was a time even there were pads that did not offer the kind of rebound that was expected by the drummers. However, with time, pad designs got improved and the reformulated rubber pads come with a more natural bounce.

Thus, from the above discussion, it is clear that there is enough space for both types of pads in the world of electronic percussion. Experts often say that the pad which you will eventually opt for will depend on your budget, expectations and your specific needs.

Drum Modules

A drum module is regarded as an electronic drum set's brain. Drumming modules can differ in terms of the quality, number, and type of sounds included by them. A majority of them come with a host of special effects and instrument sounds and percussion and drum sounds by creating customized studio and live mixes with the help of distinct volume levels for every trigger.

Typically, drum modules come with a selection of preset electronic drum kits, which are designed for a particular genre of music like hip-hop, Latin, Rock and Jazz others. Just by pushing a single button, an entirely new kit can be called up. There are several drum modules that enable a player to create customized kits while selecting from the cymbals, kick drums, snares, and toms present in the module. A premium drum module enables you to download music from online libraries thus ensuring that you have endless sonic options.

Check out some of the most important capabilities and features you should take into account while comparing the drum modules.


Usually, there is a direct co-relationship between the cost of a module and the variety and quality of sounds offered by it. High-quality drum modules feature all the standard sounds that one usually expects. They also provide several other non-percussion instruments, do dual effects, wood blocks, bells and percussion instruments. A high-end drum module also enables the user to create as well as edit own sounds. As specified earlier, drum modules with download abilities offer an extension of the sound options into the stratosphere.

Preset patterns

Each drum module comes with a choice of preset patterns, which are drum parts or two-bar patterns are frequently linked to specific music styles or specific drum kits. This can an inspiration source or priceless learning tools to create your customized drum parts.

Several modules have complete play-along tracks for practice and fun.

Realistic sound and feel

When you choose a high-end drum module, it provides accurate and fast trigger response, which gives the same feedback to the drummers that they receive from an acoustic drum kit. It actually means that the response of the module is accurate to the user's playing technique. Thus it provides audio feedback parallel to one's playing. The velocity and the sensitivity of the response of a module can be tweaked so that the user gets a natural playing experience. There are several modules, which allow you to adjust the cymbals and the individual drums to get a balanced mix. The modules frequently feature ambiance efforts so that the overall sound can be improved while one is playing in studio spaces or giving a difficult performance.

Basic Categories of Electric Drums

    Tabletop Drum Set

    Portable Drum Set

    Silent Drum Set

    Hybrid Kits

    Beginner Drum Set

Transitioning from Acoustic to Electronic Drumming

There is a specific learning curve that accompanies the transition from an acoustic to your electronic drums. Luckily, though, the technology for electric drums has seen dramatic improvement since they initially made their appearance. Today, thanks to enhanced design, many electronic drums sound as great as the acoustic drums.

However, it may be possible that you do not intend to make a permanent shift from your acoustic to an electric drum. Rather, you want to simply expand your choices and want to work with both these drum types. Whatever may be the case, you may discover just a few weeks after spending a lot of money that the new drum is not what you had originally expected it to be. So, here are some tips that will enable you to have a smooth transition from acoustic to electronic drumming.

    Select the correct heads

When you opt for the right type of drum heads, it is easy to see and feel the differences as you play an electric drum vis-a-vis an acoustic drum.

    Select proper pedals

The similar logic as above applies for pedals. It can be problematic to use pedals that are either harder or softer than what you are habituated to. Go for an electric drum that features good pedals. On the other hand, in case you like a specific set but not quite taken with the associated pedals, do find out whether it is possible to change them with different sets of pedals.

Make up your mind on the type of sound, which is most appealing to you prior to shopping getting dazzled and becoming indecisive is normal when the choice of sound kits that come with electric drums are enormous. For example, some models feature a host of different effects options and sounds with an ability to include more number of sound components if necessary.

What to Consider Before Buying?

    Multi-Zone - Single Zone

There is just one trigger or sensor in each pad as far as the single-zone kits are concerned. Thus, a single-zone pad produces the sane tone irrespective of playing it on the bell or on its edge. A single-zone kit is less expensive but does not offer the kind of realistic response that a multi-zone kit provides. So, the least you can do is to make sure that you opt for a dual-zone snare drum pad for producing both rim shots as well as regular strikes.

    Where you will use

When you want to purchase an electronic drum set only for practicing at home, your primary concern should be how your set plays or feels instead of the sophistication of the drum module. But if you plan to use the drums for performance or recording, you should carefully focus on the extent of control you can have on the drum module.

    Pads and drum module

A module is a component of the electronic drum, kit, which handles the signals produced and then transforms them into sounds. When you go for a cheap drum set for practicing, it needs to form only the basic functions. But, if you want it for your recording applications, you need to ensure that the drum modules work well in sync with a DAW (Digital audio workstation) or software. It dignifies providing proper connections as well as offering flexibility over the sensor of each drum pad. In order to record a high-quality audio, it is crucial to adjust the sound, sensitivity, and volume of every sensor.

An electronic drum set usually has pads that are made from mesh, a cheaper material such as plastic or rubber. While a rubber pad lasts for a long time, it cannot produce a realistic sound since the amount of stick rebound is high. On the other hand, though the performances of mesh pads are better, they are costlier. You should try to avoid opting for plastic pads though they come cheaper.


    Thus, the electronic drum kit is a great idea if you are a beginner or if you want to practice in the seclusion of your room without your neighbors and other family members getting disturbed. The electric drum sets are available in a variety of models ranging from basic to sophisticated ones today. So, you need to choose one according to your individual needs and budget.

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