There was once a time when an electronic drum set sounded and felt nothing like the real thing. The earliest electric drums, like the Pollard Syndrum, didn’t simulate acoustic kits at all. They could create a variety of different sounds, but all of them were very much synthetic in nature.
Fast forward several decades and technology has gotten so good that e-kits now do a bang-up job of recreating the acoustic drum sound and feel. In fact, it’s entirely possible you’ve listened to an album recorded on electronic drums and not even noticed the difference.
The 7 Best Electronic Drum Sets For Your Home Studio [2023 Guide]
There are a few compelling reasons why you’d want to get an electric drum kit. Practicing at home is probably at the top of the list. Noise is a huge prohibitive factor when it comes to acoustic drums, especially if you only have time to practice during odd hours.
Reliability is another main factor for why a drummer would want to go electric. Whether it’s live or in the studio, electronic drum sets produce the same consistency. Acoustic drums suffer from tuning problems, especially on the road under varying weather conditions.
Finally, electric drums are low-maintenance, convenient, and portable. You don’t have to change heads routinely, they don’t go out of tune, and the overall form factor is much smaller than acoustic drums. Electronic drums offer something for everyone, whether you just need a silent practice solution or a high-end kit for playing live and recording.
Roland’s RD-1DMK set is a one of the highest quality choices for beginners who want to learn drums, namely because it’s priced affordably for what you get. This set comes with three mesh toms, one mesh snare, one rubber kick pad, and rubber hi-hats, crash, and ride cymbals.
Included are 15 different sounds, 15 songs to jam along to, and 10 “Coach Modes” to practice your chops—an excellent kit for beginners wanting to learn.
The Alesis Nitro Mesh kit is an eight-piece electronic drum set based on the company’s proprietary AlesisMesh technology. The set is comprised of one 8″ mesh snare, three 8″ mesh tops, hi-hat, ride, and crash cymbals, and a kick drum. There are 40 different classic and contemporary kits to play for a total of 385 drum and cymbal sounds.
For high-end professional users, it’s hard to get much better than the TD-50KV. One of the things many drummers might find lacking in less expensive kits is the overall feel and playability of electronic versus acoustic drums. It’s sort of like playing guitar through a modeler versus a real tube amp. The sound is usually there, but there’s an apparent disconnect between how a digital modeler responds to your input.
The TD-50KV provides one of the most expressive and playable electronic drum set experiences available.
At the core of the DTX6 series is Yamaha’s DTX-PRO drum module, which offers a high level of expression at a modest price. Select from 40 predesigned kits, or build your own with 400 individual samples. The module also comes with a Modifier section allowing you to dial in room ambience to simulate the experience of playing in a specific space, as well as compression and other effects.
Alesis Command is a major step up from the Nitro kit in terms of sound and performance. The Advanced Drum Module holds 54 preset kits and 20 user patches with a total of 671 sounds. For the price, this is one of the most feature-rich electronic drum sets you can get.
Another budget-friendly set is the DTX402K by Yamaha. Its interface comes with 10 built-in kits and a total of 415 sounds to create your own unique arrangement. Another great feature is the DTX402 Touch app that lets you unlock advanced features from your mobile device: select samples, tune virtual drum heads, add reverb and panning, and more.
For most demanding professionals, the TD-27KV-S delivers just the right balance of realism, expression, playability, sound quality, and price. By no means “cheap,” it’s significantly less expensive than the previously discussed TD-50, but its sounds are built from the same Prismatic Sound Modeling technology. Apart from the quality of the physical pieces themselves, the TD-27 includes PureAcoustic Ambience Technology for naturally immersive acoustic experience in a digital module.
Want to learn more about recording drums? Check out Drum Recording Foundations with JJ Blair!