Best Electronic Drum Set Reviewed and Rated. Electronic Drum Kits
Some people will never choose to move past the old school look and feel of acoustic drum sets any more than Vladimir Ashkenazy would ditch his baby grand for a Casio to join a synth pop band.
But for the rest of us who want to explore the expanding world of electronic drums, there are now amazing possibilities. In fact, these electric drum set reviews will convince even the purists who shouted that electronic music ruined everything in the ’80’s are being forced to admit, “we’ve come a long way baby.”
This review will help you find the best electronic drum set for beginners as you learn more about your electronic music options. From the world’s first Rhythmicon to the Roland TD-50VK, electronic drum choices are endless.
We have broken these informative reviews into different sections to help you gain the most benefit from your reading time, including:
- best beginner electronic drum set
- best electronic drum set under $500
- best electronic drum set over $500
- best Yamaha electronic drums
- best electronic drum accessories
These electric drum set reviews will explain what these kits contain, rough pricing, and best application for the kit. This will help you to choose the best electronic drum set for your skill level, desired use and music genre of choice. Whether you would just like a simple beginner’s set to try out the field or need a professional quality set for studio recording, the right set is out there.
Our Top Electronic Drum Sets
Beginner Electronic Drum Set Reviews
Artempo Portable Electronic Roll up Drum Pad Kit
The kit comes with:
- 1 roll up electronic drum pad
- 2 foot pedals
- 1 pair of lightweight drumsticks
- a USB cable for power (the set can also be played with AAA batteries)
- an output for headphones for your own speakers
- and an input for MP3 player.
Of all our electric drum set reviews, this is the ultimate portable drum kit for practice. It doesn’t come with a stand because it’s meant to simply be rolled up and stored in a backpack for travel. To play it, you can simply place it on any table or even the floor (although a table makes working the foot pedals easier). You will need to add a lightweight portable speaker if you want to share the sound with others, but that’s not really the point of the set.
This kit is mostly used for practice with your favorite MP3’s while wearing headphones so you don’t drive your neighbors and family nuts. You can operate the pads with AAA batteries or the USB charging cord so no external power source is necessary unless you want to practice on the go. While the Artempo Portable doesn’t have the sound quality needed for professional or even amateur recording, it sound very pleasing when played with your MP3’s and headphones, and you can use the record function to play back your set and review your progress.
For under $50, this electronic drum set just can’t be beat. You can, however, beat the heck out of the set with the included sticks all you want. Mom won’t hear a thing. Beginners will find this to be the best cheap electronic drum set for learning without making a huge financial commitment.
Alesis CompactKit 4 Portable Tabletop Electronic Drum Kit
This ultra-compact electronic drum kit comes with:
- four lighted pads
- 80 percussion and effects sounds
- 50 pre-programmed songs
- 20 teaching songs and one demo song
- a 3.5 mm headphone jack
- two sticks
- and a 9V power adapter
The Alesis CompactKit 4 comes with 70 different percussion sounds and 10 effect sounds, and the sound is higher quality than one would expect from typical electric drum set reviews of portable sets. There are 10 pre-programmed drum kits included in the setup. 50 play along songs will keep beginners busy for months as they hone their skills, and the interactive games add excitement to the practice routine.
The output switches between built-in speakers (which create a surprisingly good sound), and headphones so players can be public or private as the mood or need arises. The headphone jack connects to an M-Audio interface as well so it can be used to add tracks to digital recordings.
Probably the best thing about this set is its compactness. It’s great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of room and needs to be able to store their kit away when they aren’t using it, such as a kid with a crowded room. Adults can have a lot of fun with this set too, but it’s probably best suited as a teaching tool for a beginner who is just learning how to make different rhythms.
In fact, at less than $90, it’s probably the best electronic drum set for the money, and one of the best beginner teaching tools on the market. At 3.3 pounds, it travels well and can plug into a wall outlet or use 6 C batteries. On battery power, it will last about four to six hours, so the kit can be used anywhere, any time, in any setting.
Alesis CompactKit 7 Portable Tabletop Electronic Drum Kit
This portable tabletop kit comes included with:
- seven velocity-sensitive lighted pads
- two foot pedals
- 265 percussion sounds
- 45 pre-programmed “kits”
- 80 pre-programmed song loops
- 20 full songs and a demo song
- two ¼ inch inputs for the included kick and hi-hat pedals
- one ¼ inch headphone output (3.5 mm headphones will need an adapter
- one 1/8th inch auxiliary input so you can plug in anything from an iPod to an old MP3 player
- one 12V power adapter
- two drum sticks
Older children and adults alike will not easily grow bored with this electronic drum kit. Actually, it’s more than just one kit. It has 45 pre-programmed setups for different types of music, and it leaves room for 5 more user-programmed kit designs for those who want to create their own special sound. The built-in metronome can be adjusted fast or slow, as well as the included sound loops.
Sound can output through headphones or the internal stereo speakers, which give a nice full and realistic sound, albeit lacking in full volume without amplification. Since MP3s can be played through the input and the set comes with a built-in self recorder, you can record yourself playing along with your favorite songs and track your progress, or record tracks to run through a multi-track mixer.
Players can use endless possibilities of styles with this set, including hand percussion, so this has a lot of possibilities and potential. It may not be the most professional choice for a drum kit, but users can squeeze out some pretty decent recordings. This makes the best budget electronic drum set for a musician who really needs portable, quality sound.
Spectrum AIL 602 7-Pad Digital Drum Set
The Spectrum AIL 602 includes:
- drum stand–braced and adjustable
- two food pedals
- 215 different voices
- 100 pre-programmed songs
- 20 preset drum kits
- 10 user-programmable kits
- one set of sticks
- AC adapter
Lower-end electronic drum kits have not yet reached the point that they can fully mimic the hundreds of different sounds created on an acoustic set (such as hitting the bell verses the rim of a cymbal or playing a high-hat set open and closed). But this electric drum set reviews with a remarkably good rendition that doesn’t miss those subtle nuances with a little skill.
In other words, they are the real thing, not a disappointment. The pedals are a bit sticky and don’t always register, so people who plan on using this for amateur recording might want to consider buying separate pedals with better function.
Older children will really advance with this kit, along with adults that need to practice or relearn their skills. The set can be found for less than $180, so it’s a bargain for the quality and variety it provides.
Best Electronic Drum Set Under 500
Alesis Nitro Kit Electronic Drum Set with 8″ Snare, 8″ Toms, and 10″ Cymbals
This kit comes with:
- snare pad (8”)
- three single tom pads (8”)
- ride cymbal (10”)
- crash cymbal (10”)
- kick pad tower
- kick pedal
- kick pad tower
- 10” hi-hat with pedal
- Nitro module with metronome and 40 pre-programmed kits
- 385 custom sounds for building custom kits
- 60 pre-programmed tracks for play along
- power cord
- wrap strips for cables
- drum key
- mounting hardware for all pieces
- auxiliary input for MP3/CD
- headphone jack for private practice
- 1 pair of drum sticks
For those who want to use this kit for performance, there may be a few issues with the pedal triggers that make it difficult to ensure consistency. Occasionally the pedals miss or trigger sounds that they are not programmed for. It doesn’t usually affect the sound for the average bystander, but someone who is honing their skills to a professional performance level will most likely notice the problem. Also, the use of very heavy sticks is likely to damage the pads over time, especially on the cymbals where players hit the edges more often.
It’s better to use something close to standard 5A sticks instead of specialized acoustic performance sticks to preserve the integrity of the padding. Other than this, the sound is amazing. Switching between kits, whether pre-programmed or custom built, is seamless and fast. The set up feels very natural, like a regular acoustic set, and the bass pedal is nice and snappy.
This kit is a wonderful gift for someone who is moving into the need for a full set or needs to practice at times of day or in places where they might bother others. And at less than $300, it won’t break the bank. It doesn’t have internal speakers, so players need to use headphones or an external amp to hear the full sound effects. It’s recommended to use an amp that is specially made for electronic drum sets to preserve performance.
Roland TD-1K Electronic Drumset
The TD-K1 is equipped with:
- three toms
- one crash cymbal
- one ride cymbal
- one hi-hat with continuous pedal
- one kick pedal
- 15 preset drum kits
- 10 different coach functions to provide lessons, like a built-in drum instructor
- 15 pre-programmed songs
- built-in metronome with 5 rhythm types, 8 sound types and 10 volume levels
- 7 segment, 3 character LED display
- stereo miniature headphone jack
- stereo miniature MIX IN jack
- USB, type B computer port
- Trigger input connector for DB-25 type controls
- AC adapter
- special connections cable
The TD-K1 will hold its own against many lower-end Yamahas. It probably won’t satisfy a pro-player as it isn’t the best electronic drum set for professional performances, but more experienced beginners will be happy with its resonance and natural response. The hi-hat responds completely realistically, so players can master every style. Those who want to play double bass or add more cymbals can expand the set to their needs.
Best, sound dampening equipment can be added to the kick to reduce the noise further. This is probably one of the quietest practice sets for those who share the drummer’s space, yet the sound quality with headphones is amazing so the player can pick up all of the nuances to check their style. One of the best features of this kit is the built in coaching function that helps beginners take their playing to a new level.
This set comes with everything you need to get started except for a throne and headphones or an amp to hear the sound, both of which are a matter of personal preference anyway. It can be expanded with more options (sold separately), including an OP-TD1C cymbal, PDX-8 and PDX-6 pads, KD-9 and KT-10 kicks, PM-03 personal drum monitor, and TDM-3 V-Drums Mat. This is definitely THE drum set for a young player that knows they want to become a professional and the best budget electronic drum kit in our electric drum set reviews, hands down.
Alesis Forge Kit Eight-Piece Electronic Drum Set with Forge Drum Module
The Forge Kit comes equipped with:
- 11-inch dual-zone snare
- three, 11-inch toms
- 10-inch hi-hat with pedal with 14 hi-hat combination voices
- 10-inch crash with choke
- 10-inch ride
- bass drum pedal with kick pad tower
- chrome mounting rack
- cable snake and wraps
- power adapter
- Forge drum module
- 50 preset kits
- 20 user programmable kits
- 628 sounds
- USB port for pre-loading .WAV samples and tracks with a memory stick
- Internal recording for up to 5 tracks on board or up to 99 tracks with a USB memory stick
- USB/MIDI output, compatible with most recording software
- 9 general MIDI kits
- 120 preset songs and storage for 5 user songs
- stereo mini headphone output
- drum key
- one set of sticks
- monochrome, backlit display
This kit puts the ability to create pro sounds in the hands of any beginner/moderate player with a little programming savvy and a creative mind. A small sacrifice is that it’s not the best kit for developing acoustic styles that translate well to a full acoustic kit because it tends to miss certain subtleties with the pedals and needs a lot of tweaking to get certain sounds out of the different pads and inputs.
There are some expansion options available, but in most cases, the player will be sacrificing one sound to create the other and will eventually feel too limited if they are trying to play this kit like a standard full set. But that’s not what this kit was created to do. It is designed to work with electronic/programming savvy musicians who want to develop new styles and sounds.
Today’s music equipment and recording/programming equipment options are amazing. We get to perform electric drum set reviews on sets that professionals in the 70’s and 80’s would have happily given anything for. The Alesis Forge is just one example of the world of possibilities available to young composers today. This is no old-school set. It is specifically designed for a player who experiments with programming and different recording options and sampling. For this particular purpose, it is an absolutely phenomenal kit.
ddrum DD1 Digital Drum Set 100 Series
The kit is equipped with:
- ddrum module
- crash cymbal pad
- ride cymbal pad
- hi-hat and pedal
- four drum pads
- auxiliary MP3/CD input
- 30 editable pre-programmed kits
Beginners will definitely be pleased with the options available. It can be fit to play Rock Band 3 and 4 with the MIDI adapter too, which makes it the best electronic drum set for gaming. It’s also great for adults who are just learning. Assembly is fast and easy (and won’t confuse beginners or parents who know nothing of drum set ups), and the set comes with all equipment needed to complete setup in about an hour.
Considering that ddrum is the company that pioneered the electronic drum revolution, the DD1 isn’t quite what you would expect. This is one of the more disappointing electronic drum sets reviews. Long story short, this set is only suitable for beginners. It will fit the bill just fine if you are starting out, but once you become sufficiently advanced, you will be annoyed by some of its nuances and quirks.
Best Electronic Drum Kits Above 500
Roland TD-30KV V-Pro
This pro kit includes:
- 1 TD-30 V-Kick
- 1 VH-13-MG V-Cymbal Crash
- 2 CY-14C-MG V-Cymbal Rides
- 2 PD-128-BC V-Hi-Hats
- 1 KD-140-BC V-Pad for snare drum
- 1 PD-128S-BC V-Pad for tom
- 2 PD-108-BC V-Pad for toms
- drum stand
- extra input jack for additional trigger
- and of course, the revolutionary Supernatural Power TD-30 drum module
You will need to provide the other stands and parts to build out your kit.
Roland has developed the state of the art Supernatural Power TD-30 module to create a literally unparalleled experience in the world of electronic drums. The breakthrough technology of the supernatural engine responds to the subtleties of technique in a way that is unmatched on today’s market.
The TD-30 drum module utilizes behavior modeling technology that recognizes a wide variety of drumming techniques from rim shots to ghost notes in every imaginable dynamic. The PH-13 hi-hat’s motion sensor triggering picks up chokes, chicks, cooking–literally everything you can think of in any shape and volume. Describing even half the features of this kit in this short review would be literally impossible.
Long story short, of all our electric drum set reviews, this is literally the best electronic drum set you can buy, but getting this set is a lot like buying HD TV when they first came out–in other words–expensive. Now HD TVs are a dime a dozen and everyone has a few because they’ve become the industry standard. This drum module is much the same.
The technology is setting a new bar, but with a price tag over $5,000, it’s a bar that’s difficult for most drummers to reach. (The TD-50KV is more than $7000.) Dare to dream though, because some day our electric drum set reviews will show this to be the new standard of the next generation’s electronic drums.
Roland TD-4KP V-Drums Portable Electronic Drum Kit Bundle
The TD-4KP V-Drum kit includes:
- kick pad
- snare pad
- three tom pads
- 1 hi-hat pad with FD-8 hi-hat controller pedal
- two ten-inch cymbal pads for crash and ride
- TD-4 sound module
This kit is designed for mobility, so it’s not meant to look and feel like a full sized kit. The foldable stand can be stored in a very small space. The quick set up, breakdown and easy transport of this kit makes it best electronic drum set for practice gigs or very small performance spaces. It’s also great for personal recording.
Roland is proving that good things can come in small packages with this model. While the sound won’t match a top-end Yamaha (or even a top-end Roland), this is one of the best feeling and sounding electric kits for the price and size. It’s the one to pick if you are limited in space or need more sound in a small package.
Alesis DM10 Studio Kit Ten-Piece
This pro kit includes:
- DM10 drum module
- four 8” RealHead Dual-Zone Drum Pads
- one 10” RealHead Dual-Zone Drum Pad
- one RealHead Kick Pad
- one 12” DMPad Hi-Hat Cymbal with continuous hi-hat control pedal
- one 12” Crash Cymbal
- one 14” Ride Cymbal
- one fully adjustable stage rack with clamps and cymbal arms
- cable snake and cable collars
- one set of drumsticks
- drum key
- power supply
There is also a lot of tweaking required for the set to start sounding great to a truly pro ear. It’s not exactly ready to go straight out of the box. But once you hit that sweet spot, you’ll know why you decided on this particular kit after reading the electric drum set reviews for it. Of course, ghost notes are a bit harder to achieve on this set than an acoustic, but the fact that it picks them up at all is a huge selling point. It just takes a little practice. The sound quality of this set is as beautiful as its appearance–very vivid and rich.
The set comes with 100 pre-programmed kits and 100 user programmable kits that can be fully personalized for your needs. You can adjust volume, reverb, sensitivity, tone and more with each pad so that it’s precisely what you want, so it’s safe to say that the set can make a million different sounds and then some. The RealHead drum pads included in this kit are hard and loud. Players who worry that they still aren’t quiet enough to avoid disturbing others can opt to purchase mesh heads from Alesis online and replace the native ones in the kit.
This is among the best electronic drum sets for less than a thousand bucks, the sound quality of the set is perfection. It’s suitable for both youth and semi-professional adults.
Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Series Electronic Drum Set
This pro kit includes:
- TD-11 sound module
- one PDX-8 snare pad
- three PDX-8A pads for toms
- two CY-8 cymbal pads for ride and crash
- one CY-5 cymbal pad for hi-hat
- KD-9 kick pad
- FD-8 hi-hat controller
- fully adjustable drum stand
- additional trigger input jack
The hi-hat for this set feels and plays like a real hi-hat, which is so hard to find. Even better, this is the best electronic drum set for double bass. So few e-kits are able to keep up with a double bass pedal (sold separately). This one can in spades. The realistic studio sound is more than suitable for making quality recordings, and playing small venues or concerts. If you like the feel of your snare pad to be tighter or looser than usual, the included pad can be adjusted to match your preference. The included sounds have tone adjustment so you can infinitely tweak your custom kits to match the other instruments you are playing with, which is probably the most important reason that this kit qualifies for studio recording.
It’s also very easy to hook up to computer and monitoring equipment with the USB connection. But if you just want to jam at home, the set comes with 50 preset kits that feel and sound great. Like other kits, you can plug your own MP3s into this set and play along with your headphones. The only difference is that with this set, you’ll actually sound amazing. It creates a truly Zen playing experience to just zone out and groove along with your favorite song and a quality pair of headphones.
Whether this set is for a young player or an adult who wants a quality electronic kit, the TD-11K weighs in with the best electric drum set reviews out there. It’s an ideal set for church bands since the volume control and reverb can be adjusted to match the unusual acoustics of this type of auditorium. Actually, it’s going to be easy to tweak this set’s sound for any type of room, from a well-insulated studio to a garage to a high-school gymnasium. It will last for years too. It’s durable enough to be moved around and played aggressively (hence the double bass), without breaking down over time. While it’s too bad the toms don’t pick up rim shots, and the set doesn’t have the same extreme quality 3-zone pads that some higher-end Yamaha and Roland kits are now featuring, it gets the job done.
Best Yamaha Electronic Drums Reviews
Yamaha DTX400K Electronic Drum Set Bundle
This bundle includes:
- DTX400K module with ten preset kits
- snare pad
- hi-hat pad and remote pedal
- 10” crash and 10” ride pads
- KU100 silent kick unit
- comfortable padded drum throne
- three drum stick sets
- polishing cloth
The built in training functions provide a great learning tool for beginners, and the set is large enough to help young players develop the proper reach, although the placement can feel a bit awkward because it’s not fully adjustable. The KU100 kick unit is probably one of its best features because it allows for completely silent movement. Those residual kick sounds on an e-kit can be very annoying over time. The 10” pads feel great and produce a natural sound for this price range. It’s not a top of the line set, but it’s no slacker either.
Before you think that 10 drum kits aren’t enough when compared to other sets that have 50 or 100 kits, these are 10 QUALITY sounding kits. This makes a huge difference in playability and sound because the kits are well matched to produce truly pleasing sounds. Some e-kits may come with dozens of pre-programmed set ups, but if they don’t sound pleasing to the ear, then they don’t constitute variety. They are just a collection of useless noise. Yamaha knows how to create beautiful sounding presets, and it shows in these selections. The preset kits include Maple Custom, Vintage, Funk, Jazz, R&B, and Rock among others.
While these types of e-kits will never completely match the look and feel of an acoustic set, it’s an amazing tool for quiet practice that will develop a better ear for quality sound. The pads’ Accent Articulation will pick up subtle playing styles according to hit strength to help learn more nuanced skills. Once they have a feel for the included, players can create their own custom kits with the 169 very natural sounds to suit their own style. Again, as stated above, even though Yamaha states that the kit can be modified for double bass, this is the one area where the sound will fall short. Double bass players should review other electric drum set reviews for a more suitable set. All other aspects of the kit are extremely well engineered for a high quality playing experience.
Yamaha DD-65 Portable Digital Drum Kit with Foot Pedals and Drum Sticks
This little kit includes:
- 8 touch-sensitive pads
- auxiliary in jack for playing with MP3 devices and headphone jack for private listening
- Tap Start tempo control
- two foot pedals
- internal flash ROM memory for storing songs to play along
- bass boost and digital stereo processing
- 32 note polyphony
- master EQ and reverb
- internal recorder for up to 5 songs
- MIDI In/Out for computer connectivity
- stereo speakers with bass port for amazing sound quality from such a small kit
The kit has 254 GM compatible voices that can be assigned to the pads in any kit design, and assignable hi-hat and kick pedals, so it may be able to approximate the sound of a full e-kit, but not the feel. This is what makes the kit so perfect for some uses, but ill-conceived for others.
Parents may be tempted to buy this kit for kids who want to learn to play full kits because our electric drum set reviews show that it comes with a kick and hi-hat pedal as well as 8 pads. Proceed with caution though despite the high quality. This tiny kit may be a huge step above the smaller DD-40, but it can create bad movement habits with young drummers who want to learn how to play a full set. On the other hand, its hand percussion mode teaches accompaniment instruments like Latin drums beautifully.
And since an MP3 player can be plugged in for play along, this can make learning hand percussion extremely fun. It’s also great for someone who only plays drums as a hobby and spends more time behind a keyboard or mixing board than in front of a kit. If you’re not planning on moving to a full set, this is definitely a good choice for variety and quality of sound. Consider these purposes when making your e-kit purchase.
Yamaha DTX532K Electronic Drum Set
This pro kit includes:
- XP80 3-zone snare pad
- KP65 Kick Pad (pedal not included)
- 10″ Ride and Crash cymbals (3-zone pads)
- RHH135 and HS650A hi-hat with remote foot controller that allows half-open, pedal and splash sounds
- two 7” TP70 tom pads
- oneTP70 floor tom
- DTX502 Module with 691 sounds, layer and import options
Oooooohhhhh. You could actually professionally gig with this set. It’s worth every penny. The CPU is the same as the DTX520 model (meaning it’s one of the best among these reviews), but this set comes with an actual hi-hat system with top and bottom cymbals, which is hard to find even on a quality pro set. The hi-hat stand gives an improved feel and better playability than the base model which just has the pad and a wired foot pedal. All of the parts are customizable so you can set it up as you prefer for your comfort and style (even left handed).
You might experience some issues with getting a double peddle to trigger correctly, so if you plan to use one, you should try your pedal with the set first (see the above complaint about the set not coming with a pedal designed for it.) The plastic casing for the snare pad may lack enough durability for very hard playing as well. It’s easy enough to replace if it cracks, but it should be a bit more durable for the price. After all, for just under $2000, you might not expect it to survive a world tour with you, but you should not have to think twice about beating it to death.
Despite its (very minor) flaws, this is THE best electronic drum set if you would spare no expense. With a little care it will last for years. For fear of being ostracized for blasphemy here, the set is versatile enough to actually replace an acoustic set in almost every way. It might even be considered a dramatic improvement on what an acoustic set has to offer, considering the ability to change kits with the flip of a switch.
Yamaha YDD40 Portable Digital Electronic Drums with Power Supply
This small kit includes:
- 50 preset drum kits
- 99 individual drum voices
- a pair of drumsticks
- foot pedal input (foot pedal not included)
- auxiliary input for headphones
- four fully programmable (very small) pads
For adults, this is the type of toy you could plug into a 4 track cassette recorder or FL-Studio on your computer and go to town with. With a little savvy, equalization and effort, it can mimic the sound of a full kit remarkably well if you don’t go too fast with your beats per second. It absolutely is not the top electronic drum set to support super aggressive, fast playing. It comes with 50 preset drum kits, but you can also program your own kits for personal preference with the 99 individual drum voices.
Don’t expect a full universe of drum sounds with this tiny kit, but for the basic purpose, it does Yamaha pretty proud. Kids have an absolute blast playing with this, and since it has volume control and a headphone jack, they can play it for hours without causing headaches. This is a great way to encourage experimentation with young musicians, even if drums aren’t their first instrument of choice, and improve hand/eye coordination and rhythm recognition. You can increase the learning experience by adding a bass pedal (sold separately).
The tiny pads are not meant to train a person to use a full sized set, so this isn’t ideal for a truly aspiring drummer. Someone who wants to really branch out into drumming as a career should check the other reviews. However, a multi-instrument player (say, a kid who dabbles in keyboards, guitars, brass and anything else they can get their hands on) will love adding this to their collection.
Yamaha DTX522K Electronic Drum Kit
This pro kit includes:
- XP80 3-zone snare pad
- KP65 Kick Pad (pedal not included)
- 10″ Ride and Crash cymbals (3-zone pads)
- 10″ Hi-Hat cymbal with the HH65 remote hi-hat foot controller
- two 7” TP70 tom pads
- oneTP70 floor tom
- DTX502 Module with 691 sounds, layer and import options
- free iOS software for sampling, mixing and sound import
One of the nicest features of this kit is the 3 zone snare pad which has pickups across all the natural playing areas of the pad, including the rim. This creates an incredibly realistic sound and feel to the set because it picks up everything from rim shots to rolls with the full range of expression. Furthermore, it’s specifically designed to be the best electronic drum set for ergonomic comfort.
This is because the silicone snare pad is textured with air bubbles that cushion and absorb the shock to arms and wrists so extended playing is less painful. All of the strength exercises, braces and special practice techniques in the world can’t compete with the cumulative damage of repetitive motion injuries, so it’s nice to find out during the course of these electric drum set reviews that the industry is addressing the long-term health concerns of drummers.
The cymbals and hi-hat have the same 3-zone pads, so you can get the full range of sounds out of your crash and rides when you hit the cup, bow and edges. And it produces almost the full range out of the hi-hat sounds, with a foot pedal that allows for half-open, pedal and splash sounds. Let’s face it, hi-hats are so dynamic that even thousands of dollar e-kits haven’t completely managed to mimic all of those sounds yet. This one gets very close though. The natural swaying motion of the cymbals and choke function make playing them so realistic that you don’t feel out of sync when switching back and forth to an acoustic set. The sound and feel is very similar.
The drum module of this kit alone is worth the price, with an entire universe of sounds and mixing options when paired with the accompanying free software and a compatible Apple device. The 32 note polyphonic tone generator and nearly 700 percussion sounds create an unbelievable variety of sound. The 50 preset drum kits cover the standard options that this type of kit normally carries. This kit is definitely worth its weight in gold (if you are an iPhone user.)
Must Have Accessories for Awesome Drumming Experience
Even the best electronic drum set needs the right accessories to get the most from them and enjoy the full range of possible tones and sounds. Most people choose to upgrade their sets with improved (or additional) bass drum pedals to play double bass or get a better, snappier sound. Great kits sound even greater with professional studio headphones that are designed to pick up the nuances of different drumming techniques.
After all, what is the point of combing through reviews to pick out the best electronic drum kits if you don’t get the best possible sound? Also, most people don’t like the standard drumsticks that come included with electronic sets. While the factory included sticks are probably designed to work with the specific set without damaging the equipment, they tend to lack the feel that a player needs to match their style. We’ve reviewed these items and found three of the best options to help you get the most from your new electronic kit without costing an arm and a leg.
Best Bass Drum Pedal
Pearl P930 Demonator Single Chain Interchangeable Cam Powershifter
The Demonator single chain is an amazingly responsive bass pedal with an infinitely adjustable beater angle (frictionless) spring roller that will fit anyone’s foot and need for speed. Double pedal and conversion kits are available as well.
A lot of the included bass pedals for electronic kits just don’t respond well to heel-toe technique or tend to miss faster or subtle rhythms. This pedal fills the gap, assuming the kit is equipped to work with a standard drum pedal (most are).
Does your foot like to go fast? I mean really, really fast? Your only limit with the Demonator will be the processing speed of your electronic kit’s triggers and module. Even if you have a lower-end kit, it will benefit from a better pedal.
Best Drummer Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
ATH-M30X features 40 mm drivers composed of copper coated wire voice coils that provide amazing definition for mid range sounds.
Most people play their electronic drum sets with headphones, as one of their main benefits is practice without disturbing others. But cheap headphones won’t pick up subtle undertones or can distort the sound of your set. These headphones are engineered to take the beating of percussive sound.
These headphones are perfect for field recording and studio work in addition to performance practice. The clarity and sound isolation make it possible to pick up the most subtle sounds of your kit so you can tweak your technique to perfection. Plus they sound so fantastic that practicing with your favorite tunes is an act of pure joy. There’s nothing like full on surround sound filling your brain with the perfect beat. Just be sure to protect your hearing because, when coupled with the top electronic drum set, they can crank out some serious volume.
Best Drum Sticks For the Buck
Vic Firth American Classic 5A Drum Sticks
These 5A sticks from the American Classic Series are made from dense hickory that has just enough give not to become brittle with hard playing.
Well-balanced, hickory sticks will help produce a fuller, more pronounced sound from your kit, and they are flexible enough to withstand heavy shock. The 5A’s are a bit thinner and more flexible than the 5B’s, so they are better suited for electronic drum pads that, no matter how well built, are subject to damage just like acoustic drum heads, and a heck of a lot more expensive to replace.
Don’t settle for the cheap feeling sticks that came with your kit. Nothing beats a pair of Vic Firths for the price.
Electronic Drum Set vs Acoustic
There are pros and cons to both electronic and acoustic drum set. The benefits and and features are so varied that it can get a bit confusing trying to make a choice. Here’s a basic breakdown of the pros and cons of each type of set to help you with your decision making process.
One of the best benefits of electronic sets is that they are great for learning without disturbing others. But there are many other benefits, and a few trade-offs even with best electronic drum set that should be considered.
- They allow quiet practice and can be played any time of night or day.
- No tuning is required.
- It’s easy to record or sample and mix tracks.
- There’s no need for studio quality microphones to get the best recording sound that the set can provide.
- Many sets come with tutorials and instruction aids that help newbies learn the skill.
- Kits can be quickly changed to adjust to different styles of music with the flip of a switch.
- There is a huge variety of sounds and programmable options on even less expensive sets to make it possible to create unique styles.
- They are more portable and compact.
- Bands can practice very quietly (with the exception of vocals) with a mixing board and headphones (and very long headphone cords). This is a godsend for bands who lack adequate practice facilities.
- Cheap sets won’t pick up the same subtitles of playing that an equally priced acoustic set would. Heck, even more expensive sets can be somewhat limiting if not programmed properly. It takes a very expensive set indeed to match the total sound universe of an acoustic set. (The good ones are getting pretty close though.)
- Even though tuning isn’t required, adjustment, proper set up and sometimes programming is. Just throwing any old sample together won’t make any better of a sound than a mis-tuned acoustic set.
- Your recordings will only be as good as your kit. Don’t expect studio sound from a $50 roll out pad.
- They require a power source, so if they don’t run on battery you are limited to where you can play. Acoustic venues won’t be an option.
- Sets with internal speakers aren’t usually loud enough to play with others. Most electronic kits will require the purchase of a specialized amp for external sound.
- Replacement parts can be expensive, or even very difficult to find.
It’s honestly just hard to beat the look, feel and sound of a good, old-fashioned, well-tuned acoustic set. Even a cheap one. The feel of the stroke is still more natural than the best electronic drum and nuances are endless, instead of muted or limited by electronic pickups. But there are some things that acoustic sets just can’t do as well as electronic sets. Here are a few pros and cons.
- They pick up all the subtle nuances that your skills can provide, and they will never limit your learning curve.
- You don’t need electricity or special sound equipment to play publicly. The sky’s the limit for locations as long as your band mates are acoustic too.
- Drum heads and replacement parts are a dime a dozen when compared to replacement parts for electronic kits. If you get in a bind right before a performance with an acoustic set, finding the replacement parts will be much easier. With an electric set, you might be out of luck.
- THEY ARE LOUD. Yup, just like typing in all caps irritates the reader, mom, dad and neighbors may begin to feel that they are being subjected to fingernails on a chalk board. Supplying them with headache medicine could get expensive.
- For the above reason, they shouldn’t be played without ear protection. Most electronic kits on the other hand come with a volume knob.
- They have to be tuned. Of course, this is a benefit if you’re the type of drummer who prefers to perfectly balance their sound.
- They are harder to record with.
- They are less portable and take up more space.
Which type is better? Both of course! Both types of drum sets have benefits that that the other type will never be able to match. And both types sacrifice some sort of convenience for those benefits. For instance, in order to maintain the beautiful nuances that an acoustic set can create, the kit requires much more maintenance than an electronic sets. The heads must be replace and tuned often and cymbals must be polished to maintain their tone. The truth is, many drummers have both electronic and acoustic sets to suit different needs. Your ultimate choice will be simply a matter of preference. Hopefully this article will help you with that decision.
So, Which Electronic Drum Set Should I Choose?
In order to ensure you are happiest with your purchase, you need to consider a few things when deciding which type of electronic drum set to buy.
First, what is your budget? If you are very limited on budget and want to get the best bang for your buck, then you must carefully consider the following questions when exploring reviews in order to make sure you are getting the best electronic drum set for your money.
What are you using it for? This is a more complex question than it sounds because options for electronic kits are so varied. For instance, if you are purchasing the kit for a pro who switches back and forth between an acoustic and an electric, and they need a quality set for practice on a limited budget, the Roland TD-K1 may be a perfect choice because it recreates the sound quality of an acoustic set with decent accuracy.
On the other hand, if you are buying the kit for a young player who is experimenting with electronic music styles, they may become quickly frustrated with the Roland because it lacks variety of style and sounds. You may find that it becomes a virtual money pit as they need more equipment to suit their musical goal. The Alesis Forge is an alternative that will provide a virtual sampling playground foe the same price and probably not need much extra equipment at all. Consider the use, and build your choice from there.
What is their skill level? If you are purchasing this set for someone who plays double bass at Slipknot speeds, you’ll need to search through several reviews to find a more expensive set capable of expanding equipment and using fully adjustable external pedals and lightening quick trigger pickups. In other words, expensive. Beginners will never notice a slower trigger speed or limited inputs. A less-expensive, expandable set could provide years of joy for their drumming needs.
Finally, all the reviews in the world only provide guidance. The ultimate deciding factor is personal preference. The ear knows what the ear wants.
Now that you have learned about the different types of drum kits that are available on the market and what each has to offer, why not consider grabbing your favorite pair of drumsticks and heading to your local music store to try out a few brands for yourself?
There’s no need to feel embarrassed about being a newbie. There are so many different types of electronic drums and portable kits available and even experienced drummers get lost in the forest of options at times. But now you at least know enough to ask the right questions so you don’t end up buying more, or worse, less equipment than you need.
You’ll know what you want when you hear it, and any sales agent worth their salt should be able to show you how to tweak the set to see if it can make the sound that you want. If you are playing with a band, consider having your mates shop with you so you can try out your different instruments together and get a feel for the sound mix that different set ups will create.
Don’t forget, if you have a favorite pair of headphones, bring them along with your sticks. Different sets respond to different types of equipment in surprising ways, and headphones vary greatly in sound reproduction and quality.
Whether you are searching through electric drum set reviews to find a full kit for performance and recording, or just a simple roll out pad to learn basic rhythms in the privacy of your own room, there’s no reason to wait considering the world of options available at any price range, big or small.