For those who march to a digital beat
The electronic drum kit goes by many names; the digital drum set, electric drum kit and for those who are acoustic drum purists “not an acoustic”, but whatever you call them – they’re extremely useful and so versatile it’s mind boggling. With more and more acoustic drummers deciding to go digital thanks to the sheer versatility, plethora of sounds on board and superior control over your sound, brands have really started to focus on crafting the very best samples and sounds they can to entice acoustic drummers to make the change – and the results are staggering.
We’ve covered the best electronic drum kits for beginners, but today we’re going to look at the best electronic drum kits for professionals and those touring musicians who need something to play the world’s stages with.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re looking to potentially make the change from an acoustic kit to an electronic drum kit, or you’re looking to upgrade your own digital drum set. If you are looking to make the change, it’s worth reading this blog we put together on the Roland TD-30KV and reading about why more and more acoustic drummers are making the change.
Without further delay let’s look at some of the best electronic drum kits for the professional musician.
Here’s some best designed for live use…
Roland have, without doubt, become an absolute powerhouse when it comes to crafting professional grade electronic drum kits for touring musicians. The solid construction and absolute attention to detail is one thing, but it’s the dedication to crafting a realistic feeling and sounding electronic drum kit that captures everything we know and love about an acoustic kit sets them apart. New for 2016, the Roland TD-50KV V-Drums electronic drum kit represents the new flagship model for the brand and provides the user with unparalleled expression and realism.
Now you may be wondering what the differences are between this model and the already renowned TD30KV -V Drum kit. Well, for starters you have a brand new sound module that features Roland’s Prismatic Sound Modelling and you also get a new and improved snare and ride cymbal. This is quite a big deal as the new snare and ride pads connect via super high speed digital connections which eradicates any latency between your strike and the sound you hear. The snare in particular will be of interest as Roland have really stepped it up with this model adding a multi-element sensor system as well as a 3-layer mesh head that provides natural rebound and feel. This basically means that all those tiny dynamics that we love are detected and all the subtle nuances of your playing are accurately represented.
The new 18″ CY-18DR Digital ride is also a multi-sensor system that accurately detects every hit, from the edge to the bell. You can also play your own WAV samples via an SD card and trigger them as you wish and take advantage of the USB 10-channel audio out for multi-track recording through a single USB cable – perfect for studio use. If you’ve already got your Roland electronic drum kit set up and you feel like upgrading, the Roland TD-50DP Digital Upgrade Pack is exactly what you need and includes the flagship V-Drums sound module with PD-140DS digital snare and CY-18R digital ride on it’s own.
Alesis understand that a vast majority of drummers prefer the look of an acoustic kit. Let’s face it, some people just don’t want to use those pads on stage! So with this in mind Alesis created the Alesis Strike range, which provides drummers with the perfect blend of acoustic response, feel and design with the added expandability and versatility of an electronic kit. The Strike Pro is a beautiful looking and sounding 11-piece electronic drum kit designed for professionals. Each drum has been designed and constructed to recreate the look and feel of an acoustic kit by incorporating wood shells and the 12-inch snare, 8/10/12/14-inch toms, and 14-inch kick are all built to the same size and depth of standard acoustic shells we all know and love. Again, the mesh heads make an appearance here which provide the player with beautiful performance control. The key benefit with these particular mesh heads is that you can adjust the sensitivity to your needs and dictate the response to suit what you’re playing.
The cymbals, i.e. three 16-inch triple-zone ride cymbals; a 14-inch crash with choke; and a 12-inch hi hat offer the response and realistic feel you’ve come to expect from acoustic cymbals – but there’s no chance of these things cracking over time! They also look really cool thanks to the “hammered” finish and have a larger bell area so you can get all those nuances into your playing easily. At this point you’re probably wondering how it sounds, right? Well you’ll be happy to know that the Alesis Strike Performance Module is packed with 200 drum kit locations that are made from over 1000 multi-sampled instruments, and if that’s not enough, you can even sample your own sounds either via the on-board capabilities or load them via an SD card. Alesis have also provided a solid, premium 4-post chrome rack that can handle years of touring and all the hits you throw at it. If you need a smaller sized kit, the Alesis Strike Zone 8-Piece Professional Electronic Drum Kit is another great option.
Here’s a few options for practice / recording at home
If you’re a drummer or a percussionist, the Roland TD-1KPX Mesh Portable V-Drum Kit is an ideal solution for those who either can’t be bothered carrying around a full kit with them to practice or for those who want a quick, easy to set up option for onstage use. Although small and compact, this professional grade kit packs a serious punch thanks to the fact it’s loaded with 15 premium quality kits via the TD-1 brain – or module as it’s sometimes known. It’s also got those great mesh heads that really help with that “real feel” experience as well as delivering great response.
The real benefit here is of course the fact that you can pack this electronic drum kit away super easy and set it up just as quick, making load outs/ins a breeze. If you’re a pro musician who wants a great kit to jam some ideas at home or a percussionist who needs a studio quality kit to add samples to their music or live show this is indeed a great choice, especially as it can be connected via USB to any computer. This is a complete drum set in an ultra-small packaging that can even be carried via the optional carry case – your roadies will thank you for it.
Now that we’re on the subject of practice kits, even pros need something to play backstage or an easily packed down kit for rehearsal at home. The Yamaha DTX400K Digital Drum Kit Bundle is a great option – yes it’s aimed at the lower price bracket – but this doesn’t mean for a second that it’s a lesser quality kit. The ‘brain’ of the Yamaha DTX400K10 includes 10 professional and customisable drum kits – made up of 169 drum sounds. Further to that, any kit can be customised with the 169 on-board sounds which means you have an almost limitless array of different setup possibilities to choose from.
These features are especially useful for those who need to be able to record at home, specifically solo artists or those who need a percussive element to their live show. You’ll be happy to know that a selection of the drum sounds are sampled from Yamaha’s own high end acoustic drum kits, all of which use accent articulation to provide the dynamics you need. The kit can be added to and the DTX400K can even be used to control sounds in your favourite DAW on PC or Mac due to the USB connectivity. It’s a professional grade kit at the fraction of the cost.
View a complete range of electronic drum kits over at the Dawsons website.