Upgrading Digital Drum Kits

There are many ways of upgrading digital drum kits for added power and flexibility – here are four…

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Roland TD-11K V-Drum Kit

Electronic drums have taken over the percussion world, it would seem. Due to their low noise and practical nature, a digital kit has become the first choice for beginners.

You might think that, unlike acoustic drums where it’s simply a matter of attaching a new drum or cymbal, expanding digital drums is difficult or even impossible. Well, you’d be wrong.

Here are four great ways of upgrading digital drum kits.

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Roland TD-15 Brain

Upgrade the brain/ sound module

This is one of the simplest methods of supercharging the power of your digital kit. The brain is the source of all of your sounds, and the power behind every other feature that your drum kit is capable of. Swapping it effectively makes your kit entirely new (but with the same trigger pads).

All drum triggers work in pretty much the same way, and most connect using ¼” jack plugs, so it’s very unlikely to have compatibility issues, even across brands.

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Trigger inputs

Most of the major brands sell drum modules separately, too. So, if you wanted, you could take your old TD-3 kit, and make it new again with a TD-15 brain.

One thing to note, however- if you are upgrading from an older V-Drum kit to a newer one, you might have to buy the new loom cable that the modern kits use. Always check the connections…

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Roland TD-30 Hi-Hat

Add extra drum triggers

A lot of electronic kits feature additional trigger inputs, for the purpose of adding more triggers at a later date. V-Drums from the TD-11 upwards offer this, for example.

As stated above, most electronic kits have triggers that function in the same way, so adding additional pad or cymbal shouldn’t be a problem if it isn’t the same brand.

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Roland PD-128s Trigger

Just about all of Roland’s V-Drum components are available to buy separately, so you can add anything from a mesh pad to a cymbal, to a hi-hat trigger easily.

Just remember, you’ll need a mount for any new trigger (unless you go for something like the Roland bar trigger)

Roland also makes some great acoustic drum triggers, making it easy to integrate elements of your acoustic set-up into your digital kit.

Trigger computer software

Nearly every electronic kit has a USB connection and/ or MIDI connections. If you have a computer with good onboard sound, or an audio interface, there’s plenty of scope for triggering sounds via software.

Most DAW packages (such as Ableton Suite or Reason) come complete with massive sound libraries, including plenty of drum sounds. Hook your kit up, trigger some of these and POW! Upgrading digital drum kits has never been so easy…

There’s plenty of dedicated drum plug ins, too (Toontrack and FXPansion produce some excellent examples…)

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Friend Jam

Plus, if you have an iPad or iPhone, and one of the compatible V-Drum kits, you can take advantage of the free, Friend Jam app, and compete in coaching exercises with people from around the world.

Upgrading Digital Drum Kits - Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad

Add a performance pad to your rig

If you don’t have any additional trigger inputs, there are still ways of upgrading digital drum kits. One of the easiest is by adding a performance pad to the set-up.

A performance pad is an all-in-one unit that comprises a set of playable trigger pads and a sound module or sampler. Capable of being played on their own, they can easily be set up within an electronic kit and massively expand its capabilities.

Upgrading Digital Drums -Roland Octapad SPD-30 Black

The Roland SPD-SX sampler and SPD-30 Octapad are both great examples of this.

Each of these will add raft of new features to your kit, and if you already have a V-Drum kit and an iPad, it might even be free, too!

A full range of digital drums and accessories can be found in our online store, here. Alternatively, call our stores or customer service team (01925 582420) for more information.

 

Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.

Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.

Comments

  1. Zach caruso says:

    Hey man I have a question that I can’t find the answer to I purchased a Yamaha dtx532 about a month ago and it comes with a “real hihat” but its real rubbery and has little to no rebound so I was wondering if I wanted to upgrade it with a Roland or Alexis, KAT head and keep the stand would I run into any problems with it triggering or fitting on my old stand? Thank you for taking the time and reading this I’m a new drummer , never played a real kit but I don’t like the feel of the Yamaha rubber if so what are my options

    • Sam Butterworth says:

      Hi Zach. If the pads connect separately rather than with one large connector then you’ll be able to swap out the hi-hat. I’ve taken a look at your module online and it looks like you’ll be good to go! If you call us on 01925 582 420 or speak to any of our store staff we should be able to sort out a replacement for you.