Learn to play drums without waking the neighbours
If you decide to take up the drums, you may find that starting out with an acoustic kit is simply not viable, whether it’s due to noise constraints, space constraints or even budget. Thankfully, we’ve put together the best beginner electronic drum kits that are designed for beginners to play through headphones, that take up very little room, and definitely don’t require a huge financial investment.
Benefits of an electronic drum kit
Acoustic kits, although they sound awesome, can be very loud, take up an awful lot of space and be a little daunting (or annoying) for some as everyone down the street can hear everything you’re trying to play. Learning can be a little awkward sometimes if you’re nervous about people hearing your mistakes, but even though that shouldn’t put you off, being able to isolate the sounds and play the drums via some headphones make electronic kits a good choice for the beginner who wants to be able to practice any time day or night.
Practise makes perfect
Remember, as a drummer our job is to make everyone sound good. You can have a great drummer with a terrible band, but if you have a bad drummer, it doesn’t matter how good the band is, the whole thing will sound terrible. So, there’s a lot of responsibility when it comes to playing the drums – which is probably why you’ll find drummers practice all the time to get their timing right, build up their stamina and hone their skills. Practice makes perfect, but unfortunately hitting an 18-inch kick drum in the middle of the night won’t be warmly received by the person who lives next door to you. Therefore, the electronic kit is a great way to practice on and of course, learn with.
There are plenty of electronic drum kit options out there and picking one can be tough if you don’t know what you’re looking for. So, if you plan on becoming the next Dave Grohl, Samantha Maloney, Sheila E or Travis Barker, we’re here to help.
Our top choices to get you started
We’ve compiled a list of the best beginner electronic drum kits to get you started:
1. Aroma TDX-15
Though they may not be as well-known as Roland and Yamaha, Aroma has over twenty years’ experience in crafting professional-level digital percussion. When it comes to an affordable, high quality electronic kit for beginners it doesn’t get better than the Aroma TDX-15.
Built around a solid and reliable rack system, the hardware feels stable and responsive to encourage new drummers to play with enthusiasm. Made up of 1.5-inch aluminium tubing, all necessary mounting hardware and cables to get you up and running are in the box.
The TDX-15 is a 7-piece kit that includes a dual-zone snare pad, which enables you to assign different sounds to the centre of the snare and the rim. There’s an upright kick drum pad and kick drum pedal, hi-hat and hi-hat pedal, crash and ride cymbal pads, and a trio of tom pads.
The brains at the core of the kit is the TDX-15 sound module, which boasts a generous collection of drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments for you to get to grips with. With 12 preset kits ready and waiting, all you need to do is switch on the sound module and go for it.
A built-in USB connection allows you to use the TDX-15 kit as a trigger-to-MIDI interface when you link it up to your computer and DAW (Digital Audio Workstation such as Cubase or Logic) of choice. There’s an Aux connection for hooking up an external audio source to play along with your favourite tracks. A headphone output allows you to practise in silence and play into the wee hours, whilst the Output jack allows you to connect to an amplifier when you want to show off to family and friends.
It’s worth noting that if you want to go for a drum amp, we’ve also got the excellent Aroma ADX-30 Drum Amplifier. Kicking out an impressive 30-Watts, the amp is perfect for anyone who want to project their electronic drum sounds in all their glory.
2. Alesis Turbo Mesh
The Alesis Turbo Mesh electronic drum kit offers Alesis’ famed mesh-head technology at an affordable price for beginners to get stuck into. The hardware is as solid as they come, whilst the mesh heads offer a more comfortable and realistic feel than that of a typical rubber pad. Therefore, drummers can develop technique on a more consistent and responsive kit. You can consistently pound away for hours on this kit without noticing.
Realistic playing feel
The ride and crash cymbals feature “choke detection” so that you can grab the cymbal after hitting it to bring the sound to a sudden end – just as you would with an acoustic cymbal. The snare is equipped with Alesis’ single-zone technology to enable rim-shots and powerstrokes to be sounded out with absolute clarity.
Practical Sound Collection
Rather than fill the Turbo Mesh kit module with a daunting amount of sounds to go through, there are 10 practical and ready-to-use kits with 120 drum and cymbal sounds in total. As the kit if fully USB/MIDI compatible, you can connect directly to your computer to play along with your DAW of choice – or any other piece of musical equipment for that matter.
If you want to practise into the wee hours then the headphone output allows you to keep things nice and quiet. Want to play along to your favourite tracks? Simple connect your external sound source – CD players, MP3 player, Phone, etc. – to the stereo input and you’re good to go.
Learn in style
For those who are picking up the sticks for the first time, the Turbo Mesh features 30 built-in songs that help you develop your dynamics and timing skills in a fun and easy to follow way. The interface is delightfully intuitive so that you aren’t befuddled by a plethora of buttons and dials. The easy-to-read LED display and control panel keeps you on top of things.
Go for our exclusive bundle below with stick, stool, and headphones to get everything you need in one go!
3. Roland TD-1K
The Roland TD-1K V-Drums offer the superb build quality, playability, and sound engine that we’ve come to expect from the Japanese manufacturer. Pouring all of their expertise into crafting a masterful kit that is great for getting beginners up and running, the TD-1K kit provides acclaimed V-Drum technology at an affordable price.
The solidly built stand supports a snare pad, a trio of tom pads, hi-hat pad, and a pair of cymbal pads. There is the option to extend the cut too by adding an additional cymbal pad. You can even swap out the standard kick pedal for the KT-10 or KD-9 models used on more advanced Roland V-Drum kits. Therefore, the kit can grow as your technique improves.
The sound module is home to 15 drum kits that cover any style at the touch of a button taking you from rock and blues to jazz, world music, and beyond. The built-in Coach Function motivates you on your learning journey, helping you to build speed, stamina, and – most importantly – accuracy. You also have a suite of songs to play along with, as well as the option to connect your MP3 player or smartphone to play along with your favourite tracks.
There’s also a Roland TD-1K bundle to choose from, which includes the kit along with headphones, stool and drumsticks to get you started in style.
4. Alesis DM Nitro Mesh
The Alesis DM Nitro Mesh kit is the successor to the Alesis DM6, and a step up in terms of quality and playability. For those who are serious about learning drums, the DM Nitro Mesh is one of the best (and low cost) options you can choose from. The fact that it’s an 8-piece kit with 40 ready to play drum kits built-in, as well as 60 built-in practice tracks with a sequencer to capture every performance. That’s a LOT of options and a great way to learn!
To offer that “real feel” playing experience, Alesis have made sure to include a dual zone snare sensor for those rim shots as well as the coveted cymbal choke detection which offers unprecedented realistic response for a beginner/practice kit. The thick 8″ pads are comfortable to play whilst you smash through 385 drum and cymbal sounds and learn how to play or hone your skills with the dedicated learning mode.
This electronic drum kit should definitely be on your list to try out. Designed for both beginners and intermediates alike, and a very budget friendly option you could even gig with.
5. Alesis Surge Mesh
Last but by no means least is the superb Alesis Surge Mesh kit. This 8-piece slice of pure genius offers incredible value for money for everyone from beginner to pro.
Play like a pro
The 10-inch mesh snare boasts dual-zone technology, which means that the pad and rim can trigger different sounds for greater expression during performances. Not only that but each of the toms also feature dual-zone technology too.
Alesis’ mesh technology within the Surge kit affords excellent accent control to ensure that your rudiments are executed with absolute precision. The thin rubber hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbals all feature choke-detection to ensure that your playing experience is as joyous as possible.
Packed with kits
The Alesis Surge is home to 40 ready-to-play kits that have been sampled exquisitely. Altogether there are 385 voices to play with taking you from stadium-filling rock kits, tight as a nut studio kits, EDM kits for uptempo grooves, and so much more. Speaking of metronome, there’s one built-in to keep you on track no matter what. To be fair, it goes from 30 to 280 bpm, which should offer more than speed for you to be getting on with.
Play your way
Thanks to built-in USB/MIDI connectivity you can connect directly to your DAW of choice for recording at home or in the studio with ease. For times when you want to practise in silence or simply shut out the outside world and play to your heart’s content, there’s a stereo headphone output so that you can do just that.
Each Alesis Surge kit is supplied with drum sticks and drum key, along with all hardware required to get you up and running. All you need is a stool and you’re good to go.
Get in touch
So, there you have it, our list of the best electronic drum kits for beginners that will really help you learn this awesome instrument at your own pace without costing you a fortune.
As always you can check out our extensive collection of Electronic Drum Kits over at the Dawsons website. If you would prefer to get your hands on something then head to your local Dawsons Music store, and our instore specialists will be more than happy to help.
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For more information on the tech behind the kit, read here to find out “How do electronic drums work?“.
To beef up your knowledge, check out “10 Essential Drum Rudiments” from pro drummer and Jake Bugg‘s stickman, Jack Atherton.
Quick recap of the products highlighted in the article:
- Aroma TDX-15
- Aroma TDX-15 Bundle
- Alesis Turbo Mesh
- Alesis Turbo Mesh Bundle
- Roland TD-1K
- Roland TD-1K Bundle
- Alesis DM Nitro Mesh
- Alesis DM Nitro Mesh Bundle
- Alesis Surge Mesh
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.