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. Mirage DMK-10 Mesh
When it comes to choosing a beginner electronic drum kit the Mirage DMK-10 Mesh is an excellent option. The relatively low cost paired with high quality hardware makes it perfect for those who want to dip their toe into the world of drumming, without too much financial commitment. Although it is aimed toward beginners, this is by no means a toy as the premium kit features 4 mesh drums pads, a trio of cymbals and an intelligent interface.
Solid build quality
The pads are strong and sturdy yet won’t hurt your wrist when you’re playing them thanks to the rubber construction, and the 31 built-in drum kits will keep you busy whilst you find out what style of drumming you prefer. There are 44 songs that help you to hone and perfect your technique. By gradually increasing the difficulty over time, the DMK-10 ensures that the kit is equipped to keep pace with you every step of the way.
The pedal is quiet, making them neighbour-friendly and the dual 1/4-inch outputs to connect to an amplifier, which means that you can play gigs or rehearse with a band easily. Thanks to the handy USB connection you can connect directly to your DAW of choice to trigger MIDI drums via Mac or PC. The kit is easy to assemble to get you up and running in no time.
3. Roland TD-1DMK V-Drums
The Roland TD-1DMK V-Drums digital drum kit is another great beginner option that boasts awesome V-Drum quality. The Roland world of electronic drums is getting bigger and bigger as many professional musicians choose this brand for the coveted Roland V-Drums sound. Acoustic drums are painstakingly sampled to get the most realistic sound possible. This means you get a variety of beautifully sampled drum sounds that respond really well to how you hit them offering realistic expression. In fact, you get 15 kits to choose from ranging from classic rock sounds to drum and bass to keep you busy too.
Mesh Head design
The feel of the mesh head V-pad design is what sets the TD-1DMK apart. Featuring on the snare and toms, they replicate the feel and response of an acoustic drumhead to make it easier to hone your technique, as well as transferring between acoustic and electronic kits. This kit is also expandable, meaning you can add extra pedals, extra cymbals or you can even integrate your favourite double-kick pedal.
For the learners out there, you’ll really benefit from the tutorial features on board as they really help you get the most out of your practice time and help you develop technique. The coach mode also helps you build up your speed, stamina and accuracy which are all vital aspects to be a drummer. You can also benefit from using Roland’s free V-Drums Friend Jam series applications which offer even more jam tracks and great features to help you learn how to play. An interesting feature with the TD-1DMK is that you have a mix-in jack that allows you to hook up your MP3 player or smartphone so you can jam along to your favourite songs. Not only that but for times when you want to practise without disturbing family or neighbours, the stereo headphone output allows you to play into the wee hours.
4. Yamaha DTX402
For those who want a vast range of options and the ability to customise their kit, the Yamaha DTX402 comes with some seriously impressive pads with space to upgrade and expand as well as 10 kits made up of 169 drum sounds that you can program to your needs. Straight out of the box you have 10 pre-loaded kits ready to go with some of the sounds actually sampled from Yamaha’s own acoustic kits, with accent articulation that responds beautifully to how you play it.
The onboard ‘Brain’ offers control over a metronome, tempo adjustment as well as volume and gives you access to tonnes of snares, kicks, toms, cymbals and percussion instruments. However, the really cool part comes in the form of being able to expand or change anything up at will. It will please you to know that each sound is assignable to any pad and the USB connectivity makes sure you are able to control your sounds through your favourite DAW on PC or MAC – perfect for those who have a particular drum sound in mind. Again, the beginner will really benefit from the fact you have 10 on-board routines, warm-ups and groove exercises to get the best out of your practice sessions.
5. Alesis DM Nitro Mesh
Initially we planned to list just 3 drum kits, but we thought it best to add another option and quite frankly one of the best beginner electronic drum kits out there – the Alesis DM Nitro Mesh. This 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.
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: