Thinking of getting an electronic drum set? Want to know more about them? There are two main types of movable electric drum sets: one for playing live music via a speaker or pa system or one for having a practice set on the go.
- 1 Benefits of a Portable Electronic Drum Set:
- 2 Best Portable Electric Drumsets For 2018
- 3 Electric Drum Sets Vs. Traditional:
- 4 It Depends On Music
- 5 Hybrid Electronic/Acoustic Cymbals
Benefits of a Portable Electronic Drum Set:
A great use for an electronic drum set is practicing in your apartment, or anywhere else that prohibits excessive loud noise.
You can work out your hands and feet, and get your coordination and chops together without bothering anyone nearby. The drum sounds will only be available to you via your headphones.
All anyone else will hear is the sound of your sticks tapping on rubber pads (which is not very loud at all).
Best Portable Electric Drumsets For 2018
For playing gigs and live music, you can’t go wrong with the Roland V-Drums TD-4KP Portable Electronic Drum Set. For the price you are getting a professional set that when hooked up via a small amp or pa system allows for the full drum experience on the go.
If you hate carting your full drum set for practices or smaller gigs, this set is a no-brainer.
If you are looking for something on a budget for your apartment or living space, the Roll-Up Drum Portable Electronic Drum Set is a great option. While it does has the option to hook up to an external speaker, it is best used as a practice set to be used with headphones.
However, for jamming with your friends on the go, it doesn’t hurt to keep this set handy in your car. Also. for recording on a budget these are solid and with the included USB hookup you can easily plug and play for recording purposes.
For beginners jumping into the drumming world, this is a great place to start.
Another option if you are looking for a portable electronic drum set with included speakers is the Pyle Electronic Set Pad. One great feature about this kit is that it can be run 100% on batteries for playing smaller shows where having a power hookup is not a viable option.
It also includes hundreds of pre-set sounds for playing all types of music and sound effects.
Electric Drum Sets Vs. Traditional:
I’ll start by saying that an electronic kit will never sound or feel like an acoustic one. The tuning possibilities, dynamic possiblities, different striking areas, and cymbal nuances are simply too numerous and vast to successfuly replicate on an electronic kit. They are two different instruments.
Not to mention that way the sound is produced. On an acoustic kit, all the parts are vibrating. The rims, shells, skins, cymbals, hardware, sticks, nuts and bolts, etc. are all vibrating to create sound. You can strike a drum on the shell, on the rim, you can strike a cymbal on the edge. This is best with the shoulder of the stick, etc. Sound comes from the whole drum kit vibrating as one because of your various strikes.
On an electronic drum set, the sound is synthesized and played through some sort of speaker. The results are in the same ball park, but are simply not the same!
It Depends On Music
The sounds of electronic and acoustic kits are different. You can use this to your advantage, though.
Not all types of music call for an organic, acoustic drum sound. Some gigs ask for very synthetic, digital types of sounds. This can be achieved with acoustic drums using triggers and effects, or it can be achieved much more easily using an electronic drum set.
You can even invent your own drum sounds, and program them into your electronic kit. You can use a sample of a spoon hitting a frying pan as your “cymbal” patch, or you can get creative and design your own sounds in applications like logic.
I would not recommend using an electronic drum set to imitate an acoustic drum kit sound for a gig. I’ve seen it done before and it just doesn’t sound good. (Call me a purist, but I don’t think it looks very good in that setting either!)
Hybrid Electronic/Acoustic Cymbals
The main problem with the electronic drum set has been the cymbal feel and cymbal sound. The “cymbals” were just rubber pads, identical to the drum pads. The feel was nothing like a real cymbal, and the sound very purely synthesized.
Recently however, Zildjian has released a hybrid electronic/acoustic cymbal called the “Gen16”. It’s a real cymbal made of metal alloy. The difference is that it’s got thousands of holes in it, making it over 70% quieter than a regular cymbal.
There is a contact mic in the system, which takes the actual sound of the Gen16 cymbal, and then uses it to create a semi-synthetic cymbal sound which can be amplified to any volume.
These cymbals feel a lot more like regular cymbals, and even sound closer to the real thing. PLUS, they’re still a great option for practicing quietly!