Best Electronic Drum Set for 2017 – Tested & Reviewed by Expert Anglers
Table of Contents
- 1 The Parts of an Electronic Drum Kit
- 2 Benefits of Having an Electronic Drum Kit
- 3 How to Choose the Best Electronic Drums
- 4 Alesis Nitro Kit Review
- 5 Pyle-Pro PTED01 Electronic Table Digital Drum Kit Review
- 6 Alesis DM6 USB Kit Review
- 7 Alesis DM10 Studio Kit Review
- 8 Alesis CompactKit 4 Review
- 9 Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Units Review
- 10 Roland TD-11KV-S V-Compact Series Electronic Drum Set Review
- 11 Alesis DM6 Nitro Kit Review
- 12 Pintech PDK1000 Electronic Drum Kit Review
- 13 Alesis Forge Kit Review
The end is near, or so they said. In retrospect, the era is now better than ever, at least for the music enthusiasts. The digital industry has taken over the music industry with its swift succession as well and thus is the birth of best electronic drum set.
The digital revolution has transformed the world of a music industry in the past decade or two. The electronic drum set nowadays have become the first choice kit for an eager drummer mind. Electronic drum set come with a special sort of synthesizer and work exactly as an acoustic drum set to become a substitute of any such percussion instruments.
The best electronic drum set offer a multiple of features, the most prominent of which is probably the benefit of making low noise levels offered by the electronic drum set, depending on your choice of a pad, ranging from four different types from soft to loud. If you lack in the department of understanding neighbors or a soundproof music room, electronic drum set can be a handy solution for you.
For beginners, the whole ordeal can be a bit tricky. Thankfully, this best electronic drum set review will show you the light. Read on to gather information about what it is, what are the benefits and how does it work in detail.
The Parts of an Electronic Drum Kit
There are several significant parts in electronic drum kits. The most significant ones are described below.
The Brain / Drum Module / Sound Module
The brain, otherwise called as the drum module or sound module is essentially a synthesizer which generates all of the drum sounds, as well as the master of running all the other features available on the electronic drum kit. In other words, true to its namesake, the brain is the powerhouse of the electronic drum set, sending out all the necessary information to the rest of the parts of the electronic drum kit.
The brain is the place where you get to tune in individual drums, adjust the volume or dampen the sounds. These days even the most basic electronic drum kits offer a selection of sounds. The most commonly found ones are rock, jazz, vintage electronic, brush, Latin, hip hop etc. More advanced kits obviously offer various range of sounds. Well equipped kits come with the option to setting up individual onboard drum sounds as well, along with the option to edit the sounds even more.
The majority of drum modules use the PCM sample sound technology which means the kit generates sound when trigger pads are struck and also replays quality digital recordings of drum sounds. For example, say you are playing a preset birch kit; it means the sounds you are hearing now were recorded from a real birch kit. That’s the fun part of having one of the best electronic drum set.
Some more advance leveled kits meaning the best electronic drum set even use some clever mathematical modeling technology which can recreate the sounds of a real drum kit with more authenticity. There is even behavior modeling technology which can recognize what you are playing on the drums and then adjust to mimic that particular sound that instrument makes.
Other features of the brain include recording abilities and on board coaching exercises. These help you better your learning experience, as well as let you edit your recordings to transform them into true masterpieces.
Drum Triggers / Trigger Pads
Drum triggers or trigger pads are much like the acoustic drum kits where there is a standard 5 piece configuration. These are the bits of an electronic drum kit which you hit on to make the sounds. This includes an input for kick drum, snare, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, two hi – hats and three toms. Best electronic drum set with higher specifications come with additional trigger inputs where you add more features if you wish to.
The most basic kits come with a pickup which can sense the vibrations when the trigger is struck. The pickup picks up how hard it has been hit, according to the level of vibration.
More modern triggers of best electronic drum set come with more options of course. Many kits come with triggers with multiple zones to generate different sounds when hit. The rim and skin trigger of such electronic drum kits can make different sounds on pads, on the bow and edge of a cymbal trigger or the bell.
Additionally, many best electronic drum set will have the option of multiple pickups for dynamic and multiple triggering at once.
Now the drum pads are of electronic drum kits are made with either rubber or mesh. Both types are better than your usual plastic drum pads which come with regular rock band kit.
The lower end drum kits generally have rubber pads. Rubber pads have a nice bounce to them so it helps in your drumming. The rubber pads make a deep sound when hit. It sounds similar to you hitting a tire with a drumstick. But keep in mind that upon using for a long time at once, the hitting will hurt your hands a little bit as the shock will be transferred back to your hands. Electronic rubber pads are definitely better than rock band kits in terms of this aspect though. Overall it is an okay experience, but keep in mind that hitting rubber pads doesn’t really feel like hitting a real drum set. But if your budget is low and you are a beginner looking for ample amount of practice, this is the best option for you.
Hi, end best electronic drum set come with Mesh trigger pads. Mesh trigger pads are smoother than Black Rubber ones. The feel is like a real drum head and it feels the same as hitting a trampoline. Mesh pads are incredibly sensitive, thus every bounce is detected as the pad settles down. Rubber pads are not as sensitive compared to this. You can use very light touches on mesh pads. Mesh pads make about 2/3 louder sounds than rubber pads. And since the quality of sound is not as resonant as rubber pad’s, the sound will not carry easily through walls.
The good news is, almost no shock is transferred to your hands by hitting on mesh pads. So hitting the pads on hours end doesn’t have any effect on your hands.
The main difference between rubber and mesh pads is that mesh pads are closer to the traditional drum sets in terms of sound, feel and rebound.
These are the main parts of an electronic drum kit. There are other parts such as the cables, the stand, hi – hat paddle, clamps, and rods etc. attached to the drum kits as well.
Benefits of Having an Electronic Drum Kit
Now let’s talk a bit about why you should opt for an electronic drum kit instead of a regular one. The benefits of having an electronic drum kit to practice your jam on can be multiple. Here are a few.
Quick Access to a Wide Range of Sounds
Electronic drum kits allow you to change the sound of your drum kit within a second at your fingertips. A touch of a button is all you need to immediately access electronic and techno bits, funky hip hot beats, rock vibe from a huge arena, orchestral percussion and much more. An electronic drum kit lets you access a wide variety of musical styles in authentic sounds. You can even play along with your favorite artists if you want while you practice as many electronic drum kits include auxiliary input system where you can put in a CD or MP3 player of your choice.
Convenience of Changing Volume
You can take your electronic drum kit from huge concerts to small restaurants, from church to open places as you are the master of your volume levels. You get to perform fully in the concerts as you do not even need any mic, meaning you don’t even need any feedback or bleed from the other instruments. Moreover, the area around you will be clutter free.
You can preserve the quiet atmosphere of your neighborhood thanks to the near-silent trigger pads of the electronic drum kits, while still playing sounds according to your choice from the module. You can even add in headphones to make it sound less for your sleeping neighbors and roommates late at night. Your neighbors will want to buy you one once they get to know about this benefit. This gives you the freedom to practice anytime you want to, unlike the conventional rock band kits.
You can easily record your practice session and then play back to judge your performance later on. With an electronic drum, you can edit individual notes to your liking as well. You get to adjust the timing and sound to better suit your recording. Editing your entire performance or a few notes here and there is an easy and fast process. Since you have a vast array of the option at your disposal, taking a certain note from okay to extraordinary can be a matter of seconds.
You can also enhance the sound and recording abilities by attaching your electronic drum kit with computers and software or with external sound modules or samplers and other musical instruments with the help of MIDI. MIDI is a universal standard for attaching computers and electronic musical instruments. Best electronic drums come equipped with the MIDI feature. Since you can capture your recorded performance as MIDI data, editing and mix your drum recording is much easier and straightforward than slicing and dicing them.
You can use your electronic drum kit easily at the studio to record your masterpiece. When you have an electronic drum you can just plug in your electronic drum kit directly into the mixing board, which makes it quick and hassle free without having to set up even a single microphone. You can focus on playing the drums properly and giving it your best shot, except having to show up hours earlier to set yourself up with the help of a sound engineer.
Familiarity of Traditional Drum Sets
You get the feel the same old acoustic drum feel while you use your electronic drum kit which comes with better features than the regular acoustic drums. All your acoustic techniques can be seamlessly copied and mimicked in the electronic drum kits, from rim shots to grabbing a cymbal. You can even perform toned techniques such as hi – hat heel splashes, buzz rolls, and press rolls, brush play etc. perfectly on an electronic drum kit. Best electronic drums have the ability to give you the same feel and sound of your favorite acoustic kit.
Portable and Compact
Electronic drum kits are undoubtedly more portable and compact compared to the traditional drum sets. You can fit in an entire kit in a case or two. Electronic kits also weightless and need less space in the van compared to the acoustic ones. Even at home, you can fold down your electronic drum kit to put it in the closet after you are done practicing for the day. Since best electronic drums are so compact, they don’t take up a lot of space when you set it up on the stage as well, making your surrounding area clutter and hassle free.
Better Practice Benefits
Most of the electronic drum kits available in the market come with built-in preset drum patterns to help you learn better at the beginning. These patterns will help in building the muscle memory and coordination needed to become a better performer on stage. Some drum modules come with specific learning tools and metronome functions which will help beginners to develop their timing skill and capability to maintain a certain groove. Best electronic drums also come with an auxiliary input system where exterior MP3 players, music players, computers and iOS devices can be attached. This gives you the chance to jam with your favorite artists and then later on edit your performance, making you better at playing as well as enhancing your listening skill.
How to Choose the Best Electronic Drums
Now let’s take a brief look at things you should keep in mind while you take the decision to finally commit and get your own best electronic drums.
Define Your Purpose
This is what you should concentrate on, first and foremost. Ask yourself what is your first priority or what is the main benefit that you are looking for from your drum kit. If it’s for your practice session, other things might come into play. For example, if you live in a quiet neighborhood and you need to have a quiet drum kit then you will have to opt for higher end mesh trigger pads. If that is not the case then you can go for lower end ones with rubber pads.
You should think about your drum kit in the long term as well. If you plan to go professional in the future and play live on stage shows then getting a higher end one right now might be fruitful in the long run, as it will save you money from buying a lower end one now and then having to replace it since it is not suitable to play on the stage or for recording. Treat your electronic drum kit as your mobile phone. There is no point in trying to be up to date in either of these cases since they change so rapidly and new models come out every single day.
Determine Your Space
Determine your area to decide on your electronic drum kit before committing. Higher end drum kits generally come with a footprint larger than an equivalent acoustic drum kit and will become problematic if your space is small. Footprints don’t determine the capabilities of drum kits and many drum kits come with the moderately sized footprint and have a full drum set feel to them. You should take your space into account before buying your drum kit. If you end up buying a kit which is too big for your space, you can make it significantly smaller by mounting some or all of the trigger pads on conventional hardware instead of the rack which comes with the kit.
Feel the Trigger Pads
Before buying, check out all of the available pad options in the market, to determine which one works best for you. It varies from individual to individual and you should choose one which feels the best to you. There is no right or wrong answer here as it is totally up to you to determine which one feels right to you.
Check the Sound Quality
Sound quality is a subjective matter as we each listen for different things sonically, as well as our subjectivity depends on how we have trained our ears to pick out the sonic subtleties. The physical condition of the ears plays an important role here as well. If you want to pick out the sound quality which works best for you, try to audition each of your choices of drum kits in the same room.
Make sure that the features are reinitialized as the manufacturer had done so as this will give you insight on what the manufacturer wants to sell you. Try to play the first ten kits on each drum set and try to pick out the individual characteristics these drum kits possess. Do repeat for each available drum sets and take the time to go through them methodically and give them individual listen, rather than just doing bashing and crashing.
The best electronic drums come with the option where you can access and play back custom made sounds. Sampling and PCM technologies are mostly used to generate sounds in the drum modules. A module’s factory sounds are recorded in the flash memory and you can play it back even without plugging in your drum kit. Customization option is always a plus as it lets you play with your creativity. This also means you get to jam with your favorite artists with their popular soundtracks.
Manufacturer’s Reputation for Durability
You are buying an expensive piece of an instrument and it should last you a long time for two reasons, to make it your money’s worth, and to accompany you in your future endeavors. The fastest and easiest way to check out the durability of each manufacturer is to go to a musical instrument shop which has been around for some time. Then take a look at their existing line of electronic drum kits and how have they been holding up the bashing of numerous customers.
You will immediately start to see that some parts are looking a bit weary or have broken down in the aisle where the lower end drum kits are stored. As you go up the ladder, you will see more pristine looking best electronic drums which have stood better through the tests. This is because manufacturers put the drum kits through multiple tests to test out the durability themselves. If something is too broken, most of the times, they will break it for you so you don’t have to.
Number of Audio Outputs
This is an important thing to dwell on if you plan to record or perform on large stages. The number of outputs generally ranges from two to ten and this will dictate the one you end up buying. If you don’t plan to go professional and will opt for smaller spaces, then stereo outputs will be enough. Some lower end electronic drum kits have four individual audio outputs. But there is one advice for you, it is better to have too many outputs and not use all of them than to need more outputs than your electronic drum kit offers, so choose wisely.
Availability of External Apps
In the recent era, it has become a trend for drum kits to have onboard training tools. Choose one which will give you chance to download tutorials from your module. There are related iOS apps available already and the best electronic drums can connect through the modules for a better learning option. This is the future of drum kits and I think it is a fun addition.
Now that you know about your needs and things to look out for, let’s look at some reviews of the existing drum kit market.
Alesis Nitro Kit Review
The first electronic drum that comes in our best electronic drums list is the Alesis Nitro Kit.The Alesis Nitro Kit drum kit comes with 8 inches high-quality rubber drum pads with three single zone toms and dual zone snare. The pads are made with great care for providing you with a natural response. There is a kick pad tower included with a bass drum pedal to give you the professional feel. There are 10 inches cymbals which you can use to ride cymbal, hi – hat and crash for a virtually unlimited range of playing expressions. The kit is stable and flexible thanks to the super solid 4 post aluminum rack. The module is set up with hundreds of percussion sounds, 60 built in play along tracks and 40 different types of kits for giving you ample amount of learning practices.
- Play along modes for better learning experience.
- Graduated difficulty levels of the play along versions make it fun.
- Easy to set up.
- Amazing starter for the price range.
- The pads are sturdy and feel like they will last long.
- Comes with everything you need to start banging as soon as you get it out of the package.
- Number of playable sounds is limited and kind of similar sounding.
- The rack sits a little low.
Pyle-Pro PTED01 Electronic Table Digital Drum Kit Review
This versatile digital drum kit can be a valuable addition to your musically inclined self as this portable and a compact kit will become your partner of your beginning drummer life. You can play the drum with pre-recorded sounds such as rock, jazz, pop, techno, hip hop etc. and record your own performances as well.
The easy to handle audio configuration control lets you edit your records and turn them into masterpieces. You can plug in this kit when you are home, or put in 6 C size batteries if you plan to take this out with you. You can pump up the volume and play this kit for your audience, or plug in your headphones and jam in quite sessions which your neighbors will clearly approve of. There are 7 drum pads with 25 preset drum kits. There are 100 songs you can play along with.
- Great as a starter kit.
- It’s compact so you don’t need a lot of space for setting up.
- It has many songs to choose from to jam along with.
- It costs less for what it offers.
- Sometimes it does not register a hit, which can impact your rhythm and your recording.
Alesis DM6 USB Kit Review
Another Alesis kit that has made into a position in our best electronic drums list is the Alesis DM6 USB Kit. This kit can be the perfect choice for an aspiring drummer. The module features a collection of 108 quality drum, cymbal, and percussion sound to get you started in your practice.
You can edit your performance with 5 custom and 10 preset slots. There is MIDI signal to be used with USB output device. There is also an option of putting your smart device or CD player through the input jack so you can jam along with your favorite numbers. The pads feel natural to hit and feels pretty sturdy as well. The shock feedback is minimal, thanks to the natural rubber drum and cymbal surfaces of the kit. This is a 5 piece kit and you can have two – sounds compatibility with the dual zone snare pads. There are three tom pads, one kick drum pad and hi – hat, ride cymbal and crash pads in this kit.
- Input jack lets you attach your own device for selecting songs.
- MIDI systems let you record and edit your practice sessions to make them better.
- Everything you need is already included in the package.
- The snare drum needs to be hit harder than usual for it to trigger.
Alesis DM10 Studio Kit Review
This kit comes with a high definition module with 12 trigger mixer and input jacks. With the USB, it is possible to load customized external songs and control computer software. There is also a premium sound library of samples with more than 1000 built-in sounds to choose from real cymbals and drums to jam along with.
It is possible to mix input with MP3 and CD players. The Apple USB adepter is sold separately to attach iPad. This kit is compact with it 4 post stage rack with its integrated cymbal arms. You can play along and record your performances with the sequencer. There is dynamic articulation sound system along with dynamics for providing realism. The kit is class-compliant so it does not require any driver. The real head snare, kick and tom pads use mylar heads which mean you get authentic rebound and sticking. The kick pedal can be purchased separately as it is not included with the kit.
- The benefits are much more than what this kit costs.
- The number of input jacks is more than many other competitors’.
- The pads get dented after a while, though it doesn’t affect the sound quality.
Alesis CompactKit 4 Review
The CompactKit 4 is a table top style drum kit set which can be a great starter kit for an aspiring rock star, regardless of their age. The 4 pads deliver 80 effect and percussion sounds for a natural and realistic feel and response.
There are an interactive game and coach mode which lets you tinker around to get you familiar with basic drum style and patterns. Even if this is your very first time, the visual feedback from the LCD monitor will guide you to get the fundamentals of the kit so you can play along with dozens of built-in songs and music. You can adjust the tempo to change the difficulty levels as well to test yourself as you become accustomed to the kit. The speakers and headphones give you an opportunity to play both in public and private, making it versatile.
- The Music coach feature is an amazing tool for a beginner.
- Lightweight and compact so you can store it away after practice.
- Runs on both electricity and 6 C size batteries if you want to take it everywhere with you.
- The volume doesn’t offer ‘quiet’ option, only ‘loud’ and ‘louder’ but that’s what headphones are for.
Roland TD-11K-S V-Compact Units Review
The list of best electronic drums swill is incomplete without this electronic drum kit. This kit is perfect for a beginner to learn the basics as well as take it to the studio for recording performances. This might not be very good for stage though, as the pads are small to keep track of where the lights are changing constantly. This kit’s module is the new V- compact ones.
The tom and snare pads are mesh head like the higher end drum kits. The V- cymbals are acclaimed for crash and ride. The Hi – hat combination is compact and practical. There is a realistic kick pad and custom stand included with the kit for the V – drums, and V – compact. The brain is of superior technology, with a well lit LED screen, easy to grasp button interface and intelligently designed software. You get to change the kits while playing and the sample tails of instruments will continue to play, to make your recorded version seamless.
- First five recordings get automatically attached to MIDI files through the USB device.
- The audio and MIDI computer interlink is suitable for controlling DAW based drum plug-ins.
- The tom rubber pads feel a little stiff.
- The rack and mounting brackets have a sturdy but not solid feeling on the base.
Roland TD-11KV-S V-Compact Series Electronic Drum Set Review
This kit comes enhanced with the SuperNATURAL technology for a more realistic playing experience for drummers with any skill level. This easy to use electronic drum kit can be used for a variety of applications with its added features, such as practice, teaching, recording, live performances etc.
The behavior modeling with its SuperNATURAL sound engine provides a natural drumming experience. There is a diverse sound library to cover a wide variety of genres to practice and perform your favorite songs. There is a coach-player function as well to make your practice sessions more interactive and enjoyable. The large LCD screen and USB function let you get your songs from the outside and making your recorded performances even better with the editing. The kit is easy to set up. The drum components are equipped with mesh head V – pads for toms and snares.
- Play along modes for better learning experience.
- Graduated difficulty levels of the play along versions make it fun.
- Easy to set up.
- The size of the Hi – Hat is not suitable for me.
- It is not possible to keep the Hi – Hat closed.
Alesis DM6 Nitro Kit Review
Again an Alesis product which is in our best electronic drums list. This is a full-size electronic drum kit at the fraction of its price. There are built-in tools for sharpening your drumming skills, so it can be a great starter kit. The DM6 provides an upgraded brain and drum pads for higher sound quality. The MIDI output function can be used to connect the kit directly to your computer to outsource your favorite artists’ performances and jam along with them.
There is a headphone jack for doing practices in private, which your neighbors will surely appreciate. The stereo outs to connect to an amplifier, PA system and recording console for performing for an audience. The electronic drum kit is equipped with 8 inches rubber drum pads with three single zone toms, kick pad tower with bass drum pedal, dual-zone snare, three 12 inches cymbals for hi – hat, crash play and ride cymbal. Basically, the kit is equipped with everything you need so you can jam along with it right out of its package.
- Realistic sounding drum samples included.
- Sturdy and good quality made components.
- Superior sound quality with its DM6 brain module.
- The snare drum sometimes doesn’t get triggered properly.
Pintech PDK1000 Electronic Drum Kit Review
This kit features heavy duty ConcertCast series mesh pads for providing you with a realistic feel with incredible response and sensitivity. You can get optimum noise reduction feature from this kit thanks to the hollow bottom design of the mesh pads. The shells are made of aluminum and titanium real metal hardware so they are sturdy.
The pads feature a knob on the shell so that you can turn the sensitivity up or down with just a twist. The module comes with built in 335 sounds, 30 kits with 20 preset and 10 users, 60 preset songs with many more options. You can tune your kit to add a reverb for a live audience or tune in the pitch, volume, tempo etc. The MIDI output enables you to connect your kit straight to your computer. This kit is affordable and easy to use and can be a great addition to your musical adventures. The Pintech PDK1000 Electronic Drum Kit is without any doubt one of the best electronic drums of the market.
- Affordable and easy to set up.
- Real metal hardware pads to make them last a lifetime.
- MIDI output connects directly to your computer.
- The preset songs are useful for better practice experience.
- The module is not the best to work with.
Alesis Forge Kit Review
This kit is a complete 8 piece electronic drum kit which includes everything you need to play like a professional drummer. There is an 11 inches dual zone snare and three 8 inches tom pads for natural response and great feel.There is also a kick drum pad with the pedal.
The three cymbals provide you with a virtually unlimited range of playing expressions and the premium chrome 4 post mounting rack keeps everything secure and solid. Moreover, this setup also includes a feature called Forge drum that features 70 drum kits with 50 factory presents and 20 for a user. There is built-in metronome to sharpen your skills, along with 60 play-along tracks and over 600 sounds included in the kit to make you playing like a pro in no time. The module features a USB input so that you can load your own songs on the kit.
- Can be a great investment for a beginner drummer.
- Includes everything you need to play like a pro.
- USB input feature lets you input your own choice of songs and sounds.
- The pedals tend to move back while playing.
- The instructions are not clear to set this kit up.
An electronic drum kit is a great upgrade from an acoustic drum set. Electronic drum kits come up with more features and are compact and easily portable. There are plenty of options to choose from and drummers can be greatly benefitted for opting to go digital with this particular musical instrument.