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Finding a drum set can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best electronic drum set for each budget, as well as a beginner checklist on how to chose the right kit.
If you’re completely new to drumming, or a seasoned professional looking for an electronic kit, this guide will help you find what you’re looking for. As well as giving you multiple options to look at.
Why Choose and Electronic Drum Set
You may have already decided that you want an electronic drum set, or you many be looking into the pros and cons of an electronic set. Let’s look into it.
Acoustic drums are awesome, they’re the best, but they only play at one volume, and that volume is LOUD. If you’re a beginner or a professional without a designated, sound-proof music space, you may look into the electronic drum set. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your wife/husband/kids love hearing your own rendition of John Bonham’s Moby Dick, but they probably don’t want to hear after you’ve played it four times in a row.
Electronic drum kits are typically more compact than acoustic setups since they are merely a set of pads and may fit in smaller areas or in a corner of a room. When not in use, you may even keep them in a closet or beneath a bed. And, because a pad lacks the depth dimension of an acoustic drum, it may be easier to adapt them to your specific height (for example, tom pads can be closer together, and snare and toms can be lower to the ground).
Electronic drum sets are lightweight and portable, and when disassembled, they may fit in a couple of cases (some portable kits even come with their own carrying bag). They provide a level of mobility that acoustic setups just cannot equal.
An electronic drum set may be the way to go if you’re searching for something the kids in your life can pound and learn on. The diversity of noises may keep them entertained for hours, models with rubber pads are durable, and the compact size means the entire set could fit in your child’s bedroom. An electronic drum kit’s flexibility alone is worth considering: because the snare is simply a pad on a rack-mounted arm, it can be lowered to match your child’s height (and can be adjusted as they grow). Because certain electronic hi-hat and bass drum pedals aren’t linked to stands or actual drums, they may be placed as near to the child’s legs as necessary.
This example, while clever, provides context. Electronic drums can be whatever volume you choose. Electronic drum sets are not only silent, but they also sound excellent; and starter models are typically less priced than even the most basic acoustic kits when hardware and cymbals are included.
Electronic drums allow you to modify your sound with the press of a button. Most modules include hundreds of sounds, including not just electronic sounds but also studio-quality acoustic percussion samples (including effects like reverb and delay). Many e-drum models also allow you to put in your own unique samples, giving you practically limitless sound options.
Mix and mix different snares, bass drums, and cymbals, as well as change the tone and sensitivity of each pad, to build custom virtual kits. Some higher-end versions let you to replace out drum heads, beaters, add muffling, and modify the ambient atmosphere. With electronic percussion plug-ins, you may even incorporate sounds like brass, strings, choirs, and sound effects.
Now let’s go over some things you should consider when buying an electronic drum set.
Things to Consider
The first thing you should consider is your budget. If you’re a beginner looking for a beginner kit, you probably want the cheapest option. If you’re a pro and looking to get another kit, you might want something better, or even the best. Either way this list will have a multiple tear budget.
Material of Drums
There are two main choices in the materials of electric drums: mesh and rubber. Mesh has a more realistic rebound and a better feel than rubber. They’re also quieter when you strike them, which is essential since many people like electronic sets because they’re quiet (sleeping children, nosy neighbors, scared animals).
Thickness of Cymbals
It will be difficult to mimic the bounce and feel of a genuine cymbal if they are composed of thick, harsh rubber. Some of the higher-end kits include thinner cymbals that swing very much like metal cymbals when struck. When looking for an electronic kit you should look for the smaller, thinner cymbals.
When smashing around on the kit does it feel durable? Even an electronic kit should last for a long time and not fall apart after a year of use.
Aside from the loudness, many individuals choose electronic kits since they do not have the space for a huge acoustic setup. Before you buy, be sure to measure your room!
Ease of Use
You can sit down and play an acoustic drum set without having to worry with electronics or cables. Every electrical kit has a module or “mind” that regulates everything, and the interface varies by manufacturer. Examine the display screen. Is it tiny and blurry, or is it visually appealing? You’ll be looking at it for a long time and will want to enjoy it.
Some individuals choose electronic kits because they desire more sound possibilities, as well as more volume control and consistency than an acoustic set can provide. All of the kits mentioned here include a variety of drum sounds, so choose something that sounds nice to you and encourages you to play. You’ll most likely be wearing headphones, but if you want to use it for band practice or a lesson, consider how it sounds over an amp or speaker.
In relation to sound the response of your electronic kit will be important. It will slowly drive you crazy if your kit has even a split second lag. Make sure it plays the way you want!
Some kits allow you to connect external USB devices and import your own audio sample collection (Superior Drummer, Get Good Drums, and SSD are a few examples). Many also have built-in play-along tracks or even allow you to alter the room tone to make it feel like you’re playing in different locations (similar to drum vacation)!
Is it more of a toy or a real kit? Will this instrument help or hinder your playing? Are the toms 6″ broad and crammed together, or does it seem more like a genuine kit? Drummers come in diverse shapes and sizes, so what works for one person may not work for another. Go to the store and try it out. I never recommend buying anything without playing it a little first.
What Electronic Kit Should I Purchase?
Now that we’ve gone over things to consider, and why even buy an electronic drum kit, let’s look at which kits you should buy. This list is going to have three sections arranged by budget. The first is best for beginners or kids (under $1000), the second is best for intermediate players ($1000-2000), and lastly best for advanced/professional players (above $2000). Let’s just into it.
Best Electronic Drum Kits Under $1000
- The sounds are excellent, with Yamaha’s acoustic drum sounds included in the sample library for all electronic sets. There are ten preset kit selections as well as over 400 percussion and keyboard sounds in this one. A $500 kit with Yamaha’s top-of-the-line sonics is a major deal. This model is likewise small, and it comes with the DTX-40 Touch app, which offers lessons and play-alongs for iOS and Android. It even has a record-and-share feature to assist you in creating your first viral video. The hardware is sturdy, the module is practical and simple to operate, and it also folds up conveniently for transport.
- Affordable, tons of sound choices
- Pads made of rubber. If you’re just getting started or on a low budget, this is a fine option, but it doesn’t look or feel like an acoustic drum set. This won’t matter if you’ve never played on an acoustic drum set though. This is an essential factor to consider because many students practice on an electronic set at home before switching to an acoustic kit for lessons or band. On the rubber pads, the playing movement is considerably different, which might make the adjustment more difficult.
- Cheap materials don’t play like a traditional kit
- When it comes to replicating the feel of genuine drums, Roland V-Drums have always been at the forefront. The reason is because high-quality mesh heads are required. The TD1 is a good beginning rig for youngsters and adults since it has a greater bounce and responsiveness than hard rubber. It comes with 15 pre-loaded kits, over 250 additional sounds, and a USB connection for connecting MIDI instruments from your laptop. It’s also small and comes with a metronome and a few exercises to get you started on the road to drumming glory.
- High quality, responsive, USB connectivity, metronome included
- The cost of this kit is higher than that of other entry-level kits. The module is also quite simple, and intermediate gamers may find it lacking in features and versatility.
- More costly (you get what you pay for though)
- For this price, you can’t beat receiving 5 mesh drum pads and 3 cymbals. Donner is a fascinating off-the-beaten-path alternative for parents looking to get their children started on the drums without investing a lot of money. To get you started, this kit is tiny enough to fit in the corner of your bedroom and includes 225 distinct sounds and 20 built-in play-alongs.
- Various sound options (as well as songs), you get a lot for what you pay
- The price is reasonable, but the quality is unknown. It’s true when they say “you get what you pay for”. Some reviews complain about the drums’ responsiveness, while others appreciate how they feel in comparison to other kits in this price range. The DED-100 ($269) is a more affordable version with a flimsier frame, shallower pads, and no bass drum (just a pedal). I would stray away from the 100 model though as the 200 model is a better bet if you decide to go with this brand.
- Reviews vary, affordable
Alesis Nitro Mesh
- For around $400, an all-mesh kit is a terrific value, and Alesis’ Nitro Mesh offers a lot of helpful capabilities. There’s an 8-inch snare drum, three toms, two cymbals, a hi-hat, and a kick pedal included. It comes with cables, a pair of sticks, and a drum key to get you started straight away, as well as 40 distinct preset kit selections and 60 play-along songs. It’s small, has USB connectivity, and a well-organized module (the buttons for each drum are grouped in the shape of a genuine kit, which we like).
- USB connectivity, great price for what you get
- The built-in drum sounds aren’t really impressive. There are a lot of odd and interesting tones, but a realistic-sounding base kit is hard to come by. The cymbals are a little clumsy, and the aluminum rack it’s placed on might be sturdier. I would recommend buying this simple, cheap kit and utilizing the USB connectivity, to create your own sounds. (This kit also has a more expensive option, around $800, with more options and sounds).
- Sounds aren’t anything amazing, flimsy
Simmons SD350 & SD600
- Simmons is most known for inventing the hexagonal-shaped SDS-V drum machine, which was used in a slew of 1980s songs. It was the beginning of the end for electronic drums (Rick Allen of Def Leppard actually used it to compensate for the loss of his left arm). Guitar Center owns and operates the present iteration of the firm, and I think their kits have some good features for the low price.
- There are adjustable all-mesh heads on the SD350, as well as 10 preset kits and 179 sounds to pick from. The Simmons Drums App, on the other hand, is a must-have for novice drummers, as it includes instructional tools and play-alongs. The SD600 variant features bigger pads, which gives it a more acoustic feel.
- Big pads make it easy to play, adjustable
- The SD350’s snare is attached to the rack right behind the hi-hat, which makes the arrangement seem a little odd if you’re used to playing an acoustic kit. Because the pads are tiny and the cymbals are heavy and don’t move much, switching to an acoustic kit for lessons or performances might feel extremely different. The kit’s longevity is also a concern, and the 350 model requires a lightning-to-USB converter in order to use the app. Another thing to keep in mind is that Simmons sells a monitor that you may use to hear your gear in the room. However, after trying it, I believe you’d be better off spending your money on something else.
- If you’re used to playing acoustic this might feel backward, could use additional gear (monitor)
Best Mid Range Electronic Drum Kits
- I know… Another Roland…The snare drum! It’s 12″ of double-mesh, and I’m delighted to shed some light on a super-realistic playing surface (that’s also tunable). This kit features two 8″ mesh toms, two 12″ cymbals, and a 10″ hi-hat, as well as 50 preset kit sounds from the higher-end TD-50 module. It’s also small, with USB connectivity and an SD card slot for importing your own music. It’s hard to beat Roland.
- The TD-17KVX variant costs $500 more and includes an extra ride cymbal as well as a full-sized hi-hat stand.
- USB and SD compatible, impeccable quality
- In comparison to the bigger snare, the 8” toms feel tiny. In compared to the KVX model, the hi-hat mechanism is also absent, although I’m not sure if that’s worth an extra $500. The ride cymbal features three playing zones (ride, crash, and bell), whereas the other cymbals are dual-zone with no bell sound choice.
- You may also save a few dollars by switching to the TD-07KV ($1029), which has smaller pads and a separate hi-hat pedal. However, I think the TD-17KV is the greatest value for money in terms of pricing and features.
- If it was my choice I would pay a few dollars extra and get something a bit nicer if you’re going to spend $1000 on an intermediate kit.
- More expensive, might as well just upgrade even more for mid-range
- Yamaha’s latest version of this kit has great drum sounds as well as improved pad sensitivity for a more realistic playing experience. You may also have a lot of fun manipulating the effects knobs on the module to make your own sounds in real time. Despite the bigger footprint, it features a full-sized hi-hat stand and a study kick drum pad, which are both useful additions.
- To make it seem more like a true bass drum, the kick drum mount features a softer playing surface. When you hit them, the rubber cymbals are a little thinner than entry-level versions and move more like metal cymbals. When you progress from beginning to mid-level kits, you’ll notice a significant change in this area.
- Full size making it easy to play, high quality
- The toms have rubber pads, but the snare has a TCS head, which is a softer version of the mesh heads. You could upgrade to the 6K3-X series, which features TCS heads on all drums, for $300 more. Some drummers enjoy them, while others find them too dissimilar to the feel of a genuine drum. Personally, I love playing the TCS heads but I know a lot of my friends don’t like it. I recommend going and checking them out at your local music store.
- Still rubber (great for rubber pads though)
Alesis DM10 MKII Pro
- Thanks to its superior dual-zone mesh heads and unique trigger mechanism, the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit achieves an unmatched level of realism. Each pad’s reaction is tailored to your playing style by an adjustable knob, and its densely woven mesh surfaces give excellent feel and rebound while reducing acoustic noise. You may use the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro Kit module to trigger your favorite virtual instrument through its USB/MIDI output, which comes packed with 50 drum kits and over 700 great-sounding instrument sounds. A heavy-duty chrome quick-lock rack, as well as an ultra-stable snare stand, are included with the Alesis DM10 MKII Pro drum kit. It has USB connectivity making it easy to connect your own sounds.
- I’ve played one of the Alesis DM10 MKII Pros before and one of my favorite features was the ability to use the fader switch. This lets you essentially create your own mix while playing, so you can get your sound just right.
- USB connectivity, fader switch to mix your own music, feels like a “real” kit
- The hi-hat controller isn’t the most responsive or sensitive, and these kits, according to reviews, have some durability concerns. There’s less freedom when it comes to applying effects to specific elements of the kit, and the Alesis sound library, as previously mentioned in the under $1k section, isn’t quite up to par with its competitors. Upgrade to the Strike Pro SE model for $900 extra, which includes bigger toms, more cymbals, and more gear, although it will be out of the $1000-2000 dollar price range.
- Hi-hats aren’t sensitive, durability may be an issue if played often
Roland TD-50K Series
- The Roland TD-50 series is one of the company’s crown jewels, and it’s simple to understand why. Because it includes an XLR stereo output that can be sent straight to the sound system, this is a kit that you can truly take to performance or use in a recording session. It also includes an SD card input, allowing you to quickly import whatever sounds you want, and it’s ideal for recording because you can connect straight to your DAW through USB and record up to 10 channels at once.
- It also includes an 18” ride, a pair of crashes (12” and 13”), and an 11” hi-hat that can be mounted on a standard hi-hat stand (sold separately). This kit is suitable for both professionals and serious amateurs, and you can’t go wrong with V-Drums (or Roland).
- Everything!!! High quality, USB connectivity, feels like an acoustic kit, connects to a DAW
- You’re probably out of luck if you’re attempting to cram this into a tight area. The TD-50K base model is approximately 5 feet wide and 4 feet long, which is larger than most other electronic drum sets. Also, the bass drum pedal, hi-hat stand, and throne must all be purchased individually.
- You won’t be finding the TD-50K anywhere either, as it seems Sweetwater is out of stock for the time being. This is definitely a kit worth waiting for though!
- Expensive, big footprint
Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design VAD 506
- Again, I know, another Roland… Trust me though, Roland’s quality, not to mention sound, especially at this price point is nearly unmatched. These beauties resemble acoustic drums thanks to their solid wood shells. They contain the TD-27 module, which has a ton of functions for EQ, tuning, and manipulating your sound. The cymbals are thinner than most, with excellent sensitivity and responsiveness. Roland has been at the forefront of the electronic drums industry for many years, and this is a fantastic choice for people who want an electronic experience that mimics an acoustic kit.
- Sound is unbeatable, sensitive, and responsive, feels like an acoustic kit
- Your pocketbook might weep a bit, especially because some of the essential gear isn’t included in this pricing. For drummers on a smaller budget, Roland offers the VAD 306 ($2599) model, which has many of the same high-level capabilities. The TD-27 module is used in the 306, however, the shells are shallower and there are only four drums. There is, of course, also a higher-end model cashing in around 8k, but if you’re looking for that kit, you probably already know everything you’d need to know about it.
- High price
Answer: YES! Electronic drum kits are great for beginners! They allow the volume to be controlled and play similarly to an acoustic kit!
Answer: You can use any drumstick on electronic drums. I recommend, however, using a classic 5A stick, as it is the perfect middle-of-the-line option.
Answer: The prices are similar for acoustic and electronic kits. Acoustic kits tend to be more expensive, but not by a lot. You can notice the price difference when looking at the entry-level kits, as electronic kits are cheaper.
Answer: Basic level electronic drums usually are more flimsy and less robust than acoustic or “real” drums. When you get into the higher price points, however, they feel just like “real drums”.
There is an endless electronic drum kit. It seems the market has taken a turn and many players are recording, and even playing live on these kits. It is truly incredible what can be done on them and how many different sounds a single machine can produce.
My advice for anyone looking to buy an electronic drum set is to go try it out. Go to your local music store, or Guitar Center (they definitely have some), and play them. Try different sounds, different rhythms, and anything you’d think you would use the drum for. Don’t be shy and ask questions. You’ll find you kit soon enough, and when you do, you’ll be thankful you asked the questions to find the right kit.
If I was buying my first electronic drum kit, I would choose the mid-range Yamaha DTX6K2-X. It has everything a beginner would need, as well as having everything a more advanced player would need. This makes it easy to transition. It has incredible sound, and feels like an acoustic kit!
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