We put the electronic drum market in the spotlight and see which kits are worth stocking.
Improved technology is making electronic drum kits a serious option for players that need a variety of drum sounds at their fingertips. Big name endorsements are adding weight to the argument too and even acoustic die-hards often incorporate some extra sounds on a sample-pad. And of course for noise sensitive parents and neighbours, it’s a bit of a no-brainer alternative. Here are some of the newest offerings in the electronic kit market….
Roland – TD-30KV
Roland launched the TD-30KV and TD-30K V-Pro Series V-Drums at NAMM as the new flagship kits in its V-Drums electronic percussion line-up. They feature SuperNATURAL sounds with Behaviour Modelling technology, improved V-Hi-Hat and V-Pads and many more enhancements.
At the core of the TD-30KV and TD-30K kits is the TD-30 Drum Sound Module, which has an ultra-realistic ambience feature that emulates overhead mics and room sounds. There are 1,100 instruments and 100 drum kits onboard the TD-30. Like all Roland TD series modules, all internal drum kits are user programmable for creating customised settings and kits.
The TD-30KV offers enhanced pads and cymbals, as well as striking onstage presence with the new Black Chrome shell wraps. The snare and four tom V-Pads (PD-128S-BC; PD-128-BC x2 and PD-108-BC x2) feature updated rim sensors for ultra-accurate dynamics detection and rim shot depth, while a new V-Hi-Hat (VH-13-MG) brings high-resolution sensing for improved playability.
Roland – HD-3 V-Drums Lite
The new HD-3 V-Drums Lite is an updated version of the popular entry-level HD-1 set. The HD-3 offers enhanced playability and features, while retaining the compact, stylish design, sound quality, and ease of use of its predecessor.
Roland created the V-Drums Lite for those who may not have the space or budget for a full-size V-Drums kit.
New features brought with the HD-3 include cloth-head toms for an improved playing feel over the previous rubber design, as well as new dual-trigger snare and crash/ride pads. Users can now enjoy greater expression by playing rim shots on the snare, triggering edge sounds on the crash/ride and choking crash/ride sounds by grabbing the pad. The kick pedal has also been enhanced for improved playability and lower-noise performance.
The updated sound module in the HD-3 includes 20 new drum kits with dedicated select buttons. The HD-3 module also includes a 16x2 character backlit LCD, along with an enhanced metronome with a wider tempo range and variable sounds.
Roland – SPD-SX
The new SPD-SX sampling pad gives the user access to innovative audio-capturing features, expressive playability, three multi-effects engines and more.
Suitable for use on stage, but also in recording studios, pre-production suites and dance clubs, the SPD-SX offers advanced triggering and sampling technology in an easy-to-use percussion package.
The SPD-SX is made up of nine velocity-sensitive rubber pads, along with two external dual-trigger inputs. It also comes with three units of multi-effects onboard, as well as two real-time control knobs and four dedicated effect buttons.
Around 360 minutes of sampling can be saved onto the 2GB internal memory and audio data can be easily captured and assigned via Multi-Pad Sampling. The included Wave Manager software allows for easy importing, assigning and organising samples.
The instrument is also equipped with Individual Pad Dynamics, which display the pad status and audio-level activity during the performance. Another inclusion is Wave Manager software, allowing the user to import, assign and organise the samples more easily.
Available exclusively from Soar Valley Music, the DD512 digital drum kit features home recording-compatible MIDI in and out and a USB port.
The Record and Playback feature is a very popular addition, along with the drum pad rim shot function and choke capability on the crash pads. The kit has four pads with rim shot, three cymbal pads with a crash with choke function, a hi-hat control pedal with half-open feature and a kick trigger. There are 40 kit sounds included (24 preset kits and 16 user kits) and also 385 drum instruments and seven hi-hat combos. It retails around £459.
The Session Pro range of electronic kits start with the DD 405D, an entry level kit with a USB port and chokable crash cymbal, also with proper kick pedal and pad, as some kits in this price range have a footswitch bass drum pedal.
The latest from Session Pro is the DD512. Features include three tom pads – all with rim shots; snare pad, also with rim shot; half open hi-hat feature, reverb, three- band EQ; real time digital recorder and 11 GM kits, as well as 24 preset and 16 user kits.
In between these two models is the DD505, which has been part of the firm’s range for more than four years now.
In 2011, Yamaha’s DTX range expanded dramatically with an extended line of mid-priced DTX500 series and DTX700 series bringing many high-end features, innovations and capabilities to these mid-range models.
Yamaha’s ‘Textured Cellular Silicon’ playing surface originally released on the Flagship DTX900 series provides drummers with dynamic control and is available at new price points.
All the DTX modules have quality acoustic drum, cymbal, and percussion voices, including multi layered samples of Yamaha’s acoustic drums. Yamaha has worked on every detail of the drum sounds and characteristics, including snare buzz and tom resonance, to make the 'real' drum experience as authentic as possible.
This year, Yamaha has introduced two new DTX500 configurations (DTX530K/DTX560K), which includes the addition of a pad mounted on a real hi-hat stand (stand included) and released information about its dealer support programs to drive sales, including Try Before You Buy for the DTX900 series and a consumer £100 rebate offer for their DTX700 Series.
The DM10 X Kit is a premium six-piece professional electronic drum set with 10" and 12" drum pads, 12", 14", and 16" cymbals, the top-of-the-line DM10 module and chrome-plated XRack. It has an advanced sequencer and more than 1,000 sounds featuring Dynamic Articulation multi-sample technology.
Included is a comprehensive set of large drum and cymbal pads and an all-new XRack. The DM10 X is designed to offer capabilities and features previously only available on kits costing thousands more. The DM10 X kit features an expansive six-drum, four-cymbal configuration with sizes and spatial relationships that will feel natural to acoustic and electronic drummers alike: a 12-inch snare, two ten-inch toms, two 12-inch floor toms, a 12-inch hi-hat, a 16-inch, three-zone ride cymbal and two 14-inch crash cymbals.
The DM10 X kit also features Alesis’ acoustic-feeling RealHead pads in ten and 12-inch sizes. The dual-zone pads feature real mylar drumheads and real triple-flanged counterhoops for added feel. The snare and tom pads are dual zone, enabling you to perform rimshots, rim clicks or assign other sounds such as wind chimes, cymbals, gongs and cowbells on the tom rims. You can use virtually any single or double kick pedal with the RealHead kick pad or split the DM10's kick input with a Y-cable and connect an optional second kick pad for the preferred pedal feel. It retails around £899.99.
The PP400E (£299) is easy to assemble and features five natural response rubber drum pads to simulate the snare, hi-hat and toms, plus a cymbal pad with 'choke' capability and foot pedals for kick drum and hi-hat control. The PP400E's sound module comes complete with 11 preset drum kit styles – Rock, Jazz, Latin, Metal, Blues, Power, Techno, March, Taiko, Timbale and Fusion – and the kit comprises everything needed to get started.
The PP500E (£349) is designed for student percussionists, more advanced players and anyone in between. It features five drum pads (one snare, three toms and one kick drum) a hi-hat and a crash/ride cymbal, all of which can be programmed to play a multitude of percussive sounds. It also comes with a wide range of accessories.
Finally, the PP900E (£499) has a set of five professional sounding, fully programmable drum pads (one snare, three tom-toms and one kick drum) a hi-hat and a crash/ride cymbal and all the accessories drummers need to get playing straight away.
JHS – 0113 286 5381
Numark/Alesis – 01252 896000
P&R Howard – 01355 236621
Roland – 01792 702701
Techtonic (Soar Valley Music) – 0116 230 4926
Yamaha – 01908 366700