Re: Met a guy who really likes his E kit
I've always seen E-Kits as something that is more a decision of practicality than one of love. As some people around here know, I'm a big fan of electronic approaches to music and I play with drum machines (and write my own sequencing software) and rhythm is one particular approach that is served well by electronics.
Electronic drum kits (and I own one) have always felt like a compromise to me. You get the potential soundscape that electronics provide but without the 'rigidity' that can be a big factor in the way electronic music is produced. E-kits are certainly valid as instruments but I like to treat them as a separate category of instrument, rather than trying to use them to replace acoustic kits. As a replacement, they're close to good enough for most people but I've never been convinced by electronic cymbals or snares. In a mix with a full band going, they sound fine - but on their own? No thanks.
If we treat the E-Kit as a separate instrument though, things get much more interesting. Taking the guts of the kit and using it outside of the module with a laptop you can do remarkable things. It would be relatively trivial to set up a guitarists pedalboard in software and change the settings mid-song using an E-Kit - provided they were happy with software solutions (and some of them are very, very good now). Another idea could be to trigger time-critical sound effects with one pad and then adjust the settings using another pad - you could feed an acoustic snare into software, whack on a delay and pan it or adjust the feedback or repeats using MIDI note values or velocity values. These are really good, fun things to do that can provide some superb results if you have the patience to set it up.
The beauty of it is the MIDI protocol. Anything you can in MIDI you can manipulate with an electronic drum kit - especially if it has 'note off' in the module. MIDI can do a Hell of a lot!
So if we treat E-Kits like 'real' drum kits, for me they fall a bit short, although they're 'good enough' for most Rock/Pop/Metal situations. They fall down in Jazz because of the cymbal zoning and snare zoning issues and the lack of really fine nuance that you need in Jazz. If you take a totally different approach to music in general, they can be very rewarding indeed. It just requires a bit of MIDI knowledge!