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  #1  
Old 05-08-2009, 02:15 PM
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Interitus Interitus is offline
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Default Switch to Electronic Drums?

Well, I've been playing drums for about 6 months now, playing on a mapex 5 pc Q series kit. I've had a lot of fun on my acoustic kit, but I can never seem to get it tuned right. And I went cheap on the cymbals, so I'm just not happy with them. I havent had a whole lot of time to go play, so if I get a chance to sit down and play for fifteen minutes or something, I get really discouraged playing on a badly tuned kit. I think to myself that I need to tune them, but I dont really know what I'm doing. I dont have enough time to play past it and get into a groove, so I'm playing badly as well. The whole thing leaves me frustrated and discouraged.

During my drum lessons tho, we play on some roland v-drums, and every time I play them I want a set more and more. Always in tune, and lots of sound options without spending a bazillion dollars on new heads cymbals and hardware to get the different sounds. The cymbals will always sound good, and there's always the fun electronic sounding kits. I listened to the salesman at Axe play on the kit and go thru a bunch of the patches, and I just wanted to knock him off the kit and play myself.

So, the question I want to ask... What would be the pros and cons of switching an electronic kit? I'm looking at the Roland v-drums TD-9, for about $2k cdn they're affordable if spread out over a couple month payment plan. Would you suggest this kit, or should I think about another kit?
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:34 PM
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Sirwill Sirwill is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

Put the two grand into a good maple kit! You will never want anything else after owning a high end acoustic kit. Trust me after 34 yrs of drumming "I have been there".
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:10 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

While the sounds are quite great on today's V-kits, and the various presets are fun to play, there are a few realities you'll be faced with when you attempt to play with other musicians.

First - and all V-kits suffer from this - the sounds top out at 100%. You have great dynamics up to the particular sample's full volume, then that's all you get no matter how much harder you play the pads. Compare that to an acoustic drum, where you can play along at 100%, and if you lay into the heads more, you get more volume and additional sounds... sometimes a choked sound, but that's how drums sound. And no, you cannot play along at 80% so you have the extra headroom when you need it... it's just a physical thing that a real head does but a sample doesn't.

Also with sounds, they don't 'compound'. You won't get the same sound from flamming a floor tom on a V-kit, as you will on a real floor tom. Same for cymbals. Electronic cymbals don't 'build' like physical cymbals do. These may seem like trivial concerns, but those are sounds, sometimes very subtle, that contribute to the believability of an acoustic kit (which is what V-kits desperately hope to achieve at all levels.)

Second, and this is big, you will need an amp and suitable monitoring for your drums whenever playing with anyone else. If you don't have a powerful enough amp and capable speakers, you and the band won't be able to hear the drums well, and it will definitely affect your playing. If you eventually take the drums into a club situation, you'll need to run them thorugh the p.a. in addition to having a monitor just so you can hear them. This really taxes any sound system (not to mention the patience of the players around you!) and soon you'll find yourself without gigs until you get an acoustic kit.

It's fine to consider adding a V-kit to an arsenal of gear that already has acoustic drums, but you're going to find it detrimental to go 100% electronic in order to replace acoustics. The tacticle and sonic advances are coming, they just aren't in place yet.

I also recommend upgrading your current drums, or at least invest in some appropriate heads and work on tuning, before making a sweeping change that will ultimately work against you.

Bermuda
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:45 AM
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bobdadruma bobdadruma is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

I have never played an electro kit that came close to the real thing. I had a $3000 V kit for a while. I bought it used so I didn't pay that much for it. It was fun, but I missed my acoustic kit . I stopped playing the electro and I sold it. Learning how to tune and get your drums to sound good is fun. I like spending time trying new tunings and heads, etc. I like trying different cymbals also. Finding that perfect cymbal is fun for me. Don't get me wrong, An electro kit has its uses. It's OK to own and play one. I agree with the others here. Upgrade your acoustic kit and cymbals. Spend just a bit more time tinkering with your tuning. Soon you will catch on to the fine points of tuning. You will get more satisfaction from that than you will from programming an electro kit.
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:04 AM
Drifter in the Dark Drifter in the Dark is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

My main gig for the past couple years has been at a church. Recently, they made the switch to electronic drums. Even though they use a top-of the line set of Roland V-Drums and the sounds are very realistic, it just doesn't feel like the real thing. Bermuda is right: at a certain point, you wan't be able to get any more sound out of the pads no matter how hard you hit. I have to be careful about this, becuase when I start to "lay into" the pads like I would with an acousctic set, my wrists start to hurt. Also, the hi-hat is a little too sensitive, and I have trouble getting a consistent sound out of it when the "cymbals" are in the half-open position. I think that an electronic set is better for practice (especially if volume is an issue), but for gigging, to quote Marvin Gaye, "Ain't nothing like the real thing baby!" I do enjoy a lot of the sounds on the TD-9, though. I could spend an entire day just grooving with the old-school TR 808 and 909 settings!
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:37 AM
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

The problem with experimenting with tuning and different heads, is that I dont have the patience to spend hours trying different tunings, nor am I willing to spend lots of money on different heads to try them out. I've got Remo pinstripes on my toms, a powerstroke on my snare, and an evans something on my bass drum, stock heads on all resonant heads. I agree that a good quality and properly tuned acoustic kit will always sound better than an electronic kit, but that requires time, patience and money to achieve. None of which I really have.. I dont play very hard, and its going to be years before I'm at the point of being able to play with a band. I only know two beats, and I cant even do doubles at a reasonable speed yet. My thinking is that if I had an electronic kit, I could focus on my playing rather than worrying about getting it tuned properly. In a year or so, if I'm at the point that I would play with a band, I could pick up a better acoustic kit. I wouldnt be replacing my current kit anyways, I'd just be picking up the electronic kit as a 2nd kit. I could switch back and forth if I wanted to. If I was playing something on the v-drums and it sounded cool, I could always try it out on the acoustic kit, and see if the electronic kits were fooling me.
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:46 AM
Meat the beat Meat the beat is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

Don t do it Man, spend your cash on a decent kit & you'll never look back!!
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:14 AM
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bobdadruma bobdadruma is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

You can buy one heck of an acoustic kit and some great cymbals for less than $2000.
It won't take hours and hours to become good at tuning. Do a bit of tuning whenever you practice and it will come to you as you start to play better. The skills of tuning and playing go hand and hand. As you play better, you will tune better!
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Old 05-11-2009, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

well I just played for about half hour or so, did a slight tuning on the drums and they sounded pretty good. My crash and ride still dont sound really great, but I mostly stuck to my snare and hi-hat. I'm more undecided than ever now. Tomorrow after work I'm gonna head over to the store and see if I can get some play-time on the td-9.
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

I own both, and I love both. If having an e-kit is gonna make you practice more/keep the fire burning....go for it. You'll still have the acoustic, you'll eventually get the hang of drum tuning, and you'll eventually find the path you want to follow, as far as upgrading your kit, and as far as developing your own style/sound. Personally, I treat my e-drums as a totally separate instrument from the acoustic kit. Different tools for different jobs. Keep the passion alive, and whatever you do will be the right decision.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:42 AM
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Interitus Interitus is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

Played on the TD-9 at the store for a bit. The cymbals and hi-hat just dont have the same response and feel of my acoustics. Some of the patches were pretty fun, but the cymbals just dont feel or sound the same. Also, the kit I was looking at at the store was $2074, for rubber pads, mesh on the snare, basic kit. For another $700 I could get all mesh heads, and 3-zone cymbals, but that is too expensive for me right now.

So now I'm thinking about just doing some minor upgrades to my current kit, and maybe in a month or two upgrade to a better kit. So I'm thinking about a new hi-hat stand with adjustable travel, maybe a double-pedal, and definately a new crash and ride cymbal.

If only I was rich so I wouldnt have to pick and choose.... just buy one of everything!
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

FWIW - the wife did the electronic route when we lived in apt 7-8 years ago (she's the big drummer in the house)
(we did the rhythm traveler conversion boogie)

she didn't find it to be a great substitute (and I think that may be key - as mentioned earler, they are kind of two different beasties)

One thing that bothered her (and could hear t as well) s that you are playing triggers, and as such a lot of the "incidental sound" (al;l the little things a drummer can do to accent the playing) information from a physical instrument can get scrubbed [FWIW - guitar synth has the same problem]...extra velocity info, multi-layer sampling/morphing...multi-zones, etc are measures to try to mitigate that scrubbing, to limited success
I'm not shocked that you found the cymbals to be a particularly problematic point (as they are so sensitive to how, with what, and where they are hit in terms of their timbre...and the modelling problem gets even more complex if they are already excited when you have another impulse)

I'd personally be cautious about approaching e-drums as a direct REPLACEMENT for an acoustic set.

If you feel you are not understanding the tuning of your current kit, perhaps you could talk to your instructor and actually roll that into a lesson (or discuss t across lessons) - it's part of knowing your instrument.
One of the best cello lessons I ever had was (on my request) my teacher going with me to the local string shop and trying different instruments and bows and getting an interactive lesson about the instrument (as opposed to playing the instrument)

Last edited by justjim; 05-12-2009 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:43 PM
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Davo-London Davo-London is offline
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Default Re: Switch to Electronic Drums?

Strangely enough, whenever this subject comes up you get a line of protagonists saying edrums are useless - acoustic kits are best. It's a bit like you have challenged their manlihood. I play both, but own edrums. I love them both, but genuinely prefer the edrums at home.

Take your time over the decision and note that used Roland kits are good value and also hold their value.

Davo
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