Silent Pads/cymbals or Electronic Drums?

AzHeat

Platinum Member
So, I posted a tread on the minimum requirements for an eKit a while ago, but now wondering if the Zildjian L80/Aquarian Super Pad is the best option for practice. I like that electronics make a sound in headphones, but feel wise, they are nowhere close. That’s where the silent pads/cymbals May be best. I haven’t been able to find much in the way of used L80s that are a better price than new and never seen used Super Pads. I’m looking at ~$800 USD for that combo. For the same to $1500, I could get a decent to really decent used eKit. What would you guys do, given the option?
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..I like that electronics make a sound in headphones, but feel wise, they are nowhere close..

There you have your answer..

Another thing to consider is that the sound you will hear in your headphones is maybe not really representing what you are actually playing regarding dynamics, velocity, etc..

And, when speaking for my own, i am also not a huge fan of hearing the sound coming through headphones instead of coming from the direct source, namely the drum or pad..

For effective practice, i would definitely go for the pads in this case..
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Ekit. They are a great practice tool for playing to songs or just messing around. Just plug in your music source and pop in your iems. They are more satisfying to me when used for that purpose than are Silentstrokes and L80s.

They are not meant for working on strict hand and foot technique some say, but that should be done on a snare or great practice pad anyway.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I think it depends on your use. I use a pad and L80s kit. I wouldn't use a Superpad in the snare position,, but they're definetly an option in othe places.

The deal is that I don't fullly depend on this. It's expanded pad practice, some independance and doing the conditioning while watching Yv etc.. more complete.

If I was to replace my kit because of generally not having access I'd probably get a digital kit too, get the best 3-ply heads and do all I could to make it feel right.

If the idea is to put the Superpads on to regular drums, maybe check out the OnHeads. Then you can choose between both options.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
All great points.

Ekit. They are a great practice tool for playing to songs or just messing around. Just plug in your music source and pop in your iems. They are more satisfying to me when used for that purpose than are Silentstrokes and L80s.

They are not meant for working on strict hand and foot technique some say, but that should be done on a snare or great practice pad anyway.
This is the part I'm trying to figure out. Part of the fun of playing drums is hearing them. Feel is the other part, which is why I've been in a seemingly endless loop for a while!
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
All great points.


This is the part I'm trying to figure out. Part of the fun of playing drums is hearing them. Feel is the other part, which is why I've been in a seemingly endless loop for a while!
I understand completely. That's why I say grab an ekit. You won't hear L80s and Superpads, Silentstrokes, or any of the mufflers like a real kit. The heads also won't feel the same as a real kit.

So, you may as well have some fun when your practicing.

The only kit I touched during breaks from the road was an ekit. My hands and feet were and are good, so it was more of a maintenance thing. It is also fun to play around with the stupid sounds inside the ekit brains.

If you're on the road playing country you may want to jam some Warren G when you get home. Ya feel me?

Edit: don't forget ease of plugging music in, click tracks, and instant recording.

Edit: edit once more: I don't even have an ekit atm. Got rid of it when I stopped touring. I went with the Silentstrokes/L80 combo recently. I don't like it one bit.

If you use iem you can't hear anything you are playing. If you play with speakers then you battle the volume they are putting out vs the decent L80 and the almost silent Silentstrokes.
 
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dmacc_2

Well-known member
I think it depends on your long term goals in terms of how you want to use it.

If you want to be 'silent' all of the time with zero plans of hearing much, L80's and Silentstrokes - or equivalents - work well. I actually cover my set in these for about 6 months of the year (May - October). Allows me to practice whenever I want without giving any consious thought to windows being open (neighborhood noise), who is home and such. For me, it's also a nice break from the louder type of sound the instruments generate by nature. Sometimes I don't want to hear the noise myself. By the way... I did this for myself not at the request of anyone else.

On the otherhand, if you think you will grow tired of the lack of sound options, etc... then an electronic kit is a better solution (in my opinion).

If I was unable to ever have a regular set available at any time... ever... no question - I'd buy the best E-kit I could afford.

Just my .02
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Another thing to consider is that the sound you will hear in your headphones is maybe not really representing what you are actually playing regarding dynamics, velocity, etc..

And, when speaking for my own, i am also not a huge fan of hearing the sound coming through headphones instead of coming from the direct source, namely the drum or pad..

For effective practice, i would definitely go for the pads in this case..
I've already have a set of DW mart practice pads for about two years. Great for working on independence, etc, but just when I think I have something down, I move to the kit and the dynamics and spread are so far off, I don't have it at all. Hence, my thought on the silent pad and cymbal option, but as with the current setup I'm struggling with not hearing anything at all, when I'm trying to break down a fill. In my mind, it sounds spot on, but taken to the kit is more like what the.....?


If I was to replace my kit because of generally not having access I'd probably get a digital kit too, get the best 3-ply heads and do all I could to make it feel right.
My drums are sitting 50 feet away from me. My wife is just growing tired of the noise. I guess after 30+ years of marriage, she's had enough. LOL!! Actually, she's becoming sensitive to certain frequencies as she's getting older. She also stopped frequent travel about six months ago, which allowed me free rein to play as long as I wanted to, so I have had to start thinking more about what to do. Maybe it's "That Great Gretsch Sound!" They are freakishly loud compared to my old set...but I absolutely love hearing them, so this is a sad journey.

If the idea is to put the Superpads on to regular drums, maybe check out the OnHeads. Then you can choose between both options.
The OnHeads seem a little under developed, with the external box and stuff. I looked at Nfuzd. They would have been the ticket, but seems the company is on the brink of folding. The price of a full set sure is nice though.

I think it depends on your long term goals in terms of how you want to use it.

If you want to be 'silent' all of the time with zero plans of hearing much, L80's and Silentstrokes - or equivalents - work well. I actually cover my set in these for about 6 months of the year (May - October). Allows me to practice whenever I want without giving any consious thought to windows being open (neighborhood noise), who is home and such. For me, it's also a nice break from the louder type of sound the instruments generate by nature. Sometimes I don't want to hear the noise myself. By the way... I did this for myself not at the request of anyone else.

On the otherhand, if you think you will grow tired of the lack of sound options, etc... then an electronic kit is a better solution (in my opinion).

If I was unable to ever have a regular set available at any time... ever... no question - I'd buy the best E-kit I could afford.

Just my .02
I spent quite a bit on a full set of mics, an interface, recording gear and isolation headphones. The isolation part has worked out really well for just being able to turn things way down and the mics have been perfect. No compression, processing or any messing with sound shaping. I get to hear and love hearing the raw sound. Dynamics and everything are perfect. With this in mind, it's what really shows me how good or bad things really are. An e-kit would mask reality, as with any pads, but being able to hear something more than clicking would not only be more entertaining, but I could actually use them for effect, should I finally find a band again.

So far as working on dynamics, etc....I just don't know which is better. The L80s won't tell me if I smacked them too hard, soft, and the silent pads similarly don't show dynamics, playing to a song. pads only, yes, but they drown out quickly. I've done as much research as I've been able to on micing then, then tricking the sounds to sound like something, given the equipment I already have and they just don't. One video showed where mic signals were converted to midi, then fed through Superior Drummer, or similar and somewhat decently converted the clicks to tom sounds, but the overheads for cymbals were a mess. I guess If you close mic'd the cymbals you may get somewhere, but by the time I add more mics, an interface expansion and Superior Drummer, I'm at the cost of an e-kit with likely more headaches! That's where something like the Alesis Strike Pro may be the best solution. Similar spread and sizes as acoustic, but a savings, since they have horrendous sounding samples. Fed through Superior Drummer and they just may be entertaining enough.

I just have to suck it up and not look for a perfect, but workable solution. Can't decide what's workable. It would really help if I could actually play some options to compare. I've thus far, seen the L80s. The hats are definitely workable and give decent feedback. The 18' crash/ride was pretty lame. I've only ever seen the 16" super pad, so can't say, outside of what I've heard on YT, how they would work for me in the long run.

Most of the e-kits around me are either the low end ones, or broken. It seems that's all anyone does at GC. Beat them to a pulp. I've struggled with the hats and triggers on our church e-kits, but they have been thrown around so much, I don't know if they are just really bad or beaten too much. The demos on YT seem to all work, but they never have for me. With that, I can't decide if they are worth the hassle!
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I have the Sound Off pads, Sabian QuietTone cymbals and the RTOM bass drum mute & they're the best thing I ever did. Not only can I swap out with a quickness if need be for jam sessions, but the overall price is FAR cheaper than a whole elec. kit.

Add to all this, I'm still practicing on the very kit I'll play live so there's no issues with feel. It's all the same, all the time.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I think the bottom line is that the only thing that will sound/feel/emote like a drum set is a drum set.

Like a marathon runner on a treadmill, crewman on a rowing machine, or a hockey player on inline skates, the primary purpose of an e-kit is to work the same muscle groups and neurons that a real kit does. It's not meant to be a full-on substitute.

I obtained a DTX523 a year after my first A-kit. After several years of use, I found that it's best application is working on hands-over-feet practice. Modulating paradiddles or doubles over a samba foot ostinato for example. As long as the sticks aren't doing anything more complex than straight 16'ths with an occasional accent, it's fine. The moment you want to do anything that has a minuscule level of sonic complexity, anything above "add an accent on X note", the illusion is shattered.

If it helps... Think of an E-Kit as a trap kit, but amplified and making bleep-bloop sounds.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I have the Sound Off pads, Sabian QuietTone cymbals and the RTOM bass drum mute & they're the best thing I ever did. Not only can I swap out with a quickness if need be for jam sessions, but the overall price is FAR cheaper than a whole elec. kit.

Add to all this, I'm still practicing on the very kit I'll play live so there's no issues with feel. It's all the same, all the time.
Did you compare the Sabian QuietTones to the Zildjian L80s? I read mixed reviews, but they seem to at least have an audible tone and some variation, even though a bit harsh!
 

Ronzo

Junior Member
Soundoff pads are the way to go.
You can always remove them and have an full acoustic set of drums.
Electronic drums will always be electronic drums...period.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..Electronic drums will always be electronic drums..

Exactly..

If you only want to have a nice time and fool around a little, electronic drums are the best ever..

If you really want to learn something and become a better drummer, then something is needed that at least responds to your playing in a normal natural and dynamical way..
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I think the bottom line is that the only thing that will sound/feel/emote like a drum set is a drum set.

Like a marathon runner on a treadmill, crewman on a rowing machine, or a hockey player on inline skates, the primary purpose of an e-kit is to work the same muscle groups and neurons that a real kit does. It's not meant to be a full-on substitute.

I obtained a DTX523 a year after my first A-kit. After several years of use, I found that it's best application is working on hands-over-feet practice. Modulating paradiddles or doubles over a samba foot ostinato for example. As long as the sticks aren't doing anything more complex than straight 16'ths with an occasional accent, it's fine. The moment you want to do anything that has a minuscule level of sonic complexity, anything above "add an accent on X note", the illusion is shattered.

If it helps... Think of an E-Kit as a trap kit, but amplified and making bleep-bloop sounds.
Definitely looking at more than simple 16th notes and occasional accents.
Exactly..

If you only want to have a nice time and fool around a little, electronic drums are the best ever..

If you really want to learn something and become a better drummer, then something is needed that at least responds to your playing in a normal natural and dynamical way..
I think I'm shedding the e-kit thing. Now have to decide between L80s or Quiet Tones! Not going with the mesh pads, since I'll have to commit to keeping them on, so Super Pad or similar, unless something better is recommended for snare.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Even air drumming helps. The motions and muscle memory is still served when playing an e-kit. What you lose is a lot of response, dynamic control and variability.

But again, it still helps to practice on an e-kit, and the only time I think it's detrimental to acoustic playing is in cases where the player almost never gets to play real drum kits to keep those skills up as well. E-kit only drummers tend to have a tough time pulling various sounds from real drums when they're used to triggering sounds from a module, but they're still rather helpful for things like timing/note-placement, playing along to recorded stuff, consistency of sound for that electronic feel and as mentioned, the muscle memory for the base movements.

As a condo-dweller with neighbors, I use a stripped down electric kit to practice at home. All my regular kits are setup in practice spaces for various bands and I always use real stuff when playing real music like that so none of my skills ever really decline from playing the e-kit when I can't play the real deal. Being honest, I typically only turn on the actual module for sounds like a couple times a month. The rest of the time I can study books and stuff without even having power to the pads/module.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Triggers, mesh heads, Alesis DM5, Zildjian L80s. Plays like an acoustic kit, feels like an acoustic kit, sounds like an electronic kit...
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Triggers, mesh heads, Alesis DM5, Zildjian L80s. Plays like an acoustic kit, feels like an acoustic kit, sounds like an electronic kit...
Just using the same material doesn't mean it "plays like" the real thing. In the "real thing" you're generating the sounds and pulling them from those materials, so the WAY you hit them and the touch you use makes a much more direct impact on the end sound versus just triggering something at one of a few dozen "dynamic levels" based roughly on the electronic input.

As you already sort of pointed out, this often makes a much bigger difference in music with more subtlety than the average speed metal track, but for actual practice, if that stuff is important to you, it still pays to be mindful of the difference and play acoustic whenever you can.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Just using the same material doesn't mean it "plays like" the real thing. In the "real thing" you're generating the sounds and pulling them from those materials, so the WAY you hit them and the touch you use makes a much more direct impact on the end sound versus just triggering something at one of a few dozen "dynamic levels" based roughly on the electronic input.

As you already sort of pointed out, this often makes a much bigger difference in music with more subtlety than the average speed metal track, but for actual practice, if that stuff is important to you, it still pays to be mindful of the difference and play acoustic whenever you can.
Yeah I knew having mesh heads and triggers wouldn't be the same, but was trying to find an in between. I understand the OPs concern for his wife's hearing. Putting myself in his shoes, it would kill me to have an A kit 50' away and be stuck on an E kit. If you can't tell, I don't like them. There is something that just seems right about having wood and bronze in front of me that plastic and rubber will never replace.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I'm getting this narrowed down, so hopefully will make a move soon. Toying around with the idea of an EAD10 to trigger off the "silent" pads/cymbals for those times I want to jam out a bit. If I'm going to do this, I'd like to see if I can at least cover my basis somewhat for some additional flexibility. I like the idea of the silent setup instead of my current DW Smart Practice. That would at least get me closer to a real feel and I could work on independence even more, especially HH tricks, jazz grooves, which I suck at so bad, I don't want anyone to hear anyway...

If the EAD10 works well enough, I could at least feed my music through it and slow down/speed up songs and maybe hear what I'm doing at the same time.

Man...it was way easier just to throw on the headphones and go. This silent stuff makes things way too complicated. I have to like it at least a little, or I won't use any of it. I know all the new stuff is different....at least I hope it's enough different. I spent years in an apartment with 50 pounds of laundry in my BD, rubber pads and cymbal chokes over everything and hated every second of it. Probably obsessing too much!... 😣
 
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