What E Drums Should I Get

aaronmcd

Member
Hey, one would think this is a topic that has been over done many times. Yet after many hours of searching the web, I can't find out what I want.

I don't know what I want. I am learning drums, and currently only have a practice pad. If I want to practice on a kit, I have to take off work early and get to the studio to use the house kit before 6 when bands come in and practice.

It seems the more I research, the more I realize Roland is not only the top name brand, but the best value as well. Please show me something better and cheaper cuz I really want best value.

On Roland - I can't for the life of me figure out all the pros and find of all the kits and brains and pads. TD 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30. Is this positional sensing thing worth it? Is TD-11 KV Best mid range kit? Do I even want a mid range kit? I'm afraid Ill buy a mid range kit, then try and learn boatloads of acoustic nuances that I cant even play. Will a TD 11 soumd like a toy? Will it sound amazing? Will it inhibit my learning? I want the best value kit that won't inhibit me if I only get acoustic time once a week...
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Give the Alesis Crimson a try. Cheap for a mesh kit and you can add an extra crash cymbal if you wish. Depends how much you want to spend and how realistic you want the feel and sound of the kit. The Alesis may not be the best sounding but the mesh heads are adjustable for bounce, so you can get them to feel pretty close to how you like an acoustic kit. I use mine only for practice and I can get the feel and position of the pads just how and where I want them. Job done for me.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
If you are in the US, Guitar Center has the Simmons SD550 mesh head kit for $399 right now for Black Friday deal. For the price, that's probably what I'd get.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I'm afraid Ill buy a mid range kit, then try and learn boatloads of acoustic nuances that I cant even play. Will a TD 11 soumd like a toy? Will it sound amazing? Will it inhibit my learning? I want the best value kit that won't inhibit me if I only get acoustic time once a week...
Well, you’re on the right track. E-kits are nothing like acoustic, so you can get good use of them for independence excercise and to generally get practice time, so you’re not always on a time crunch to play.

Acoustic nuances are close to non existent. If you’re still going to get a day in on acoustic though, I’d say you’re fine.

Mesh heads are nice, but I’d detuned them as much as possible to give you a nice mushy feeling on the toms and kick. Rubber pads are way cheaper and noisier and can kill your hands. I have found however that playing them with rubber tipped sticks makes them bounce more closely to an acoustic, are much quieter and saves your hands.
 

electrodrummer

Senior Member
Hey, one would think this is a topic that has been over done many times. Yet after many hours of searching the web, I can't find out what I want.
The usual basics, before recommendations:

1. Budget?
2. Your location?
3. What are you going to use it for?
4. What e-drums have you physically played? If so, which pads did you like - rubber, silicone, mesh etc. (bear in mind different rubber heads and mesh heads feel different).
5. Do you want to load your own samples?

Options to look at are Roland, Yamaha, 2Box, Alesis... - choice will depend on what YOU like the feel of and budget.

(personal opinion) Options to avoid are (a) those without MIDI IN for expansion and those with (b) spider/octopus/cable snakes rather than individual trigger inputs.
 

aaronmcd

Member
The usual basics, before recommendations:

1. Budget?
2. Your location?
3. What are you going to use it for?
4. What e-drums have you physically played? If so, which pads did you like - rubber, silicone, mesh etc. (bear in mind different rubber heads and mesh heads feel different).
5. Do you want to load your own samples?

Options to look at are Roland, Yamaha, 2Box, Alesis... - choice will depend on what YOU like the feel of and budget.

(personal opinion) Options to avoid are (a) those without MIDI IN for expansion and those with (b) spider/octopus/cable snakes rather than individual trigger inputs.
Budget:
Idk. I've been looking in the used market around $1000. But if that won't get me something decent I'll spend more. I dont wanna spend much less cuz I dont want a low end kit that sounds bad and Ill be replacing in a year.

Location:
SF. How is location relevant? I guess if I lived in the middle of nowhere there wouldn't be many second hand kits available I could drive and pick up...

Use:
For now, learning. 4 way coordination, independence, musicality, just figuring out how to make music, learn songs, play along to songs (I assume any kit would have headphone jack input with independent volume but sometimes I'm surprised by what's missing in products). Eventual upgrades, more cymbals, maybe more drums, double bass pedal, and I dont want a kit that Ill be super frustrated with once I know what I'm doing. Eventually create music, jam with others, etc. My goal is to be a drummer, not an electronic musician. I don't really like electronics. I just need something quiet for apartment living.

I have not played any e drums. I don't want rubber pads and I dont want tiny pads. Also, reading about roland positional sensing on high end kits makes me worried that a mid range kit won't know where I hit the drum head, which seems silly. Its a drum, not a keyboard.

I don't know what loading samples means. If I had to guess it would mean inputting sound files? This is one thing that confuses me when I read the web on various kits... "One gazillion kits and 10 gazillion sounds" what does this mean? Does it mean it has a bunch of sounds to make it more realistic, or does it mean it has a bunch of weird sound effects that I dont want?

I've been searching only Roland, after reading and watching reviews that basically always say, "x brand is good, but roland is better anyway". But I can't for the life of me figure out all the different models Roland has or had in the past. TD-11 KV is really common on the second hand market and usually asking price is $900-$1300

I don't know what MIDI is. I googled it and watched a 10 minute video which was very very unhelpful and I still don't know what MIDI is.

How can I know if the unit has individual inputs? How does this affect the sound, or does it only make a difference if I wanna do something on a computer afterwards?
 

electrodrummer

Senior Member
Budget: Idk. I've been looking in the used market around $1000.
Cool.

Location: SF. How is location relevant?
This is a worldwide forum, so if you were in, say, London I could recommend places to visit to test drive stuff. If you were in Outer Mongolia I might not be able to recommend some stuff. That's why!

Use: For now, learning. I don't really like electronics. I just need something quiet for apartment living.
OK. But there's nothing wrong with electronics! (keyboardists, guitarists and bassists moved on why should drummers be stuck in 1958!)

I have not played any e drums. I don't want rubber pads and I dont want tiny pads.
Nothing wrong with "tiny pads". As a drummer most of your hits will be in 25% of the area of an acoustic. As for rubber pads - they are all different. Some are hard some are very soft and giving.

I don't know what loading samples means.
The ability to load your own sounds into the kit.

I've been searching only Roland, after reading and watching reviews that basically always say, "x brand is good, but roland is better anyway".
There's a view that Roland is to edrumming as Apple is to phones. The owners tend to shout loudest. As someone that owns modules and pads from Roland, Yamaha, Alesis, Alternate Mode, etc. I would definitely say that Yamaha quality, for example, is as good, if not better than Roland (Alesis not so good). Yamaha stuff tends to be more flexible (e.g. you can put whatever sounds you like anywhere on the kit) and more full featured.
You owe it to yourself to test-drive the Yamaha silicone pads - most drummers would say they are the closest to an acoustic kit in feel. Mesh can be very bouncy. But as I keep saying YOU need to go any hit some pads.


I don't know what MIDI is.
For an analogy - networking for musical instruments. Been around since the mid 80s. Allows you to interconnect instruments. In this instance you can add more pads to another device and connect that to your drum kit for massive expansion. Need 10 cymbals? No problem. Kits without MIDI can't easily be expanded and hit a dead end very quickly.

How can I know if the unit has individual inputs?
Look a pic of the back - or read the manual. They're all online.
In Roland's case I would avoid the odd-numbered modules - they use a cable snake which is annoying (and expensive) if if breaks (and not good for future expansion).
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
100% agree with what Electrodrummer said. go hit some pads. I don't like roland pads at all, they are too boingy for me, and I'm not a fan of their sounds either. But it's a very personal thing. This is a great time for e-drums, there are a ton of great kits on the market these days, by a bunch of manufacturers. oh and Roland aren't even close to the best value, they are the most expensive, across the board. But they do have their fans.
 

jdhardrummer

Senior Member
I'll offer a slightly different take... make the decision for the next X years of your drumming-life whether you want to use E-drums as 1) Complementary to your Acoustic kit and technique, or 2) As your primary practice/gigging kit. My take from your post is that you're in the #1 bucket (I live in SF as well and use E-kits for supplementary practice).

Deciding whether you want #1 or 2 drastically will influence what you buy. For about 5 years of the 20 I've playing, I went 100% knee-deep into e-drumming (and I mean deep), and ultimately realized it wasn't for me. I sunk a massive amount of cost into e-drums because I kept trying to 'replace' my Acoustic setup.

If you are in the #1 bucket, I would recommend pick a budget ($500 is reasonable) and buy whatever you find used in that range (that is priced well accordingly). Don't worry about all the options and bells/whistles, because you will be using it for a supplementary kit, not a primary. You don't need to get bogged down in the details of Hart vs. Roland vs. Simmons vs. Alesis etc.. Do try it out beforehand though, that's important.

...and what are e-kits good for in the #1 bucket? Independence, Timing (huge benefit here, you can analyze your timing using MIDI), laying down quick scratch tracks. In your 'off-acoustic' days, you can heavily develop and progress in these areas with pretty much any e-kit.
 

mkidd053

Member
I bought an e-kit just for learning parts and general practice. It was never intended to replace the a-kit, just something that would allow me to play more frequently. Although I typically "buy up" to get the extra features in most electronics, in this case I made the decision to go simpler. I did not want to be bogged down by anything with a steep learning curve. I wanted simple plug and play with good sounds. The Roland TD-9 has been perfect for me. And you can get them with mesh heads for around $1000 used.
 

aaronmcd

Member
Got the TD 11K at GC today. Yeah it has the "cable snake" thing and no MIDI in, but it was only $800 and it would have taken more work and convincing to get my wife to agree to more money. It may not be a long term solution but judging by first impressions it will get me through many months/years of practice. Its also boatloads more fun than practice pads. It has mesh snare and rubber toms. I even get chokable cymbals! I can fit a double kick on the bass (don't need it yet but I bought a double pedal for future) and its nice and compact (wife really didn't want a huge thing eating up space). The small pads don't feel too limiting. I have got my sticks tangled up a couple times but that comes with being a newb! The only thing is the hi hat seems to require decently hard hits to register - but the crash and ride don't. Maybe I can adjust sensitivity in the brain? Ill find out soon, for now I just played out if the box.
 

aaronmcd

Member
After a few days, turns out the pad size is a non issue. Its a compact setup but the pads are spaced out like they are on acoustic. The rubber toms are pretty loud. Time will tell if this bothers the neighbors but a couple hours of hitting them doesn't bother me.

The hi hat is pretty bad though and I am hitting it more than any other pad. I reduced the trigger threshold to zero, and changed the sound from linear to "loud 1" which means it is linear but soft hits start out louder. It helps a bit but it still takes harder hits to hear the hats over the rubber sound even with pretty nice headphones. The would be my first upgrade I think.

I got a super fancy double bass pedal cuz it was the floor model on clearance for like 70% off, but the base plate doesn't fit over the floor plate of the kick pad. So it isnt attached. The pedal and pad don't shift around, but Idk if the extra movement in the kick pad will cause problems with fast precise pedal strokes. I'm nowhere near double bass level yet but I like metal so I got it to have for when I get good enough. If it is an issue when my feet are faster I may be able to rig something to keep the pad sturdy tho.
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
Gotta say, While Roland has always been number 1 in the E Drum world. The Yamaha DTX stuff that's come out the last few years is really amazing. You might want to look into some of those.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Gotta say, While Roland has always been number 1 in the E Drum world. The Yamaha DTX stuff that's come out the last few years is really amazing. You might want to look into some of those.
The DTX stuff is about the only E-kit I haven’t wanted to smash up after a session. Predictable, responsive and far better sampling than the others I’ve played. I still have some HH issues with them, but they tend to be minimal. For some odd reason, their rubber pads aren’t designed to kill your wrists either!
 
Top