We spent over 32 hours researching and testing 11 different kinds of electronic drum sets and found that sound quality, brand reputation, and cost were most important. The Alesis Studio Kit scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick. This set includes 6 pieces that have USB and MIDI capabilities. The drums have Mylar heads on the snare and kick pads. This is a very versatile drum set and is good for those who will be recording or composing. One of the special features of the Alesis Nitro is that external devices can be mixed in with the beat of the drums.
Electronic Drum Reviews
Because electronic drum sets have such a variety of features, actually finding the right drum set to meet your needs can be a lot more complicated than what it used to be. In fact, while the complexity inherent in electric sets increases their potential abilities through offering you a larger variety of useful features, it also increases their potential drawbacks through possibly giving you the wrong sound for the genre you may happen to play, leaving the drum set completely unusable. As always, a bit of research and smart consumerism is all that’s needed to ensure you get just what you need in your next drum set.
In this review, we’ll take a look at what you should look for in a drum set. We’ll find out which set is best for metal, which set is best for hip-hop, which set is the easiest for beginners to use and what type of features more advanced drummers should be looking for in their next purchase. No matter who you are or what you play, there’s an electric drum set for you. Let’s find out which one that may be.
Best Overall Electronic Drum
The Nitro is a eight-piece electronic drum set with USB and MIDI capabilities as well as Mylar heads, which are used on the snare, toms and kick pads. The drum set tends to be more versatile in nature than the vast majority of similar products in the market; while it may not be the drum set in any particular area, it’s sure to fit the needs of a large variety of folks. As such, you could easily consider it as being one of the safer purchases you could make. This is especially true if you’re just starting out or if you find yourself bouncing back and forth between vastly different genres and drumming styles. You’ll certainly appreciate what this drum set has to offer if you’re more of a versatile musician.
The Nitro is also a good choice for those who plan on recording or composing music. While all electronic drum sets will give you the ability to lay down drum tracks on top of other music through the use of your mixing/recording software of choice, the Nitro allows external devices to be mixed in with the drum beat all at once through the drum set’s on-board mixer. This makes it great for both solo and group composition efforts which can be recounted later on your computer. Its wide variety of cymbals and toms ensures it can tackle any genre to some degree or another.
– Darius Spieth
2. ddrum DD1
Best Overall Electronic Drum – Runner Up
The DD1 is an electronic drum kit that comes complete with ChromaCast ten-foot cables, GoDpsMusic 5A drumsticks and some free earbuds thrown in the mix. It is rather easy to use, despite coming with a relatively large amount of pieces. This is achieved primarily through its lightweight structure and a console and software which are extremely easy to navigate.
It comes with several sound setups built into the console, allowing you to easily choose the sound bank you need at any given moment. If none of the sound setups seem to have just what it is you’re looking for, you can always configure your own and save it in one of the ten customizable slots found within the console’s software.
The DD1 is best suited to you if you often find yourself traveling with your electronic drum set. It’s easy to move around and even easier to set up. While it can perform well in basic rock or rap, if you find yourself playing drum-heavy genres such as death metal or progressive rock, you may feel somewhat limited at times. However, assuming the DD1 can perform in every way you need it to, you’ll find it able to shed a lot of dead weight found in other drum sets. It also comes at a rather agreeable price, which is a huge bonus.
– Darius Spieth
The DTX452K comes with ten-inch cymbals, a stool, two drum sticks and a set of JCV headphones. It is great if you would have your drum set do all of the work for you. While many sets on the market require that you take a substantial amount of time to mess around with different settings and find what works for you, the DTX452K has you covered from the start through its simple console, software and drum setup.
Perhaps the DTX452K ’s most exciting feature is its very large variety of sounds. While it only comes with ten preset sound setups (a number which could be seen as being somewhat small within the kit’s price range), it comes with a drum trigger module which has almost three hundred unique sounds. This allows you to get a variety of sounds without spending a whole lot of time messing around with drum presets.
All in all, the DTX452K is the best drum set for you if you simply want to get down to business. You won’t spend a whole lot of time working the console, nor will you have a hard time deciding on your preferred sound setup. For quick and easy drum access, look no further than the DTX452K .
– Darius Spieth
Summary of Our Top Picks
As you can see, which of the above drum sets is right for you truly depends on how versatile you need your drum set to be and how easy you’d like it to be in terms of the initial setup and software configuration. Unfortunately, the two above traits never go hand in hand; you can either have an easy drum set, or a very versatile drum set. Which one is right for your own specific needs will truly depend on the amount of time you have on your hands and which genres and play styles you find yourself adopting on a regular basis.
The Alesis DM10 is on the more complex end of the spectrum. No matter what your needs are in terms of sound production and cymbal/tom versatility, it is sure to have you covered. The Yamaha DTX400K, on the other hand, is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. While it is extremely easy to set up and use, it sacrifices a few features to do so. If you can’t decide between the two, you can always try the ddrum DD1, which sits right in the middle of the spectrum between the two previously-mentioned kits, which themselves tend to sit on either side.
4. Alesis DM6
5. Best Choice
7. Roland TD-11K-S
8. Yamaha DTX450K
9. Roland TD-4KP
10. DDRUM DDBETA
Electronic Drum Buying Guide
What is an Electronic Drum Set?
Electric drum sets have been quickly gaining more and more popularity among musicians with each passing year it seems. While they perhaps don’t carry the exact same sound as their acoustic counterparts under all conditions, they have several advantages over traditional drum sets which have musicians everywhere wanting to get in on the action and see for themselves just what it is that makes these sets so great to begin with.
Electric drum sets vary from traditional sets in that the manufacturer has a lot more wiggle room in terms of customizing any given set they may happen to sell. Things such as different sound banks, different metronomes and a variety of different electronic features make each drum set unique from the other. Possibly more so than that of acoustic drum sets; even just the sound each electronic drum set produces is vastly different from any other given model. As such, finding the right brand and model is imperative if you hope for you’re new electric drum set to be compatible with the music you hope to play.
While there are some features which you should expect to see in any quality drum set, some features can be great or completely pointless depending on what you’re looking for. Here are some things to consider before going through with a purchase.
What genre(s) will you be playing? Where metal has the china cymbal, rock has the toms and pop has the clap. Every genre will have different piece requirements. Take a look at the amount of pieces in a kit, as well as the sound options available to you in its console.
How precise do you want to be? Will any old sound setup do? Or are you the type to spend hours fine-tuning a drum set to your liking? Make sure to get the drum set that allows/requires you to put in the level of work you’re willing to put into it in the first place.
Will you be traveling a lot? If you’re the type to stop by friends’ houses for jam sessions, getting a lighter drum set may be your best bet. On the other hand, heavier drum sets give you more options in your own home.
Types of Electric Drum Sets
Portable Drum Sets – These typically come with less in the way of pieces and are often built lighter. Although they’re easy to move around and set up on short notice, they’re not the most versatile of the bunch.
Customizable Drum Sets – While the majority of drum sets come with preset sound and drum setups, some folks prefer creating their own. A drum set with a customizable console allows you to use any sound you see fit.
Mixer Drum Sets – Drum sets with on-board mixers allow you to record and mix yourself or your entire band through just the use of the software on your drum set’s console. The finished product can be used as is or uploaded to a computer for further tweaking.
MIDI Drum Sets – Drum sets with MIDI capabilities allow you to hook external devices up to your drum set’s console, further allowing you to record and mix music. Drum sets with MIDI capabilities also typically come with on-board mixers.
Common Electric Drum Set Features
While we’ve covered many different features which may or may not appeal to you depending on your goals, there are a few features you should look for in every drum set. Here are some things to keep an eye out for.
A Hi-Hat Pedal – While some older drum kits would have you go through their console to choose whether your virtual hi-hat will be open or closed, any worthwhile electronic drum set in today’s age will have a pedal which is to be used instead.
An Included Headset – A headset isn’t usually required to use an electronic drum set. It is required to get the most out of your drum set, however. As such, a set which comes with a headset is always a huge plus. Headsets are great for playing by yourself, as they’ll likely offer you the best sound quality possible without disturbing those around you.
Padded Drums – Most folks who get an electronic drum set will often do so as a means to reduce the amount of noise their neighbors, family or roommates have to deal with. For this reason, it only makes sense that a proper electronic drum kit would come with pads to reduce the amount of noise it makes to keep those around you happy.
When shopping for a new electronic drum kit, there are many variables to consider. It’s important to know what you want to play, how you want to play and which electronic drum set is going to cater to your needs. What genre do you prefer? Do you need a whole lot of cymbals or a whole lot of toms? Perhaps you jump from genre to genre? If so, you might want to look at a drum set which has a little bit of everything.
After finding out just what it is you need in an electronic drum set, it can’t hurt to take the time to look for nice added features such as durable, soft pads and a nice headset. By doing so, you can be sure you’ll get just the drum set you need, keeping your neighbors and band happy while still producing the type of sound you’re looking for. The electronic drum set you need is out there, assuming you know where to look and what to look for.