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Top 10 Best Electronic Drum Sets of 2019
Drum kits have made a big shift from acoustic to electronic in the years the latter was first introduced in the eighties. There is certainly nothing like good ‘ol cymbals but the best electronic drum sets out there make it rather tricky to distinguish between the two. This speaks volumes for the strides electronic drums sets have made.
Moving over to electronic is in a way a natural progression along with the rest of the music scene. However, this may even be the ideal option for beginner musos. Annoyed neighbors the world over are all too familiar with band practice sessions that served more annoyance that they did good music. Electronic drum sets have been the savior in this sense!
Investing in a new piece of equipment like this, whether it be for learning or playing professionally can be a little overwhelming, but a way to get around that is to evaluate your needs first, decide on a budget and already you'd be able to narrow your options down.
If you already know about electronic drum kits and want to see our favorites, go through the list below and see what we thought. If you are new to the scene, take a look at our buying guide first to help you learn more about what makes a good drum kit and what you should expect.
- 1Alesis Nitro - Best electronic drum set for beginners
- 2KAT Percussion KT4 - Best electronic drum set
- 3Alesis Command Kit - Best electronic drum set under 1000
- 4Roland TD-1KV - Best portable electronic drum set
- 5Yamaha DTX400K - Best electronic drum kit under 500
- 6Simmons SD5Xpress
- 7Carlsbro CSD130XXX
- 8Roland TD1KV V-Drum
- 9Yamaha DTX562K
- 10Alesis Forge Kit
1. Alesis Nitro
This electronic drum set is easily the best in range at Alesis. This piece of musical equipment packs in the hardware, making it great value for money. With more drums, cymbals, and sounds than your average electronic drum set, you’re given so much flexibility in your musical experiments.
You won't have to hold anything back either, as the DM10X features heavy-duty, chrome-plated steel rack with hinged, quick-release clamps.
The DM10X’s ‘brain’ or sound module is the true star of this piece of equipment. It is the world's first drum-sound module that enables you to load new sound sets via USB connection from your computer. This will ensure that your module is always current.
You know you’re in good hands when the drum set is made by a company that specializes in electronic percussion technology. Better still, the KT4 is KAT’s most advanced electronic drum set to date.
This 5 piece kit stands out for its look and feel of a classic acoustic set together with the fact that many enhancements and adjustments had been made to ensure that you get that exact play. Perfect for the digital drumming skeptics.
A number of exclusive technologies created by Kat Percussion make this electronic drum set a cut way above the rest. For example, the 8-inch Bass Pad fitted with a Mylar® drumhead and a real-time actuating cymbal pad so you have more flexibility with your sound control.
The Alesis brand has established itself as a key innovator in the music production space, making new technologies accessible for the hobbyist musician and people learning the ropes.
The Alesis Command Kit stands out for its robust 8-piece composition and the addition of exclusive 10-inch mesh snare and 8-inch mesh kick features. These contribute to the authenticity of the drumming experience, a factor often called out in electric drumming sets.
The set includes a built-in metronome, allowing you to play around with sounds and improve your skills. What may also helpful in this sense is the Advanced Drum Module, which features 70 drum kits, 60 play-along songs, and over 500 sounds!
The only downside for the Alesis Command Kit worth noting was the not-so-easy setup process, but this is not nearly enough to discount its sheer playing ability.
What I love about the Roland TD-1KV bundle is that it comes with all the essentials you need for making music on your own. This is great, especially if it’s your first kit and you’re still in the learning phase. The bundle includes the TD-1KV Electronic Drum Set, Drum Throne, Headphones, Drum Sticks, and 1/8 inch Audio Cable.
Even for experienced musicians, this is a worthwhile deal and the specs of the set make it one you can’t ignore. For those of you accustomed to acoustic, this piece of equipment supports basic acoustic drumming techniques, including cymbal choke, advanced Hi-hat playing and the PDX 8 V pad supports that with an electric snare drum feel.
Yamaha is a brand we’re all well familiar with so that’s already a plus. The Yamaha DTX400K is starkly set apart from the rest with its integration with mobile apps, all produced by Yamaha too. App integration aside, though, this kit is popular amongst both amateurs and experts alike.
The high quality finishes expected of Yamaha does not disappoint and the set includes 10 customizable drum kits with sounds including 23 snares, 21 kicks, 31 cymbals, 36 toms and 42 percussions. Another stand out feature is the KU100 Silent Kick Unit that significantly reduces vibration and acoustic noise, making it one of the more quiet drum sets.
While its design is sleek and simple, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking you need to hold back. As expected, Yamaha has built this one to last.
The products above come from well-known brands in the music industry and it’s no surprise that these names made it to the top. However, there are a number of other products from within these brands and others that are worth a shot too. I’ve listed them below:
The Simmons SD5Xpress is an incredibly affordable full-size electronic drum kit that contains five drum pads and three cymbal pads. Built around the SD5Xp Sound Module with 14 drum sets, 107 drum sounds and 40 drum patterns, the SD5Xpress is ideal for new or aspiring drummers who need a comfortable kit to practice. It's economical and perfect to train, perform or record.
Highlights include a solid aluminum frame, secure clamps and flexible mats, allowing you to set up the unit as you like. A multi-pin cable harness provides fast and easy deployment, as well as clean and efficient cable handling. The SD5Xpress provides just like you'd imagine a full drum kit experience.The drum kit does not have advanced controls and is not ideal for professional drummers.
7. Carlsbro CSD130XXX Electronic Drum Set
The Carlsbro CSD130 keeps things simple when rehearsing, filming or on stage at the local club. Don't worry about miking each drum, tuning the heads or dealing with the hassle of a lot of gear. The CSD130 is a full 8-piece drum kit that can be set up in minutes. Unfold the stand, move the pads, and you're ready to rock.
The CSD130 provides instant access to hundreds of percussion sounds that are world class. Both engineers and drummers developed and tested the pads themselves to create a natural sensation that offers increased sensitivity, controlled bounces, and prevents wrist-fatigue. There are 250 different drum and percussion sounds arranged in 20 preset drum kits inside the Commander 120/130 head, with 10 additional kits that the player can build and modify. Using CD-quality recording methods, each sound was carefully recorded. Built-in reverb adds a professional touch.
Instant control is provided by illuminated buttons and a bright 3-digit LED display. Stereo outputs connect the CSD120 to any amplifier or recording device; for private practice, a headphone output is provided. MIDI and USB ports allow additional expansion.
On the downside, users had complains regarding the built and durability of the drum. The snare drum wasn’t very loud and the overall sound was not according to a professional musician’s expectations. There’s also some crossing of sounds making them muddled up.
If you're a drummer with no experience and you're looking for a good starting kit, you should definitely consider the TD-1 K of Roland. It's of great value and should last you a long time with good care. On the contrary, if you're an experienced player looking for a decent electronic practice kit, you might want to have a good TD-1 K play before you buy it.
The pads are hard rubber and when played, they are not exactly silent. This may or may not be a concern for you, but they are not up to the quality of mesh heads either way. While impressive, the sounds and pad reaction lack the dynamic range of higher end kits on the market.
The TD-1 K is the entry-level electronic drum kit for Roland on a tight budget for beginners and players. It's a cool set-up of five parts of bass drum, hi-hat, three toms, a snare pad and three cymbal sticks. All pads are placed on a small drum rack which folds away easily after use for storage.
The Roland rack included with the TD-1 K is designed to hold the drum brain along with drums and cymbals. The rack's construction is as simple as it gets, without adding any unnecessary frills to the weight. The cymbal arms are extremely lightweight, but they are capable of securing each pad. The bass drum pedal is free floating and not attached in any way to the main drum rack. This can be advantageous when switching between different sized players such as in a music school or live performance.
Because of the rubber pads on the toms, bass drum and snare, the pad reaction from the TD-1 K is quite rough. For beginners, however, this is perfectly fine and will only frustrate those with the experience of a real acoustic drum set. There's no real comparison between a standard ply drumhead and these pads but that's one of the aspects you're going to miss with digital kits at the entry level.
A total of 691 drum and percussion samples and 128 keyboard voices are provided by the DTX502 module to the user. There's plenty of space for 50 client kits as well. Along with drum samples from the classic acoustic drums of Yamaha, this package includes additional sounds produced by VST designers from third parties. The USB port also exposes drummers to the multitude of readily available drum sample collections. The recordings of the DTX562K are crisp and clean without being clouded or' improved' by distortion or reverb masses–just a really fine drum tone. Equally impressive is the variety of smartly assembled kits and the limited but diverse song range. While the lower-end DTX kits offer a great value for your wallet, the extra money for the improved performance and sound of these Textured Cellular Silicone pads is worth shelling out.
The' Funk Master ' kit has the usual snare, hi-hat and kick. But two of the toms are used to trigger / hold a funk groove while the other one has some snappy organ solos which are constructive and fun. The DTX562's pads take a good kit to an entirely new level. It's very playable, and it looks extremely fluid. The TCS pads respond beautifully without over-exciting the sticks and feel completely normal. Equally impressive are the TCS snare, cymbals, and KP65 kick. The hi-hat pad mounted on the stand also feels natural and gives an excellent response.On the downside, if you plan on adding a 3 zone cymbal you can’t since there is only one dedicated crash input.
This electronic drum kit of eight parts includes an exclusive Alesis mesh snare and mesh kick that provides an immersive drumming experience. There are two 9-inch dual-zone rack toms, along with the 8-inch mesh kick and a 10-inch dual-zone mesh snare drum. The set includes a 10-inch cymbal run, a 10-inch pedal hi-hat, and a 10-inch choke fall. In terms of stability, the luxurious 4-post chrome rack holds it firmly anchored regardless of how hard you play. Also, the Alesis Command is a stand-alone drum kit. You can play it in any stereo or headphone, or use the USB output to connect to a music software control computer.
In terms of price, this may be an electronic kit at the beginner level, but the value you get out of it is much higher. The explanation for this is the ‘Advanced Drum Module’ of the Forge, which is deep and rich, with excellent samples of sound and a pretty large library. This contains 70 different kits, 50 of which are factory presets and 20 kits for custom construction. And there are 600 sounds in the audio library, each carefully constructed.
The layout of the sample library is one of the great features of this pack. Besides the hundreds of pre-loaded samples, you can expand your library by adding samples of custom.WAV format. Plug a USB memory stick into the provided input. It opens up a vast world of possibilities for sonics.This kit sounds great (for its price), but it could get better. Electronic higher-end systems sound a bit better.
Electronic Drum Set Buying Guide
Different Types Of Drum Sets
Indeed, the migration from acoustic to electronic may not be an easy option for some musicians to follow and that’s fair enough. Those of you amongst them will be happy to know that there are a variety of options available, some of which still give the best of both worlds. You don’t have to give up acoustic completely. Choose from either a full on electric drum set or keep that tad of classic with a drum set that incorporates both.
Full Electronic Drum Set
With an almost endless variety of snares, toms, kicks and cymbals and the ability to experiment with music in so many different ways – not just restricted to drums – a full-on electronic drum set is a versatile, convenient piece of musical equipment.
The ease with which you can move between different genres is highlighted by the multiple sounds and sheer variety of choice offered by electronic drum sets. What’s more, you can play from pre-recorded material as well as instantly record as you go along.
I’d say electronic drums allows more versatility and ease for making and editing sounds and performances. Its key components include the transducer or trigger pads and the trigger interface. Notes are made when the pad is struck and the transducer sends a signal to the module – and just like cymbals, the harder it is struck, the louder the sound.
This is a great solution for learning as most of the best electronic drum sets come with free learning software, and either way, the use of pre-set drum patterns will be very handy for first-timers.
Electronic-Acoustic Hybrid Kits
Fair enough, some seasoned musicians will never be completely satisfied with a completely electronic drum set. For that, there is the hybrid drum option, which allows for the raw power of acoustic sound with the versatility and potential of new technology in electric drum sets.
So you get the get of both worlds in pure acoustic sound, which is completely customizable. You can enrich your sound by triggering electronic sounds and mixing these with your acoustic sounds, providing greater dynamic range, clarity, and all-around performance.
If acoustic is what you’re used to, you don't need to worry about setup and learning being complicated. Hybrid drum sets are easy to use and where you need to learn anything extra, it’s worthwhile in the end as you’ll be expanding your range in terms of genre, style and technique.
Features Any Electronic Drum Set Must Have
As this electronic drum set review has made clear by now, there is so much variety and it can get a little overwhelming deciding on the right one. I found the video below really helpful in pointing out the little things to look out for before purchasing your kit.
Pretty useful, right? Now take a look at the factors below, which I think are the main ones and if you take all of these into consideration, weigh them up against your needs and budget, perhaps the decision will be made a little easier.
- Acoustic volume. What’s the point of drums if it doesn’t give you that satisfying, crisp sound? This is one of the main reasons why some musicians won’t move over to electronic – sometimes the volume just isn’t right. Since most sets have rubber or mesh pads, don’t expect the same performance as traditional acoustic drums. Which brings me too…
- Rubber or mesh pads. This will affect your output in that mesh pads are more responsive and closer to replicating acoustic drums that rubber would be. It does cost more, though, but your sound quality is also improved quite significantly.
- Components. The standard 5-piece is made up of a snare, hi-hat, crash, tom and kick and bigger than this would include additions like ride cymbal, extra tom and sometimes even a microphone and seat.
- Software. The advent of electronic drum sets and musical equipment in general means that there is now a new ‘instrument’ and that is software. Make sure to factor these costs into your budget, if it doesn't come standard with the kit and more importantly make sure you’re comfortable using them.
- Budget. Because prices vary so broadly across the range, it will help to determine what you're willing to pay beforehand. The features and extra adds will affect what the set will cost, from basic features at entry level prices to more elaborate functionality with prices to match.
- Appearance. I imagine this to be low on the priority list, but the look of a drum kit could be a big factor for some. If you’re a professional you may have a certain image in mind and you may want your equipment to reflect this.
- Brand preference. Depending on your use and level of expertise, you may be stuck on a particular brand of choice. You’ll find that even when narrowing down to a brand, the popular ones still offer a variety of kits to choose from – from set pieces, mesh vs rubber to sound and more.
Electronic Drum Set Conclusion
I think it’s safe to say that when approaching this project of investing a new electronic drum set, the key is to decide on a budget and how willing you are to be flexible on it. Chances are, you may just be persuaded to loosen that budget a little more once you’ve seen the options available.
Equally important is to know what you need the set for – learning; playing around and experimenting or professional use. Of course, your needs will change greatly based on this but we suggest to start out modest and as your progress strengthens, you can move onto something new and more suited to experienced drummers.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com