Electronic drum sets are a great option for someone that’s just getting into drumming. They are quiet and portable, allowing you to practice at any time of day without bothering your neighbors. Also, many budget-friendly e-drum kits are available now, so they are a great option to explore once you start shopping for a drum kit.
Over the years, electronic drum kits have improved to the point that you might be sure if buying an electric or acoustic drum set is better. That being the case, shopping for an electronic drum set sometimes might feel overwhelming because you have to think about more things than you would if you were going for an acoustic drum set. In this article, we will help you decide if electronic drum sets are an excellent option good for beginners and, most importantly, for you.
Electronic vs. acoustic drum kit for learning
Acoustic drums have generally been the norm when learning to play the drums. But that is quickly changing because of all the perks that go with electronic drum kits. Most importantly, electronic drum sets allow you to practice quietly whenever possible. And just because of that reason, they are worth thinking about if you plan to practice a lot.
Being compact and portable is another perk of electronic drum kits over acoustic ones, as you can carry them easily from your home to your practice sessions to a class where you can learn more.
This all sounds amazing so far, and you might wonder in which case should a beginner go for an acoustic drum kit? Even though e-drum kits have become more affordable, buying a beginner acoustic drum set is still cheaper than a good electronic one. Yes, those might not be ideal to purchase or even the best value for money; still, acoustic drum kits can get you up and running for much less.
Should you buy a new or used electronic drum set?
The big question that pops into everyone’s mind when shopping for musical equipment is: Should I buy a new e-drum kit or a used one? There are many pros and cons to going either route so let’s try and explain these so we can help you make the best decision.
If you’re going for a new e-drum kit, you get the latest technology, and the latest sounds, and as the market gets more competitive, there are more options and features. That said, e-drum kits from the bigger brands tend to be quite expensive when bought new, particularly Roland and Yamaha kits.
On the other hand, if you decide to buy a used model, even a Roland kit that’s a few years old for example can offer a great amount of value. Try to get one that’s not too old though, as it might lack some of the newer technology, triggering, and features.
That being said, when buying a used e-drum kit, most of the time, you can get a pretty good deal, and people tend to sell them in a bundle, meaning you get everything you need to get you started (drum throne, amp/headphone, kick pedal, etc).
Pros of electronic drum sets
- They are quiet. One of the most significant advantages of e-drum kits is that you can play them any time you want without disturbing anyone.
- E-drum kits are compact. Electronic drums are much easier to carry to different playing areas such as your home, practice, or studio.
- Versatility. Regarding the sounds you can play, e-drum kits have almost anything covered. From big arena drums to a funky hip-hop set, it even has a lot of percussion instruments.
- Recording capabilities. Either for recording the drums in a studio, or a live performance, you don’t need to put microphones on your toms and cymbals, and you can use a lot of virtual instruments and plugins with your DAW of choice.
- E-drum kits are good for practicing. Almost every e-drum kit comes with a metronome and practice songs that you can play along to.
Cons of electronic drum sets
- Feel and sound. When it comes to some budget-friendly e-drum kits, most of them don’t compare to an acoustic kit. Cheaper e-drum kits also come with rubber pads, making them feel “fake” or uncomfortable to play.
- Hardware quality. Again, with cheaper models, parts such as pads, clamps, and so on often get broken and need to be replaced.
- Some e-drum kits are hard to position properly. Given the nature of drum racks that come with most e-drum kits, you can’t always adjust the height and position of the pads and cymbals, making the whole set unbearable to play.
- Price. Even though high-end electronic drum kits have solutions for most of the cons listed here, they are way more expensive than acoustic kits, therefore not a good value for the price.
Learning to play drums on electronic drum sets
Electronic drum kits are an excellent way to learn to play the drums. Electronic drum sets are a low-volume alternative with features like an internal metronome, recording capability, and built-in coaching functions.
Repetition is the key to success. And that is true when learning to play drums as well. When it comes to practices, most people have time to do it only early in the morning or late at night, which can quickly become an issue if you practice on acoustic drum sets. That’s where e-drum kits come in handy. Not disturbing anyone with noise makes you practice on your schedule; therefore, you can practice more.
A lot of electronic drum sets also come with built-in coaching functions that can do wonders to help you learn to play in time. You can also practice beats and fills to practice songs built-in, all of which are the foundation to becoming a great drummer!
Recording yourself practicing drums is also essential if you want to improve quickly. Yes, you can record yourself with your smartphone if you have an acoustic kit, but nothing beats the quality of sound you can get when you record your playing on an electric kit. All you need is an audio interface(which are cheap these days) and a DAW (some of which are free).
Electronic drum kit accessories
Most of the time, especially more budget-friendly options don’t come with everything needed to get you started, and that’s why it’s important to mention this, especially if you are a beginner drummer.
An amp or headphones are essential accessories. A common mistake beginner drummers make is thinking they can get away with cheap headphones for monitoring, which is technically true. Realistically, your e-drum kit sounds as good as your monitoring system allows it to be.
So, if you spend $5000 on an e-drum kit and only $20 on headphones, without a doubt, it won’t sound great! This is something that throws people off without even realizing the mistake they’ve made. So, we suggest you spend some time finding good value headphones or a monitoring system that respects the sound your kit produces.
Some other accessories you will need right away are drum sticks, a drum throne, and a kick pedal. Here, you can save quite a bit and not invest from the get-go. There are a lot of affordable kick pedals that work pretty well, and a drum throne is usually where every drummer saves up a bit of money.
First of all, if you made up your mind to learn to play the drums, kudos to you! Secondly, going with e-drum kits is not an easy decision but is often a good one for most of us. There are many budget-friendly electronic drum kits that are perfect for beginners and can help you get into the world of drumming.
Our recommendation for your first e-drum kit is the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, which, not coincidentally, is one of the most popular choices for beginner drummers and even some more advanced players that use it as a practice kit. The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is a great value kit, offering a lot of sounds and tunable mesh heads.