Are Electronic Drums Good for Recording?
Electronic drums are great for recording, especially when recording over MIDI while using VST plugins. While acoustic kits are generally the industry standard because of their authenticity and raw nature, electronic kits give you versatility and control over your sound while offering it in a compact package.
Acoustic drum kits are usually the go-to when recording since they offer the feel and authenticity that electronic drums lack. But with the continuous advancement of technology in the music industry, a question has been looming in the minds of many: can electronic drums compete with traditional acoustic drums when it comes to recording? Can it match them when it comes to sound quality, feel, and authenticity?
In this article, I will explore the advantages and potential drawbacks of using electronic drums for recording, as well as tips for choosing the right drum set and getting the best sound possible. I will also look at some examples of successful recordings that have utilized electronic drums.
1. Advantages of Electronic Drums for Recording
Versatility and sound options
They offer a wide range of drum sounds and samples
Electronic drums offer a vast array of drum sounds and samples, allowing you to experiment with different styles and genres. You can also connect to a computer via a MIDI Interface giving you access to use plugins to further expand and increase the quality of your sound library.
This versatility can be particularly useful for recording, as you can easily switch between sounds to find the perfect fit for your track. For more information on samples, check out our articles on the best cymbal samples, free trap drum kits and sample packs, and the best hip-hop drum samples.
Ability to customize and layer sounds
Electronic drums also allow you to customize and layer sounds, giving you even more control over your drum tracks. This can be particularly useful for creating unique and interesting textures in your recordings. To learn more about customizing drum sounds, visit our drum samples websites article.
Consistent sound quality
Reduced need for retakes due to drum tuning or mic placement
One of the main advantages of electronic drums is their consistent sound quality. Unlike acoustic drums, which can be affected by factors such as drum tuning and microphone placement, electronic drums produce a consistent sound every time you hit the pad. This can save time and frustration during the recording process, as there is less need for retakes due to inconsistent drum sounds. For more information on recording electronic drums, check out our record electronic drums article.
Space and volume control
Smaller footprint than acoustic drums
Electronic drums typically have a smaller footprint than acoustic drums, making them a more space-efficient option for recording. This can be particularly beneficial if you have limited space in your recording studio or home setup.
Adjustable volume or headphone use for quiet practice
Another advantage of electronic drums is their adjustable volume. You can easily control the volume of your drumming, or even use headphones for silent practice. This can be particularly useful for recording, as it allows you to practice and record without disturbing others.
Easy integration with recording software
MIDI compatibility for seamless editing and mixing
Electronic drums are often MIDI-compatible, making it easy to integrate them with your recording software. As well as increase the quality of the recording while using VST plugins. This allows for seamless editing and mixing of your drum tracks, giving you more control over the final product. Using VSTs such as Addictive Drums 2 can help you fine-tune your sound and bring out the highest potential in your kit.
2. Drawbacks of Electronic Drums for Recording
Less organic and natural sound
Electronic drums lack the warmth and character of acoustic drums.
One of the main criticisms of electronic drums is that they can sometimes lack the warmth and character of acoustic drums. While technology has come a long way, and many electronic drum sets now offer realistic and high-quality sounds, some drummers still prefer the organic and natural sound of acoustic drums. To learn more about the differences between acoustic and electronic drums, check out our acoustic vs. electronic drum kits article.
May not capture subtle nuances and dynamics as well as acoustic drums.
Another potential drawback of electronic drums is their limited expressiveness. While many electronic drum sets now offer improved sensitivity and dynamic range, they may still struggle to capture the subtle nuances and dynamics of acoustic drums.
Adjusting to the feel and response of electronic drums may take time for some drummers.
For drummers who are used to playing acoustic drums, there may be a learning curve when transitioning to electronic drums. The feel and response of electronic drums can be different from acoustic drums, and it may take some time to adjust to these differences.
3. Choosing the Right Electronic Drum Set for Recording
If you’re going to be recording over MIDI then you just want something that has great triggering. A great option is to go for an e-drum kit like the Roland TD-17KV2 and complement it by connecting it to your computer and using VST plugins to enhance the sound quality while you record over MIDI for the best results.
If you’re going to be recording the audio output of the drum module then it will matter a lot more about which set you choose.
Look for sets that offer a wide range of sounds and customization options, as this will give you more control over your recordings. A great example of a kit that has a wide range of very decent sounds is the Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition.
A great budget kit is be the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, which has MIDI compatibility. For a more in-depth review, check out our Alesis Nitro Kit review.
4. Tips for Getting the Best Sound from Electronic Drums
Invest in quality headphones or monitors
To get the best sound from your electronic drums, it’s essential to invest in quality headphones or monitors. Accurate sound reproduction is crucial for recording, so make sure you have the right equipment to hear your drums clearly. For more information on headphones and monitors, check out our articles on electronic drum headphones, electronic drum amplifiers and monitors, and in-ear monitors for drummers.
Explore sound options and customization
Experiment with different samples, layering, and effects to find your desired sound. As mentioned earlier, electronic drums offer a wide range of sound options and customization. Spend time experimenting with different samples, layering, and effects to find the sound that best suits your recording needs.
Practice and adjust to the feel of electronic drums
Familiarize yourself with the response and dynamics of your electronic drum set. To get the best sound from your electronic drums, it’s essential to practice and adjust to the feel of the instrument. Spend time familiarizing yourself with the response and dynamics of your electronic drum set, and make any necessary adjustments to your playing technique.
5. Examples of Successful Recordings with Electronic Drums
Radiohead’s “Kid A” album
Drummer Phil Selway used electronic drums to create unique textures and rhythms.
On Radiohead’s groundbreaking “Kid A” album, drummer Phil Selway utilized electronic drums to create unique textures and rhythms that helped define the album’s experimental sound.
Depeche Mode’s “Violator” album
Electronic drums helped shape the band’s signature dark, atmospheric sound.
Electronic drums played a significant role in shaping the dark, atmospheric sound of Depeche Mode’s classic “Violator” album.
Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral” album
Trent Reznor used electronic drums to create aggressive, industrial beats.
On Nine Inch Nails’ seminal “The Downward Spiral” album, Trent Reznor used electronic drums to create aggressive, industrial beats that helped define the band’s sound.