Yamaha DTX400K Review – Electronic Drum Set

The Yamaha DTX400K, the cheapest model of the DTX400 series, is an entry-level electronic drum set designed especially for amateur drumming enthusiasts. It a model from the hugely successful DTX series, bringing technology and class to a new standard of affordability.

Build and Hardware

It is relatively light-weight as compared to other models in the series, giving it a compact look. The whole set-up arrives in a solitary box and setting it up is pretty straightforward. Some of the elements are already mounted on the rack, while the rest can be tightened by a regular drum key. To save customers from the hassle of breaking it down every time when storing or traveling, Yamaha has made the kit “fold-able”.

The Yamaha DTX400K is no different in configuration from the rest of the models in the series, consisting of five drums, two cymbals, and a hi-hat. The tubular steel rack, a standard in the price range, has two upright side poles that are linked by a horizontal crossbar. The first and second tom pads are mounted on the crossbar while the third one, just like the hi-hat/snare and module, has its own mounting arm. Movement is restricted in the first two tom bars as these are mounted without “tom-arms”, but the floor tom’s positioning can be customized according to the needs of the user.

The drum pads along with the two cymbal pads are single-zone, made from a rubberized material that gives them a stylish, chic look. The material provides a bit of friction to make them stick resilient, but with the help of pressure sensitive touch, a good triggering response can still be elicited. The cymbals are attached to the vertical poles of the rack with a metal rod, giving it stability, but taking away the mobility at the same time. The Yamaha DTX400K uses PCY90 cymbal pads, which allow the user to play subtle notes effectively and can achieve a good spectrum of dynamics. The kit’s small size benefits PCY90s, giving a more natural sound instead of the artificial feel users get from bigger counterparts.

The hi-hat pad stays at a fixed distance from the snare because, like the cymbals, it is also mounted on a rigid metal rod. A controller pedal connects the PCY90 pad via the module for the usual open and closed hats with fast and accurate responses. The DTX400K uses the KU100 kick pedal, which looks just like the hi-hat controller. It is a beater-less pedal that allows a silent kick operation for a softer impact and reduced noise. The pedal takes a few sessions to get used to but after getting a good feel for it, the user is able to play it quite comfortably.

Module

The module does not have a display and LED lights are used to highlight each of the 21 push-buttons. This makes it necessary for the new users to keep the manual by their side. The right edge of the module has nine mini input jacks, for connections to the hi-hat, kick drum pedal and the pads. The left edge houses a socket for power, a USB socket, and two audio output jacks: one for mp3 players as the other one doubles as both stereo and headphone output jack. The USB socket can be used to integrate the kit into the Yamaha suggested Cubase Digital Audio Workstation. Although the kit does not support Android devices, the socket can be used to connect it to iPod Touch, iPad or iPhone using Yamaha’s official app.

Coming to the front, on the right lower half of the module, there are two buttons each for volume and tempo control. The upper part has 10 buttons in a row, labeled 1-9 with the final one labeled 10/0. The lower row has a metronome selection button, song and kit selection buttons, a start/stop push button to control playback and training sessions.

Playing Experience

There are 10 pre-configured editable tracks, and these include the Yamaha Oak Custom, Vintage, Hard Rock, Funk, Session, Yamaha Maple Custom, R&B, Percussion, Jazz, and Marching. Any of these can be selected when the module is in Kit mode by pushing one of the ten buttons in the upper row. Users can also use the app to purchase over 1,000 songs.

Even though the preset kits are very handy for beginners and should also please more experienced users, they can be customized using any of the 169 sounds available which include 21 kick drums, 31 cymbals, 36 toms, 23 snare drums and 42 percussion instruments.

The overall sound and the response from the pedals and pads is quite impressive for this price range even though the pedals are difficult to keep in position without a carpeted floor. The positioning of the snare with respect to the hi-hat is a bit of an issue due to its rigidity and access to the module is also less than convenient as the hi-hat tends to droop sideways.

Watch this video to see the Yamaha DTX400K:

Configuring the settings

The Menu mode can be activated by pushing the Song and Kit buttons together. One of the seven setting menus can be chosen by pushing number 1-7 buttons. These menus in the ascending order include Metronome Settings, Kit Settings, MIDI Settings, Hi-hat Settings, Trigger Settings, Training Settings and Other Settings.

The trickiness of editing the module without a display can be judged from the laborious process one has to go through to change the volume. After entering the Menu mode, the user has to press the button numbered ‘2’ to enter the Kit mode. This makes the first five buttons in the row flash indicating the number of options available; five in this case. Pressing ‘2’ again enters the ‘Pad volume’ mode, as the buttons flash again to show the current volume level. After this whole procedure, you are finally able to change the volume by pressing the number buttons.

Thinking about checking out some other electronic drum sets? Read our electronic drum set reviews guide!

Conclusion

The Yamaha DTX400K is an amazing kit for the amateur drummer, especially considering the other electronic kits in the price range. On the down side, the kit is quite inflexible thanks to metal rods, and the mini-jack audio outputs make the module feel a little shabby. The LEDs are also a drawback, but after some playing experience, the drummer gets used to it.

Overall, the built-in features are pretty good, allowing beginners to start learning drums without going into the technicalities of the instruments much. It should be pointed out that both the snare and kick drum pads can be bought separately if the user wishes to upgrade to even better-quality parts. The beater-less pedal and headphone audio outputs are great additions, as they allow the drum kit to be played without disturbing the fussy neighbors too much. All in all, the Yamaha DTX400K is one of the best kits out there on the market.

 

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