After trying out the HXW SD61-5, I’m happy to say that this electronic drum set offers a surprising amount of bang for your buck, with very nicely sensitive pads and a sturdy frame. It comes with a few limitations, but overall, my feeling is quite positive about this kit.
HXW sent us a free sample of this kit in return for our honest review of it. This will not affect the opinions mentioned in this review.
Value for money9.0/10
- Very responsive mesh pads
- Sturdy drum rack
- Large kick tower pad
- Good adjustability
- Very nice snare pad
- Drum module a bit limited - 15 drum kits
- Kick tower sensitivity (I had to increase this to the highest volume on the module)
The HXW SD61-5 is a higher-end model than the SD61-2 which we also recently reviewed. However, it uses the same drum module.
Before we get started, check out our video review below of the SD61-5 in action, which includes information about this kit, as well as a demo of each of the 15 drum kits available within this module.
This e-drum set includes an eight-inch mesh snare pad, which is surprisingly sensitive and responsive. It also includes three 7.5 inch mesh Tom pads.
It’s on a pretty sturdy steel rack with a full kick tower and a kick pedal. There’s also a standalone hi-hat controller pedal.
It uses the same drum module that you can find in all of the SD61 series kits. This is a very easy to use module, but it is relatively limited in its sounds, you only have 15 different kits to choose from, ranging from standard rock style kits to more percussion, and electronic sounding samples.
It also allows you to do some other basic functionalities such as metronome, and very basic recording. You can also feed in your songs through the audio jack using a 3.5 mil connection to play through anything on your phone, such as Spotify or Apple Music, but there is no capability to alter the volume (this should be done at the sound source).
The drum module is probably one of the weaker parts of an otherwise very strong entry-level electronic drum set.
Although the kick tower is pretty well constructed, I noticed that when listening through headphones that it just did not seem very sensitive.
I had to increase the sensitivity on the drum module for this and the volume of the kick pad, which certainly improved matters, but it could still do with a bit more responsiveness. That’s one of the drawbacks in my opinion of this kit.
If you want to use this with double bass drum pedals, you might have to hit the kick pedal quite hard.
Though if you don’t mind doing so, it gives a more realistic feel for playing drums, sometimes electronic drum sets are a little bit too responsive on the kick pad, and then when you transition to an acoustic set you might not be used to hitting the kick so hard. So, there are pros and cons to this for sure.
MIDI USB connection
There is a USB-B MIDI output option for you to connect to drum sample libraries and drum VSTs. This is a great option, and you don’t have to use the classic MIDI pin connectors, you do not need to worry about a MIDI interface as you connect the USB straight to your computer.
This kit comes very well packed and does require a bit of assembly, although the instructions are quite easy to follow. Each of the pads on the drum rack and other items in this kit all come in one big box, but inside, they are each separate into individual cardboard boxes, and you need to unpack all of these before assembly.
Although it adds an extra few minutes to the assembly process. It also probably helps to ensure that the items do not get damaged during shipping!
Have a look above for images of what’s required to assemble the kit. Everything is included for you to assemble it (you don’t need any external tools).
Sensitivity of the pads and cymbals
You get some really good quality pads (the snare and toms), and the cymbals are pretty decent. All of then are very nicely responsive.
You also get a cymbal choke, which is a great feature, and that works pretty nicely. The hi-hat also feels quite nice to play on and feels pretty natural, all of the sounds are pretty well balanced (apart from the kick which I had to change sensitivity on).
The difference between the SD61-5 and the SD61-2
We also recently received the SD61-2, which uses the same drum module as this, so you will get the same sounds from both.
The SD61-5 uses a kick tower and pedal, whereas the SD61-2 uses a smaller kick pad, similar to the Alesis stealth kick controller. Even though kick towers usually perform better, I thought that kick controller on the SD61-2 was more sensitive. These are quite compact and pretty handy if you want to only use a small amount of space. However, having a full kick tower means that you can play with double bass drum pedals.
The SD61-5 includes pretty good quality mesh pads, and I could see that the triggering is put together quite nicely on these. The SD61-2 has three rubber tom pads, which do not perform as well but are still pretty decent.
The SD61-5 also has a more sturdy drum rack compared to the SD61-2. If you’re looking for extra adjustability then this is a better option, practically everything else on these drum sets are the same.
So, the option that you go for it will very much depend on your needs and preferences. For more information check out our own SD61-2 Review.
To help you compare with these. We’ve also included a separate review video of that electronic drum set.
This is quite an impressive kit for its price range. This is great for either an entry-level, mid-level drummer, or just anyone that needs a decent quality electronic drum set on a budget.
2 thoughts on “Avatar HXW SD61-5 Review (With Video)”
Our band is trying Jamkzam which is like a zoom for musicians. I have a cable from the module to an audio interface and a mic plugged in as well. The setup looks ok on screen and mic works if plugged into the interface but cannot get drums. I have a USB from interface to MacBook as well as Ethernet. The two are into a small bus’s bar then the Mac as I need it plugged in. Any ideas. [email protected]
Hi Peter, try to use the ‘Aggregate Device’ function on your Mac, which should allow you to combine the two audio inputs so both the Mic and drum inputs from your interface are both recognized in the application. I don’t have a Mac on hand to test it, but it should do the trick.
In answer to your question over email about connecting audio from the module: The aux is only for inputting audio through the module (e.g. backing track). Once you connect the phone output from the module to the interface you’ll be able to listen by connecting your headphones to the interface. You should be able to monitor both the audio from the Mac as well as the drum set, play around with the direct monitor option maybe. It’s a pity that particular HWX drum module doesn’t have two separate audio outputs. Make sure not to set the gain level too high on the UMC22 interface otherwise the signal might start clipping.