Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid Electronic Drum Set Review

8.4

Value for money

7.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Playability

9.0/10

Sound quality

9.0/10

Pros

  • Great MDL-1 module with tons of quality sounds
  • Acoustic feel
  • Looks fantastic
  • Full bass drum - great for double pedals
  • Collaboration between two great brands (Pearl and Korg)

Cons

  • Not as compact as many other e-drum sets
  • Price range (It's a premium set)

The pearl e/Merge offers more than just a standard electronic drum set. This set is a collaboration between Pearl and Korg, which offers the presence much closer to an acoustic drum set with its full-sized bass drum while having great electronics and playability.

This kit is a great option for practicing, studio work, as well as live performance. Let’s dive into it a bit more!

Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid Electronic Drum Set

A hybrid drum set for those that want more than a standard e-drum kit

The full kick, rack, and drums/cymbals give amazing presence to this kit, while also being great to play

Drums and Cymbal Pads

This set has a 14” snare drum, 18” bass drum and 10”, 12” and 14” toms, together with 2 cymbals (15” crash and 18” ride) and a hi-hat. It comes with the rack to mount it all up but note that you’re going to need your own pedal and hi-hat cymbal stand. Also, you get the brain of this e-drum, the MDL-1.

The Pads on this set are where the collaboration between Korg and Perl comes most to light. The snare is built with Korg’s Wavedrum technology, meaning it has really realistic and gentle playing. The sensors on this drum cover the whole space on the drumhead and have a really fast response.

This means that everything you play has an impact, so you get a fully realistic sound on your drums, opening the whole new world when playing electronic drums.

The Toms, on the other hand, are built with Pearls PureTouch technology, together with two rimshot sensors. Rimshot sensors are also put on the snare drum, so there is no need to avert playing rimshots.

On the hi-hat, you will get two-zone sensors and an open-close technology, as well as on the crash, while the ride has three zones to play on. The pads, as well as cymbals, can be tightened or loosened up, so you can get that acoustic drum playing feel while you play.

The Pads and cymbals are made out of high-quality plastic and rubber, with acoustic drum looks. Cymbals are made out of black plastic with nice red details and the whole drum set has that high-end look to it, and not the cheap plastic look electronic drums usually have.

It includes a bunch of cables needed for the operation of this electronic drum set. They might look a bit much, but they snuggle rather well around the rack with Velcro tapes you get together with the set.

The Sounds

As with all of the drums, acoustic or electronic, what matters the most is the sound they produce. Pearl is well known for creating fantastic sounding drum modules, and Korg are one of the best names in music gear. The MDL-1 is a module made together by Pearl and Korg and as such is the best from both worlds.

It comes in a nice black and red robust case, with several different knobs and buttons and I/O on the side of the module. All of the buttons knobs are also used as buttons, so the module is really user-friendly and easy to use and there is no need for exhausting going in and out of menus as in some other modules.

Everything is made out of quality plastic and/or rubber, so there is no need to worry about the longevity of items on the module.

The sounds from the module are separated into eight different categories which you can choose simply by pushing a button.

A great addition to these sound presets is the Ambience slider. This is a slider on the module that lets you instantly lower or raise the level of room mics on which the original sounds were captured. This gives you the option to go from a really crisp, tight sound to a full room ambient sound filled with reverb and echo.

Although the module is lacking in quantity of sounds in comparison to some of the other high-end drum modules out there, the quality of them is fantastic

Inputs and outputs

As for the inputs and outputs on this module, there is a standard ¼” premixed mono and stereo outs. The great thing about this drum which really separates it from the competition is the individual outs for every pad and cymbal, eight in total. This way, you can mix the sounds any way you want and you’ll get a lot more of the wiggle room while recording.

Also, you have an option of expanding your drum set with three ¼” inputs on the side of the module. Headphones out and a separate headphones volume knob are there too.

The internal memory of the module has 16GB of space for your own personal sounds you want to record or use, but this can be upgraded via the USB input. This way, you’re not limited to the sounds that are on the module, but you can add anything you like or need on your drums.

Alternatives

Below are some quality alternatives to the Pearl e/merge. Although they’re all a little different, so it’s very much down to personal preference which one would be best for you.

Price

This kit isn’t exactly cheap, but if you have the budget, it’s worth paying for quality. This is an extremely versatile kit that would be great for live and studio work, as well as being great for general practice.

In this instance, the saying you get what you pay for really is true, because this is one of the best electronic drums on the market today. It was built by two highly established companies to bring the best the technology has to offer and build this high-end drum set.

Conclusion

Pearl’s e/Merge e/Hybrid drum set is one of the best electronic drum sets you can buy. From the quality of the materials put into it to craftsmanship used to design it and build it to unprecedented levels of similarity with acoustic drums.

The sensors and the brain module this drum uses are some of the best modern e-drumming technology has to offer.

Pearl e/Merge Hybrid Electronic Drum Set

The playing experience of this drum is as close to playing acoustic drums as you can get and everything is adjustable, so you can get the response you like while playing.

Photo of author

Mike O'Connor

Drumming has been my passion for over 18 years. I play quite a few different genres and I really enjoy experimenting with hybrid kits that blend acoustic and electronic drums. I love all things drumming!

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