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best electronic drum kits

Best electronic drum kits: Get your groove on

Electronic drums have so many benefits. They’re great for low volume playing and portability. Through MIDI you can use them to trigger virtual instruments (not just drum plugins either) and other plugins. With everything that can affect the sound of your drums, they also take room acoustics out of the equation in the studio. But they are not a replacement for playing on an acoustic kit.

The most appealing feature might be the advancements in sound modules over the past decade. You’re not stuck with mediocre sounds anymore. The models on this list all come with an impressive number of kits, voices, and customization options. Some even let you go even further and adjust microphone position of the samples and effect things via on-board processing.

It’s a wide-ranging list, going from the cream of the crop to models affordable enough for the hobbyist. Here are some of the best electronic drum kits.

Best electronic drum kit overall: Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design VAD706

roland vad706
Best electronic drum kit overall
Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design VAD706
Roland created simply the best electronic drum kit available. Expandable, versatile, best-in-class sound module. It’s got everything – but it will cost you.
Pros
Highly advanced TX-50X Roland sound module
Kit pieces can output individually
Electronic drum kit that looks like an acoustic
Expandable and versatile
Cons
Extremely expensive

As far as the best electronic drum kits go, the mother of them all is will run you a pretty penny. But if it’s in your budget range it’s worth every single one. Roland has long been a leader in innovation when it comes to the best electronic drum kits, and if you’re looking for the most realistic sampled sounds with an acoustic kit aesthetic to boot – look no further.

It’s a five-piece with all wood shells. The entire sonic vibe is designed around Roland’s TX-50X sound module. This advanced technology provides the best sounds in the game. It powers the digital snare that allows for all of the personal touch of a real one. Through it you get multi-layer samples captured in some of the best studios in the world. The hi-hat, snare, and ride are digital with the lightning fast transient character.

This advanced module goes way beyond using it to simply choose your sounds. You can adjust microphone settings for the samples and add in processing that include EQ, reverb, and compression. It’s got next level output with stereo XLR, and eight direct outs for sending each kit piece individually. This feature is very unique and not offered with many other models.

All-in-all the VAD706 is a stellar product. It’s expandable, versatile, and looks and sounds amazing. It will definitely be out of the price range for many. But the more discerning drummer will fall in love instantly with this masterpiece.

Most versatile electronic drum kit: Alesis Strike Pro

alesis strike pro
Most versatile electronic drum kit
Alesis Strike Pro
The Strike Pro features full-size wood shells that pound out 45,000 different sounds. Multiple velocity layers add realism and depth, and the Strike Editor lets you create your own sounds.
Pros
Full-size, wood shells
45,000 samples to choose from
Multiple velocity layers
Strike Editor lets you create your own sounds
Cons
Expensive

The Strike Pro has a lot going on. Full-size wood shells, mesh heads, and multi-zone kit pieces. All drums have adjustable tension and the cymbal pads have triple zone strike points. The dual zone toms come in four different dimensions (8/10/12/14”), as does the 14” snare. It’s one of the closer approximations to an acoustic kit.

The module contains a plethora of next-gen features. For starters, there are sounds that include almost 2,000 instruments modeled from an insane 45,000 samples. You can even upload your own samples or trigger some from plugins. Multiple velocity layers can alter the way you play if you’d like.

And with the Strike editor software you can create any sounds your mind can innovate. It comes with its own amplifier that cranks out 2,000 watts. So you’ll have no issue being heard along with the band.

Most versatile electronic drum kit under $2,000: Yamaha DTX6K3-X

yamaha dtx6k-x

Most versatile electronic drum kit under $2,000
Yamaha DTX6K3-X
400 sounds, cymbal choking, and multiple zone layouts on some of the pieces make this model one of the better electronic drum kits for articulation.
Pros
Electric and acoustic drum sounds
Snare and ride cymbal have triple zone layout for better articulation
Onboard effects
Cons
Feel is not as real as more expensive options

Yamaha makes some of the best drum kits and they continue that tradition into the electronic world here. 400 onboard sounds range all over the electric and acoustic soundscape. The three cymbals (including hi-hats) have choking to add even more of a realistic feel. The snare and ride cymbal have a triple zone layout, and the kick pad allows for more comfort when using the pedal. It’s compact enough to make it easily portable, with the durability to stand up to even the most expressive performance.

The sound module uses a unique three knob design for quick and easy modification. Settings include Effect, Compression, and Ambience. And with 40 kits you have access to a massive 400 sounds with easy control over everything. It also comes in an upgraded version for around $500. It includes a free-standing hi-hat setup and floor tom pad among some other upgrades. The pedals are one of the best features, giving drummers solid foot control over the kick drum and hi-hat. The snare has triple-zone technology and all three of the cymbals can be choked and each has its own trigger.

200 user slots let you save your creations for easy recall. It’s got training technology with 10 modes, 37 jam tracks, and a metronome to keep up your timing chops. There is a great community for sharing your playing with the Rec’n’Share app that works with Android and Apple devices.

The rack is well-built, but with how it’s configured it might be a little clunky depending on your set up. Yamaha is a leader when it comes to electronic drums. This kit proves that point.

Best electronic drum kit under $1,000: Roland TD-1 DMKX

Roland TD-1 DMKX
Best electronic drum kit under $1,000
Roland TD-1 DMKX
Roland does it again with an affordable, easily-portable and expressive e-drum kit that comes with every type of training material you need to get started.
Pros
Compact and easy to move
Double mesh snare and tom pads
Larger ride cymbal is more realistic
Melodics drum training software compatible
Cons
No kick pad might feel unusual

If you haven’t noticed, Roland makes some of the best electronic drum kits. This set is a great compromise if you’re slimmer on budget but still want next-gen features.

It comes with a snare, three toms, hi-hat, ride, and two crash cymbals. The snare and tom pads are double mesh, providing a more realistic rebound. The kick doesn’t have a pad, which might take some getting used to. But the pedal responds well. And with pads that are quieter than a lot of other e-drum kits you’re less likely to disturb anyone.

15 kits, metronome, onboard jam tracks, record function, everything you need to get started is here. It comes with Melodics, a full-featured drum training software that’s compatible with Windows and Mac.

Best electronic drum kit under $500: Alesis Turbo Mesh

alesis turbo mesh
Best electronic drum kit under $500
Alesis Turbo Mesh
If you’re looking to take a step up in the electronic drums arena this kit from Alesis is a great choice. It’s got a good amount of kits in the sound module and it’s great for triggering virtual instruments.
Pros
Solid number of kits
USB and MIDI outputs
Cons
Output can’t be split by kit piece
Drums and cymbals all have same dimensions

Alesis has been one of the more popular brands in the world of electronic drums and drum machines for decades. If you’re looking for a good electronic set under $1,000 it’s a solid choice.

The four-piece Turbo Mesh kit is built with tuneable heads custom-designed for realistic feel. This allows you to play at lower volumes while providing a natural response. All drums are 8” in dimension, with the cymbals being 10”. The cymbal set includes a hi-hat, ride, and crash. And the aluminum rack adds plenty of stability, so heavy-hitters have nothing to worry about.

The module offers a lot of options. It comes with 120 overall sounds across 10 kits. You can play along to 30 tracks, and if you’re just starting out there’s a metronome and built-in coaching system. If you need something more, the auxiliary input lets you pump in your own tracks.

It’s got plenty of connection capability as well. The USB and MIDI outputs allow you to connect it directly into your recording rig to trigger virtual instruments. As for I/O, there are stereo ¼” outputs and a headphone out. It includes everything you need to get started right out of the box like sticks, drum key, and power supply.

Best budget electronic drum kit: Simmons SD200

simmons sd200
Best budget electronic drum kit
Simmons SD200
This budget-friendly kit includes four pieces and three cymbals. It can output through MIDI and USB and has an aux input for playing along to practice tracks.
Pros
Dual mesh snare
Good amount of outputs
Affordable
Cons
Quality can be a little inconsistent
Small kit might not provide enough options

If budget is a concern, the SD200 is one of the best electronic drum kits for cost-conscious players. It’s full size and comes with an 8” dual-zone mesh snare, three toms and three 10″ cymbals.

The snare is the heartbeat of any kit, and tension can be adjusted to preference. When used with Simmons’ app you can select between kits, customize sounds, and utilize a variety of tools for practice. It’s got useful I/O to use it with other products as well, like MIDI, USB, aux input, and headphone out.

At just over $200 it won’t break the bank. It’s a great entry point to the world of electronic drum kits.

Best electronic drum kit for beginners: Simmons Titan 20

simmons sd200
Best electronic drum kit for beginners
Simmons Titan 20
The Titan 20 is a responsive, low budget electronic drum kit with multiple types of I/O that’s great for beginners.
Pros
Dual layer mesh heads
Dual-zone snare with rimshot
Velocity sensitive kick pedal
Multiples types of I/O
Cons
Module only offers one kit sound
Not a good choice for experienced drummers

If you’re a beginner to the world electronic drums you need a quality electronic drum kit that is easy on the wallet. As the second selection from Simmons on this list, you can probably tell they make decent low price point electronic drums.

The Titan 20 kit has a lot to offer beginners. It starts with the dual layer mesh heads that provide good feel and articulation. The dual-zone snare has rimshot detection. The three cymbals are all 10″, and the kick pedal is velocity sensitive.

The module only has one kit, but you can save 10 presets. It has Bluetooth and MIDI connectivity, and a tablet shelf to accommodate mobile devices for practice, jamming, or using apps while playing.

As far as I/O it has USB and MIDI as well as an onboard two channel interface. A stereo auxiliary input lets you play songs through a wired device. Two 1/4″ line outputs let you connect it to an interface or mixer, and an 1/8″ headphone out allows for silent playing.

FAQ

Is it okay to learn drums on an electronic kit?

Absolutely! Electronic drum kits don’t have the same feel as acoustic kits. So if you plan on ever playing on an acoustic kit, you may want to learn on both. But it’s okay to learn how to play on an electronic drum kit, especially as you learn the fundamentals.

What electric drums are the best?

Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis are known to be leaders in the field. They make electronic kits with the most realistic feel, setup, and sound modules.

Are electronic drums worth it?

Yes. They’re not a replacement for a good acoustic kit, if an acoustic sound is what you’re going for. But they come with a range of kit sounds, can trigger virtual instruments, and offer silent playing.

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