The best electronic drum sets of 2022

The best electronic drum sets of 2022

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Updated Nov 18, 2022 8: 50 PM

Traditional drum set are so ingrained in popular culture and music that they won’t move for a while. It’s just too cool to see the logo of your favorite band pulsing on a kick drum. However, anyone who has carried a full set around knows that they can be noisy and bulky, making it difficult to keep them quiet. Over the last 50 years, the best electronic drum sets have emerged as a one-stop solution to these problems, offering up a robust, customizable user experience that allows drummers to practice, record, and perform with hardly any of the collateral noise associated with traditional drum sets.

Composed primarily of touch-sensitive pads mounted on frames and connected to a digital controller that holds the sounds of the drum set, electronic drum sets create a tactile experience that is as close as possible to the real thing. Electronic drum sets are often equipped with an output for headphones or plug into a computer that allows you to route audio to your personal monitoring device. This means you can practice and/or record at any hour you like, without worrying about disturbing neighbors, roommates, or loved ones. An electronic drum set can be beneficial for players of all skill levels and genres. We have compiled this comprehensive list of key considerations and kit recommendations to help you look beyond acoustic drums.

Methodology

To make our list, we eliminated any options that had a poor reputation among critics and users. To ensure that our selections have something for everyone, we considered the following key criteria:

Value. Electronic drum sets aren’t exactly inexpensive, but their high prices are directly related to their high cost of research, development, and manufacturing. With this list, we tried to cover every price range. Each selection has a set of features and an experience that is proportional to its price.

Brand. Because electronic drum sets are an investment, we chose long-standing industry-leading brands based upon their reputation for quality and continued innovation. Roland alone accounts for 53 percent of the market share in electronic drum sets, with Yamaha and Alesis following closely behind.

Flexibility. Users considering an electronic drum set over an acoustic drum set may do so thanks to the extra flexibility that an electronic kit provides, so we aimed to select the most customizable and user-friendly options available. This flexibility can be found in many forms, depending on the product. It includes sound customization, component swapping and space-saving design.

The best electronic drum sets Reviews & Recommendations

Best overall: Yamaha DTX6K-X Electronic Drum Set

Why it made the cut: This best electronic drum set overall packs a perfectly balanced mix of versatility, durability, and customizability to cover a wide range of bases from practice and recording to stage performance.

Specs:

  • Kit Configuration: 1 x kick pad; 1 x snare pad; 3 x tom pads; 3 x cymbal pads; 1 x hat pedal
  • Number of Sounds: 40 kits, 712 voices
  • I/O: 1 x 1/8-inch TRS input; 2 x 1/4-inch TRS stereo output; 1 x 1/4-inch headphones; 1 x MIDI; 1 x USB Type-B; 1 x USB Type-A
Pros: Cons:

  • Multiple contact zones in snare and ride mimic acoustic designs
  • Bass drum pedal not included
  • Built-in metronome and recording feature
  • Tom pads limited to single contact zone
  • Memory for up to 200 user-created custom kits
  • The DTX6K-X electronic drum kit from Yamaha is an easy-to-use, feature-packed design that offers a high level of flexibility to beginning and professional drummers alike. Its accompanying DTX-PRO sound module gives players access to 40 built-in kits and a variety of customizable effects like reverb and compression for fine-tuning drum sounds to match any style and genre, and its unique three-zone snare pad and three-zone ride cymbal offer players the ability to perform realistic-sounding rolls, rim shots, cymbal chokes, and other advanced drum techniques. A built-in recording function, a metronome, and a memory bank for up to 200 custom kit configurations offer users robust control over how they practice and review their progress while allowing ample room for experimentation.

    This electronic drum set comes with a standalone hi-hat pedal trigger. However, users will need to supply their own kick drum pedal in order to use the kick pad. This is a common feature in pro-level electronic drum sets that allows users to pick their preferred hardware. However, it is something to remember if you don’t have a kick drum pedal. Apart from the ride and snare, the pads have only one detection zone. This doesn’t affect the drum kit’s ability respond to different levels of playing force. However, the single-zone pads don’t allow for the distinction between playing in a drum head’s center or at the edges like traditional drum sets.

    Best for small spaces: Roland TD-1K Electronic Drum Set

    Why it made the cut: The TD-1K offers the professional sounds of a full-sized drum set in a minimalist design that fits perfectly in any corner.

    Specs:

    • Kit Configuration: 4 x drum pads; 3 x cymbal pads; 1 x hat pedal; 1 x kick pedal
    • Number of Sounds: 15 kits
    • I/O: 1 x 1/8-inch TRS input; 1 x 1/8-inch TRS output; 1 x USB Type-B
    Pros: Cons:
  • No extra hardware required
  • Lacks a traditional studio-spec 1/4-inch output
  • Upgradable and expandable
  • Toy-like appearance may put off pro users
  • Small enough to fit in a corner
  • Limited sound options
  • Roland is a leading manufacturer of meticulously designed hardware and sound-packed modular that can cost in the thousands. He has literally written the book about professional electronic drums. The company’s solution to entry-level drummers and players who need to play in tight spaces, the TD-1K is a compact single-frame design that features three cymbal pads, three drum pads and two foot pedals. As the best electronic drum set for small spaces, this electronic drum kit features 15 kits and requires no extra hardware for full operation.

    This kit is part Roland’s product ecosystem. Users can upgrade the pads to use aftermarket mesh-head drummers for a more responsive feel of play. This upgrade may make the kit more appealing to pros who don’t like its lack of similarity to traditional drum sets due to its small and sleek pads. The TD-1K is considered Roland’s entry-level electronic drum set, so bear in mind that it’s limited to 15 kits and lacks a few pro-level features found on more expensive models, including 1/4-inch stereo outputs and effects.

    Best for beginners: Roland TD-07DMK Electronic V-Drums

    Why it made the cut: The TD-07MK’s design preserves much of the feel of a traditional drum set while remaining relatively compact, featuring customizable drum positioning and tunable mesh heads.

    Specs:

    • Kit Configuration: 1 x kick pad; 4 x drum pads; 3 x cymbal pads; 1 x hat pedal
    • Number of Sounds: 25 kits, 143 instruments
    • I/O: 1 x 1/8-inch TRS input; 1 x 1/8-inch TRS output; 1 x USB Type-B; Bluetooth 4.1
    Pros: Cons:
  • Practice along to tracks played via Bluetooth
  • Kick pedal not included
  • Train and track progress with five built-in coaching modes
  • Limited to 1/8-inch audio output
  • Tunable drum heads allow realistic and customizable response
  • This set is the best electronic drum set that beginners can use. It’s a versatile recording and practice tool that mimics the sound and physical response of traditional drum sets. It’s easy to set up and built to customize, pairing a capable 143-sound module with 30 effects alongside quiet, responsive mesh heads. The module allows users to adjust and equalize individual drums as well as add an overhead microphone to their mix. This gives them the ability to create a real sound and allows them to adjust the drums’ response and tension to their liking.

    The TD-07MK features five coaching modes within its module including timekeeping and counting modes aimed at enhancing players’ precision and reliability in real-world playing scenarios. A Bluetooth receiver onboard the drum set allows users to receive phone audio signals. This allows them to drum along to their preferred music and learn parts from their favorite recordings.

    Like many mid- and pro-level electronic drum kits, the TD-07MK doesn’t include its own kick pedal, so users should bring their own. The drum set’s module is not as versatile as a studio-ready piece of equipment. It only has one 1/8-inch audio output. This makes it not the best choice for professional applications.

    Best for professionals: Roland TD-27KV Electronic Drum Set

    Why it made the cut: Priced to compete with pro acoustic drum sets, TD-27KV the best electronic drum set for professionals offer sophisticated hardware and a true-to-acoustic feeling of play along with a nearly infinite array of sound options.

    Specs:

    • Kit Configuration: 1 x kick pad; 1 x mesh snare drum; 3 x mesh toms; 2 x hat pads; 2 x crash pads; 1 x ride pad
    • Number of Sounds: 100 kits, 728 instruments
    • I/O: 1 x 1/4-inch TRS input; 2 x 1/4-inch TRS stereo output; 2 x 1/4-inch TRS direct output; 1 x 1/4-inch headphones; 1 x USB Type-B; 3 x USB Type-A; Bluetooth 4.2
    Pros: Cons:
  • Acoustic-like sound customization including wood type and dampening
  • No hardware included
  • Painstakingly built to feel just like a traditional drum kit
  • Despite being streamlined, module’s host of options poses learning curve
  • Studio-ready I/O for easy recording and music production
  • Players who want to experience the full range of sound control offered by acoustic drums and feel no noticeable difference in physical playing sensation will appreciate how the TD-27KV is designed to offer all that while remaining whisper-quiet. Roland’s streamlined TD-27 module offers users granular control over almost every aspect of their sound imaginable, from individual drum tuning and damping, wood shell type, microphone placement, snare wire, kick subs, and more. This kit allows for the creation of a player’s favorite sound with the exacting precision required for critical applications on stage or in the studio.

    The TD-27KV is built to physically respond to users’ playing just like an acoustic drum set, featuring a 14-inch digital snare chock full with sensors that extend to its rim and an 18-inch multizone ride cymbal built to rock against its stand just like a real cymbal. Of particular note is the VH-10 hi-hat included with the kit, which mounts to a traditional hi-hat stand and responds to pedal depth to provide realistic open, closed, and partially closed sounds with plenty of true-to-life rebound.

    As it’s a professional tool that’s meant to be customized to players’ tastes, the TD-27KV doesn’t include a hi-hat stand, snare stand, or a kick stand. This may bother some players due to the price of the kit, but this bring-your-own-hardware philosophy is standard practice in the world of acoustic drum kits as well. Users may also have some difficulty in the beginning navigating the TD-27 module, which offers so many customization options that it requires some studying despite its design being unassumingly sleek.

    Best on a budget: Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit

    Why it made the cut: This five-drum electronic set is loaded with 40 kit sounds and offers pro features like tunable heads and USB connectivity on a budget.

    Specs:

    • Kit Configuration: 1 x kick pad; 4 x drum pads; 3 x cymbal pads; 1 x hat pedal; 1 x kick pedal
    • Number of Sounds: 40 kits, 385 sounds
    • I/O: 1 x 1/8-inch TRS input; 2 x 1/4-inch TRS stereo output; 1 x 1/8-inch headphones; 1 x USB Type-B; 1 x MIDIv
    Pros: Cons:
  • Tunable mesh drum heads offer a customizable feeling of play
  • Long-term hardware durability may be an issue
  • MIDI I/O allows for interfacing with recording software
  • Sounds lack the nuance and realism of pricier options
  • Includes all hardware
  • Electronic drum set can be expensive, especially compared to traditional drum sets. The Nitro Kit from Alesis boasts five drum pads, three cymbal pads, 40 kit sounds and includes all required hardware below five bills, making it one of the best electronic drum sets on a budget currently on the market. The Nitro Kit is not only similar to its more expensive counterparts, but also features thoughtful features such as tunable mesh heads that allow for customizable stick rebound and response as well as USB and MIDI connectivity to seamlessly interface with recording software.

    While the Nitro Kit offers a satisfying electronic drum-playing experience at a low price, users shouldn’t expect the same durability or sound quality as more expensive units. This may not be a problem for intermittent playing, MIDI triggering or everyday practice, but the kit’s overall sound and feel won’t be suitable for applications that require a close resemblance to an acoustic drum set.

    Things to consider when looking for the best electronic drum sets

    How much control do you want over the sound?

    A hallmark of acoustic drums is their nearly infinite responsiveness to user adjustment. Most electronic drum sets–apart from the most expensive models–are comparatively prohibitive, restricting users to a finite number of preset sounds. If you’re looking for an electronic drum set that offers a truly realistic set of option adjustments–including damping, tuning, wood types, and even reverb effects–the Roland TD-27KV electronic drum set is worth a look.

    Do you have space for an electronic drum set?

    Although electronic drum sets take up less space that traditional drum sets, they still require significant amounts of space for setup and play. If you’re looking for a compact electronic drum kit that looks, feels, and responds to adjustment similarly to an acoustic drum kit, the Roland TD-07DMK electronic V-drums is a fantastic option. If you need even more space, the Roland TD-1K electronic drum set fits in the corner of a room and can be easily folded up when not in use.

    What type of equipment will you be using with the electronic drum set?

    Electronic drum set options are numerous. Users primarily looking to practice using their kit should consider the Roland TD-07DMK electronic V-drums thanks to its built-in Bluetooth compatibility that allows for playing along to backing tracks and other practice tools. If you want to interface with recording equipment and trigger samples in one of the best digital audio workstations (DAWs), electronic drum sets with USB compatibility like the Roland TD-1K electronic drum set or the Yamaha DTX6K-X electronic drum set are also good options. For recording sound directly from the electronic drum set’s module, you’ll need a kit like the Roland TD-27KV electronic drum set, which features dedicated stereo outputs and separate kick and snare outputs for easy mixing.

    FAQs

    Q: Do electric drums sound real?

    Not only are electronic drums painstakingly loaded with sounds that are specifically designed to sound like a professionally recorded acoustic drum set, but they may sound more consistently “right” than traditional acoustic drum sets depending on the space where they’re played. Drums are loud and resonant instruments. Their sound can be affected by where they are placed. For example, a drum set that is stored in a garage may have its tone altered by reflections from the concrete floor and metal doors. Although some may miss the infinitely customizable sounds of an acoustic drum kit, electronic drum sets can pack hundreds of sounds and can take you almost all the way without the need for any adjustments or setup.

    Q: Are electronic drums better than regular drums?

    Electronic drums aren’t objectively better than regular drums, but they’re much better at providing all the realism, sound, and feel of regular drums while being quiet. An electronic drum set is the best option if you want to practice at irregular hours, record with others in an area with minimal acoustic separation, and/or you don’t want all the noises associated with traditional drums. Electronic drums can also be set up to send MIDI data to a computer or other outboard gear (such keyboards), which opens up a whole new world of hybrid music production possibilities.

    Q: Why are electronic drums so expensive?

    Electronic drum sets are notoriously pricey due primarily to their high manufacturing cost. Electronic drum sets are made up of many small components that must work together in a symphony to produce a realistic sound and responsive feel. This requires a lot of research and development. Electronic drum sets’ sensitive components need to be durable enough to withstand repeated, high-pressure strikes. This increases the cost of materials.

    Final thoughts on the best electronic drum sets

    Choosing the right electronic drum set depends on your preference for sound and feel, as well the space in which you will be playing. The Yamaha DTX6K-X electronic drum set is suited for most studio, stage, and home applications thanks to its well-rounded feature set, while the Roland TD-1K electronic drum set is a more niche design that’s unparalleled in its compact nature. Beginning drummers will benefit from the built-in learning tools, realistic responsiveness, and true-to-acoustic features of the Roland TD-07DMK electronic V-drums, but players on a budget may prefer the similarly sized Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit. Finally, the Roland TD-27KV electronic drum set is built to fulfill all the needs of professional drummers looking to introduce an electronic drum set to their studio or stage rig.

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