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Skybone

Electronic Drums - Any BC Knowledge Out There?

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My teenage son's wanting to learn to play the drums, and he's wanting a kit. An acoustic kit is not even being considered, so it's a case of figuring out which electronic kit is going to be a good starter kit for him, have some good drum sounds in the module, and have the potential to hold it's value for when he gets bored of it (fingers crossed he won't though!).

Been looking at a few kits in the "beginner" range, and the Tourtech TT12S is the current favourite, mainly because of the location of the snare pad being in the middle, as opposed to the electronic kit standard "off to the side". https://www.andertons.co.uk/drum-dept/electronic-drums/electronic-drum-kits/tourtech-tt12s-drum-kit-accs-bundle-(inc-headphones-sticks-throne)

The Alesis Turbo Mesh & Nitro Mesh kits look ace, and have the advantage of the mesh drum pads, which are supposed to be more like actual drum skins, rather than the solid rubber pads on the cheaper kits.

Of course, I'm looking at the second hand option as well, there's a few of the cheaper kits knocking about, and some Alesis kits as well. As always, it's a bit of a minefield.

Any knowledge of electronic drums in the BC collective?

Thanks.

(Don't worry, all is not lost, he's learning to play bass as well).

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I play with a guy who used to be endorsed by Simmons... think they might be a bit out of date now, though!

I'm not much help in terms of electronic kits, beyond that mesh is much more drum-like to play, as you already know. That said, depending on how quiet you need to be, mesh heads on a real kit reduce the volume a great deal, and give a far more real experience, along with most of the practicalities of playing a kit, along with tuning the reso heads.

I'm not a drummer myself, but my rehearsal kit has mesh heads and perforated cymbals, and is quiet enough to have a conversation over without raised voices. Weirdly, as it looks and sounds like a kit, one tends to shout next to it, just out of habit! The head and cymbals aren't that expensive, and on a cheap kit will do the job, not to mention that the proper heads can be put back on for performances if they come along.

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1 hour ago, bertbass said:

I'd try to get a used Roland kit if possible.

I'd agree with this.

My partner is my drummer, and while her stage stuff is Yamaha, for practice, and our demo stuff, she uses a fairly long in the tooth Roland TD8 kit, and it's still excellent. A couple of years ago I picked up a relatively cheap Alesis kit for my eldest, and she put it through it's paces when we set it up for him, she was impressed considering the money, but it wasn't quite in the same league. We've upgraded her cymbals as time has gone on, and advances have been made, but from the POV of the module and pads, improvements have been more incremental than revolutionary so we've not bothered.

From a young beginner perspective, I think they're a good bet, as aside from the traditional learning thing, you've got lots of creative flexibility to distract yourself with when you fancy a change. Old drum machine sims (808 & 909), percussion kits, synth and sample kits... basically the equivalent of us messing round with pedals when real learning is too dull for a while.

With good mesh heads there's not much you can't do compared to an acoustic kit. The only real sticking points so far are the heel toe jazzy hi-hat thing and cross sticking, they're both tricky. Her teacher is a Roland endorsee and he has on loan the top spec VAD kit, and even on that those 2 things are a pain.

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Electronic drums may not be anywhere near as loud as their acoustic counterparts but they can still generate a lot of irritating noise, especially the kick drum pedal which if the kit is located in an upstairs room will sound like the occupant is constantly stamping on the floor. I've rehearsed at home with a drummer using an electronic kit, and at non-neighbour offending volumes the sounds of the sticks hitting the pads was louder than the drum sounds they were generating through the speakers. Also we had to build an isolating platform for the whole kit to prevent the kick drum pedal and other mechanical noises from transmitting through the structure of the building.

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It's the pedal noise and the cymbals that is the worst. There's not really much can be done about the cymbals, but we've got the kit downstairs where the floor is more solid, on a pretty dense rug, with some really heavy underlay under it, and that's minimised it to quite a degree. For our purposes, everything is through headphones, if we were to amplify, it'd have to get fairly loud to make it worthwhile. Luckily the neighbours haven't been round yet, our walls are paper thin and I can hear conversations happening next door... Hopefully their TV drowns it out.

Having said that, when reskinning the acoustic kit for the studio recently, just fairly gentle hitting while bringing them up to pitch, in the same room the difference is massive. 

 

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I played drums in bands for a while and used a Roland TD-6 kit. It was great. I picked up a couple of extra pads and assigned them as additional cymbals and toms. 

They sound pretty convincing and they're a lot of fun to play. I'd recommend Roland electronic drum stuff highly. Kits of that vintage go for fairly sensible sums amounts, too. I made a sound absorbing mat for mine, out of layers of old carpet, which did a great job of minimising the sound of the kick drum pedal. 

 

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His bedroom's above the lounge, so it's going to be interesting when herself is trying to watch the telly. :D Might have to invest in a decent rug or two.

From what I've seen, even the older Roland kits are out of my reach, so I think I'm just going to have to keep an eye out for a reasonably priced mesh head kit with a decent brain.

Thanks for the info.

Edited by Skybone

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The Alesis I got my boy was one of the DM range, and I didn't pay a lot for it....£120 s/h, mint & boxed. The brain is less featured than the Roland, 16 kits IIRC, but the sounds are good solid drum sounds, Rock Kit, Jazz Kit, etc, plus a few crazy African/ Indian/ Hip-Hop type kits. It's responsive, ie, no noticable latency, and has the things you would want like record, aux in, metronome, etc. Maybe a bit light on features, but quality, and useful.

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Nice heads are more important than a drum brain - that can always be updated later. Learning on ‘hard’ pads will alter a player’s technique.

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17 hours ago, Skybone said:

His bedroom's above the lounge, so it's going to be interesting when herself is trying to watch the telly. :D Might have to invest in a decent rug or two.

From what I've seen, even the older Roland kits are out of my reach, so I think I'm just going to have to keep an eye out for a reasonably priced mesh head kit with a decent brain.

Thanks for the info.

I made a very effective isolation platform from stuff I had going spare - and old table top with quite a deep lip to it (about 3") turned upside down and filled with layers of old carpet underlay. Then a piece of 1/2" plywood rested on top of the underlay, but not touching the sides of the lip, covered with carpet. We were able to fit the whole kit on this except the drum stool which was heightened up to compensate. Completely removed the kick drum pedal "stamping" and all the other mechanical drum noises from the room below.

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Ex  Roland TD8 drummer here !

I think the brain is pretty important because of the stuff it can do,  so pick the best you can afford.  The hard pads versus mesh heads - well the mesh heads are the things to have, though these are easily upgradeable.  The mesh heads can be cleaned, but more useful is they can be tuned like an acoustic head.

I  ended up upgrading some of the hard pads for  more mesh heads, and kept the hard pads for effects, which is in the brain. This among other things is why the brain is more important.  It was cheaper to get more heads/toms than a superior brain.

Roland were THE  leccy drum kit people back 20 years ago when i had mine but, there's plenty on the market now.

DDrum are supposed to be excellent too

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This might be of some help..   back when i was the drummer with the Roland TD in a 3 piece Hendrixy band,  the singer who was also the guitard,  recorded us in his bedroom  on cassette  ( yeah those were days ).

It was done live with the 3 of us, but Rick later added the vocals.  Its a poor recording by todays standards, and its  warts and all, mistakes etc.  but will give you a small idea of what 20 year old Rolands sounded like back then.  Expect better these days, especially if recorded with more finesse.

Best under headphones . Listening on mobile speakers wont really do the job

 

Edited by fleabag

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Hi,  I'm a little late to the party, but I'll pitch in anyway.

If you have the funds I would advise looking at Roland, the TD17 and TD25 are solid modules.
If you're looking at second hand, you can pick up a good TD9 from ebay for a good price.

The Alessis kits seem to come in a slightly better price in  the beginner level kits

Again if the budget allows , look for mesh drum heads as they have a feel and bounce that is closer to an acoustic kit.

My drumset is on the first floor, so to insulate everyone below me, I built a 'drum riser' from kids foam playmats topped with loft boards (I'm a tad heavy on the kick drum). When my daughter's downstairs, she still complains I'm "being noisy" when I play. (It's still way quieter than acoustic drums, but you have been warned).

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If he's a beginner drummer, I'd get his tutor (or of he doesn't have one, a sensible drummer) to come round and help with the layout of the kit. 

Electronic kits allow for things to be positioned much closer together and in different spots than you can manage on a real kit, and I've seen plenty with pedals, pads and cymbals in positions that bear no relation to a real kit.

If you can get the kit set up in a way that's reflective of a "real" one, it'll make the eventual transition to acoustic drums much easier and stop him picking up bad habits/bad posture by playing in the "wrong" place. 

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15 minutes ago, mike257 said:

If he's a beginner drummer, I'd get his tutor (or of he doesn't have one, a sensible drummer) to come round and help with the layout of the kit. 

Electronic kits allow for things to be positioned much closer together and in different spots than you can manage on a real kit, and I've seen plenty with pedals, pads and cymbals in positions that bear no relation to a real kit.

If you can get the kit set up in a way that's reflective of a "real" one, it'll make the eventual transition to acoustic drums much easier and stop him picking up bad habits/bad posture by playing in the "wrong" place. 

That's a very good point there! an ekit can be super compact, and make the transition to acoustic awkward. Setting one up _like_ an acoustic kit will look wierd and spaced out (because you don't have the drum shells to contend with, but will set you in good stead for the transition.

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That's one thing I've been looking at. Most of the budget ekits have the snare off to one side rather than in the middle, which isn't very realistic.

Current favourite is the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit. Mesh heads, the snare's on an arm so it can move into a better playing position, an actual bass drum pad, rather than just a trigger pedal (I suspect he's going to want a double bass pedal at some point - will need to get him to learn the basics first though!).

Need to look at getting a rug of some description or some sort of isolation material to put it all on.

Thanks for the info folks, most helpful! 👍😀

Edited by Skybone

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23 hours ago, Skybone said:

That's one thing I've been looking at. Most of the budget ekits have the snare off to one side rather than in the middle, which isn't very realistic.

 

Thanks for the info folks, most helpful! 👍😀

The kick pedal is usually centre of the rack on the electronic kits, so the snare is usually sitting roughly equidistant between the kick pedal and the hi hat pedal, which is about right. Putting the snare centre would be like sitting it on top of your kick drum!

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4 minutes ago, mike257 said:

The kick pedal is usually centre of the rack on the electronic kits, so the snare is usually sitting roughly equidistant between the kick pedal and the hi hat pedal, which is about right. Putting the snare centre would be like sitting it on top of your kick drum!

I'd echo that.

Seeing as I'm sat WFH next to it, this is the Mrs kit, set up pretty much as her acoustic kit, so she can move seamlessly between the two.

 

IMG_20201127_102623082-01.jpeg

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I'll have a chat with our drummer as to how it should be set up.

Managed to find someone selling a Nitro Mesh kit not too far away, for a fair bit less than the cost of a new kit and including the stool. Picked it up today, looks in decent nick, so happy so far. Need to get it set up and plugged in to test it, then find somewhere to keep it 'til Christmas.

Just hope he has the patience to actually learn how to play. He's been banging on about getting a drum kit for years, but obviously, I was concerned about him getting one, knocking seven shades of... stuff out of it, then lose interest after a few weeks / months (which was another reason for holding out for a mesh kit - resale! 😀).

Thanks for all the help folks. 👍

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One thing about the lower end kits is that they come with a tiny rack. everything gets scrunched up in front of you and it can be a bit of a shock to move to a 'real' kit later and find everything is much further away. A bit like learning to play bass on a uke perhaps.

I'm another vote for roland with meshies if at all possible. They're much kinder on the wrists, translate to real drums much better.

When I gave up on building a sound proof room I went for a Roland TD30KV and it's aweeeesssooommmmeeeee. Huge so I can set it up the same as my accoustic kit and stuff is in the right places and it sounds fun enough to not make me want to slit my wrists as a purist :P

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Well, boyo is a very happy bunny, already got me to buy some more sticks (he's paid for them thankfully!).

And set up in the Conservatory not in his room.

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2 hours ago, Skybone said:

Well, boyo is a very happy bunny, already got me to buy some more sticks (he's paid for them thankfully!).

And set up in the Conservatory not in his room.

probably a crime for a bass message board but PIIIICCCSSSS!!!

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