How Electronic Drums Are Changing the Drumming World
By Team HC |
by Ian R.
We live in a very interesting time in the history of drumming.
Electronic drum sets are flooding the market more and more each year and they aren’t just a passing fad. Whether you like them or not they are here to stay and they’ll only continue to get better over time.
Companies like Roland, Yamaha, and Alesis have options suited for every drummer and every year they continue to polish and expand their inventories based on what drummers are asking for.
Accessibility For Everybody
It’s no secret that electronic drums still can’t compete with acoustic drums in a live band situation.
When playing through speakers you don’t get the same acoustic nuances that you do when playing on a real kit, and the sounds just aren’t quite up to par yet. In addition, the mesh and rubber pads don’t have the same feeling and bounce as the real thing, and you’ll always hear the clicks and clacks of the rubber even with loud speakers.
Where electronic drums REALLY excel is in a practice environment in your home or a silent recording situation.
With their introduction, suddenly millions of drummers across the world gained the ability to practice on a drum set silently through headphones at any time of the day or night and record songs instantly. This was a huge blessing for everybody who couldn’t play due to sound restrictions or for those who lived in an apartment.
The big manufacturers are starting to realize that most people use electronic kits for practice more than playing on a stage so they are responding by making quieter materials, extra connectivity, and lowering the costs. One example that hits all of these marks is Roland’s newly introduced TD-17KVX drum set.
I fully expect to see this trend continue throughout the next few years as technology advances.
Sound quality will increase as processors become more powerful, and we can only cross our fingers that one day we can have materials that react and feel like their acoustic counterparts. Once this happens, there’s no reason why every drummer shouldn’t own an electronic kit.
Recording drum parts has never been easier than it is today.
With acoustic drums you need a variety of microphones, a room you can play in without annoying the neighbors, and the know-how to mix the different kit pieces together in a cohesive way.
In addition, recording in a bedroom is going to sound a lot worse than recording in a high-end studio environment and most people just don’t have the money or time to record professionally.
With an electronic kit you have all of the options of a professional studio at your fingertips and the results sound great. Things like mic placement, room size, and individual drum attributes can be changed on the fly. You can even record midi tracks to your computer and switch out drum kits long after recording along.
This leads to musicians being able to write songs faster than ever and get it out in front of the world at the snap of a finger. This also means much quicker turnaround for revisions and retakes, which in turn speeds up the creative workflow and allows for higher quality music in the long run.
The Future Generation
With kids growing up with iPads now days at very early ages, it’s no secret that their attention spans are shortening. They are becoming more and more saturated with technology every day, and they crave instant feedback and various options to explore in order to feed their growing minds.
While I believe that acoustic instruments can’t be replaced and will always be king, I think that electronic kits are a great entry-way into the drumming world.
They let early students experiment with hundreds of different percussion sounds that they might not otherwise be exposed to, and the instant satisfaction of changing variables on-the-fly caters to those who would usually quickly lose interest.
Take for instance my wife’s niece. Just the other day she was visiting and I let her sit down and play on my electronic drum set. She was hooked instantly and now plays on pots and pans every day at home. A future drummer is born! If I didn’t have an electronic drum set and instead just had a single drum pad for practice, she might have never discovered all those different sounds and might have never had the opportunity again to discover that she loves drumming.
The fact that electronic drums are extremely accessible means that more people will have electronic drums, which in turn creates more opportunities for others to get exposed to the world of drumming.
The whole point of being a musician in my opinion is to express yourself, create music, and have fun. As long as electronic drums continue to make those things easier for people to access I’m all for it and eager to see what the future has in store. -HC-
Ian R. is the founder of DrumRadar, a drum blog focused on providing buyer’s guide's, how-to articles, and gear reviews for drummers across the world. Ian has been playing the drums for over 22 years and wanted to make it easier for musicians to find the right gear for them and help solve everyday problems that drummers come across.