When you’re a drummer living in an apartment, it’s difficult to sit behind a kit and bang on the drums without your neighbors getting annoyed with you. If you’re looking to bring down the noise level and get off your neighbors bad side, there are several electronic drum kits and pads that are great alternatives to a booming acoustic drum set. Beside bring the volume down, you can use electronic drum kits and pads in many different ways. Yes, you can use them as a way to practice your chops but you can also use them as triggers pads to play MIDI samplers and synths, or you can create your own virtual drum kits in any DAW and use your kit or pad to play out your grooves. Let’s look at some of theses electric kits and pads:
Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit
The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is an affordable kit that is a great introduction to the world of electronic drum kits. The Nitro Mesh Kit is a complete 8 piece drum set featuring four 8″ mesh drum pads, three 10″ cymbal pads, a hi-hat pedal, and a kick. These mesh heads bring more realness and responsiveness back to your playing style as the mesh reacts to your sticks like a real drum head as opposed to a rubber pad.
The Nitro Mesh Kit comes with The Nitro module which lets you sift through and create custom drum kits. There are 40 preset kits that you can play out of the box or you can create your own using the 385 drum sounds the kit it comes with. The Nitro also gives you 60 play along tracks that you can use to jam to as well as MIDI In and Out jacks so you can connect to your DAW and record.
The Roland TD-1DMK is the most affordable model in Rolands legendary line of V-Drums. The TD-1DMK is another 8 piece kit with 4 double-mesh head pads for a more realistic play feeling. The kit also includes 3 cymbal pads to cover your hi-hat, crash, and ride along with a hi-hat pedal and kick. The TD-1DMK is an entry level electronic drum kit so it comes with coaching functions that you can use to help yourself practice. The kit comes with 15 preset kits that you can cycle through to get the sound you’re looking for.
The module connected to the kit features an AUX input so you can plug in your smart phone and play along to any song. It also features a MIDI output so you can connect to your computer and DAW to create your own drum kits. Though this kit is geared towards beginners, you definitely shouldn’t sleep on it. It’s a great size to fit in any apartment and offers just enough to cover all the bases of drumming without becoming overwhelming.
Roland OCTAPAD SPD-30
If you’re not interested in setting up a full electronic drum kit in your space and would prefer something smaller, the Roland OCTAPAD SPD-30 is for you. The OCTAPAD features 8 individual trigger pads laid out on a singular interface. You can customize your layout to better suite your playing style by changing the samples that are triggered when you hit an individual pad. The OCTAPAD comes stock with 650 sounds and 50 preset kits so you can find your perfect drum sound.
You can edit your drum sounds right on the OCTAPAD with built-in FX like Tuning, Muffling, Tone Color, Pitch Sweep, Panning, and a Reverse option. Though the OCTAPAD is a great standalone percussion pad, it’s a great addition to other electronic drum kits. The OCTAPAD is capable of connecting to other electronic drum kits from Roland letting you expand on any set you own. To take your OCTAPAD set up another level you can connect extra cymbal pads to give yourself more room to work and a more options when creating.
If you’re looking for something a little more full sized and high end, check out the Yamaha DTX760K. This 9 piece kit comes stock with 1,396 drum sounds letting you can create 100’s of custom drum kits. The kit features Textured Cellular Silicon drum heads to give you even more of a real feeling drum over a mesh head. The DTX760K kit also features 3 individual 3-zone cymbal pads that act as true cymbals, swaying on a stand when hit. This means that depending on where you hit the cymbal pad, you can get classic ride, hi-hat, and crash sounds along with bell sounds.
The cymbals are also choke-able which is a great touch and a must have for professional drummers. What is most interesting about the DTX760K is its real hi-hat stand and pedal which lets you really feel when you play open or closed. Lastly, you can attach your DTX760K to any DAW to play as a MIDI controller on any custom kits you’ve created on your computer plus, you can load your own samples into the kits module if you want or need to play live.
Nord Drum 3P
The Nord Drum 3P is another stand alone compact percussion pad that can be a powerful practice and creation tool for any drummer at home. The Drum 3Ps sound library is not based on drum samples but rather on built-in drum synthesis. With drum sounds being synthesized as you play, this gives you greater control over your sounds. You can also edit your sounds with built-in FX like reverb, filters, pitch, resonance, decay, and delay.
The Drum 3Ps pads are incredibly sensitive so you can use the velocity of your hits to your advantage while creating too. If you want more than just a percussion pad you can use the Drum 3P as a synth pad as well, triggering different notes of a custom synthesizer. The Drum 3P connects to any DAW and works great as a MIDI pad for any virtual instrument. If you’d like to expand your pad you can connect an electronic kick pedal enhancing the feeling of playing on a real kit and giving you more ways to express yourself.
Though there’s nothing like being behind a real kit, electronic drum kits and percussion pads are a great alternative for when you have to adhere to a restricted noise level. These instruments are also excellent creation tools that can help inspire you with their vast sound libraries, sound editing, and MIDI capabilities. Be sure to sit behind an electric kit if you can or bang on a percussion pad to try it out for yourself. It could be the next addition to your home studio.