Downsides to converted acoustic drums compared to e-drums?

PaulD

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As the subject says, if I were to convert an acoustic kit (the Yamaha Manu Katche Jr seems ideal, or maybe something used) to an electronic set with triggers, is there any major downside relative to a good electronic set? I'd put mesh heads on the acoustic set and I'm not quite sure about cymbals, though I'd lean towards triggers on something like the Zildjian L80s.

Intuitively, it seems like the acoustic set would win for playability but that's a total guess on my part.
 

Hop

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Trigger wise I think you can find just what you need on the market (plenty of DIY'ers on the VDrums Forum) that would replicate "good" e-kits, if you go the mesh head route.
The challenge is figuring out what module to go with, and this is where your costs are going to escalate, especially so if you also start to consider the VST upgrade (i.e., laptop, SD3 [or similar], sound libraries, interface modules...) to go with that quality drum module.

The playing surfaces between mesh and mylar drum heads are totally different animals, also the "feedback mechanism" that is, what you get back from the acoustic-kit environment is starkly different than an electronic-kit. I would say the key advantage to the e-kit over the a-kit is that the mix that hits yours ears (and the volume of it) has a bit more control. The a-kit gets some undeniable tactile feedback but does sound different from the players position to the audience position - e-kit is going to sound exactly the same from any position but won't have any of the great tactile feedback unless you supplement for (i.e., a buttkicker) and yet another expense!
 

electrodrummer

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[opinions incoming. beware]

I don't see the point of using acoustic shells for an ekit. You lose all the logistic and ergonomic advantages of using pads.

Pads can be put anywhere - want three floor toms above your hat? Easy.
Pads are easier to transport.
Pads can offer things like three zones (rimshot + head + crossstick, for example)
(Decent) pads don't suffer bouncy mesh and hotspots ....

[this will trigger (cough) a bunch of people ! ]
 

PaulD

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Thanks. Those are good considerations. I should have also mentioned my purpose, which would basically be a glorified practice kit. I could also see myself, potentially, using the small kit as an acoustic to play out, but it'd be small so transport won't be that bad.

I've used mesh heads on acoustic drums before and they certainly feel different than mylar, but I can live with that.

The zone part is a very good point.
 

cochlea

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I think e-kits are ideal for practice situations where volume level is an issue. I agree with electrodrummer that using dedicated trigger pads, whether they be mesh or rubber, will yield the best results and allow you to keep everything compact when space is an issue. However, new pads are quite pricey so you can save some money by going the acoustic-to-electronic conversion route. I did this when I played e-drums and had decent results using Remol SilentStroke heads and Roland rim-mounted triggers. For me the downside was feel and dynamics. Mesh heads have a different feel than regular acoustic heads, with some being more "bouncy" than others. I got used to this but was never really satisfied with the dynamic range compared to a dedicated e-drum trigger pad. I really had to work with the module to dial in a decent range of sensitivity from low to high. You also don't get all of the subtle nuances that you get when playing on different areas of the drum head with an acoustic snare drum. I found the same for the ride cymbal. With the Roland ride I had, you really had to whack the bell with the shaft of the stick to get a decent response. I so much prefer being able to get different sounds out of my acoustic cymbals depending on what sticks I use, where I hit the cymbal, and the dynamic level used. I could never get this from a rubber cymbal pad. The bottom line is that I found it difficult to go from electronic to acoustic, so if you plan to play a converted kit at home and an actual acoustic kit at live gigs, I think it can be a tricky transition. I gave up my e-kit last year to go back to an acoustic kit and it took me awhile to adjust my playing.
 


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