Newcomer to Electronic Drums. Looking for Advice!

Eren

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I'm a newcomer to the forum so a big hello to everyone on the electronic drumming side!

I've played for around 15 years now and it has always been acoustic. I've now decided it's time to make the move to electronic so I can satisfy my desire to play at ANY hour of the day!

My question is:

WHERE DO I START?! Any advice on where to begin? I know this can be a very vague question so I'll try to narrow it down a bit. Budget is flexible as it's something I know I will keep for a good while and will slowly look to expand. It's mainly for home practice occasionally recording the odd track. Audio in and out would be preferable so I can link it to a speaker in order to play out loud along with a song. I'm after a kit that I can expand to replicate the set up I currently know which is:

Bass drum (of course)
2 rack tom
2 floor tom
2 hi hats (one either side)
3 crash
1 china
1 ride
1 splash/tambourine

Apologies for the long first post! Thanks in advance for your help :)

Eren.
 

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cochlea

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Welcome Eren! I played an e-kit for the last 34 years and just went back to an acoustic kit last year (although it's more like a hybrid kit because I'm using the Yamaha EAD10). You mentioned that your budget is "flexible." It really would be helpful to know more specifically what you can afford to spend before we start making recommendations. However, given what you want to accomplish (home practice, occasional recording) and the size of the kit you're hoping to put together, I think you are looking at something more than an entry-level kit. The one thing that sticks out in your list is 2 hi-hats. I'm not aware of a module that has inputs for two, unless you want to devote a regular input to an open or closed hi-hat sample. All modules today, as far as I'm aware, have audio in and audio out capabilities. This allows you to play along to recorded tracks from a smartphone or tablet for home practice, and allows you to connect the module to external speakers (another expense to consider) for playing out. Most e-kits are expandable in terms of extra pads, and some will allow you to add your own samples. You should consider how many extra pads you'll eventually want/need because inputs are limited on the more basic modules. The advice I hear from most e-drummers is to buy the best module you can afford. You can scrimp a bit on pads, saving even more if you go the used route. The two major players over the past few decades have been Roland and Yamaha. Both offer basic, intermediate, and advanced-level kits, although Roland has updated theirs more frequently in recent years. There are other brands out there, such as Alesis, Simmoms. ATV, 2box, etc. Some are good and some have had quality issues. Another option is the Pearl Mimic, especially if you want acoustic-sounding kits and many inputs. However, it's not a cheap module and you'll have to outfit it with your own pads. If you've not done so already, check out the vdrums.com forum since it's specific to e-drums. In the meantime, post your questions here. The more we know about what you are looking to accomplish, the better the advice we can all provide.
 

amosguy

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1. Best module you can afford. Used is good way to go. I use an old TD-10 I found on CL.
2. Mesh head instead of pads. Played both and like the mesh better - ability to adjust tension on heads. Think of getting a set with the right module, and replace rubber pads with mesh as budget allows maybe.

Have been experimenting with "silent" metal cymbals lately, and like them more than pads.
 

Eren

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Welcome Eren! I played an e-kit for the last 34 years and just went back to an acoustic kit last year (although it's more like a hybrid kit because I'm using the Yamaha EAD10). You mentioned that your budget is "flexible." It really would be helpful to know more specifically what you can afford to spend before we start making recommendations. However, given what you want to accomplish (home practice, occasional recording) and the size of the kit you're hoping to put together, I think you are looking at something more than an entry-level kit. The one thing that sticks out in your list is 2 hi-hats. I'm not aware of a module that has inputs for two, unless you want to devote a regular input to an open or closed hi-hat sample. All modules today, as far as I'm aware, have audio in and audio out capabilities. This allows you to play along to recorded tracks from a smartphone or tablet for home practice, and allows you to connect the module to external speakers (another expense to consider) for playing out. Most e-kits are expandable in terms of extra pads, and some will allow you to add your own samples. You should consider how many extra pads you'll eventually want/need because inputs are limited on the more basic modules. The advice I hear from most e-drummers is to buy the best module you can afford. You can scrimp a bit on pads, saving even more if you go the used route. The two major players over the past few decades have been Roland and Yamaha. Both offer basic, intermediate, and advanced-level kits, although Roland has updated theirs more frequently in recent years. There are other brands out there, such as Alesis, Simmoms. ATV, 2box, etc. Some are good and some have had quality issues. Another option is the Pearl Mimic, especially if you want acoustic-sounding kits and many inputs. However, it's not a cheap module and you'll have to outfit it with your own pads. If you've not done so already, check out the vdrums.com forum since it's specific to e-drums. In the meantime, post your questions here. The more we know about what you are looking to accomplish, the better the advice we can all provide.
Many thanks for the reply Cochlea, I appreciate the your time on that post! Yes, I agree, my 'flexible' budget probably isn't the most helpful to go on however for starters let's say £1000 to begin with which will be probably a good module with enough inputs and a few pads to begin with as a 'basic' drum kit set up. I don't mind spending time building it up rather than looking for an all in one bundle although if there is one close enough with room to expand I'd consider going for it. The 2 hi hat set up is optional so I don't mind ruling that one out unless as you say I adjust the inputs to another hi-hat sound.
I'm happy to go down the used route on both modules and pads so I will start making a list of what's out there and how good the saving is on the used modules. Where I may start spending money is on the multi zone pads for cymbals and choke capabilities. I'll check out vdrums in the mean time too.

Thanks again for your reply!
Eren.

1. Best module you can afford. Used is good way to go. I use an old TD-10 I found on CL.
2. Mesh head instead of pads. Played both and like the mesh better - ability to adjust tension on heads. Think of getting a set with the right module, and replace rubber pads with mesh as budget allows maybe.

Have been experimenting with "silent" metal cymbals lately, and like them more than pads.
Thanks for the reply! With both replies pointing to the best module I can afford maybe I should start there. I will visit a few more drum stores nearby and have a look and feel of the difference between pads and mesh heads, I've seen of the mesh heads with adjustable tension which could closer compare to an acoustic head feel?

Thanks again for the reply! Lots to learn here.
 

cochlea

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The used route is definitely something to consider. However, if your are looking for something that you can build upon as you move forward, you may be limited if you go with an older module. For example, the Roland TD-10, although considered one of the best in its heyday, is now over 20 years old. Roland made an expansion card available but you would be hard pressed to find one today if you came across a TD-10 that doesn't already have it installed. The sounds in the TD-10 may not be as good as what you'll find in today's modules, although I realize that opinions of e-kit sounds are highly subjective. If you're looking for a good used Roland module with plenty of inputs, I would consider the TD-30. The Yamaha DTX900 is also a nice high end module, although it's a little long in the tooth as a "flagship" module.
 

cochlea

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Where I may start spending money is on the multi zone pads for cymbals and choke capabilities.
I would suggest holding off on purchasing pads until you know what module, or at least what brand of module, you're going to buy. Not all pads work well with all modules, especially when it comes to electronic hi-hats.
 

electrodrummer

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Where you start? Simple.

Hit some things. Buy what you like that fits your budget.

Simple :)
 

Eren

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The used route is definitely something to consider. However, if your are looking for something that you can build upon as you move forward, you may be limited if you go with an older module. For example, the Roland TD-10, although considered one of the best in its heyday, is now over 20 years old. Roland made an expansion card available but you would be hard pressed to find one today if you came across a TD-10 that doesn't already have it installed. The sounds in the TD-10 may not be as good as what you'll find in today's modules, although I realize that opinions of e-kit sounds are highly subjective. If you're looking for a good used Roland module with plenty of inputs, I would consider the TD-30. The Yamaha DTX900 is also a nice high end module, although it's a little long in the tooth as a "flagship" module.
Just had a look at the modules you suggested, those are great starting points. The TD-30 I can see is pretty much the top end of what I'd be looking for, there looks like plenty of space there for inputs! I also did find the TD-12 on my travels too. I haven't done a direct comparison of those 2 yet so I'm not sure of the differences.

I would suggest holding off on purchasing pads until you know what module, or at least what brand of module, you're going to buy. Not all pads work well with all modules, especially when it comes to electronic hi-hats.
Yes, good point, I will definitely decide on the module first and then look to expand from there.

Where you start? Simple.

Hit some things. Buy what you like that fits your budget.

Simple :)
I was hoping you'd say something like that!! :) It's almost an obvious answer really haha. I will be going to a few different stores sometime this week and have a look and play around and see what takes my fancy and fits the budget. Already feels like I've opened up a can of worms just considering the electronic kit!
 

cochlea

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I also did find the TD-12 on my travels too. I haven't done a direct comparison of those 2 yet so I'm not sure of the differences.
I used to have a TD-12. I really liked it as an intermediate-level Roland module but since it came out in 2005, it is fairly old in terms of sounds and features compared to the TD-30 or TD-50. I liked that it had separate 1/4" inputs rather than using a snake like the the current TD-17 intermediate-level module. I also liked having access to faders on the front panel to adjust the levels of the various pads on the fly. You can't, however, import additional sounds. You're pretty much stuck with the stock sounds, some of which are overly processed, although you do have access to various parameters within the module that allow for some degree of modification. I believe the TD-12 was eventually replaced by the TD-25. I've read mixed reviews of that module and have heard that it's next in line to be replaced. A used TD-20 would be an upgrade to the TD-12, but I think a used TD-30 would be a better choice in your particular situation. There are numerous YouTube videos that will you a general idea of the sounds and features in each of these modules.
 

amosguy

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Side Note Consideration :

I use my old TD10 module with mesh heads all around. This is my practice only set. There are better sound modules available now, but an upgrade to them is not needed for my purposes. It will not leave the basement, and I do not need top of the line sounds.

Keep your usage and needs in mind in your search.
 

Eren

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I used to have a TD-12. I really liked it as an intermediate-level Roland module but since it came out in 2005, it is fairly old in terms of sounds and features compared to the TD-30 or TD-50. I liked that it had separate 1/4" inputs rather than using a snake like the the current TD-17 intermediate-level module. I also liked having access to faders on the front panel to adjust the levels of the various pads on the fly. You can't, however, import additional sounds. You're pretty much stuck with the stock sounds, some of which are overly processed, although you do have access to various parameters within the module that allow for some degree of modification. I believe the TD-12 was eventually replaced by the TD-25. I've read mixed reviews of that module and have heard that it's next in line to be replaced. A used TD-20 would be an upgrade to the TD-12, but I think a used TD-30 would be a better choice in your particular situation. There are numerous YouTube videos that will you a general idea of the sounds and features in each of these modules.
Hmm yeah I think potentially the sounds may be an issue then if you say that there isn't the capability to import sounds and if I do record at some point it would be nice to have a good sounding kit! I will keep my eyes peeled then for either a TD-20 or a TD-30. Are VEX addons not possible with this module? I can't remember if I read somewhere that some additional sounds from this pack were available.

Side Note Consideration :

I use my old TD10 module with mesh heads all around. This is my practice only set. There are better sound modules available now, but an upgrade to them is not needed for my purposes. It will not leave the basement, and I do not need top of the line sounds.

Keep your usage and needs in mind in your search.
I will do, thanks for your reply, I appreciate the input :) I can see it would be really easy to get carried away and suddenly the budget runs away!
 

Old Dog

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I doubt anyone else has or will mention them, but you might want to look at ddrum's offerings. In the past, they weren't reviewed well AT ALL (that was just for acoustic kits). But they've improved greatly. They offer acoustic hybrid kits with triggers. You can buy the triggers separate, and they also offer a full E-kit now. I am NOT a big E-kit owner. So take what I say with a grain of salt. Simply giving you a different option to look into if you like. Good luck!

 

cochlea

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Are VEX addons not possible with this module? I can't remember if I read somewhere that some additional sounds from this pack were available.
I was leery of mentioning VEX kits in my previous posts since I knew you were relatively new to e-drums and I didn't want to overwhelm you with too much information. As you probably know, VEX kits are simply patches (not additional sounds) you load that tweak the module for you. You could do this on your own but most of us hobbyists don't have the knowledge, time, and/or patience to go through all of the parameters available in a modern Roland module. I purchased one of the VEX packs (called "Vintage") for my TD-12 and the results were very positive. They offer different VEX packs for most Roland modules, even older ones, as well as for the Pearl Mimic Pro. They're a great way to breathe new life into an old module, especially when you become tired of the limited sounds available from the factory kits.
 

Eren

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I doubt anyone else has or will mention them, but you might want to look at ddrum's offerings. In the past, they weren't reviewed well AT ALL (that was just for acoustic kits). But they've improved greatly. They offer acoustic hybrid kits with triggers. You can buy the triggers separate, and they also offer a full E-kit now. I am NOT a big E-kit owner. So take what I say with a grain of salt. Simply giving you a different option to look into if you like. Good luck!

Even though the clue is in their name I never even thought of DDrum. I did have a look at their Beta Pro kit just now. It looks as though that module allows 3 additional inputs which could be sufficient for what I'm after actually. Worth looking at!

I was leery of mentioning VEX kits in my previous posts since I knew you were relatively new to e-drums and I didn't want to overwhelm you with too much information. As you probably know, VEX kits are simply patches (not additional sounds) you load that tweak the module for you. You could do this on your own but most of us hobbyists don't have the knowledge, time, and/or patience to go through all of the parameters available in a modern Roland module. I purchased one of the VEX packs (called "Vintage") for my TD-12 and the results were very positive. They offer different VEX packs for most Roland modules, even older ones, as well as for the Pearl Mimic Pro. They're a great way to breathe new life into an old module, especially when you become tired of the limited sounds available from the factory kits.
Ah, I appreciate that thought! In all fairness I spent most of last night and this morning learning what I could so to not look completely clueless and I came across these VEX kits but my knowledge is still limited! So as I understand they just update the sounds as such, they're not quite suitable as additional sounds?

I came across this kit from Alesis. https://www.gak.co.uk/en/alesis-dm10-mk-ii-pro-kit/910411

If I read correctly, the original DM10 pro module had 12 inputs however when they are selling this as a 10 piece kit I'm not sure if it'll be limited to one more tom and one cymbal? The original DM10 module shows inputs on the back labelled simply 'perc' so am I wrong to think that would be a percussion pad like an additional tom rather than a cymbal?
 

cochlea

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Ah, I appreciate that thought! In all fairness I spent most of last night and this morning learning what I could so to not look completely clueless and I came across these VEX kits but my knowledge is still limited! So as I understand they just update the sounds as such, they're not quite suitable as additional sounds?

I came across this kit from Alesis. https://www.gak.co.uk/en/alesis-dm10-mk-ii-pro-kit/910411

If I read correctly, the original DM10 pro module had 12 inputs however when they are selling this as a 10 piece kit I'm not sure if it'll be limited to one more tom and one cymbal? The original DM10 module shows inputs on the back labelled simply 'perc' so am I wrong to think that would be a percussion pad like an additional tom rather than a cymbal?
You are correct in that VEX packs do not add sounds to a module. They simply use the factory sounds and editing parameters within the module to make custom-configured kits. Many sound much better than the factory default kits that come with the module. These packs are also helpful to those who aren't very familiar or comfortable with the editing features in the module. You can purchase and download these packs online. You'll find that they offer packs that cater to specific types of drum sounds, some of which replicate kits from famous drummers. There are audio samples available on the Vexpressions website.

If I were you I would be careful when considering Alesis kits. As good as they look on paper, they have a history of being problematic. Prices on their full kits can be very attractive but reliability has been an issue over the years. I would look at Roland or Yamaha before considering an Alesis e-kit.
 

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Just had a look at the modules you suggested, those are great starting points. The TD-30 I can see is pretty much the top end of what I'd be looking for, there looks like plenty of space there for inputs! I also did find the TD-12 on my travels too. I haven't done a direct comparison of those 2 yet so I'm not sure of the differences.

Hello and welcome.
I've been playing the TD-30 since 2012, before that I had the TD-10 for 10 years.
TD-10 is a great starter module. It gives you the basics of a kit with a couple extra inputs. In order to play along with music you will need something that can be plugged in with a small headphone sized cable. Hi hat is a pad and foot switch.
Td-30, you can plug in thumb drivers and play songs off of them. This allows you to speed up or slow down songs, loop sections you want to work on. You can also plug devices in with the small headphone cable. Also if you want to record yourself playing along with something, there is a way to shut off the song and just record yourself. Hi hat can be the e-equivalent of 2 cymbals on a stand. :)
 

cochlea

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If you're going to look at a used Roland module, especially a TD-10, 12, or 20, pay close attention to the clarity of the LCD display. They are susceptible to fading over time, to the point where you can no longer read the values. I was lucky with my TD-12. In fact, having a legible screen made it highly desirable when I went to sell it.
 

Eren

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If you're going to look at a used Roland module, especially a TD-10, 12, or 20, pay close attention to the clarity of the LCD display. They are susceptible to fading over time, to the point where you can no longer read the values. I was lucky with my TD-12. In fact, having a legible screen made it highly desirable when I went to sell it.
I have seen a couple of modules here and there for sale some of which point attention to the good LCD screen. At first I didn't think much of it but now you say it, it makes sense that it is a selling point!
Shame to hear about the Alesis, you're right, the prices are pretty attractive but problems down the line are something worth avoiding. I don't mind spending a little more to avoid those problems.
 

cochlea

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I actually had a very positive experience with the Alesis D4 module when it first came out in the 1990s. The DMPro that followed, however, was full of bugs. I've read about issues with current Alesis modules (Strike) and pads, which would make me a bit leery. However, I've heard good things about their new multi-pad, so maybe they're turning things around.
 

Eren

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I actually had a very positive experience with the Alesis D4 module when it first came out in the 1990s. The DMPro that followed, however, was full of bugs. I've read about issues with current Alesis modules (Strike) and pads, which would make me a bit leery. However, I've heard good things about their new multi-pad, so maybe they're turning things around.
Possibly it's a sign of change. I'm certainly going to have a look at one and ask a few questions about it in a shop near me. It's a whole new ballgame these electronic drum kits! Feel like I've learned so much already!
 


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