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You want to be able to practice the drums at home.
The only problem is that drums are typically too loud. You could easily end up disturbing roommates, family members and even your neighbors while practicing.
If you cause too much ruckus, you could even end up with the cops at your door.
Fortunately, electronic drum kits solve this problem. You can play them through an amp or just plug in your headphones and easily keep the volume levels low.
Electronic drum kits can also be great for recording and even live performance, depending on the situation.
In a rush? Here are our top picks:
So, here are the best beginner electronic drum kits.
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Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit, One Of The Best
The Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit is a great beginner-friendly electronic kit and is easy on the wallet too.
The eight-piece configuration includes a 8” dual-zone snare pad, three 8” tom pads, three 10” cymbals (ride, hi-hat, crash with choke), 8” kick drum, as well as a kick and hi-hat pedal.
The Alesis kit also comes with 60 built-in play along tracks, sequencer, metronome and a performance recorder. And, if you want to play along with a song of your choosing, you can use the CD/MP3 aux input.
Best of all, the package includes everything you need – connection cables, drum sticks, drum key and power supply.
Now, it’s not the absolute best sounding kit out there. It’s not bad. But the sounds come across a little artificial. You get what you pay for at this level, but ask yourself; as a beginner, do you need a much more expensive top of the range model? Probably not.
Because of this, Alesis is a great choice overall.
BEHRINGER Black And Grey Inch XD8USB Complete Drum Kit
Another great option for beginners, and affordable to boot, the BEHRINGER XD8USB is an eight-piece electronic drum kit with a HDS110USB sound module.
It ships with all the nuts and bolts you need to start practicing and it comes with 10 factory presets and five user-programmable drum sets.
The USB interface allows you to connect with any virtual instrument and drum software.
The reviews for the XD8USB are a little mixed, but that’s hardly surprising. BEHRINGER is generally known as a good budget brand, but that’s it.
It’s a good kit for beginners, but if you love playing the drums and practice all the time, you should expect to be upgrading within a short amount of time.
Roland TD-1KV Entry-Level Electronic V-Drums Set With Mesh Head Snare Pad
As the name suggests, the Roland TD-1KV is a great entry-level electronic drum set.
The kit comes with three rubber toms, one mesh snare, three cymbals, one beaterless bass drum pedal and one integrated hi-hat controller pedal. It has one headphone output, aux input and USB to computer.
The TD-1KV has 15 preset kits and comes with 15 songs you can jam along to. The kits sound fine for practice but may not be great for much else.
The best part about the TD-1KV is that it’s durable, upgradeable and even features flexible pedal positioning. This setup should take a beating and keep going for a good long while.
Its only downside is that it can be a bit of a nuisance to set up and adjust.
It’s basic but it’s good – consider adding the Roland to your shopping list.
Yamaha DTX400K Compact Electronic Drum Set
The Yamaha DTX400K is another great choice for beginner drummers.
This kit includes 297 high-quality sounds, 10 customizable kits and built-in lesson programs. The free iOS App allows for easy customization, song importing and training programs.
It also has a USB socket for Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) integration.
The included sounds are quite realistic, making it a great option for the money. Plus, it may well be one of the quietest electronic drum kits available.
The only thing to look out for is the pedals, which should not be used on non-carpeted floors.
The Yamaha could even make for a great practice kit for more experienced players, so it’s worth checking out.
Pyle Pro PED021M 9 Piece Electronic Drum Set
The Pyle Pro PED021M comes with five drum pad heads, hi hat and bass drum pedal controllers and two cymbal crash pads.
It comes with a digital sound module that allows you to record and playback practice sessions. The pads have adjustable volume and sensitivity as wells as rhythmic style and audio tempo configuration.
The 33 pre-loaded and four customized drum kits give you lots to play around with, whether you like to play rock, blues, jazz or metal.
With the PED021M you can also connect your smartphone, tablet, computer, synthesizer or even DJ controller. Of course, it’s got a 3.5mm headphone jack too.
Overall, it’s a decent to good drum kit well-suited to beginners. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you might consider looking at the Pyle Pro.
KAT Percussion KT3 Electronic Drum Set
The KAT Percussion KT3 may run you a little more than other kits mentioned on this list but it just might be worth it.
It comes with a built-in click track, 70 drum kits, 45 factory presets and 25 additional user kits.
You can adjust panning, voice pitch, pad sensitivity, individual voice volume, MIDI note assignment, EQ, curves, tempo and more.
The KT3 features 100 built in play along tracks and has input for MP3 player, smartphone or tablet. It has USB/MIDI connectivity too.
Additionally, the KT3 is equipped with ultra-sensitive and extremely quiet 11” dual-zone drum pads that have a natural feel. The cymbal boom arms are also adjustable.
Some users report having issues with the sounds, which leave something to be desired. This may just be a matter of tweaking and playing with the settings until you’re happy with what you’ve got. The adjustability has also come up as an issue, but this is highly individual making it a difficult point to rate this kit on.
It’s not a pro kit but it’s not a mere beginners kit. For those that want something a little more, you’ll dig the KAT Percussion kit.
What Should I Look For In An Electronic Drum Set?
Here are a few criteria worth considering when shopping for an electronic drum set.
A great sound inspires you to play.
Whenever I plug in a guitar into an amp or effects processor I like, I just end up noodling for 15 to 20 minutes without even noticing.
Drums are the same way.
You may be a little limited in what you can expect in the beginner price range, but most of it a lot better than you might think.
More sounds aren’t always better, but good sounds are.
Plenty Of Sounds
Some drummers might like the flexibility of more kits.
I don’t think this is a factor that should sway your buying decision one way or another, especially if you’ve found a kit you like.
But some players might enjoy playing with a variety of sounds.
Drum Pads With A Natural Feel
Let’s face the facts – the drum pads aren’t going to feel like real toms, snares, bass drums, etc.
But if they feel good to you, you’re going to be more inspired to play.
So, testing out the pads on the kit you’re looking to buy is a good idea.
A Compact Kit
If you’re going to buy an electronic kit, it may as well be compact and portable.
I say that because an acoustic kit is not. It’s heavy and more difficult to transport.
And, fortunately, most electronic kits fit this description so it’s hard to go wrong here.
A Quiet Kit
All electronic kits are quiet to some extent, and as we know, this is kind of a selling point.
But your mileage will vary from one kit to another.
If you’re buying a kit for use at home, you should find one that keeps to its promise.
Is There A Difference Between Acoustic & Electronic Kits?
The biggest difference is perhaps appearance. Electronic kits tend to be more compact while acoustic kits take up more room.
Electric kits also don't need a separate drum rack.
But there are other notable differences like:
- Sound. Electronic kits are generally emulating the sound of acoustic kits and other instruments. This doesn’t mean they sound bad, and when you think about it, it makes them more flexible instruments.
- Dynamics. An acoustic kit naturally responds to the player’s attack and its volume is largely determined by this. A good electronic kit also responds to dynamics, but you have more control over its volume level as well as what kind of system it’s coming out of (headphones, amplifier, PA system, etc.).
- Maintenance. An acoustic drum kit tends to require more maintenance overall as you will likely need to tune it up and replace drum heads on occasion.
This is just a starting point, but you get the idea. Acoustic and electric instruments are different.
Just look at acoustic guitars versus electric guitars. Different instruments, different playing styles.
Am I Likely To Encounter Any Challenges When Moving From An Acoustic To An Electronic Drum Kit?
The answer is yes.
Depending on your technique and what you’re used to, adapting to an electronic kit can take several months.
And, that’s not surprising when you think about the fact that you don’t need to hit anywhere near as hard.
It’s kind of like the difference between acoustic and electric guitars.
For me, I got this difference intuitively. But I’ve talked to players who were acoustic players their whole lives and suddenly picked up electric.
It took them a while to realize they didn’t have to beat their guitar to death to get something out of it.
Which is funny to me, because I know you don’t have to hammer on your guitar to get a sound out of it, regardless of whether it’s acoustic or electric.
Anyway, there is a difference and it might feel weird at first. But you will get the hang of it if you keep at it.
Then, you’ll be able to play both type of kits, which can be a huge advantage.
Which Is Better For Beginners – Acoustic Or Electronic Drum Kit?
This is a hotly debated topic and there isn’t necessarily one right answer.
Many purists would consider a standard drum kit the holy grail of drumming.
Acoustic drums are dynamically responsive and always give you enough volume to cut through in a band situation. You don’t need to amplify your drums in rehearsal and sometimes even on stage.
And, many would argue that acoustic drums simply give you that real feel, which helps with developing the “right” technique.
The thing is that if you want to play an electronic kit, you’re going to need to change your technique. And, it can take a while to adjust if you’re used to acoustic.
Electronic drums tend to save space and give you more control over noise. Plus, you don’t need to tune them.
In terms of cost, it is possible to save some money with electronic kits as well. Acoustic kits require ongoing maintenance, making them a little more expensive.
But if you’re practicing in a home that doesn’t tolerate noise, the choice is obvious – use an electronic kit.
Over the long haul, you can also save your ears. That might sound stupid if you’re young, but if you’re an experienced musician, you know how important and valuable that is.
Whatever the case, working with a good teacher is beneficial. They can help you ensure that your technique is right and get your kit set up properly.
I think that’s the most important thing. If you have a good teacher, it shouldn’t matter which type of kit you pick up.
If you're looking for a beginner drum set for someone younger, e.g. between 5 and 15, these are some good options.
Can I Use An Electronic Kit For Recording?
And, one of the advantages of an electronic kit tends to be that it already sounds like a kit that’s been recorded and mixed.
That’s what’s interesting about some of the digital effects for guitars out there too. They tend to emulate the recorded sound of guitar.
And, when you isolate the recorded sound of any instrument, it might sound bad all on its own.
But within the mix of an entire band, you’d think it sounds amazing.
Electronic kits can make the recording process easier too.
You don’t need to isolate the sound or record in a specific room. You don’t need to set up mics. Moving the kit in and out of the room (or studio) should prove easy.
And, if you’re good at mixing, you should still be able to get a great sound out of the kit on the final recording.
This will depend on the quality of the sounds coming from the kit, of course.
But overall, electronic kits can be great for the studio.
Can I Use An Electronic Set For Live Performance?
Of course, you can. And, there are more advantages to electronic kits than you may even realize.
First, electronic kits tend to be compact and lightweight. That makes them quite convenient to carry on and off the stage.
Second, the right kit can sound great on stage. Sure, if you don’t spend a lot on the kit, you won’t sound as you could. But you might be surprised.
Third, your kit will sound like its already been mixed the moment you plug in. If you have an engineer working with you, they will love you for that.
Fourth, you or your sound engineer will have more control over volume levels.
This is perhaps one of the biggest complaints of acoustic drums, that they can easily fill a room with a lot of sound.
Add to that the fact that some drummers insist on playing as hard as they can, and you can see why acoustic drums aren’t welcome at every gig.
Fifth, the fact that you have more control over your volume could mean the ability to play in more venues.
Musicians are always looking for the next gig, so having the flexibility of being able to play in more venues is huge.
Now, there are some things for a drummer to be aware of as well.
If you’re used to playing acoustic kit and decide to move over to an electronic one, you’re going to need to adjust your technique.
Further, it’s important to recognize that an electronic kit doesn’t feel like an acoustic kit.
Additionally, expressing dynamics can be a little more challenging on electronic kits, though some will respond to your intensity.
But when you consider the potential upsides of using an electronic kit, these factors may well turn out to be insignificant.
It may only be a matter of time before more drummers embrace electronic kits for live performance.
What Amps Can I Use With An Electronic Drum Kit?
Electronic kits are often used with headphones. But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to plug them into an amp or PA system from time to time.
Amps aren’t all created equally. Guitar amps are made for guitar. Bass amps are made for bass. Keyboard amps are made for keyboard.
To an extent they can be interchangeable, but a bass just won’t sound the same through a guitar amp because of the lack of a low-end presence, for instance.
So, some amps are certainly better than others when it comes to electronic drum sets. And, there are only so many that were made specifically for drums.
Here are a few amps that can handle the tonal spectrum of electronic kits:
- Behringer Ultratone KT108 20WE.
- Peavey KB 1 20W Keyboard Amp.
- Simmons DA50 Electronic Drum Set Monitor.
- Roland PM-100V Drums Personal Monitor.
People often say there’s no way to play quietly through an amp, but I have no idea what they’re talking about.
Amps always come with a volume knob, which can be turned up or down to taste. Even at lower volumes, you should be able to find a level that’s satisfactory.
I Can’t Get My Electronic Drum Set To Sound How I Want It To – Is There An Issue With It?
Although any piece of musical gear can have manufacturing defects, it’s best to check the reviews and what others have had to say about your specific kit before contacting the manufacturer to get your issue resolved.
Though manufacturers are generally good about replacing or repairing kits when there’s clearly an issue with the product, it can also be an incredibly time-consuming process unless the manufacturer is set up to handle returns, exchanges, broken products and so on.
But the reality is that if you’re expecting digital gear to sound like acoustic gear, you’re going to be disappointed. There may not be anything wrong with your kit.
I play a bit of drums myself, but my primary instrument is guitar. I experimented with many digital effects through the years, mostly disappointed with the results (until I found the Zoom G3).
If the sound is good enough for practice and rehearsals, then it just goes to show that your instrument blends nicely within the context of a band. So, therefore its sound may not be that bad.
Blending with your band or jam mates is good enough until you find yourself playing bigger shows to bigger audiences.
You can try tweaking the onboard effects if you have that option. Otherwise, you’re basically stuck with what you’ve got.
And, sometimes tweaking the effects still won’t get you to where you want to go.
If you want a performance and studio ready electronic kit, be prepared to spend more on it. You’re less likely to be disappointed.
In most cases, there probably isn’t anything wrong with your kit. It just sounds how it sounds and that’s it. It may not have the best sounds in the world.
What Bands Use Electronic Drum Kits?
There are plenty of artists using electronic drum kits in the studio and on stage.
Here are a few you’re sure to recognize:
- Phil Collins.
- Rick Allen from Def Leppard.
- Robert Taylor from Duran Duran.
But all told, the number of artists using acoustic drum kits are much, much higher.
Despite how electronic drum kits have evolved, they still tend to have a strong association with 80s music.
And, some drummers feel they just don’t feel natural.
But based on how the technology is changing, it’s not implausible that more drummers will begin embracing electronic kits over acoustic kits.
Best Electronic Drum Set For Beginners, Conclusion
Electronic kits might have a bit a stigma attached to them, but I think it’s only a matter of time before people start thinking differently about them.
It’s become increasingly important for bands to be able to perform and tour economically and sustainably. So, if you don’t have a roadie crew set up your equipment for you, the more portable the gear, the better.