E-Drum First Time Buyers Audio Guide
What type of listening gear should I get? This should be your first or second thought before buying an electronic drum set or investing in acoustic drum triggers. We e-drum to play at all hours of the night, we e-drum to produce clean digital audio tracks, and we definitely e-drum for versatility.
A listening device of some sort is required to hear yourself. Most drum modules/machines are not manufactured with internal amplifiers. Yamaha does sells monitors that can attach to a drum rack, but...who uses these? (Shrugs) Thus, a user has three options:
Cons - Unamplified headsets offer a lower quality of sound coming from the module. If you walk into a store like Guitar Center or Sam Ash, in most cases this is a slight step up from your iPhone buds until you hit around $150.00. If you have a pair of headphones and really love them, think about a portable headphone amp.
Pros - Cheap, cheap, cheap. Your local gas station probably sells a pair if you are in a hurry and just want to play. Beware that most of the better sound modules require a 1/4" input jack.
Verdict - In a jam, we recommend $49 Audio-Technica's. You'll want a bit of noise canceling and durable, over-the-ear phones soft enough for longer sessions.
Cons - Three player jam sessions are out. This is for personal practice and recording. The wallet impact is significant. Between buying an electronic drum and a nice set of these, maybe attempt to celebrate your birthday two times this year.
Pros - Affordable at $249.00+ depending on how serious you are. Really great headsets allow a user to turn the internal amp on and off. Most models are noise canceling but there is a definite difference with noise canceling versus active noise canceling also known as ANC. ANC models completely eliminate outside acoustic and environmental noise for full immersion into drumming. These headphones usually include the required 1/4" input adapter.
Verdict - Best Buy sells audio headsets. Go test a few but leave your wallet outside. Then take a short jaunt to a pro shop like World Wide Stereo (not affiliated) and step into their listening room. Pick a variety of different music styles. Is the difference that noticeable? Yes. Amplified headphones will better allow a drummer to hear factory produced sound samples and high sounding cymbals.
Cons -Bulky and muscle building. Personal amplifiers also require a purchase of one or two TRS cables to connect directly from the rear or side of the electronic drum module. Depending on branding, this will set you back another $18-42.00 depending on cord length.
Pros -Live audio anywhere you have a power source. Most also allow silent practice by plugging in a pair of headphones.
Verdict - Not all amplifiers are created equal. We'll cover which models to think about in another article. You may also consider a PA system which I guess we'll cover as well in the same article.
Sounds like a win for acoustic drumming right? Not quite. Acoustic drummers may smile because everything required to e-drum is pretty much a non-factor for them. E-drummers can smile back because they have 25 different ride cymbals sounds to choose from -- all included for free. Check out the cost of this one ride cymbal. The math works in the long run.
We have some awesome clients who may agree to showcase their DIY acoustic/Electronic drum setups. If you have a story and a few pictures we are happy to share.
Contact us... Seriously. Do you have a sick studio audio setup? Show the world.