The Best Electronic Drum Set For 2020

Best Electronic Drum Set

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Looking for the best electronic drum set under $1000? The explosion of electronic drum kits is no surprise considering the advances in manufacturing and quality. The recent innovations address many of the shortcomings of early electronic drum pads and modules.

The high-quality digital sounds modelled in todays drum kits give the user an endless opportunity to explore and experiment with new sounds and styles. The multiple output capabilities of electronic drum kits allows each individual element to be sent directly to the soundboard, making mixing each element a breeze. 

With the increase in available electronic drum sets, it can be difficult to know the best value for money. We take the time in this article to lay out a few considerations to be made when selecting the best electronic drum kit under $1000 and offer a few of our top picks. Let’s get started!

The Best Electronic Drum Sets For 2018

Drum Set

Title

Rating

Recommendation

Alesis Nitro Kit

Yamaha DTX400K

Budget Friendly

Alesis DM6 Nitro Kit

Alesis DM10 Studio Kit

Advantages To Electronic Drum Sets

There are a number of advantages to consider when comparing an acoustic to an electronic drum kit. The intended use will ultimately determine which is the best selection.

Advantages:

  • Lower noise level. Although not totally silent, electronic drum kits produce considerably less acoustic noise than a traditional drum kit. Electronic drum kits also have the ability to be used with headphones, which allows you to have an essentially silent practice sessions. Your neighbours will thank you!

  • A single electronic kit can simulate the sounds of countless acoustic kits, instruments, and effects. They usually contain some amount of play along songs/loops and samples with the ability to record practicing or playing.

  • Electronic drum kits are usually more compact and portable, taking up less space in the studio. They also do not require any complex mic arrangements, saving you money and studio space.

  • They have the ability to work with other samples or percussion pads, and work well alongside DAW software, making home studio recording much easier.

Disadvantages:

  • Electronic drum kits do not perfectly reproduce the sound of acoustic drum kits.
  • They require a power outlet to be played.
  • May be more costly than an acoustic kit.

Considerations For Selecting Your Electronic Drum Kit

  • Drum Module
    The drum module is the brain of the electronic drum kit. Each drum module will have a different number, type, and quality of samples. Many will have a variety of instruments and special effect sounds in addition to the drum and percussion sounds. When comparing modules, consider the sound quality, preset patterns, and the natural feel and sound.

    There is usually a direct relationship between the price of a drum module and the quality of the samples. The quality of the samples used will determine the ability to reproduce genuine acoustic drum sounds. Every module has a selection of preset patterns that can be a valuable learning tool and source of inspiration.

  • Drum, Cymbal Pads, Triggers, and Mesh Heads
    Modern electronic drum kits use rubberized pads or mesh heads, improving the feel and response to the kit while reducing playing fatigue for longer sessions. Rubber pads, generally used for more affordable kits, have a similar feel and rebound compared to traditional practice pads. Trigger pads or mesh heads can have up to three sensors. Multiple trigger heads are capable of triggering multiple sounds, depending on where they are struck.

    Mesh heads, shown in the image below, have a firm, woven surface that responds more like an acoustic drum head. They generally can be tuned to your preferred tension using a drum key. Electronic drum cymbal pads are shaped similar to acoustic drum cymbals, sometimes containing multiple strike zones to allow a more realistic playing experience.

  • Accessories and Ability To Customize
    Before you purchase your kit, ensure you are aware of what is included in the box. While all kits will have the basics, it may not include some of the other essentials, such as a kick pedal, drum throne, headphones, or sticks. Entry level kits will generally include everything you need to get going, whereas higher end kits assume you have a preference for throne, sticks, and pedals you use. Another question to consider is whether or not you can load new samples into your drum module.

    The ability to customize your sample pack will allow you create unique drum kits that fit your desired genre. Ensure that the footprint of your kit will fit in the space you have available. Some of the high-end kits have a footprint larger than an equivalent acoustic kit.

Mesh Heads

If you've enjoyed this guide, please consider checking out our other guides - such as our favorite concert ukuleles

Our Top Picks for The Drum Sets Under $1000

Alesis Nitro


87 %
Rating
  • Includes kick pedals 
  • Nitro electronic drum module
  • 8-inch dual-zone snare drum
  • No throne

FEATURES:

  • Dynamic, comfortable pads for a natural response
  • 8″ high-quality rubber drum pads with 2-zone snare and 3 single zone toms
  • Kick pad tower with bass drum pedal included
  • 4-post aluminum rack for stability
  • Everything you need to get playing
Alesis Nitro

The Alesis gives one of the best values for the money and is a perfect drum set for beginners. It’s our ideal complete starter electronic kit that includes everything you need to play like a pro. The 10-inch cymbals, including a crash with choke, gives you a range of possibility for expression and dynamics.

The module comes with 40 ready-to-play modern kits. With 385 additional sounds, you can customize any drum kit to suit your genre. Additionally, the 60 built-in play-tracks will help guide you through the learning curves. This is our top pick for a beginner entry level electronic drum kit.

  • Very high-quality for the price. 

Bottom Line: With over 40 ready-to-play kits and everything you need to start playing, this kit is a perfect beginner kit for the under $1000 price range. 

Yamaha DTX400K

80 %
Rating
  • Complete package
  • Compact design
  • Includes silent kick pedals 
  • Higher price vs. Alesis

FEATURES:

  • DXT400 Drum Trigger Module with 297 high-quality sounds
  • Ten professional preprogrammed drum sets included
  • Includes drum throne, pair of sticks, and JVC full-sized stereo headphones
  • Silent kick bass drum and hi-hat

Another out of the box ready electronic kit with everything you need to get started. If you are looking for something easy to learn on with lots of preprogrammed drum kits, then this is a great option.

It includes preprogrammed training songs to practice along with and has a minimal one hour assembly time. The "Voice Guidance" system is intended to simulate a talking drum teacher to guide you through the programmed lessons. As you develop, there are opportunities to upgrade to a 3-zone snare, extra crash and real pedals. If you are looking for a simple beginner kit, this is a great option. 

  • A decent beginner kit. We still recommend the Alesis kits over this one as the price is a bit high for the Yamaha.

Bottom Line: A good offering from Yamaha. We recommend you focus on the Alesis kits as they provide more value for money.

Alesis DM6 Nitro Kit


90 %
Rating
  • USB/MIDI
  • Dual zone snare
  • Compact
  • Includes throne
  • No mesh heads

FEATURES:

  • Full-sized kit with drum throne
  • Compact two post design
  • Headphone jack for output to PA system, amplifier or recording console
  • USB midi connection for sound recording to DAW
  • 8" rubber drum pads with dual-zone snare, three single-zone toms, three 12" cymbals, hi-hat, and crash.

The Alesis DM6 Nitro is a perfect entry level electronic kit that includes everything you need to get started playing right out of the box. The upgraded module gives a higher sound quality over the standard DM6, with built-in tools for practicing. The rubber drum heads are quiet with a good feel and rebound.

The USB capabilities will allow you to feed directly into your DAW software for easy recording and the headphone jack will allow connections to multiple outputs such as headphones, amplifiers, or recording consoles. If you are looking for a perfect entry level kit with good sound quality that is ready to play out of the box then his is the kit you've been searching for.

  • The most bang for your buck. Highly recommended kit for beginners and intermediates. 

Bottom Line: A great upgrade to the Alesis Nitro. If you are wanting a little more options regarding the drum module, this will be a good step up. 

Alesis DM10 X Kit

93 %
Rating
  • DM10 drum module
  • USB/MIDI
  • Mesh head drums
  • Pricey 
  • Large footprint 

FEATURES:

  • Premium electronic drum kit with high definition DM10 drum module
  • More than 1000 built-in sounds with 12 trigger inputs and mixer
  • High-definition sound library of uncompressed samples expandable via USB/MIDI with ability to load custom, third-party sound sets
  • Mesh head snare, tom and kick pads for authentic sticking and rebound
  • Compact, four-post StageRack with integrated boom cymbal arms
  • Dynamic Articulation changes sounds’ timbre along with dynamics

The DM10 Studio kit features the acoustic feeling Realhead pads in 10 and 8 inches. These mesh head pads, which have a nice tight feel and strong material, are top of the line when emulating the feel of an acoustic drum kit. The low-noise DMPad Cymbals are strongly secured on the rack, allowing aggressive playing if desired.

The DM10 module has plenty of sounds and samples for you to experiment with. If you are looking for a specific sound for your genre, you are likely to find it in this comprehensive pack. If for some reason you are not able to find the sound you want, you are easily able to connect to a computer to interact with all kind of drum software programs.

  • Highest quality and the most versatile. 

Finally, there are 17 triggers in total, each with the ability to carry a unique sound. The snare and toms all have dual triggers on the rims, which is good for adding additional effects. If you are looking for a studio quality kit in the sub $1000 range, this is your best option.

Bottom Line: The best drum kit on our list. If you want the best quality under $1000, this is your best option. ​

Please feel free to check out our other audio gear buying guides, for instance, our researched selection of acoustic guitar preamps

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. I love reviewing audio equipment and solving audio related problems.

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