Adding a new drum kit to your Christmas list this year? Or maybe you need some advice buying for your partner or family? Our guide steers you through the perils and pitfalls and tells you what you need to know to choose the perfect drum kit this Christmas.
What’s included in the box?
First of all, you’ll need to know what you’re getting with a drum kit. Whether electronic or acoustic, check what’s included, as you may not get everything you need – and it’ll be too late to sort out on Christmas Day:
- Acoustic drum kits tend to come complete with drums and hardware (stands) only. If it’s a starter kit though, budget cymbals may be included
- Electronic kits will usually come complete with drums (pads), cymbals and stand, but you’ll need to buy a kick drum (AKA bass drum) pedal, drum throne (AKA drum stool), headphones and possibly a hi-hat stand too
- There are hardware and accessory packs available for use with electronic kits
- Many retailers will sell a ‘complete’ package with electronic and acoustic drums, offering a saving when you buy it all together
Should I buy acoustic or electronic drums?
This is the big question. Generally speaking, the advice is to learn, play and practise regularly on both. Some drummers, for example, may have lessons on an acoustic kit, but practise on an electronic kit. But, drumming is drumming and learning the patterns, rudiments and techniques is the priority and both camps will offer this. Whatever you choose, there are pros and cons to consider:
- An acoustic kit is usually larger than an electronic kit. If going from an electronic kit to an acoustic kit, the acoustic can seem much larger, especially for younger players. It’s good practice though, to learn how to set-up, tune and play an acoustic kit
- There’s no hiding it, acoustic drums can be loud – which is part of the appeal. But noise damping pads are available to kill the noise as much as possible
- The sound of an acoustic kit is what it is. In drumming, different musical styles require different drums, cymbals and tones. Experienced drummers will have a whole range of acoustic drums and cymbals that they can interchange for this reason
- The acoustic playing experience can be great. When you know what you’re doing and how to tune and set up acoustic drums, the ‘feel’ for the drummer is fantastic and can be hard to replicate with an electronic kit
- Electronic drum kits are smaller and more compact, which is a big advantage for playing at home. Some kits can even be packed away after use! But playing an acoustic kit can feel different and much bigger if an electronic kit is what you are used to
- They’re also much quieter, another advantage in the home or where noise is to be minimised. But don’t be fooled into thinking all electronic drums are silent. Depending on the brand and budget, some can almost be as load to play as acoustic drums. Roland V-Drums are acknowledged by many as the best and quietest in the market.
- Electronic kits have interchangeable sounds, essentially offering many kits in one. Roland V-Drums have hundreds of interchangeable drum, cymbal, effect and melodic sounds that can be swapped around and customised
- Electronic kits have tools to help you improve. It’s important to regularly practise with music and a metronome (or click) to improve timing. Roland V-Drums take both to a new level with a range of ways to connect to music and specific tools to help improve timing and show your progress
I need QUIET drums. Which are quiet?
OK, so we drummers are a noisy lot. So if quiet is what you need, there are some solutions.
- Generally speaking, electronic kits are quieter. But footboard/pedal noise on the floorboards is often hard to combat and the noise of the sticks hitting the pads can be louder with some kits
- Roland V-Drums feature tension adjustable mesh heads and some of the quietest playing surfaces on the market. So for the drummer, it means a playing surface which looks and feels akin to an acoustic drum and is one of the quietest around
- The HD-3 V-Drums Lite kit features beaterless pedals that are designed to be quiet, so you won’t need to buy an additional kick drum pedal to use with the kit
I have a budget. Which kits can I get?
There are kits within each price range that are prefect for learning, practise and even gigging. It stands to reason that the more you pay, the more features you’ll get, ultimately offering more drum sounds, kits, functions and more.
I have a budget. Which kits can I get?
In this price rage, you’ll find the perfect electronic drum kit for a beginner, or for a drummer that already plays but needs a cost-effective kit for practise.
HD-3 V-Drums Lite
This kit proves that great things come in small packages. Containing 20 super-playable drum kits, tension adjustable mesh-head snare akin to an acoustic drum head, super quiet beaterless pedals, and a metronome for developing your timing, it’s perfect for those starting out. It’s also perfect for kids too, as its height can be adjusted and it’s compatible with the V-Drums Friend Jam software for Kids.
TD-4KP V-Drums Portable
The first of its kind, this kit offers a compact, portable solution for drummers on the move. Its compact footprint means it can be played in small spaces, but it also packs down for easy transport or storage after use. An optional carry case means the kit can be transported easily from place to place. But it’s the features on offer that are most appealing: 25 kits, 125 instruments and a coach function to improve timing make this a kit for beginners and established drummers alike.
This is a V-Drums kit with a full-size drum stand for a bigger footprint. The kit also features larger pads and cymbals compared with the HD-3 and TD-4KP kits. The TD-11 module is packed with 50 kits, a coach function, built-in play-along songs and USB functionality offering a host of expansion options. Another kit for established drummers and beginners alike, the TD-11K is the ultimate beginner’s kit as it’ll grow with you, without the need to upgrade.
Using the same module as its younger brother (the TD-11K), the TD-11KV has larger cymbals and tension adjustable mesh pads across the whole of the kit – not just the snare drum. This is our best-selling kit for a number of reasons; drummers love the feel of mesh pads, but the compact footprint and powerful module with great features and sounds (including SuperNATURAL technology from the flagship TD-30 V-Drums series) means the TD-11KV offers the ultimate balance of powerful features and affordability.
The TD-15 series is for established drummers. It’s perfect for drummers that gig, teach and record, or the acoustic drummer who wants a kit packed with a large choice of drum sounds and advanced functions. The TD-15 module has a number of features over the TD-11 module, while the TD-15 series also benefits from a larger drum stand offering a familiar set-up for acoustic drummers. The TD-15K kit shares the same cymbals and compact pads of the TD-11KV kit, offering the budget-conscious the full-fat TD-15 experience.
This kit uses the same TD-15 module as its younger sibling but uses larger pads all round with the hi-hat mounted on a traditional acoustic hi-hat stand. For drummers who play an acoustic kit, this makes a difference to playability and technique. This is also the first kit in the V-Drums for which you will need a hi-hat stand (purchased separately).
The TD-30 series is the ultimate electronic drum kit. Offering expressive and dynamic response and a host of advanced features perfectly suited to live and recording work, this is the choice of the pro- drummer looking for a kit that sounds, responds, feels and behaves like acoustic kit.
Looking for the ultimate Christmas gift? Then look no further than the TD-30K Special Edition and TD-30KV kits. Simply put, these instruments are what every drummer would go for if they could. These sets have the footprint and presence of an acoustic kit, but all the advantages of an electronic kit combined with the ultimate TD-30 expressiveness
Whatever drum kit your loved ones receive this Christmas, every kit in the range offers ways to practise, improve and connect to a host of platforms and applications to help motivate them to keep on playing. Just don’t forget the sticks!