Why “drums electric”?
Because this site is all about electric drums, or more accurately, electronic drum kits, their history, features and usage.
Electronic drums have been around since the 70′s, often introducing fresh, exciting and unusual sounds, but sometimes becoming boring, repetitive and unimaginative with the same old lame synthetic sound presets.
This, of course, can be said about all trends in popular music. They can be used to great artistic effect by talented musicians, engineers and producers, or abused by the many “hacks” that follow in their wake. Look at the current tendency to abuse the “autotune” plug in, which was originally designed to correct pitch problems in vocal tracks, but is now hammered by the dance music fraternity as a robotic vocal effect, a use for which it was not originally designed. Having said this, there are obviously many kids out there who love this effect, but there are many more who find it over used and annoying.
Eventually, these early electronic drum preset sounds faded away from the charts and were replaced with real acoustic drum kits, although sometimes augmented with electronic sounds, often highly processed in the studio (for example, massive gated reverb treatments as used by Phil Collins among others) and restoring diversity to the drum tracks in modern popular music.
The pic on the right shows one way to get a huge drum sound – set up your kit in the middle of the famous Delphi ampitheatre. Alternatively, you could just use a reverb setting on your electronic kit!
Around this time, the major instrument manufacturers turned their talents to creating electronic kits that sound and feel like real acoustic drums, but with the advantages of being able to create many new electronic sounds alongside the conventional and being able to trigger sampled sounds. Many of us will remember when triggering the recorded drum sounds produced by the famous engineer / producer Bob Clearmountain, for example, was all the rage in local recording studios. The ability to belt away on the kit without the annoying the rest of the family and the rest of the suburb was and still is a huge plus for the home recording enthusiast and the not so well soundproofed smaller studios and project studios.
Modern electronic drum kits are a far cry from early electronic drums. Many brands have entry-level units, with the professional kits designed to create a sound and playing experience close to a quality acoustic kit. Examples include Roland’s TD-12 and TD-20 V-Drums.Typically, these pro level kits offer:
* High quality digital sounds. Even the entry level electronic kits sound fantastic these days.
* Dynamic and positional sensing. The drum head responds to differences in level and where the pad is struck with corresponding changes in level and timbre.
* Multiple triggers- Snares and toms may have sensors for both the head and the rim, allowing for rim shots as well as shell taps. Cymbals may cater for edge, bow and bell hits.
* Realistic Hi-Hats- mounted on standard stands, enabling normal open and closed foot playing. The various hat sounds – open, closed, half open etc are each represented by individual sound samples.
* The module provides multiple output options allowing external mixing and sound processing if required.
* Expansion options and the ability to work as a midi controller with a Digital Audio Workstation in the recording studio/home studio environment. Most D.A.W.’s come with some very realistic drum sounds and there are some brilliant plugins and stand alone programs that will work really well with these kits. The world is your oyster!
Revolutionary new electronic kit from MarkDrum – Yes!
The new MarkDrum Yes kit comes from the makers of the famous MarkBass and DV Mark amplifiers, as preferred by bass players and guitar players all over the world.
The Yes kit features revolutionary drum and cymbal pads and was designed as an electronic kit with an acoustic heart. The sounds are amazing and this kit feels very close to a regular acoustic kit to play. The brain is very straightforward in design but provides massive control and flexibility.
This really does represent a new step in the evolution of electronic kits and is being played by some really fantastic artists. Below is a video clip from the 2013 NAMM show:
|All Drums Electric – a great range of electronic drum kits is available at The Music Spot|
New Yamaha electronic kits released
Yamaha have now released a range of kits that cater to the student and the professional. The DTX500 series feature new brains, pads and pedals and the DTX540 features the ultra responsive XP80 snare pad to pick up every nuance of your playing style.