I know… You wanted an acoustic drum kit, but your neighbors just wouldn’t accept it!
SO, we’re looking at some of the best electronic drum kits for recording drums at home instead!
If you’re going to go with an electronic drum kit, you need to make sure it has ALL of the expressive capabilities of an acoustic drum kit (realistic snare drum/ride cymbal, ability to use brushes, etc…).
That’s why I’ll only be recommending electronic drum kits that meet these standards.
I’m assuming you were willing to put the money down for an acoustic drum, so don’t cheap out on yourself by getting an inadequate electronic drum kit..
You’re better off just using a USB/MIDI controller if you want to save money…
NO, this guide is for you serious drummers out there that want to record music with all of the expressive/dynamic range of an acoustic drum kit.
Besides that, we’ll be talking about some drum sample libraries you can use to have access to EVEN MORE tonal possibilities.
We’ll also be discussing some techniques to reduce the volume of both an electronic AND an acoustic drum kit (for the neighbors, you know).
Does that sound like a plan? Let’s get started…
- What if you can’t afford an electronic drum kit?
- How do you soundproof electronic drums?
- 1. Alesis Strike Pro SE
- 2. Roland V-Drums TD-27KV
- Summary: 2 Best Electronic Drum Kits for Home Recording
What if you can’t afford an electronic drum kit?
Once again, we’re not talking about CHEAP electronic drum kits.
Before getting to the selection, I just thought I’d give you a fair warning. The kits we’ll be looking at are worth every penny, but you’ll be needing LOTS of pennies!
That’s why I wanted to present you with an affordable alternative…
Did you know that you can make an acoustic drum kit sound ALMOST as quiet as an electronic kit?
AND, did you know that electronic drum kits aren’t 100% quiet?
We’ll be discussing how to soundproof your electronic drum kit in the next section but first, let’s consider transforming an acoustic kit into a HYBRID KIT!!
We’ll be needing a few tools to get the job done…
You can also consider “drum mutes” instead of mesh drum heads, but I guarantee you that it won’t feel as good. Actually, high-quality electronic drum kits use mesh drum heads as well!
Low-volume cymbals are surprisingly quiet, but it’ll be easier to record if your kit was fully electronic.
That’s why e-cymbals might be the best choice here!
It’s also because you can’t use drum triggers on cymbals (e-cymbals ARE triggers). However, we’ll be needing the drum triggers for the kick, snare and toms!
The drum module will connect everything together and allow you to trigger samples using USB/MIDI.
If done correctly, this can easily cost you less than 1000$ and get your acoustic drum kit sounding almost as quiet as an electronic drum kit.
You CAN purchase a hybrid drum kit from ddrum, but you can save a lot if you do it yourself. You could literally use the cheapest used drum kit you can find and it wouldn’t even matter.
Okay, now let’s talk about soundproofing your kit!
How do you soundproof electronic drums?
Low-quality electronic drum kits use rubber drum pads… They’re still pretty loud, trust me.
That being said, even the high-quality kits using mesh drum heads might still produce a bit too much noise. To be more specific, that’ll likely be from your kick drum (and pedal).
Actually, the entire kit can produce plenty of noise if it’s placed directly on a hardwood floor.
That’s especially true if you’ve got neighbors living UNDER you!
The solution? Placing your electronic drum kit on top of a thick carpet will already make a world of difference!
However, I recommend a thick rubber mat if you really want to avoid complaints…
Besides that, you can always make your drums even quieter by using towels. Just make sure it’s not affecting your ability to articulate properly.
It’ll be especially effective on the kick drum. Using a felt beater will also help!
So, is there anything else you can do?
Well, I’ve actually written TWO articles on the subject of improving your home recording studio.
Check them out before moving on if you like…
1. Alesis Strike Pro SE
It’s definitely going to set you back, but the Alesis Strike Pro SE is truly impressive.
For starters, it almost looks like an acoustic drum kit. It’s actually got a full-sized 20” kick drum that feels just like the real thing.
It also has state-of-the-art mesh heads to replicate the feel of a real drum head.
Here’s everything you’ll be able to strike (pun intended)…
- 1x 20” Kick Drum
- 1x 14” Snare Drum (dual-zone)
- 1x 8”/10”/12”/14” Toms (dual-zone)
- 1x 14” Hi-Hat (dual-zone)
- 3x 14” Crash Cymbal (dual-zone w/ choke)
- 1x 16” Ride Cymbal (triple-zone w/ choke)
The Alesis Strike Pro SE also includes everything else you could possibly imagine. You can find out more by following THIS link.
What’s important to take note of is that every drum pad has least TWO ZONES.
The ride cymbal actually has THREE (bell, bow and edge). Each cymbal also has a choke!
However, I was just disappointed to find out that the Strike Pro DIDN’T support brushes. You could try using them, but the experience won’t be that great.
That being said, it’s the only caveat I could find. Nothing’s perfect!
Besides that, the Strike Pro SE has more than enough instruments (over 1800 drum kits and percussives) and more sounds than you’ll know what to do with (45,000 samples).
It even includes built-in software that allows you to create your own custom kits.
It’s also possible to adjust the mesh heads with the provided key to customize your feel.
So, is the Alesis Strike Pro worth it?
If you don’t plan to record drum parts using brushes, then it might be the best thing on the market right now. If you DO, then keep reading…
2. Roland V-Drums TD-27KV
Now, it may not look as good as the Alesis Strike Pro SE…
BUT, the Roland TD-27KV definitely plays better and has even more features!
I’ll start by saying that YES, the TD-27KV supports brushes and if you don’t believe me, you can read it for yourself HERE.
However, it does have less drum pads than the Strike Pro SE.
Here’s what you’ll have at your disposal…
- 1x KD-10 Kick Drum
- 1x PD-140DS Snare Drum (8 sensors)
- 3x PDX-100 Toms (dual-zone)
- 1x VH-10 Hi-Hat (dual-zone)
- 1x CY-12C Crash Cymbal (dual-zone w/ choke)
- 1x CY-13R Crash Cymbal (dual-zone w/ choke)
- 1x CY-18DR Ride Cymbal (5 sensors, triple-zone w/ choke)
What really sets the Roland TD-27KV apart from the others is its snare drum and the ride cymbal. They have eight and five sensors, respectively
Besides using brushes, the PD-140DS snare drum also allows you to do…
- Buzz Rolls
The CY-18DR ride cymbal still does bell, bow and edge, but there’s more nuance.
The PD-140DS and the CY-18DR also have their own reserved DSP for near zero-latency tracking of your playing (which is why these ones connect via USB).
That being said, the Roland TD-27KV is pretty impressive. It’s NOT perfect though!
It’s not a HUGE deal, but the fact that the toms are all the same physical size is slightly disappointing. The kick tower instead of an actual kick drum is also a letdown at this price.
However, the crash cymbals are different dimensions (unlike the Alesis Strike Pro SE).
Roland’s Prismatic Sound Modelling also adds a nice touch of realism to samples that might otherwise sound well… Like samples!
It’s somewhat of a hybrid between sampling and analog modelling.
Summary: 2 Best Electronic Drum Kits for Home Recording
The Alesis Strike Pro SE and the Roland V-Drums TD-27KV…
Are they the best electronic drums for recording drums at home? I certainly think so!
You might not believe it, but these kits are actually considered MID-LEVEL electronic drum kits. In other words, there are definitely MORE EXPENSIVE options out there.
However, I don’t see the use in spending more than necessary for a home recording studio.
For the purposes of recording music, you’ll have access to all the expressive capabilities and dynamic range of an acoustic drum kit.
The only thing to keep in mind with the Alesis Strike Pro SE is that you won’t have as much expressive ability with the snare drum (i.e. you can’t really use brushes).
In every other aspect, I’d personally choose the Strike Pro SE over the Roland TD-27KV.
It’s a much better deal and you have much more right out of the box.
That being said, the PD-140DS snare drum and CY-18DR ride cymbal is exactly why you’d choose the Roland TD-27KV over anything else.
So, I’ll let you decide where your priorities are!
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and please let us know which electronic drum kit YOU’RE using for recording drums at home!