Maybe you’re just starting out and looking for the best electronic drum set for the money. Or perhaps you’re looking to upgrade and want to know what else is out there. Either way, you should be cautious on what you’re spending money because if you’re looking for the best cheap electronic drum set then you’re in the right place.
There’re lots to consider! So it’s better to do read some electronic drums reviews before making the decision to buy. Here are a few reviews of some of the top products.
Yamaha DTX450K Electric Drum Kit
Alesis DM6 USB Kit
Alesis DM10 Studio Kit
The DTX450K is a five piece set consisting of three 7.5” toms, two 10” cymbals, one 10” crash cymbal, a bass drum, the new TP70S 3-zone snare pad and a hi-hat with a controller, along with the drum module. It’s all black with the exception of the cymbal stands and pedal and mounted on a durable steel rack. It’s a somewhat small and compact design, but it provides a comfortable experience for new players. The all new TP70S snare pad supports open and closed rim shots and the KP65 kick pad has a very natural feel. Combined with good sized cymbals, it’s a great practice tool or first kit for new players with features in mind that will allow the skills you learn to be transferred over to an acoustic drum kit should you want to. Also included in the kit are full-size JVC headphones for private listening until you’re a bit more confident.
The completely new DTX400 drum trigger module is a monster in itself boasting some of the highest quality sounds around. Stereo recordings of real drums and cymbals react to your touch for an authentic feel. There’re 10 professional quality drum kits preloaded and ready to play straight out of the box, but for those looking to be more creative, there are an additional 169 drum voices to choose from. What’s more, the 10 preloaded kits can be replaced with custom kits and there’s a USB to MIDI jack that allows recording to a computer among other things. A really nice feature for beginners are the 10 training sessions. They’re not just for beginners though with a range aimed at all skill levels. As well as there being 10 songs pre-loaded for you to play along with you can also transfer more over via the USB connection so you can play along to your own music collection.
First and foremost, the training functions are excellent. This kit is aimed at the beginner, so this Yamaha’s only feature is a real seller and possibly what makes it a winner. Secondly, it’s expandable and upgradable, so as your skills improve your ambitions can go with them. There’s an upgraded snare pad available, along with an extra cymbal and the DTX-MULTI 12 for more percussion and drum sounds. It’s also priced very well, which is important for a beginners set and it’s easy to set up. A small issue though; it’s not as solid feeling as some other sets and the frame could do with a little more rigidity. Overall, though, it’s one of the best electronic drum sets for the money with solid features and Yamaha’s strong name to back it up. An excellent choice.
Alesis have built a name for themselves with their presence in the electronic drum kit market over the last 25 years. They’re well known for high performance but affordably priced electronic drum kits. The DM6 carries on that name and is one of the best cheap electronic drums. There’re lots of features present that you find in much more expensive sets, but, unfortunately, lacks some of the very useful features for beginners that are found in the Yamaha sets. That’s a shame as that is exactly the demographic of this set and it’s otherwise a decent product (for the money).
The DM6 is an all black five piece set. There’s three 8” single zone toms, three large 12” cymbals (a hi-hat, crash and ride), a kick pad with stand and pedal, an 8” dual-zone snare, pedal hi-hat controller and the module. Whilst only single zone, the three toms are a good size, as are the cymbals at 12”. There’s a dual-zone snare, so you can have a snare drum sound in the middle but something completely different at the edges. Just like the Yamaha DTX450K, the layout is pretty compact, but not too much so that it hinders usability. Each of the pads provides a realistic feel and employ rubber surfaces that reduce vibration feedback and are all velocity sensitive for a natural response. Finally, it’s all mounted on an aluminium rack that uses industry standard tubing sizes so clamps and mounts from other brands will fit which is always a nice touch. However, whilst Alesis claims it to be ‘heavy duty’ there have been quite a few issues with stability and quality concerns.
It comes with the same amount of pre-sets as the Yamaha’s module (10) but there’s also an additional 5 slots for custom sounds for a total of 15 which are all customisable. Though they’re of good quality, there’s fewer extra drum, cymbal and percussion sounds though at only 108. The module has a USB-MIDI output to pass through to a computer or virtual instrument as well as an auxiliary input to allow you to play along with your favourite music from an iPod or any other external source with 1/8” jack.
To start with, it’s cheap. It’s the go to choice if you’re looking for a cheap electric drum set for sale on classified ads websites and it represents excellent value for money and so long as you look at the DM6 with its price in mind and don’t expect industry-leading sound and build quality, you won’t be disappointed. Rubber drum heads and cymbal pads that reduce vibration are great as is the industry standard tubing size that allows other branded clamps and mounts. Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for though and at a very low price, there have to be some down sides. There are concerns with stability caused by a weak frame and a number of complaints regarding questionable firmware and random snare drum triggering. A firmware update purports to fix this, but nevertheless, it’s a disappointment that it’s not ‘good to go’ out of the box like the Yamaha.
Alesis’ DM10 is the flagship model in its line and in a different category to the DM6. As with many other models in their range, it punches way above its weight in terms of features but is sometimes let down in terms of performance. It’s also blighted with some of the niggling issues found in its little siblings and unlike a Yamaha or Roland, it’s not always ready to go out of the box, often taking lots of tweaking to get things set-up.
The DM10 is a six-piece professional grade kit with ‘RealHead’ drum pads made of mylar for authentic feel and rebound. You get a lot for your money here; there’s four 8” toms, four cymbals – one 12” hi-hat, two 12” crashes and a 14” three zone ride, a kick drum, a 10” snare and the hi-hat controller. The cymbals provide a rubber surface for a ‘real’ cymbal feel that produce little stick-on-pad noise. The layout is a lot more spacious with the DM10, which is a given considering there are a few more drums and cymbals here. It’s by no means a bad thing, but it will take a little adjusting when coming from a smaller set. It’s all mounted on a solid ‘StageRack’ with four-post design and industry standard sized tubing, as with the other models in Alesis’ range that allow other branded clamps and mounts. It’s solid and stable and large enough to accommodate additional drums and cymbals should you want to add more.
Sound quality is very good and the module is one of the strong points of this set. An Alesis exclusive, called Dynamic Articulation detects how hard or soft you’re playing and adjusts the timbre of the sound as well as the volume. This gives each stroke a much more realistic sound. Not only is there a wide range of sounds available to choose from, but there are 12 trigger inputs so it’s easy to create custom configurations. The DM10 has a USB connection allowing you to load sounds from a computer and there’s also USB-MIDI for recording to a computer. Finally, as with its little brother the DM6, you can connect up an external audio source, such as an iPod or CD player to play along with your music collection.
The DM10 features a quality module with some very high-quality sounds and features that aid in a natural sound reproduction. For example, the Dynamic Articulation add a depth not found in many other equally priced sets. There is an ample amount of sounds too. It’s unfortunately not all good though and there are real concerns with durability. Many users claim their set has all but fallen apart after less than a year of use. Moving on, there’s very little flexibility available in terms of placement. Cables are pre-cut, so you’re stuck with placing the drums and cymbals where Alesis want you to. Whilst for many users this won’t be a huge problem, others feel more comfortable with a slightly different layout and it’s a shame that this isn’t possible with the DM10. In addition to this, the mylar pads are not for everyone and can produce a bit more noise than would be liked. In terms of features, it’s undoubtedly one of the best electronic drum sets for the money, but is it the best electronic drum kit? No, sadly not. For that you need to up your budget and look at a Roland or higher grade Yamaha.
So, you might be wondering what is the best electronic drum set or even what is the best drum brand? If you’re looking for the absolute best electronic drum set for sale, then you won’t have found it in this list. However, if you’re expectations are a little more modest and you’re looking for something that offers good sound and build quality at a reasonable, non-budget breaking price, there’re lots to take on board here. With Alesis kits, you get a lot for your money. Their sets are feature packed with generally very good sound and build. At a very competitive price, the DM6 offers a good budget set.
Unfortunately, though, they need a fair amount of setting up and tweaking to get them just right. Not only that, many models require a firmware update to fix sound issues and for a beginner or someone that wants to play right out of the box, this makes them something of a no-go. This follows all the way to the flagship DM10. Yamaha offers some exclusive features to their sets directed at beginners which make them an excellent choice. If you’re more of a seasoned drummer, that doesn’t mean the DTX450K isn’t for you though.
Its module features a large range of drum voices of high quality and overall build quality is excellent. It’s also easily expandable to create a set that is arguably one of the best electric drum pads in terms of quality to price. Yamaha has a strong following in the musical instrument market with a good reputation for quality. Not only that, should you run into any problems, customer service is excellent. They’re certainly priced higher, but it’s the sensible choice.
Whilst the frame could be a bit beefier, with the DTX450K there are no issues substantial enough to be a deal-breaker. That can’t be said for either the Alesis DM6 or DM10 and out of the three, my money’s on the Yamaha.