What to Look For in a Performance Electronic Drum Kit
There’s nothing that compares to playing on stage in front a crowd of cheering fans. When a drummer is in the middle of a set, she should be focusing on the music and her fellow bandmates and not whether or not her drums are going to play a wacky sound effect when she strikes the snare pad. If you’re considering adding an electronic drum kit to your live shows, this guide explains the most important factors to consider so that you can choose the best kit possible.
Before you start to think about the drum brain or anything else, you want to make sure the kit is sturdy and dependable. The last thing you want is for one of the pads to fall off in the middle of a song. The biggest factor here is the kit’s rack, which is the frame onto which the pads are mounted. Always choose a kit that has a metal rack, as plastic is weaker and opens you up to the possibility of breaks.
You should also pay attention to the layout of the rack’s feet, which should be spaced out enough to offer support without tipping over. Remember that you’re going to be putting a lot of forward force on the drums, so the rack needs to stay in place while you play and not rock back and forth at all. You can also look for a kit that has fixtures that are easy to operate, so that setup and breakdown is a simple and painless process.
A concert-ready electronic drum kit absolutely must have 1/4” cable jacks so that you can connect it to a speaker or the venue’s sound system, otherwise no one will be able to hear you play. An 1/8” audio out jack (like the kind you would use for headphones) absolutely won’t cut it for a serious concert. You may also need MIDI and USB ports to connect to other instruments or a laptop, depending on your playing style.
Most kits come with the standard number of drum pads, but this might not be enough for every drummer. To keep your options open and allow for the most flexibility during performances, look for a module that supports additional toms and cymbals so you can achieve your desired layout. User presets are also helpful, since they allow you to customize the sample configuration.
Making the Final Choice
Always think about your own playing style as well as the dynamic of your band to identify what features are most important. You might find that you don’t need a powerful module as much as you do a sturdy and open setup. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s compatible with your existing equipment to avoid having to buy all new gear to go with it.