Yamaha DD65 Review – Complete and Really Good

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Before electronic drum kits came on the scene, drum pads were nothing more than a drumhead on a flat surface that would allow players to practice basic technique with a more realistic kickback. Now, electronic drum pads simulate a realistic drumming experience, and allow for a wide range of playing options and styles. Today I’m taking a look at the Yamaha DD65 Premium to see how it stacks up to other drum pads, and to other electronic drum kits.

What’s in the Box

In addition to the actual drum pad, which itself features an impressive eight pads and multiple tone controls, you also get two configurable foot pedals. The standard setup allows you to use one unit as a kick pedal for a kick drum and the other as the hi-hat pedal to control the spacing of the two hi-hat cymbals. This is a surprising and valuable addition, since it allows you to achieve a more realistic drumming experience by incorporating footwork into the formula, whereas many other pads (both electronic and analog) only focus on the drums and cymbals.

The premium pack steps things up a bit by including a pair of drum sticks and a pair of over the ear headphones, so you can plug directly into the pad and listen to yourself play without disturbing anyone around you. There’s also a power supply that allows you to plug the unit into an electrical outlet, though you do have the option of installing six C batteries. If you go with the batteries, the pad becomes completely portable, allowing you to play anywhere you like.

Overall Configuration

This pad features eight touch-sensitive pads that are all arranged to match the standard drum kit configuration, including toms, cymbals and the snare. As is the case with most drum pads, the body is considerably smaller than an actual drum kit. This means that, even though the relative positioning resembles a real kit, the spacing is reduced considerably in order to keep the main unit smaller. This doesn’t stop you from being able to play in a realistic style, but it won’t be exactly the same as playing on a full-sized kit.

The face of the pad also includes a series of controls that allow you to adjust the tempo and add a reverb effect on top of the sounds you apply to the pads. There’s also a master equalizer to allow you to control the actual levels of the sounds, as well as buttons to handle assigning different samples to each of the pads and the foot pedals. Overall it’s a surprisingly robust layout for a drum pad, showing that it takes the art of drumming seriously; it’s made to give you a good range of functionality that is edging closer to that of a full-sized electronic drum kit.

The Module

This drum pad doesn’t have a module in the same sense that a full electronic kit would, though it does have a noticeably powerful internal system that processes the sounds and handles all of the actions. The pad includes 254 individual stereo sound samples, which you can assign to any of the pads or pedals as you see fit, though you can use one of the impressive 50 factory presets if you prefer. The fact that it has stereo samples is impressive, since this is a more complex way to handle the sounds and allows for a greater range of use during play.

If you’re in the mood for a different drumming experience, you can switch the pad to hand percussion mode to simulate playing instruments such as congas or bongos. You can also record up to five minutes of audio directly through the internal flash memory on the pad, which is great for practicing or starting out on creating your own songs.

Benefits of a Drum Pad

This type of drum pad would be great for anyone who wants a less complicated way to practice their playing, since it’s significantly smaller than a full-sized kit. It’s also portable, so you can easily take it to different locations depending on your needs. Since the DD65 has the same general layout of a traditional drum set, and supports two foot pedals, you’re also going to be able to achieve incredibly accurate and realistic drumming, compared to what you would get on other types of pads.

The DD65 also comes with a slew of built-in songs to help beginners practice the basics and develop the right techniques. On top of that, you can also load in your own music directly onto the pad’s internal memory or connect an MP3 player to play along with your own songs.

The Verdict

From simple practicing to some modest home recording, the DD65 has a lot of powerful features that you won’t find in any other pad. It’s a little more expensive than some other pads, but still considerably less pricey than a full electronic or acoustic drum kit.

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