The drum is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world, and is thought to be one of the first known percussive tools for communication and music. During the evolution of the drum kit, we have seen hundreds and thousands of innovations and inventions that have turned a simple beating of an animal hide into a precision art form that is quite literally the beating heart of any musical band.
Whilst the acoustic drum has been with us for hundreds of years in its modern form, the drum kit itself is an ever evolving part of a range of percussive instruments that have continued to encourage better manufacturing techniques, brighter and more acoustically defined sounds, as well as better prices and availability.
Some of the electronic drum kits have come onto the market in recent years that have blown away their predecessors in terms of sound authenticity as well as range of functions, but it wasn’t always that way. The first electronic drum kit is thought to have been created by The Moody Blues drummer, Grahame Edge, in collaboration with Sussex University.
The idea of the electronic drum kit was that the electronic pads were hooked up to a synthesiser that recreated both drum sounds and other sounds. The electronic pads were positioned similarly to a regular acoustic drum kit and were used solely as a trigger mechanism to playback the synthesised sounds.
Innovation Built On Evolution
Modern electronic drum kits work in a similar fashion, but there has been much innovation in getting to the modern-era kits. One of the bigger innovations has been in the trigger pads themselves having a more traditional feel to them thanks to the varying rubber and polymer surfaces, allowing the drummer to get more feedback with each strike.
Whilst the move from transistors to integrated circuit boards has meant that the synthesised sounds created by the large sound generator units has all but disappeared, the size of the controller units have shrunk and made it possible to produce tiny starter or beginner kits that are contained in a single unit.
In the modern era, huge innovations have taken place to produce some of the best sounding electronic drum kits available. The beginner kits are often cheaply produced, never the less produce a decent sound, but the professional grade electronic drum kits are manufactured and designed to create sounds that are indistinguishable from a regular acoustic drum kit.
Professional Electronic Drum Kits
Kits such as the Yamaha DTX 950k series electronic drum kit offer studio grade modelled drum sounds as standard and offer a huge range of variations and other sounds in a sounds library. This allows users to effectively “tune” the kit to their specifications and perfect the sound to replicate just about any popular acoustic kit on the market.
Add these studio-quality drum sounds and modelling features to the reduced size of an electronic drum kit compared to an acoustic kit, and you can see why they have become so popular. Whilst playing an e-kit, there is a distinct noise coming from where the sticks strike the pads, but often these are manufactured to be muted as much as possible, whilst still providing effective feedback when playing. This offers the chance to play a full modelled drum kit on an electronic kit with a pair of headphones, to reduce noise in a domestic environment.
Built For Professional Studio Recording
The on-board software of many of the intermediate range kits is highly realistic and professional sounding compared to regular acoustic kits, but with the professional electronic drum kits, this leads to a higher ability. Thanks to the latest technology, newer kits have added functionality with computers that allow you to use the latest recording software such as Cubase and allow for an added library of sounds and drum modelling to be used in a recording setting.
With electronic drum kits you get a smaller kit to play with which is easier to transport and store, ability to use headphones for practise and reduced noise and the ability to hook your kit up to a computer and access the rich library of studio quality drum modelled sounds for a recording situation is like none other, making electronic drum kits one of the most versatile musical instruments and pieces of modern technology on the market.