Acoustic vs Electric Drum Kits

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There are quite a few differences when comparing Acoustic vs Electric Drum Kits. Each have their own specifics benefits and disadvantages.

Drum kits have been around for centuries, and their popularity has only grown in recent years. There are two main types of drum kits: acoustic and electronic drum kits. In this article, we will take a look at the differences between Acoustic Drum Kits vs Electric Drum Kits, and help you decide which one is best for you.

What is An Acoustic Drum Kit?

Acoustic drum kits are typically played with drumsticks, and produce a natural sound when hit. This type of kit is what one thinks of when picturing a real drum set, with a bass drum, snare drum, toms, and cymbals.

What is an Electric Drum Kit?

Electric drum kits are plugged into an amplifier, PA or soundboard and can be played with a variety of electronic pads or triggers. These kits come in a wide range of sizes, from compact sets that are great for beginners to larger, more advanced models.

Electric Drum Kit

So, which one is best for you? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of kit in common drumming situations.

Noise

One of the main disadvantages of acoustic drum kits is that they are very loud. This can be a problem if you’re trying to practice at home, or if you’re in a small space and don’t want to disturb others.

Electric drums, on the other hand, are much quieter and can be played without disturbing others. If you live in an apartment or want to be able to practice without making a lot of noise, an electric drum kit is a great option.

How Loud is A Drum Set? A typical acoustic drum set will produce between 85-130 dB of noise. This is about the same as a lawn mower or a truck driving by.

In comparison, how loud is an electronic drum kit is around 70 db. This is quieter than a vacuum cleaner (80 decibels) and louder than a normal conversation (60 db). You can see the common amount of noise for a variety of items here.

So, if you’re looking for a drum kit that won’t disturb others, an electric set is the way to go.

Size

Another difference between acoustic and electric drums is size. Acoustic kits are typically larger and take up more space. If you have a small space, or you’re looking for a drum kit that is easy to transport, an electric set might be a better option.

Electric kits also have the advantage of being able to be broken down and set up quickly. If you need to pack up your kit and move it frequently, an electric set will be much easier to deal with.

Price

Acoustic drum kits are typically more expensive than electric drum kits. This is because they require more materials (wood, metal, etc) to make, and often include more pieces. If you’re on a budget, an electric kit may be a better option.

Sound

The sound of an acoustic drum kit is natural and unprocessed. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences. If you want a natural sound with lots of dynamics, an acoustic kit is the way to go.

Acoustic Drum Kits vs Electric Drum Kits

Electric drum kits have the advantage of being able to be processed and edited with effects pedals and software. This gives you more control over the sound of your

Portability

Another big advantage of electric drum kits is that they are much more portable than acoustic sets. If you need to move your kit around a lot or take it with you to gigs, an electric set is a great option.

Acoustic sets are not as easy to move, and often require a car or van to transport. If you don’t have a lot of space, or you need to be able to take your kit with you on the go, an electric set is the way to go.

Playing Live

If you’re playing live, an acoustic drum kit is typically the best option. This is because they have a natural sound that can fill a room. Electric kits are often used in smaller venues, or if the band is using backing tracks. A budget e-drum kit will not sound as good as a quality acoustic set.

Playing Live

Recording

In the studio, both acoustic and electric drum kits have benefits and drawbacks for tracking drums.

Acoustic Drum Recording Pros:

-Realistic sound

-Can be mic’d up for a variety of sounds

-Many different microphones can be used to get different tones

Acoustic Drum Recording Cons:

-Drums can be difficult to mic up

-Drums can be difficult to keep in time with a click track

-drums can be too loud for some studios

Electric Drum Recording Pros:

-Can be easily muted

-Can be played with headphones for a more in-the-box sound

-Many different sounds can be created with plugins

Electric Drum Recording Cons:

-Can be synthetic sounding

-Can be easy to overuse plugins and create a fake sound

-May not be suitable for all genres of music

As you can see, they both have their pros and cons. It really depends on your preferences as to which one you choose.

If you’re looking for a more natural sound, an acoustic drum kit is the way to go. If you want more control over the sound of your drums, or you need a more portable option, an electric set is a great choice.

Features

When it comes to features, electric drum kits have a lot to offer. They often come with a variety of pads and triggers that can be used to create different sounds. You can also find kits with built-in DSP effects and sequencers.

When connecting to other equipment, e-drum sets with their convenient MIDI compatibility have an advantage. MIDI is a standard that allows electronic musical instruments to communicate with each other. This means that you can connect your drum kit to a computer or another piece of music equipment and use it to control the sound.

Acoustic kits typically don’t have as many bells and whistles. However, they often come with a higher quality of hardware and construction. If you’re looking for a kit that will last a long time, an acoustic set is a great choice.

Dependability and Reliability

Both types of drums have advantages and disadvantages in terms of dependability and reliability.

Electric Drum Reliability Pros:

-Less prone to mistakes

-Can be played at lower volumes

-Easier to keep in time

-Fewer moving parts

Electric Drum Reliability Cons:

-May break down more easily over time

-Sensitive to power surges

-Pads and triggers can wear out

-Prone to software becoming dated and disfunctional

Acoustic Drum Reliability Pros:

-More durable

-Can last for many years with proper care

-Drum heads and and sticks can be replaced easily

-No software or external systems to worry about

-Can be played at higher volumes

-Less need for replacement parts over time

-Tends to sound better as it ages

Acoustic Drum Reliability Cons:

-More prone to mistakes

-Drums can be very loud

-Requires more space

-Can be difficult to transport without a car or van

Again, we see that both have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for a kit that is easy to set up and take down, an electric set is a great choice. If you want a kit that will last for many years and can be played at higher volumes, an acoustic drum kit is the way to go.

Playability

When it comes to playability, there is not really a comparison for me. An acoustic drum kit just feels better to play. The sound, the response, the way they feel when playing – it all comes together to create an experience that you can’t get with an electric kit.

That’s not to say that electric kits are bad – they’re just different. The electronic drum pads have come along way in recent years compared to the old, hard rubber pads of the past. New materials such as mesh pads are much more responsive and provide a more natural playing feel but still do not match the feel of real drums.

Main Difference Between Acoustic vs Electric Drum Kits

The main difference between acoustic vs electric drum kits is the sound they produce. Acoustic drums have a natural, unprocessed sound, while electric drums can be processed and edited with effects pedals and software. For many professional drummers, the drawbacks of the acoustic set are outweighed by this single advantage, sound. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you are looking to accomplish with your drumming.

The other sticking factor we see for most professional drummers when choosing a kit is playability. There is simply no question that acoustic drums have a better feel and more natural playability. Regardless of the style of music you play, with maybe the exception of electronic music, acoustic will win for most players. Quality Electronic drums have come a long way in recent years, but they still can’t quite match the playability of an acoustic set.

So if you’re looking for a kit that sounds great and is easy to play, an acoustic set is the way to go.

What About Hybrid Kits?

A hybrid kit is a set that combines acoustic and electric drums. They are typically played with sticks, just like an acoustic kit, but the sounds can be enhanced or changed with the use of electronics. Hybrid kits are a great option for those who want the best of both worlds – the natural sound and feel of acoustic drums combined with the flexibility and sonic possibilities of electric drums.

Conclusion

So there you have it – a comparison of acoustic vs electric drum kits. These are just a few of the things to consider when choosing a set for yourself. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you hope to achieve with your drumming. Whatever you choose, make sure to have fun and enjoy making music!

FAQ

Below are some common questions we have received around Acoustic vs Electric Drum Kits:

What is the best type of drum kit for a beginner?

The best type of drum kit for a beginner drummer comes down to personal preference, practice area and intended use. Acoustic drums are produce a natural sound and have better playability but are loud and difficult to move. On the other hand, electronic drum sets can be great if you limited on practice space such as an apartment, and can be played with headphones to avoid disturbing others. You can also benefit from the built-in metronomes that many e-kits include and not need an external metronome app.

What type of drum kit do most professional use?

Most professional drummers use an acoustic drum set because they produce a natural sound that cannot be replicated by electronic drums. That being said, there are some great hybrid kits on the market that offer the best of both worlds – the flexibility of electronic drums with the sound and feel of acoustic drums.

Can I use an acoustic kit for live shows?

Acoustic drum kits are typically used in live performances, but you will need to factor in the volume level when choosing a set. Acoustic drums can be quite loud and may not be appropriate for all venues. If you are playing in a small club or bar, an electronic drum set may be a better option to avoid disturbing the other patrons.

Do I need an amplifier for my electric drums?

Electric drums typically need to be plugged into an amplifier in order to be heard. Some kits come with built-in amplifiers, but you will likely need an external amplifier if you are playing with a full band.

How much do electronic drums cost?

Prices for electronic drums vary greatly depending on the type and quality of the set. You can find entry-level sets for as little as $200, but more professional sets can cost thousands of dollars.

Does an electronic drum sets give you the same playing experience?

When purchasing an electronic drum set, keep in mind that the drum pads are often less than 8 inches in diameter unless you’re looking at the most expensive ones. The drums are condensed due to the rack system’s use of these pads to hold them all together. Despite the fact that this may save a little room, restrictive playing positions can have a negative impact on your posture and how you approach the drums. Electronic drum sets with full-sized drum shells are now available from manufacturers like Pearl and Roland. This is a welcome development, but buyers should be aware that these sets are not cheap.

However, the general change in feel is one of the most significant differences. A rubber, plastic, or mesh drum pad does not feel the same as striking a genuine head. Despite the fact that they are closer than ever before, electronic drums offer a few advantages over acoustic drum setups. Acoustic drums will show you where you need to improve your technique, whereas mesh heads will let you hide your flaws.

Can I Use Mesh Heads on My Acoustic Drum Set?

Yes you can! If you absolutely must practice in silence on an acoustic kit, this is a reasonable alternative, but there is a significant drawback.

They’re pricey, don’t produce good drum sound very good (they’re often made of nylon), removes the natural dynamic range and they’ve been known to inject a lot of “bounce” into the stick because of their single-ply mesh construction. After a few plays, this tends to break loose from the drum’s top and need to be re-tuned.

For my first drum kit, Electric or Acoustic?

For me, nothing beats learning on an acoustic set. Buy acoustic drums if you have the space and the courtesy of your neighbors to play them in. Nothing compares to the sound quality of a high-quality acoustic set, which costs the same as a bad electronic one. An acoustic drum set has a unique sound, feel, and power that can’t be matched by any other instrument.

For most people, though, the volume is a significant issue. An acoustic drum set is simply too loud to be understated with the snare drums and crash cymbal! It doesn’t matter how loud you believe it is; it’s louder. In reality, unless you have a soundproof rehearsal area, might significantly limit how often you can practice or perhaps prevent you from practicing at all. Even if you put silencer heads and cymbal mutes on top of your acoustic set, it would still sound and feel bad.

Outside of the noise of a drum set, there are also room factors that come into play such as needing acoustic panels for recording and sound isolation needed to reduce the noise levels.

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