The reason why a drummer (this regardless of his experience) decides to buy an electronic set, is mainly due to an external factor: tolerance of our neighbourhood art or more generally of those around us. There remains a problem: how to choose an electronic set?
At least for now let’s leave out the economic aspect to highlight instead the technical/practical aspects that can lead us to purchase the perfect electronic set for our needs. To do this you need to know the meaning of some terminologies and understand some differences.
Schematically, we can identify a series of critical parameters: pad material and type, set size, sound module, rack and finally price. The price is deliberately a parameter put in a queue as it is first necessary to understand what you need and then skim based on your own money. I know, it’s a bad thing, but you must inevitably open up your wallet and head over to https://barkingdrum.com/what-you-should-look-for-in-an-electronic-drum-set/ for more guidance.
Type of pads
We can outline the pads for tom/snuff use in four macro-categories: rubber, Mesh, TCS and with mylar skins.
While the pads intended for flat use in two: rubber or metal. In the latter case, we add the bronze plates of the Gen16 series made by Zildjian.
Each of these types brings with it other variables such as natural noise (the blow of the rod on the surface of the audible pad “out of the headphones”), the response and the feeling towards the user.
The pads with the percussive rubber surface are by far the most widespread thanks to the decidedly low price. In fact, entry-level setups are part of the standard equipment. Usually, this type of pad has only one zone of sensitivity, except for rides that start at least two zones of sensitivity. The produced noise depends above all on the softness of the material, but on the base, it is rather contained. It does not offer a great feeling and can be a cause of tendinitis because a good part of the energy transmitted by the hand towards the rod is returned in a very high percentage.
Usually, this type of pad integrates piezoelectric triggers that are affected by a lot of crosstalk.
Pads with Mesh-type leather are by far the most silent pads joined by TCS pads. In both cases, the answer and the feeling are of a high standard. The manufacturers that equip the pads with metal rims also include rubber protections with which to contain the noise of the rod that hits its surface.
They mislead the pads with traditional leathers. Many are convinced that an electronic set equipped with the same skins of an acoustic set, can offer the same feeling. It is a false myth.
Firstly, an electronic set is not equipped with resonant skin (the one located at the bottom of the stem), so that the compression of the beating skin (the one on which the blows are fired) will not have the same response found on an acoustic set. Furthermore, the natural sound produced is unsuitable if one’s own need is to make as little noise as possible.
Given the average price of an electronic set, it is good to arrive at your choice in a prudent and patient way. In the first place, to evaluate well (and honestly) what is desired, secondly to use one’s economic availability as a point of reference, but not as a starting point.