Are you new to the drums? You’re probably going to ask yourself that question. Do you already play the drums? It is not impossible that you may also have to ask yourself this question one day, depending on the evolution of your living environment or your musical practice. Regularly confronted with this question, we give us some precious advice to help you make the right choice for buying top recommended drum rugs.
In order to make the right choice, you must already know exactly what you are talking about. Acoustic drums are the traditional version, with drums generally made of wood (more rarely Plexiglas, resin or metal) and metal cymbals. Electronic drums are made up of pads covered with rubber, plastic or mesh skins, the sound of which is produced by a small box called a module. The sound is then heard only through headphones or speakers.
The needs of an amateur drummer are not those of a professional drummer. In most cases, a pro will be looking for high-end equipment, while a beginner will tend to be more cautious in his first purchases, at least until he is sure to show a lasting interest in the instrument. Price is not a determining factor in deciding between an acoustic drum kit and electronics: in both cases, the first prices for new instruments are around €400 and the best models can easily be around €10,000. In order to make your choice, you should therefore first look at the practical aspects and playability.
It’s a fact: an acoustic drum kit makes a lot of noise! It is therefore unsuitable for most collective housing unless you have very tolerant neighbors, or you use accessories to muffle the sound. Even in single-family homes, unless you live in the country, the sound will spread outside and may sometimes disturb your neighbors. In this case, you can offer them an amicable arrangement to guarantee them a few hours of peace and quiet.
If you think noise will be a problem, opt for an electronic drum kit that you can play silently with headphones, or at low volume via an amplifier. Be careful, though, to avoid the noise that can be caused by sticks on the pads and the rattling of the bass drum pedal. To limit the nuisance, remember to place your drums on a suitable insulating coating.
The advantage goes to the electronic models, which are naturally more compact, but this argument will not exempt you from making sure that you leave a sufficient margin to settle comfortably. This will prevent you from developing bad habits that would negatively impact your posture and technique.
Here we touch on the fundamental difference between electronics and acoustics: the feeling of playing. Hitting pads, whether they are made of rubber, plastic or mesh skin, simply has nothing to do with the bouncy feel of a real drumhead. A lot of progress has been made, but pads will always be much more forgiving of your technical shortcomings than a real drumhead. As an example, if you are a runner, it’s like comparing a run on a mat with a run in real conditions. The mat is soft, comfortable, adjustable. The road is strenuous, requires more work, but gives better results.
Be careful also with the size of the pads – smaller than conventional drums – which allow compact configurations far removed from the format of an acoustic drum kit. Some manufacturers now offer electronic kits in the “classic” format, which represents undeniable progress for playing comfort (at the expense of space, of course).
If the electronic drum kit is your first and/or only contact with the instrument, you will certainly be a little taken aback when switching to an acoustic drum kit. In addition to the playing position, expect surprises in terms of sound dynamics and the bouncing of skins and cymbals. This is why it’s important to check it regularly to learn how to adapt your playing.
Nothing can replace the feeling of power you get when playing a “real drum kit”, but electronic drums today offer a credible alternative for training – and even performing – in venues that can’t accommodate an acoustic drum kit.
Avoid the entry-level kits anyway: the first honest new models start at €1000. The same goes for the acoustics: you will find in this budget the correct configurations including seat and cymbals. What about second hand? That’s often where you get the best deals. You can go and have a look at specialized Facebook sites and groups (Zikinf, Audiofanzine, The Good Corner, The Drummer’s Flea Market, The Drummer’s Good Corner…), especially if you already know exactly what you’re looking for.