my drum kit

A few weeks ago my vacuum exploded. Not a huge explosion with shards flying everywhere, but internally and irreparably.

I’m told it made a huge bang.

We’ve now got a new one.  This means I could finally vacuum up the dust puppies that have gathered behind my kit (like dust bunnies, but at our place they are composed mostly of dog hair – Alex sheds a lot) and take photos of my drum set.

ta daaaaaa!

As you can see, my kit is electronic.  Noise is my primary reason for choosing electronic, and the other is space.  We live in a small home (by North American standards, that is… by world standards it’s huge) and it’s pretty open, so sound carries.  Our basement is unfinished and the bedrooms upstairs are too small, so my drums live in a corner of our dining room.

Here they are, tucked away in the corner of our dining room.

There are a number of companies who make e drums, but our local store carries Roland so those are the only kind I’ve tried so far.  Electronic drums can range in price from $400 for a toy-like set to thousands of dollars for professional sets with more pieces and better sound processing.  I compared a few models to see what would give me the most bang for my buck, and ended up with a Roland TD-11k.

The store that I bought from has rentals as well.  I was fortunate to be able to rent a couple of models to try before I made my purchase.  Since a decent set of e drums can be twice the price of a starter acoustic set I wanted to really be sure what I was getting.  This was a great way to do it.  I was able to take my time with them over a month or so instead of using just the store display (which, to be honest, I was too shy to try since at that time I had hardly touched a full set of drums,

What I liked about the Roland TD-11k is:

  • The quality of sound.  brainWhen I rented, I tried out this exact kit as well as an older TD-4 model that sold for about 200$ less.  Most of the components were the same, the main difference being the drum sound modules (or “the brain” as it’s often called).  There was a huge improvement in tone, variety of sound, and pad sensitivity/response on the TD-11 when compared to the TD-4.  Definitely worth the extra money for better sound.
  • The snare pad is mesh, and the toms can be upgraded to mesh heads in the future.

    mesh snare in front, rubber toms up top

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the sensitivity of the rubber pads, but the mesh is definitely superior in feel and variety of sound.  Different sounds can be triggered by striking different areas of the pad, approximating the response from an acoustic snare.  Definitely not the same, but not bad at all for electronic.  The more expensive models come with all mesh pads, but since I can buy the mesh heads separately from Roland it means that I can do it later and spread the cost out over time.

  • I get to use a real kick pedal.

    Hi hat pedal on the left, bass on the right.

    Many of the starter kits have a push pedal to trigger the bass drum sound, like the one for my hi hat.  I liked that for this model you use a real kick pedal (purchased separately) to hit the bass pad.

I’m still adjusting everything for ergonomics/comfort, finding out what I like. I wonder if everyone does this or if it’s just me? Every time I learn/try something new it results in an adjustment.  For example, I’ve been doing an exercise where I’m moving back and forth from hi hat to ride, and I quickly noticed that my placement of the ride was too high and far away.  When the ride was adjusted, then everything else had to be readjusted too, of course! (Even after taking these photos, looking at them I noticed my “floor tom” on the right was a little high and have adjusted it twice since.)

If my plan was to only play e drums I would keep everything close together for easy reach and speed.  However, I want to be able to play acoustic in the future, so I’ve been trying to approximate the size and placement of an acoustic kit.

For now, this set is working out really well for me and I’m extremely happy with my choice.

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