What’s better, electronic drums or acoustic drums? The answer is, it depends. I’ve owned acoustic drums since 2004 and electronic drums since 2008, and in my opinion, there’s a time and a place for both types of drum kits. Read on for my take on this age-old question…
First, a word on how far electronic drums have come
Electronic drums really have come a long way recently, and are about to get better. One of the main reasons for this (in my opinion) is the fact that Roland’s US patent for drum pads using mesh heads, trigger cones, head and rim zones, positional sensing, and other features, have expired in July 2017.
This patent actually may have hindered the development and popularity of electronic drums — Roland have effectively had a monopoly on mesh head eDrums. Roland’s drum modules trigger accurately, however who wants to play on tiny, undersized pads and with sub-par kit sounds?
Until recently, non-Roland eDrums based around mesh heads have been a cottage industry, mostly revolving around small businesses and DIY builders. This is definitely a route I’d recommend going down to save a ton of money and produce something way more playable than Roland’s entry to mid-level kits. It’s easier than it sounds, too — check our my DIY eDrum guide here!
But thanks to Roland’s patent expiring, acoustic-styled, real sized eDrums are about to go mainstream. Just look at ATV’s aDrums kit — it’s basically a higher-tech version of the DIY kit I built, plus way more affordable than Roland’s TD-50 — the only kit in their line up that has comparable pad sizes.
I expect there’ll be plenty more mainstream kits like this coming on the market soon, bringing innovation to the market and making electronic drums a more appealing choice for drummers who until now have sworn by acoustic drums.
Playability vs practicality
This leads on to the first factor when deciding between acoustic drums or electronic drums — playability. Cheap electronic drums…