The Best Electronic Drum Sets: Standard + Hybrid

The Highest Rated Electronic Drum Sets

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Electronic drum sets are useful. There are many who say that there's nothing like acoustic drums. But if you've lived with neighbours or in a tiny apartment you know that electronic drums are better than no drums at all. Also, the ability to practice at any time of the day makes for more practice time and the tools included with electronic drums such as rhythm trainers and metronomes make your practice time much more productive.

With MIDI and audio out, you can also record realistic drums straight to your computer without an acoustically treated room or multiple mics making electronic drums indispensable tools in many home recording set ups.

Here we present you with the highest rated electronic drum sets at multiple price points. This is based on our comprehensive market research spanning customer feedback, YouTube reviews, expert review articles and forum discussions, including the latest reviews up to mid July 2021, to help you find the electronic drum set that best suits your needs.

The Best Electronic Drum Sets

Author & Contributors

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

A drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. When not researching gear he is learning to play bass.

Best Electronic Drum Set Under $500

If you would like to see more options in this price range then take a look at our guide to Electronic Drum Sets for Beginners.

Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 6150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$379
Alesis Nitro Mesh

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set Under $500.

The Alesis Nitro Mesh is a 5-piece electronic drum set with all of the pads featuring mesh material. It is a welcome upgrade to previous generation electronic drum kits from Alesis in this price range.

It also sports a dual zone snare, and a crash cymbal pad with choke functionality.

While it may not seem much in terms of specs, it is more than enough for beginner players, which is whom this set is designed for.

And much like most Alesis electronic drum kits, it's main wow factor is found in its drum module, with 385 percussion sounds and 40 Drum presets to play with.

Features:

  • Snare: 8" Dual-zone Mesh
  • Toms: 3 x 8" Mesh
  • Cymbals: 2 x 10" Cymbal Pads (Crash with Choke)
  • Hi-Hat: 10" Hi-Hat Pad
  • Kick Pad: Kick Pad Tower with Kick Pedal included
  • Drum Stand: 4-post Aluminum Rack
  • Drum Module: Nitro Drum Module
  • Module Sounds: 385 Percussion Sounds and 40 Drum Presets
  • Extra Features: Accessories include Drum Sticks and Drum Key
  • Module Inputs: 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (Left, Right)
  • USB: 1 x Type B
  • Power Supply: AC adaptor
  • Dimensions: 24" x 38" x 43"
  • Weight: 29.5 lbs.

Pros

Sound quality is a strength of the Alesis Nitro Mesh, as it is often compared favorably even by those who bought other electronic kits in the same price range. Be it through an amp or through headphones, most are pleased with many of its drum presets. The playing feel of the mesh pads are also often commended. Many also love its compact profile, which makes it readily portable and easy to hide away when not used.

Cons

Speaking of compact, there are some who feel that this kit is too small for them, and they caution bigger drummers, or those who are used to wide acoustic kits. The included instructions for setting up got a number of users scratching their heads.

Overall

If you're looking for a compact budget electronic drum set with a dual zone snare and chokeable crash, and you want one from a reputable brand, then check out the Alesis Nitro Mesh.

Best Electronic Drum Sets Under $1000

Roland TD-1K

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$530
Roland TD-1K 5-Piece Electronic Drum Kit

The Roland TD-1K is a compact and streamlined electronic drum kit that makes Roland's brand of quality and dynamic sensitivity more accessible to the masses.

For the price, you are getting a drum kit with multi-zone and choke capable cymbals, along with velocity sensitive rubber pads, and quiet operation pedals.

All of these are wired to its core, which is Roland's V-Drums technology equipped TD-1 module, with 15 kits to choose from and personalize.

There's even a "Coach" feature that gives you scored exercises to help you improve your playing.

Wrapping it all up is the TD-1K's compact stand that allows the kit to fit into small rooms, making it ideal for those who want to save on both money and space.

Features:

  • Snare: 1 x Snare (Rubber Velocity Sensitive)
  • Toms: 3 x Toms (Rubber Velocity Sensitive)
  • Cymbals: 1 x Crash, 1 x Ride (Dual-Zone Rubber with Choke)
  • Hi-Hat: 1 x Hi-Hat (Rubber with Choke) with Pedal
  • Kick Pad: Beater-less kick pedal
  • Drum Stand: Compact TD-1 Stand
  • Drum Module: TD-1 with 10 Trigger Inputs
  • Module Sounds: 15 Drum Kits, 15 Songs
  • Extra Features: Coach, Metronome, Recording
  • Module Inputs: 1/8" Stereo
  • Module Outputs: 1/8" Stereo
  • USB: MIDI
  • Power Supply: AC adaptor
  • Dimensions: 39.375" x 47.25" x 49.25"
  • Weight: 25.19 lbs.

Pros

Reviews for the Roland TD-1K are flooded with users who relish its premium feel and sound quality. Many of those who switched from cheaper kits appreciate the big jump in quality that it offers. A lot of drummers also find the size to be just right for their limited space.

Cons

Other than a few with missing parts / shipping related issues, there are no noteworthy complaints about the Roland TD-1K's quality.

Overall

If you're looking to get the best electronic drum kit with your $515, then the Roland TD-1K should be your top consideration if you're okay with the smaller size as demonstrated in the video below.

Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 1200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$579
Alesis Surge Mesh Kit

There's just no stopping Alesis from hoarding multiple spots in this guide thanks to their good market standing.

The Alesis Surge Mesh Kit in particular has been well received for its dual-zone pads.

Each of the dual zone pads feature tunable mesh heads, from the 10" mesh snare, to the three 8" mesh toms.

It also sports two 10" cymbal pads with choke function, along with a 10" Hi-hat pad.

All of these are meant to trigger the many drum kits and percussion sounds that are provided for by its drum module, and knowing Alesis, it has more than enough percussion sounds to play with for a long time.

Features:

  • Snare: 10" Dual-zone Mesh
  • Toms: 3 x 8" Dual-zone Mesh
  • Cymbals: 2 x 10" Cymbal Pads (Crash with Choke), 10" Hi-Hat Pad with Hi-hat pedal
  • Kick Pad: 8" Mesh Kick Pad Tower with Kick Pedal
  • Drum Stand: 4-post Chrome Rack
  • Drum Module: Surge Drum Module
  • Module Sounds: 385 sounds, 24 Preset kits and 16 User Kits
  • Extra Features: 60 built-in play-along tracks, Accessories include Drum Sticks and Drum Key
  • Module Inputs: 1 x 1/4" TRS (tom 4), 1 x 1/4" TRS (crash 2), 1 x DB-25 (cable snake), 1 x 1/8" (Aux in)
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" TRS (main out),1 x 1/8" (headphones)
  • USB: 1 x Type B

Pros

The Surge Mesh Kit's playability is its strong suit, which many describe as very responsive, even for more nuanced playing. There are also plenty of positive remarks regarding its sound quality, impressing even professional drummers. Those who invested in this kit found it to be a great buy, thanks to its good balance of quality, affordability and features.

Cons

There are a few who feel that setting up and balancing the volume of each drum and cymbal can be time consuming at first. The Hi-hat's open or closed functionality is a bit limiting for some, but this limitation is the norm at entry level price points.

Overall

With its dual zone pads, and choke friendly cymbals, the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit is a good step up compared to many other entry-level kits.

Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$720
Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK Electronic Drum Set

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set from $500 to $1000.

The Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK is designed for serious beginners looking to start a long term love affair with drumming.

It comes with 2-ply mesh heads for the snare and 3 toms for quiet practice and a feel that is close to acoustic drums.

This Roland entry-level kit commands a higher price point than some of the other drum kits within the range but what you are getting is the legendary Roland build quality and sound that is considered by some to be the best among the rest in the playing field.

Features:

  • Snare: 8" Dual-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Toms: 3 x 6" Single-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Kick: Compatible for using a double kick pedal (Kick pedal is not included)
  • Cymbals: 3 x 10" Dual-zone Pads With Choke(plus hi-hat control pedal)
  • Drum Stand: Four-post type rack stand, MDS
  • Drum Module: TD-1 with 10 Trigger Inputs
  • Module Sounds: 15 Drum Kits, 15 Songs
  • Extra Features: Coach, Metronome, Recording
  • Module Inputs: 1/8" Stereo
  • Module Outputs: 1/8" Stereo
  • USB: MIDI
  • Power Supply: AC adaptor
  • Dimensions: 47-1/4 " x 43-5/16 " x 47-1/4"
  • Weight: 39 lbs. 4 oz.

Pros

Many commend this kit for its quality - noting that it feels solid and durable, and that the sounds included are enjoyable and inspiring to play with.

Cons

Some were disappointed that it didn't come with a drum throne, sticks or bass pedal. Also, some felt that the drum module was simple and limiting but that could be considered a strength if you want to focus more on drumming and less on tweaking.

Overall

If you're serious about learning the drums and don't mind investing a bit more for quality and longevity, this is a great choice.

Alesis Command Mesh Kit

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$799
Alesis Command Mesh Kit - Electronic Drum Set

Continuing Alesis' competitiveness in the market is the Command Mesh Kit.

This drum set has mid-range features at what Alesis refers to as an entry-level price point.

Along with a full set of tunable mesh pads and chokeable crash and ride, it comes with dual zone toms to go along with the dual zone snare.

You can record yourself and load your own custom samples straight into the module, not a common feature at the below $1000 price range.

Features:

  • Snare: 10" Dual-zone mesh head
  • Toms: 3 x 8" Dual-zone mesh head
  • Kick: 8" Mesh Kick Pad Tower, Kick drum pedal included
  • Cymbals: 2 x 10" Dual-zone Pads With Choke, 10" dual zone hi-hat(plus hi-hat control pedal)
  • Drum Stand: Four-post type chrome rack stand
  • Drum Module: Command Drum Module
  • Module Sounds: 70 Drum Kits, 50 Presets
  • Module Inputs: MIX IN jack: 1/8"
  • Module Outputs: 1 x 1/8" (headphones) 2 x 1/4" TRS (main out)
  • Extra Features: Load your own WAV files and MP3 play-along tracks via USB thumb drive, Record yourself playing in real-time (5 tracks internally, up to 99 tracks with USB thumb drive

Pros

Users praise the feature-packed drum module included in this kit and many appreciated the ability to load their own sounds via a USB memory stick. Also, many players love the feel and responsiveness of the mesh heads.

Cons

Some buyers complained that it was a bit difficult to assemble. Also, there were some reports of malfunctioning parts and mixed results with Alesis' customer support, although there were also other reports being happy with support from Alesis and we didn't detect a pattern of these complaints for other Alesis kits (just the occasional one).

Overall

If you're a beginner to intermediate drummer looking for an excellent value for money, it's hard to go wrong with the Alesis Command Mesh electronic drum set.

Best Electronic Drum Sets Under $2000

Roland V-Drums TD-07KV

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1030
Roland TD-07KV V-Drums Electronic Drum Set

Stepping into the midrange of prices is the TD-07KV, a compact yet fully-featured offering from Roland.

Some notable features include Bluetooth to play music from your phone or other Bluetooth enabled devices and USB that works both as an audio and MIDI interface to connect to your computer.

Features:

  • Snare: 8" Dual-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Toms: 3 x 6" single-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Kick: KD-10 Kick pad
  • Cymbals: 2 x 12" Dual-zone Pads With Choke, 10" dual zone hi-hat(plus hi-hat control pedal)
  • Drum Stand: Four-post type rack stand
  • Drum Module: TD-07
  • Module Sounds: 50 Drum Kits, 25 Presets
  • Extra Features: Coach, Metronome, Bluetooth Play-Along and MIDI
  • Module Inputs: MIX IN jack: 1/8"
  • Module Outputs: OUTPUT/PHONES jack: 1/8"
  • USB: MIDI and Audio
  • Power Supply: AC adaptor (DC 12 V)
  • Dimensions: 48-3/7 (W) x 43-5/16 (D) x 47-1/4 (H) inches
  • Weight: 47 lbs 14 oz

Pros

The Bluetooth function for play-along is well received among players. Also, many have praised it's small form factor for placing in offices or small apartments.

Cons

No significant cons were reported for the TD-07KV.

Overall

If you want the power of Roland's larger e-drum kits in a more compact and affordable form factor, the TD-07KV is for you.

Roland V-Drums TD-17KV

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1400
Roland V-Drums TD-17KV

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set - All Price Ranges.

The TD17KV is placed squarely in the middle of Roland's TD17's lineup.

It features a large 12 inch 2-ply mesh snare head with a hoop that is resembles an acoustic snare so you can hit rim shots at a natural stick angle.

The TD17 drum module inherits it's sound engine from Roland's high-end TD-50 range and along with its capability to stream Bluetooth audio from your smartphone to play along with and comes with a plethora of practice tools to help you become a better drummer.

Features:

  • Snare: 12" Dual-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Toms: 3 x 8" single-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Kick: KD-10 Kick pad (Kick pedal not included)
  • Cymbals: 2 x 12" Dual-zone Pads With Choke, 10" dual zone hi-hat(plus hi-hat control pedal)
  • Drum Stand: MDS-Compact drum stand
  • Drum Module: TD-17
  • Module Sounds: 100 Drum Kits,50 Presets
  • Extra Features: Coach, Metronome, Bluetooth Play-Along and MIDI
  • Module Inputs: 2 x 1/4" (crash 2, aux), 1 x DB-25 MIX IN jack: 1/8"
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (master out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
  • USB: MIDI and Audio
  • Dimensions: 51-3/16" (W) x 43-5/16" (D) x 47-1/4"(H)
  • Weight: 50 lbs 12 oz

Pros

Users highly praise the TD17 drum module for being intuitive and highly flexible in editing parameters and importing sounds. Also, many laud the large snare drum's sensitivity and realism when compared to other snare drum pads.

Cons

There were some who felt that the cymbals, especially the hi-hats required an upgrade and wished that they spent more for the TD-17KVX with its upgraded cymbals. Some also found the bass drum pad to be louder than the rest of the kit, you might need to install a silent bass drum beater on your kick pedal.

Overall

The TD17KV is in a very good sweet spot of price to performance for most people. If you want V-Drum quality and don't need the larger, upgraded cymbals and traditional hi-hat that the TD17K-VX has, then this is a stellar choice for intermediate to advanced drummers looking to practice or perform.

Roland V-Drums TD-17KVX

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1950
Roland TD-17KVX V-Drums Electronic Drum Set

The TD-17KVX sits atop Roland's TD-17 line with its traditional hi-hat, 2 large crashes and 3-zone ride cymbal included with a 12 inch snare pad and 3 8-inch toms.

The TD-17 drum module comes with 100 kits with 50 presets and 50 user programmable kits with some notable parameters such as Level (Volume), Pan, Tuning, Muffling, Snare Buzz and Strainer adjustment for each instrument.

Features:

  • Snare:12" Dual-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Toms: 3 x 8" single-zone 2-ply mesh head
  • Kick: KD-10 Kick pad (Kick pedal not included)
  • Cymbals: 2 x 12" crash Dual-zone Pad With Choke, 1 x 13" ride Triple-zone (bow, bell, edge), 12" dual zone hi-hat (hi-hat stand not included)
  • Drum Stand: MDS-Compact drum stand
  • Drum Module: TD-17
  • Module Sounds: 100 Drum Kits,50 Presets
  • Extra Features: Coach, Metronome, Bluetooth Play-Along and MIDI
  • Module Inputs: 2 x 1/4" (crash 2, aux), 1 x DB-25 MIX IN jack: 1/8"
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (master out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
  • USB: MIDI and Audio
  • Dimensions: 51-3/16" (W) x 43-5/16" (D) x 47-1/4"(H)
  • Weight: 54 lbs 11 oz

Pros

Users praise the dynamics, sound quality and ease of use that the TD-17 drum module provided alongside the upgraded cymbals and 12 inch snare. Many found the regular, traditionally shaped cymbals to be a huge upgrade and worth the extra money you would spend compared to cheaper models.

Cons

Some found setting up to be time consuming and the rack limited in terms of adjustability.

Overall

If you are an intermediate to advanced drummer who must have the realistic hi-hat action (do note that the hi-hat stand is sold separately) then this is the one for you.

Best Electronic Drum Sets Over $2000

Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$2699
Alesis Strike Pro Special Edition Electronic Drum Set

The Alesis Strike Pro Special edition is a 6-piece wood shell electronic drum set with a full 20 inch kick.

This drum set is geared towards the look and feel of an acoustic drum kit and features Alesis' all-new mesh heads for the snare and its 4 toms of different sizes.

This drum set's advanced module boasts 136 complete drum kits and over 1,800 multi-sampled sounds.

It also has 8 direct outputs for multitrack recording and studio quality editing, and mixer faders for complete tactile control over your sound.

Features:

  • Snare: 14" Dual-zone Mesh/Wood Shell
  • Toms: 4 x Dual-zone Mesh/Wood Shell 8", 10", 12", 14"
  • Kick: 20" Wood Shell Kick Drum
  • Cymbals: 3 x 14" Strike Crash Cymbals with Choke, 14" Hi-hat Cymbal, 16" Strike Ride 3-zone
  • Drum Stand: 4-post Steel Rack, Snare Stand (Does not include hi-hat stand and kick pedal.)
  • Drum Module: Strike Performance Module with 4.3 color LED screen
  • Module Sounds: 136 Kits
  • Extra Features: SD/SDHC Card Slot (64GB max)
  • Module Inputs: 12 x 1/4" TRS (drum triggers), 1 x 1/4" TRS (Hi-hat control),1 x 1/8" (aux in), 1 x 1/4" (Headphones)
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (main out), 7 x 1/4" (audio outs)
  • USB: 1 x Type B
  • Software: Strike software editor for creating your own custom kits and instruments (Mac/PC compatible)

Pros

Many users of the Alesis Strike Pro SE thoroughly commend the look and feel of these drums as being very close to an acoustic drum kit. Also for the price, 5 cymbals and 6 drums is more than what the competition usually offers.

Cons

Some found the sensitivity of these drums to be lacking, but that might be fixed with further editing of the parameters in the drum module.

Overall

If you want electronic drums that are very close to the look and feel of acoustic ones, these are worth your attention.

Roland VAD306 V-Drums Acoustic Design

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$2700
Roland VAD306 V-Drums Acoustic Design Electronic Drum Kit

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set Over $2000 along with the Roland V-Drums TD-27KV.

The Roland VAD306 is the space-saving option in Roland's V-Drums Acoustic Design lineup.

It retains the acoustic drum set aesthetic but with cutdown, shallower shells.

Powered by the TD-17 module, this hybrid (electronically triggered with acoustic drum aesthetics) drum set comes with its sound inherited from the Prismatic Sound modeling technology of the TD-50, Roland's top of the line sound module.

Features:

  • Snare: 12" Dual-zone mesh head with shallow-depth wood shell
  • Toms: 2 x 10", 1 x 12" Dual-zone mesh head with shallow-depth wood shell
  • Kick: 18" KD-180L Kick Drum with shallow-depth wood shell
  • Cymbals: 12" Hi-hat, 2 x 12" Dual Zone Crash, 1 x 13" Triple-zone Ride
  • Drum Stand: 3 x DCS-10 Stands, 1 x APC-30 Clamp (Does not include snare stand, kick pedal, and hi-hat stand)
  • Drum Module: TD-17
  • Module Sounds: 100 Drum Kits,50 Presets
  • Extra Features: Coach, Metronome, Bluetooth Play-Along and MIDI
  • Module Inputs: 2 x 1/4" (crash 2, aux), 1 x DB-25 MIX IN jack: 1/8"
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (master out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
  • USB: MIDI and Audio
  • Dimensions: 51-3/16 (W) x 47-1/4 (D) x 47-1/4 (H) inches
  • Weight: 77 lbs 14 oz

Pros

Players commend the immersive playing feel of the VAD306 and its ease of use from the TD-17 module's functionality and sound all the way down to setting up and adjusting the hardware. Also, users appreciated the compactness of the drum set without sacrificing it's closeness to the feel of acoustic drums.

Cons

No significant cons were reported for the VAD306.

Overall

If you want Roland e-drums with the aesthetic and footprint of compact acoustic drums, the VAD306 is a highly-rated option.

Roland V-Drums TD-27KV

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$3200
Roland TD-27KV-S V-Drum Electronic Drum Set

At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Electronic Drum Set Over $2000 along with the Roland VAD306 V-Drums Acoustic Design.

The TD-27KV features Roland's PD-140DS 14" electronic snare that allows you to play rim clicks with your hand on the snare unlike most other snare pads on the market which require extra adjustment in technique or settings.

Also featured is the 18" CY-18DR ride cymbal that lets you dampen the cymbal with the simple touch of a finger.

Driving this drum kit is the TD-27 drum module that has 3 extra trigger inputs for more cymbals and pads, and 2 separate direct outputs to send to a PA mixer for separate mixing of the kick and snare making this is one of Roland's more advanced offerings.

Features:

  • Snare: 14" snare with Multi sensor system (head shot, rim shot, cross stick, brush sweep)
  • Toms: 3 x dual zone 10" Mesh Toms
  • Kick: KD-10 Kick pad
  • Cymbals: 1 x 12" crash Dual-zone With Choke, 1 x 13" crash Triple-zone (bow, bell, edge), 18" ride with Multi sensor system, 12" dual zone hi-hat (plus hi-hat control pedal)
  • Drum Stand: MDS Standard Drum Rack
  • Drum Module: TD-27
  • Module Sounds: 100 Drum Kits, 55 Presets
  • Module Inputs: 1 x DB-25 (multi-pin cable included), 1 x 1/4" (crash 2), 3 x 1/4" (aux 1/2/3), 1 x 1/4" (mix in)
  • Module Outputs: 2 x 1/4" (master out), 2 x 1/4" (direct out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
  • USB: 1 x Type B (28 channels), 3 x Type A
  • Dimensions: 59-1/16 (W) x 47-1/4 (D) x 47-1/4 (H) inches
  • Weight: 70 lbs 9 oz

Pros

The included snare and ride cymbal have received special mentions from users who highly appreciate the realism of being able to play all kinds of techniques (cross sticks, rim shots or traditional) on the snare and ride from cymbal legato, cymbal chokes and even soft bell strokes.

Cons

Some found the TD-27KV to be pricey for beginners but this kit is geared towards the professional drummer and you do get your money's worth with this drum set.

Overall

If you're a gigging drummer and need the expandability of 3 extra trigger inputs, the ability to send 2 direct outputs (up to 4 including the stereo mix outputs) to the house mixer and want the best snare and ride experience, the TD-27KV should be your go-to choice.

Pearl EM-53HB e/Merge e/Hybrid

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 5+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$4619
Pearl EM-53HB e/Merge e/Hybrid Electronic Drum Set

The Pearl E/Merge E/Hybrid kit marks a special collaboration between the well respected drum manufacturer Pearl with electronic instrument mainstay Korg.

This drum set utilizes Wave Trigger Technology, an all new technology based partially on Korg's own Wave Drum to provide a wide dynamic range and instantaneous response that claims to be light-years beyond the competition.

Features:

  • Snare: 14" EM14S Snare
  • Toms: 10" EM10T Tom, 12" EM12T Tom, 14" EM14T Tom
  • Kick: 18" EMEBP Puretouch Bass Drum
  • Cymbals: 14" EM14HH Dual Zone Hi-hat, 15" EM15C Dual Zone Crash, 18" EM18R 3-zone Ride
  • Drum Stand: DR80EM ICON Rack System, S830 Snare Stand, TH70E Tom Holders, PCR50L Module Clamp (Bass pedals and hi-hat stand not included)
  • Drum Module: Pearl MDL-1
  • Module Sounds: 35 HD Presets
  • Extra Features:36 Effects; Overdrive, Reverbs, Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Filter, Wah, Compression
  • Module Inputs: 1 x DB-25, 3 x 1/4" (addons), 1 x 1/8" (aux in)
  • Module Outputs: 8 x 1/4" (direct out), 2 x 1/4" (master out), 1 x 1/4" (headphones)
  • USB: 1 x Type B (audio/MIDI), 1 x Type A (flash drive)

Pros

Users praise the feel of the drums as being the closest to acoustic drums they have felt, especially the bass drum. Also, the drum set's poplar shells and hardware aesthetic have been described by some with words such as "fabulous" and "awesome".

Cons

The sounds of the E/Merge E/Hybrid drum set have received mixed reviews with some finding the sounds to be lacking for their tastes. But some have found the sounds to be excellent. Further tweaking may be required to find the sound that suits you.

Overall

If you want the closest thing to acoustic drums with the volume flexibility of an electronic drum set and want to try a new technology then this is an excellent choice.

Things To Consider When Buying an Electronic Drum Set

Drum Pads

Electronic drum pads are designed to be compact replacements for the acoustic snare, tom and floor tom. More affordable kits usually have rubber pads, while more expensive ones feature mesh pads. The general consensus is mesh pads are better, because they feel similar to acoustic drums. Since they are woven from strong polyester plastic (Mylar) they are also sturdier and quieter. Rubber pads are preferred for practical reasons by some, because they are usually lighter and affordable, ideal for compact and portable electronic drum kits. Note that pads are not limited to just mesh or rubber, as shown by Pearl's PUREtouch pads which have a feel that is halfway between the two.

Cymbals and Hi-Hat

Electronic drum kits utilize plastic cymbals with specially designed rubber pads on top. They are designed to replicate the playing feel of metal cymbals and metal hi-hats - but are usually smaller, probably to save on cost and space. For the most realistic playing experience, you'll generally want a kit with at least a crash cymbal, a ride cymbal and a hi-hat. As for quality and feel, more expensive ones usually have more realistic bounce and feel, so you get what you pay for. Based on our market research, Roland cymbals are widely considered to be the gold standard.

Number of Zones/Triggers

Zones, also called Triggers, specify the number of sounds you can get from a pad, cymbal or hi-hat. Basic ones will just have one zone, which means that you get the same sound regardless of where you hit the pad. Advanced kits will have two or more zones. Dual zone pads usually have dedicated triggers for the head and the rim, allowing for rim shots and cross stick playing. Dual zone cymbals have dedicated triggers for the bow and edge. There are also triple zone cymbals that have triggers for the bow, edge and bell. Basically, you'll want kits that have as many zones as your budget permits. Take note that, more expensive kits allow for "positional sensing" where-in the sound varies as you hit different areas of the pad.

Cymbal Choke

Cymbal choking is a technique used by drummers to mute cymbals with their hands. Kits that have at least one crash cymbal with choke are preferred for realism. Some technique adjustments are required to trigger cymbal choking, and it may vary from kit to kit. There are some that require pinching at the outer edge, while more advanced cymbals allow for easier choking. Some of the premium cymbals even allow for muffling and pre-choking, but are usually found on more expensive kits.

Drum Sound Module

The Drum Sound Module serves as the central hub of the kit. It is where all the pads and cymbals are wired to, and it is where all sound processing and production takes place. It also houses the controls for which you can vary the sound of your kit.
  • Sound Quality and Versatility

    Sound quality is the primary concern, but it is inherently subjective, thankfully we have only recommended the top rated kits and the market deems them to be good sounding. Still, the data we gathered suggests that sound quality improves as price increases. Versatility is also important, you should watch out for the number of factory and user presets, available instrument sounds, and sound editing.

  • Technique Training

    If you're looking to improve your drum playing and musicality, training features should be an important consideration. Thankfully, many of the kits featured in this list have built-in student friendly features that include Advanced Metronome/Click Track functions, Recording and Playback, Songs/Tracks Play Along, and Training exercises.

  • Computer Connectivity

    If you are planning to use your electronic drum kit to trigger virtual instruments in your computer, then USB/MIDI connectivity is imperative. Most modern drum kits utilize USB ports to send/receive MIDI data, so they may not have dedicated 5-pin MIDI ports which you'll need for triggering external stand-alone sound modules that don't have USB MIDI.

  • Audio Input / Outputs

    The drum module is where the audio input and output ports are located. Essential audio connections are usually provided, which include a 1/4" output that goes to an amplifier or mixer, and a headphones out for quiet practice. Some modules have two 1/4" output ports for sending stereo signal, and some may have even more direct outs so you can mix specific sounds directly in your PA system. Take note of the port sizes, especially with the headphones out, so you'll know if your headphones will fit, or if you'll need an adapter.

Amplifier / Speaker System

Electronic drum kits don't have built-in amplifiers and speakers. You can use headphones when practicing on your own, otherwise they have to be plugged into a separate amplifier or PA system. Since electronic drums produce wide range of frequencies they are best paired with a dedicated drum amplifier or full range Powered PA Speakers. Keyboard Amps and Acoustic Amps also work well, in case you have one available.

Drum Throne, Kick Pedal and Hi-Hat Stand

One of the most often skimped and overlooked part of a drum kit is the drum throne. While you can use regular chairs, drum thrones offer more comfort, stability and movement freedom. So if you don't already have one, we recommend getting one along with the kit you will buy - see our guide to drum thrones for our recommendations.

You should also shop around for a good kick pedal if the kit you're buying does not have one bundled. The same goes with advanced kits that require hi-hat stands, best get all required hardware ready so you can enjoy your new electronic drum kit as soon as it arrives.

Best Electronic Drum Set Selection Methodology

This first edition was published in 2017 and the current edition was published on July 21, 2021.

We looked at all the full electronic drum sets, excluding tabletop sets, that were available from major US online music gear stores, across all prices, and put the most promising 34 models on our short-list for further analysis - you can see the full list in the Music Gear Database . Then we collected feedback from owners and users that came in the form of store ratings, article reviews, YouTube reviews and forum discussions. We then processed those data using the Gearank Algorithm to produce rating scores out of 100 for each model - over 13,900 sources were used for this process. Finally, we selected the highest rated models in each price bracket above to recommend. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alden Acosta Alden Acosta

A drummer and former lead guitarist of the band Callalily, a platinum selling multi-awarded band from the Philippines. When not researching gear he is learning to play bass.

As an experienced producer and musician, Alden loves to help fellow musicians find the right gear for the job. Aside from music, Alden's interests include: CS:GO and MLBB.

Contributors

Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Product research, Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the Roland TD-17KV and Pearl EM-53HB.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

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