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Seeking advice on electronic drums

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  • #16
    If your drummer is experienced than they can play softly when required. But they also need to be allowed to play at a moderate volume when needed. It seems that a lot of churches want electric guitars and drums for the "look" but then want to have them play like an acoustic group. I was fortunate to play in my old church a few times with Russell Frager from the original Hillsong group and really learned a lot of things concerning overall sound. A good mix and tasteful musicians can go a long way to alleviate volume complaints.
    Last edited by Deuce; 07-15-2013, 11:04 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    • #17
      Originally posted by mlh156 View Post
      What I'm looking for is an electronic kit that:
      1. Sounds like real drums, at least, as far as that matters for congregational worship.
      2. Will "feel" ok to our drummers
      3. If this is feasible, a kit that can be readily switched for right and left-handed players (if this can be done mid-service, it would be a great benefit).

      We're not interested particularly in how many "voices" the kit has or how well it lends itself for recording, for example. We just need a drum kit that sounds and feels like "drums" and would be suitable for an auditorium that seats around 250.

      Marc H
      Like yourself, I'm not a drummer but I initiated the effort to move from acoustic to electronic drums in our church. After investigating the choices I initially went with a smaller (read cheaper) Roland TD-4K. Although this served the purpose of sounding reasonably true to an acoustic set, it really wasn't made for live performances...more of a practice drum set. So we recently upgraded to a TD-15KV which matches up with your criteria fairly well. It's a bit more than you're planning on spending, but it's likely to be the lowest priced unit that will come close to providing the "realistic feel" for the drummer.

      There are several aspects of this kit that made it the winner. First, it's use of mesh heads which not only better simulate the feel and response of a drum head, but can also be tightened or loosened like a real drum head to give the drummer the feel he wants. The TD-15KV-S also uses an actual high hat stand which further adds to the "realistic" feel. Secondly, when it comes to DSP (Digital Signal Processing), Roland has always been one of the leaders the pack not only for drums but also electronic keyboards and guitar amp simulations in it's approach and innovations. The TD-15 is brain incorporates the "Supernatural" sound engine which has the intelligence to sense what the drummer is trying to do and incorporate algorithms that will make it sound more real...such as in drum rolls or cymbal builds. Any of these types of units can be switched from left to right, but it's not going to be exactly "easy". With this unit you'd have the advantage of simply moving the high hat stand from one side to the other. The moving of the drum pads is the bigger issue on any of these kits.

      A couple of other notes and lessons learned about drum kits that may be useful to you:

      Some of these drum kits (including the TD-15KV) have the ability to accept 3rd party software for the definition of specific drum kits such as a Gretch or Sonar or Ludwig. These are typically MUCH better than the orginal drum definitions included with the unit. The one I purchased was less than $50 and I think it has 50 different sets. This is one of the key advantages electronic drums have over acoustic sets in that you can easily and quickly change the type of drum set from one song to the next. This provides incredible diversity in the matching the sound to the specific song and is something our drummer uses very often.

      The ability for the drummer to have a built-in click track that he can dial in from song to song has made a HUGE difference in the band's performance.

      The biggest thing to consider, in my opinion, with electronic kits is the state of your PA system. No matter what, the sound of the drums will be completely dependent upon how good or bad your PA system is. At a bare minimum you need to have a decent subwoofer setup as the bass drum sound is highly dependent on that for an accurate representation. The better your PA is, the better the drums will sound.
      The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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      • #18
        I have to agree with DunedinDragon. Roland makes a good kit. We us to us a TD12, which from what I can tell is a predecessor to the TD15. At that point we had a teenagers drummer who had a hard time with discretion. They sounded good and had a good feel.

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        • #19
          Yeah Mike, the TD12 was the first to incorporate the supernatural technology. Not sure if they discontinued it or not.

          I just wanted to clarify about the 3rd party patches. There's a company called V-Expressions that offer these downloadable drum patches for many kits. They're incredibly realistic and a great value. The one I got for the TD15 cost $45 and had 50 different drum kits you could load into the brain. Well worth it. I have the link below if it's something someone could use.

          http://www.vexpressionsltd.com/index.html
          The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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          • #20
            Originally posted by visionman View Post
            John,

            Sometimes, and this applies to ALL worship musicians and singers, you have to adapt and do what is best overall to facilitate worship in your church. If that means setting aside your preferred instruments, prefered way of playing/singing, or whatever...then you do it. If you are called, you are called to serve, and that may mean being a little uncomfortable and having to adapt to something new and different. As leaders of worship, it isn't about us, our voices, or our instruments. It is about bringing people into the presence of God Himself. And we need to be willing to do anything necessary to make that happen.
            That's right. We need to create an environment where God has the attention, not our platform.

            The rest of us have had to adapt. At first, we hated it. Guitar players missed their all-tube Fenders. Bass players missed their tummy-tickler stacks. But if we wanted to be a part of P&W, we had to make some trade-offs. But, we made it. And we found out it wasn't all bad. Guitar players rather enjoyed not lugging their 60 lb amp. Bass players liked not having to load out 3-4 pieces of gear.

            The technology has gotten so much better to the point some almost prefer their MFX units over their amps now. I know several hold-outs from 10 years ago that now are the biggest fans floor pods and MFX units.

            Drums are at the point now that guitar MFX units were 5-10 years ago. The good drum kits have more reliable hardware, they have better dynamics with mesh heads and different zones that can be tweaked and tuned, and drummers are finding out they aren't all bad. They like not sitting in a cage or behind a wall of plexiglass in a corner somewhere. They don't miss the grumbling about the drums too loud. They feel more a part of the team. Sound guys LOVE having one channel and not having to build the entire mix around one stubbornly loud drummer.

            Like many other things (smartphones and laptops being a few good examples), everyone thinks they are the worst thing ever until they try it.
            If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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            • #21
              I'm sure others have said this, but I HIGHLY advise against electronic drums. They are huge waste of money as they break very easily, and cause many technical issues. Most drummers will also not want to play on an electric set. An acoustic set will get you a better sound and will cause less issues in the long run. Acoustic sets are more of an investment from the get-go, but are well worth it in the end. I really advise against electronic sets, really. If you don't think it looks good with a full set, try and simplified set that you can build upon as you grow, start with a kick drum, snare, high-hat, floor tom and a single crash or a ride. If you put this set behind a shield and angle it so it is not going to amplify the sound when against a wall you won't need to mic it. I would suggest finding a bigger church in the area and talking with their tech people or finding a really solid drummer and getting their input.
              Last edited by rundmc; 08-20-2015, 09:53 AM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Deuce View Post
                My advice would be to not waste your money. Teach your drummer to play with emotion and learn to play soft or loud when approbate. Electronic drums are a poor substitute and bring numerous issues to the table that you don't currently have.
                This is the ideal solution (and I'm a drummer). Any drummer can learn to play at a conversational level, but not every church has a drummer who's willing to learn to do that.

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                • #23
                  I love Acoustic drums... and they will absolutely always be the preferred option. But, I know that life doesn't always work out that way. I know this is an old thread but I've had to use Electronic Drums a lot - and I've grown to like them. So I might be able to add my two cents...

                  If you're getting Alesis models for church, you should never get mylar heads IMO. These are more like real drum heads and they can be LOUD! I was really disappointed when playing Mylar heads... I couldn't play them in the evening time because they would be too loud for my family.

                  Those good Roland or Yamaha heads, or the rubber ones would be a lot better. The guide I linked gives a good idea on these. The Roland TD-11K-S could even work, and that's cheap.

                  You could look at some second hand models around. You could get high quality ones for cheaper.

                  Also, if you decide not to go for electronic drums. You could also just muffle the acoustic kit a lot. There are lots of muffling techniques online. Though you could still have the problem of loud drums.

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                  • #24
                    Roland will serve you very well. I generally always recommend Roland kits unless your budget is very small. The TD11KV you mentioned would work great, though by now the TD17KV is out for a similar price range: you get better sounds, Bluetooth connectivity, and a larger snare drum.

                    Alesis does make some great alternatives to Roland, but some of their kits have had lots of issues according to users.
                    There are tons of electronic drum sets available today. We've narrowed it down to 7 great options for new players and veterans.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by seanmichaels View Post
                      Roland will serve you very well. I generally always recommend Roland kits unless your budget is very small. The TD11KV you mentioned would work great, though by now the TD17KV is out for a similar price range: you get better sounds, Bluetooth connectivity, and a larger snare drum.

                      Alesis does make some great alternatives to Roland, but some of their drum kits have had lots of issues according to users.
                      I twice that there's nothing better than Roland.
                      Unfortunately, I don't have experience with the Alesis, but have had electronic kits from Simmons ('eighties) and currently have a Roland. The Roland is a very nice kit and the companion amplifier (sold separately) is the very best I've ever used with a drumkit. Electronic drumkit drumming is very different from acoustic kit drumming. (I've had Ludwig in the past, have had a Sonor kit for over 25 years now, not used much the last decade). Though my kit is now unavailable, I'd recommend you to look for a more modern alternatives.

                      And a piece of advice - I wouldn't get too hung up on sound module differences. My guess is these days most all would be sufficient, I would look myself more at the playability and expressiveness of the pads and the sturdiness and ease of setup. These were the key features I liked about the Roland.
                      If you are searching for the best electronic drum set on the market, don't miss this article! Our review and a buying guide will come in handy.

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