Better pads and smaller processors have ushered in an eDrum renaissance in recent years, with today’s kits being sleeker, more powerful, and more affordable than ever before in history. Whether you’re in the market for your first eKit or searching for the most transformative drumming experience money can buy, now is a great time to pull the trigger. Here are seven of Sweetwater’s favorite electronic drum kits available in 2019.
What earns an electronic kit the honor of being named one of Sweetwater’s best kits of 2019? Here are six factors we considered:
- Value — How much “kit” do you get for the price?
- Sound — How many sounds come stock, and of what quality? Is it possible to get that kit-in-a-room response through headphones or speakers?
- Response — How responsive are the pads and module? Is there perceptible lag? How do the pads perform? Do they rebound similar to acoustic drumheads?
- Durability — How well does the kit hold up?
- Extras — Does the kit have any standout features? A large display? Onboard practice and training tools? USB MIDI control? Importable user sounds?
- Replay — How likely is a player to hang on to the kit and continue playing it down the road?
Using these as our criteria, here are the kits that quickly rose to the top of the list:
- Roland V-Drums TD-17KVX
- Alesis Strike Pro
- Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK
- Alesis Nitro Mesh
- Alesis Command Mesh
- Alesis DM10 MKII Pro
- Roland V-Drums TD-50KVX
Roland V-Drums TD-17KVX
The Roland V-Drums TD-17KVX uses the same synthesis-based (as opposed to sample-based) Prismatic Sound Modeling engine as Roland’s flagship TD-50 kits. And let us tell you: it shows. The cymbals are expressive, the pads are fun to play, and the response across the board is dynamic and lightning fast. There is almost no perceptible lag between striking the pads and hearing the sound. Paired with the module’s single-touch Ambience control, this creates an impressive psychoacoustic response through headphones. The 12″ mesh snare, tunable mesh toms, and pedestal-based kick pad have a quiet and lively feel that mimics real heads. And of course, you can always crank the pads for even greater rebound. A streamlined interface provides quick access to such features as sensitivity and ambience. Meanwhile, importable WAV sounds, as well as onboard training tools, are sure to cement the TD-17KVX’s place in eDrum history.
Alesis Strike Pro
With its fusion-sized wood shells and polished-chrome rack, the Alesis Strike Pro has the look and response of a retrofit hybrid setup, which makes it perfect for traditional band outfits and stage setups where you’d expect to see an acoustic drum kit. Low-noise mesh heads and rubber rim triggers give the Strike Pro’s toms and snare multiple strike zones, which means you can trigger dynamic hits (rimshots, tom skanks) or even percussion effects depending on where you strike the instrument. The Strike sound module now includes 115 hyperrealistic kits and nearly 2,000 instrument sounds with firmware v1.4, along with onboard sound sampling and sound import capabilities, so you’ll never find yourself wanting for inspiration. One feature we at Sweetwater really enjoy about the Strike module is the mixer-like layout, which gives the drummer full control of the kit to blend into headphones and out to front of house. “Hammered” cymbal pads, stand-mounted hi-hats (hi-hat stand not included), and a 3-zone ride with bell/bow/edge triggers complete the ensemble.
Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK
Drummers who are looking for something a bit more compact and streamlined from Roland — a kit you can store in a closet between uses — will want to check out the Roland V-Drums TD-1DMK. This kit has some premium features for an entry-level V-Drums kit: tunable mesh heads, responsive cymbals, and a super-stable kick pad that’s plenty wide enough for double pedals. The low-profile rack stand sets up and collapses quickly, yet it still manages to support heavy strikes without wobbling. The impressive and extremely intuitive TD-1 sound module makes its 15 preset kits (EDM to metal) accessible with no menu diving of any kind. The same goes for its onboard coaching tools, metronome, and play-along backing tracks. An included Melodics software suite will walk you hand in hand from your first steps to a full sprint. And MIDI over USB gives the TD-1DMK exacting control over virtual drum libraries in your DAW.
Alesis Nitro Mesh
When it comes to value, you can’t beat the Alesis Nitro Mesh kit’s whisper-quiet mesh heads and affordability. The Nitro Mesh is compact and visually impressive, with dynamic 8″ pads, a crash cymbal that chokes when you squeeze it, and a matching black rack stand that folds up for storage and transit. The Nitro drum module gives you 40 preset kits to breeze through and 385 total sounds for building custom sets. And when it comes time for practice, you’ve got 60 onboard play-along tracks and a mobile-friendly aux input to help build a thriving drum vocabulary. The Nitro Mesh kit even includes sticks, cables, wraps, and a drum key, so you can set up and start drumming straight away.
Alesis Command Mesh
A step up from the Nitro Mesh, the Alesis Command Mesh gives you more sounds, better pads, and allows user-importable drum sounds. The Command drum module is one of the sleekest-looking options in its class. All key functions can be accessed via its single jogwheel and transport-style encoders. Both the snare and tom pads feature tunable mesh heads and dual-zone triggering, which means you can dynamically trigger separate head and rim sounds or dual-trigger loops and samples from toms for live use. Onboard you’ll find 50 full drum kits, more than 600 sounds, and import options for WAV and MP3 drum samples via a USB memory stick. You also get MIDI over USB for virtual instrument control. One key feature that acoustic drummers will love is the sleek chrome rack, which really makes a statement in a studio or onstage. As with the Nitro Mesh, sticks and cables come included with the Command Mesh kit.
Alesis DM10 MKII Pro
If you don’t need the flagship Strike series, then there’s the extremely underrated Alesis DM10 MKII Pro. It features ultra-responsive mesh heads and great-feeling cymbals — the star attraction being a 16″ tri-zone ride cymbal with separate bell, bow, and edge triggers, so you can really dig into those samba grooves and metal breakdowns. You also get access to over 700 kit sounds that run the gamut of styles from EDM and folk to rock and experimental. And as with the Command Mesh, importable user samples and USB MIDI control add longevity to this high-value kit.
Roland V-Drums TD-50KVX
If you’ve been seeking the Maserati of eDrums experiences, then the Roland V-Drums TD-50KVX is one kit you won’t want to pass up. Artists from rock’s Butch Vig to pop’s Brian Frasier-Moore are still singing the praises of this class-leading V-Drums kit. Its groundbreaking digital snare and ride pads are comprised of multiple sensors around the pads to deliver a one-of-a-kind playing response — we’re talking positional-sensing buzz rolls that change in tone as you move to the edge of the head and cymbal sensitivity that’s so precise you can reach out and play with your fingers. This KVX configuration also gives you a 14″ x 22″ maple kick drum and a rock-suiting one-up/two-down tom configuration for seamless acoustic translation and big stage presence. In addition to the sleek mixer layout and 8 x 1/4″ direct output matrix, you also get 10 channels of recording capability to your computer via USB, which means full multitrack support without the need for an interface or virtual library. One little feature that drummers at Sweetwater are keen on is the Snapshot tool for auditioning edits before committing.
Hit Us Up!
Love eDrums as much as we do? Give your Sweetwater Sales Engineer a call at (800) 222-4700 and let us know what you’re looking for in an electronic kit. We’ll find the perfect match for you.