Electronic drums are becoming increasingly popular in the context of House of Worship sound. And why not? They offer a lot of advantages compared to acoustic drums, so let’s explore some of the main reasons Houses of Worship are switching to electronic drums.
1. Volume Control!
This is probably the primary reason for using electronic drums—they won’t drown out everyone else in the band, and it’s much easier to achieve a pleasing balance with all the other instruments.
2. Sonic Variety
A five-piece acoustic drum set will give you…five drum sounds, and cymbals. Even a low-cost drum set like the Alesis Surge Mesh Kit (Fig. 1) is endowed with a lot more options: 385 drum and cymbal sounds, arranged in 40 ready-to-play classic and modern kits (24 preset kits and 16 user kits). Some electronic drum kits also feature percussion and even some pitched sounds.
3. Great for Singing Drummers
Singing and playing drums at the same time will tax even the most experienced sound engineer—it’s almost impossible to keep leakage from the rest of the set getting into the mic. Not only does this make it hard on the singer, but the additional miking also adds to the overall level of the drums.
4. You Can Sell that Plastic Shield You Bought for the Acoustic Drums
A drum shield can be effective, but it also needs to be placed properly for maximum reflection away from the congregation. Given that shields cost from around $350 for basic panels to a couple thousand dollars for an enclosure, you may be able to make enough from selling the shield to pay for the electronic drums, or at least defray your expenses.
5. You Can Set Up the Drummer Anywhere
Drummers usually have to set up well behind the band, and as far away from the audience as possible, to keep the noise under control. Aside from relegating drummers to second-class citizen status, moving the drums that far back can increase the reflected sound compared to the direct sound, which often results in an overall muddy effect. Electronic drums sound the same no matter where you set them up.
6. They’re Easy to Break Down and Store
When you need to clear the stage for some other function, electronic drums break down quickly and can fit in just about any closet or spare space you might have. What’s more, some electronic drums can break down in an almost modular fashion instead of individual pieces, which can speed up the breakdown process even more.
7. No Miking Needed—and Maybe Not Even an Amp
The need for an amplifier is sometimes cited as a strike against electronic drums, but you can often feed the drum’s output right into the main PA system. This also gives the sound engineer complete control over the mix. And even if you do need an amp, a quality powered monitor, like QSC’s CP12, can deliver plenty of clean power at a reasonable price.
8. All Kinds of Extra Features
Many electronic drum sets include a metronome, auxiliary audio input for practicing along with digital music players, a USB port for updates, trainer modules, and the like. For example, the Roland TD11KVS (Fig. 2) includes onboard backing songs for play along and practice, a “coach” function that helps build drumming skills, and a USB interface for connectivity with computer applications (as well as data backup, and playback of WAV and MP3 format music).
Yamaha’s DTX720K (Fig. 3) offers a sequencer with approximately 152,000 note capacity, but can also sample custom sounds and import audio—that way you’re not restricted to the 1,268 onboard sounds. Assuming, of course, you feel 1,268 sounds is even close to being restricted!
9. Far More Transportable than Acoustic Drums
A complete electronic drum set can fit in pretty much any car (assuming it’s not a Fiat Smart Fortwo or equivalent). So the set doesn’t have to be left at the House of Worship when not in use, and can even go to the drummer’s home for reason 9.5 of why electric drums are so popular—it’s possible to practice without waking the kids, or getting a noise complaint from the neighbors.
Figure 4: Alesis Nitro Mesh 8-piece kit with kick pedal, drum rack, and mesh heads
The price range for electronic and acoustic drums aren’t that far off—for either genre, you can spend hundreds of dollars for a beginner’s kit, or thousands of dollars for a top-of-the-line model. However, what you get for your money is quite different. The electronic drums will offer more flexibility, more sounds, and be more convenient. Whether you choose an economical kit like the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit for $349 (Fig. 4), or stretch your budget to $4,999.99 for Roland’s V-Drums TD-50K-FC bundle (Fig. 5) that’s exclusive to Full Compass, you’ll have all the sounds, convenience, and portability of electronic drums—and you always get to set the volume level where you want.
Full Compass stocks several electronic drum kits, and we’ll be happy to help you decide which one best suits your needs and budget.