How Electronic Drum Sets Differ from Acoustic Ones (And Which to Buy)

So, you’re taking the leap and are about to buy your first set of drums. Great! The main question you’ll now have regarding making your purchase will probably be: electronic or acoustic? What are the differences and which one should I buy? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll merely spell out the differences between electronic and acoustic drums that I’ve discovered over the last 2 years of playing the drums. Besides that, I’m no expert on particular drum kit models and – if you’re looking to buy one – recommend you check out a comparison review like this. With that said, let’s get into it.

Electric Drums: Advantages

Convenience — There’s no need to relegate yourself to practising in the garage! With the electronic drums, you can conveniently play from any room in the comfort of your own home. Simply plug in your headphones — or turn the volume down low — and start playing without annoying your family or neighbours. It’s a win win situation.

Easy learning — Electronic drums typically come with built in metronomes, so you can easily practice and check how on-time you’re playing. They also offer a range of different sounds that allow you to experiment with different genres — rock, jazz, funk, etc — and find your style. Not only is this fun, but also you’ll find it’s great for improving your skills. You also won’t have the hassle of tuning the set or changing drum heads.

Compact — Electronic drums take up less floor space than acoustic ones. So you won’t have to worry if space is an issue for you. You can also simply fold up the set and put it away after playing.

Electronic Drums: Disadvantages

Not 100% silent — Although quiet, don’t expect total silence with electronic drums. Noises like hitting the rubber pads can still be heard from nearby rooms.

Poor quality — Unfortunately, the cheaper priced kits can break easily and individual components will eventually need replacing. If you’re looking for quality electronic drums, you’ll have to pay a lot more.

Sound — You’ll need a bigger amp than usual to be heard if you’re performing live on stage.

Limited positioning  — Electronic drums don’t have the full spectrum of positioning that acoustic kits do.

Acoustic Drums: Advantages 

Superior sound — Acoustic drums come with a multitude of different dynamics and subtitles in sound that can’t be exactly mimicked by an electronic set. You’ll be able to practice a number of techniques, such as, drum rolls, stick taps, and cymbal swells with greater accuracy and realism. These drums can also be tuned to create any and all sounds you need.

The real deal — Coming in a range of different sizes and colours, acoustic drum sets certainly look the part.

Flexible positioning — Acoustic drums can be positioned in many ways to ensure your maximum comfort and efficiency when playing.

Acoustic Drums: Disadvantages

Size — Acoustic drums are on the large side. You’ll need enough room to store them — as well as to set them up and carry out repairs.

Sound — Acoustic drums are noisy! You’ll need to wear ear plugs to protect your hearing, as well as take your family and neighbours into consideration when practicing. Drum silencer pads help reduce sound (although this can end up hampering your experience a little).

Tuning — Beginners may need a professional to help tune their set, as it can be difficult if you don’t really know what you’re doing.

Maintenance — If you play often, the quicker the drum head will need replacing (which can be expensive for larger models). Acoustic drums also need to be well-taken care of as they can be easily scratched or warp if left in damp conditions.

Electronic or Acoustic: Which Is Right For Me?

As you’re now aware, electronic and acoustic drums each have their own set of pros and cons, and which one you go for depends on your budget, needs, and wants. If noise and space are major issues for you, you’ll definitely be better off with an electronic set. Electronic kits are great for beginners, however if you’re planning to play live performances, you’ll really need an acoustic set. Although electronic sets do the job well, nothing can compete with the authentic sound and feel of an acoustic drum set!