Gear Recommendations

I'm always getting asked what gear I recommend, which is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on so many things. However, there are a few products which I think every edrummer should own or at least try.

Keep an eye on this page as new gear is released!
 

Here are my recommendations at the moment.

Low Cost Drum Module

Yamaha DTX502. Sample loading, iOS editing, great trigger inputs, small, powerful, and works exceptionally well with the Yamaha DT50 triggers. Also a great trigger to midi interface.

Most Powerful VST Drum Plug-in

Toontrack Superior Drummer 3 (SD3). Just THE most unbelievably powerful and  great sounding plug in. This really has raised the bar as far as drum plug ins are concerned. At the moment, you really don't need anything else. 

 

Best Dynamics On An eDrum Kit

The ATV aDrum kit with the aD5 module has probably the most realistic dynamics of any electronic kit. Play quiet, play loud, and then go even further up, and it follows you just like an acoustic kit. Very impressive.

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Best Feeling Cymbals

Zildjian's Gen16 cymbals are easily the best feeling cymbals for electronics users... because the ARE real cymbals! OK, so they might have lots of holes and pickups and a module (DCP), so they aren't 'real' but they feel superb.

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Great Headphones For Drummers

The Sennheiser HD25 headphones are great for drummers - loud, loads of bottom end and good grip on the head. They can also handle the spikes (or transients) of drums. Recommended (I always have a pair in my travel bag)

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Speakers For Drummers

Don't expect to plug your kit into a 15w guitar amp and it sound great, as it wont. To move the right amount of air, you need something like a pair of Mackie SRM450. 

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Best eDrum Accesory

The Porter and Davies BC and Gigster monitor thrones let you 'hear' what you've been missing from your kit sound. Except they don't let you hear it - the stool vibrates and the vibrations are transferred through your skeleton so you 'feel' the low end without having a massive monitor behind you. A truly eye opening experience.

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Best iOS App #3 Percussion

Pete Lockett's Drum Jam is all the percussion you'll ever need, played by a superb musician. You can create precision tracks then export them in high quality files to use in any other program you choose... or import them into your ekit. iPad or iPhone

 

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Buy It If You See One! #2

The Kat DK10 is a no-frills FSR triggering multipage. For more info on FSR, listen to the podcast about pads. The DK10 is incredibly quick, responsive and compact, and although it too is a bit of a dinosaur now, it is still incredibly useful. There are 10 pads (hence the name) and no sounds - it is purely a midi controller (not even USB - the design is pre USB!). When hooked up to a decent VSTi, a buzz roll on a DK10 is like nothing else. You can get more powerful versions (Turbo, 3.5, 3.8 etc) but as most hard work is done in a computer nowadays, there is no point. Even all the editing is done by hitting the pads. Great piece of design.

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Best DAW For Drummers

Hands down, the best DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for drummers is Ableton Live. Unbelievably powerful, as flexible as anyone could possibly need (I've never met two people who use Ableton in exactly the same way), and capable of providing everything for the digital drummer, Ableton just can't be beat. Yes, initially you might scratch your head as you look at it (it can look and behave unlike any other DAW to the new user), but pull some samples into DrumRack, add some effects, link it to your drum pads (click on one button and hit each pad - simple) and away you go. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

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Best iOS App#1 Creative

Novation Launchpad for iPad. Brilliant, loop or sample playback tool. Use the provided loops or buy more, or import your own samples to play your backing tracks, make tracks as you drum or just be creative. Instant time stretch, Ableton sync, FX... just brilliant. If you see me at a music show, chances are high that I'll be using this to provide the music.

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Great Feeling Kick Trigger

The Roland  KT10 is just one of those products that works - it feels great, it triggers great, its adjustable (you can change the weights to make it feel different). The only down sides are that it doesn't collapse and it is a little heavy for having in you hand luggage on flights, but if those don't effect you, its a great all rounder.                                                                        

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Buy It If You See One! #3

The Dan Dauz pads (or the TomKat pads he made for Kat) are simplicity itself - some rubber, a piece of metal, a plastic bowl and some simple hardware. However, they are unbelievably quick to trigger (faster than mesh or other expensive pads) are small, discrete, feel great and just work. Plug one of these into a ddrum4 module and it feels like the sound has triggered before you have even hit the pad. The 11" TomKats feel particularly good, have a nice low pitch (no nasty 'thwack' like some pads I could mention) and a really nice 'give' when played. Function AND form.

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Best Product For Making Your Acoustic Kit Sound Amazing

The Yamaha EAD-10 is an amazing bit of kit. It captures the sound of your acoustic kit and does lots of eyebrow raising things with it. You can add effects (delays, reverbs, distortion etc), and layer samples with your acoustic sound. Its such a small package, so powerful, great fun, and best of all... ridiculously easy to use.

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Best iOS App #2 Sampler

Akai's iMPC app is a sampler and sequencer all rolled into one, much like the hardware MPCs. Connect it to your kit with a USB cable and add tracks, samples and effects to your sounds. Perfect for the long train journey as well where you want to work some things out

 

 

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Buy It If You See One! #1

Clavia's ddrum4 module is an absolute dinosaur. However, it triggers faster then a TD50 (2,4ms) and it's sounds just fit in a mix. The unit was decades ahead of everything else - multi layered sampled sounds, pressure sensing and positional sensing pads. The dynamics are also just much better than many modern kits. If you can, get the later SE version which has better triggering (and handles triggers better) as well as a louder headphone output - always useful.

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Most Powerful Multipad

A controversial one as many will think this is here for political reasons, but it's not - the Yamaha DTX M12 is by far the most powerful multipad on the planet. If you want purely sample space, look at the Roland SPDSX, but if you want sounds, layering, hand playing, mute groups, midi control (perfect for Ableton), effects and loads more, then the M12 is the only place to go. It has an iOS editor (though to be honest I don't use it as I am faster working straight on the hardware now), and has a couple of areas that need improving (such as outputs etc) but it is SO powerful. The learning curve can be relatively steep but so rewarding.

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Keep An Eye Out For...

  • the Pearl Mimic Pro - works with 'any' pad and ships with Steven Slate drum sounds. Sounds superb and those people I know who own them are raving about them

  • the Alesis Strike - great features and user samples. Still being updated

  • something from one of the big US drum makers... possibly?