How to shop smart for an electronic drum kit
I recently stepped into the world of electronic drumming. This is a universe that can be extremely expensive, but if you are a smart shopper on a tight budget, you can get excellent drum sounds for a very reasonable price.
First, you need to invest in an electronic drum set, which includes rack, pads, and drum brain. The brain or module is the most important weapon in the set, however if you play through a computer, you have other options.
Working with a $300 budget
My budget for purchasing an electronic drum kit was $300. My goal was to find a complete kit for under $300, including taxes.
In this price range, there are not many great options. You can find a used Yamaha DTXplorer kit on eBay for $350-$400, or a Roland TD-3 for $500-$600. Even an Alesis DM-6 set is over $400. All of these options break my budget.
My amazing purchase
After searching the Internet for days, I finally stumbled upon an electronic drum kit that would meet my needs with minimal modification. That drum kit is called the Triple-D5 from Acorn Instruments. I found the kit on eBay and Amazon, then visited the official website to hear some samples. The samples were not mind-blowing, but I remained interested.
Next, I searched out the reviews. There were only a handful of reviews on Amazon, but they were mostly positive. I decided to give it a chance.
Several weeks ago, I bought the set on Amazon for $275.99 + free shipping from a seller called Audiotopia. I used some of my American Express rewards points to pay for the set on Amazon, and the set only cost me $176!!! I felt like this was an incredible deal.
The drums arrived less than a week later. I set them up and played around with some of the sounds on the brain. The acoustic drum settings are not all that bad. I started jamming on the set through an old set of Altec Lansing computer speakers with subwoofer that I had lying around. Now I can rock out at low volumes with whoever wants to have a sweet jam session.
Finding drum software on a budget
To take the drum sounds to a whole new level I knew I would need to find good software for recording and even performing. I researched drum software options such as Addictive Drums and EZDrummer. Both programs are excellent options with amazing drum kits and performance, but they each cost $179.00. That is more than I paid for the Acorn Triple-D5 drum kit. This would blow my budget by a lot.
After a little more research, I found a wonderful program to meet all my needs called BFD Eco by FXpansion. The software makers are running a special on this acoustic drum program from June 1-30, 2013. Regularly priced at $99, I paid only $29!
You get some of the great sounding kits and samples from their flagship program BFD2, which is regularly $299. There are DW, Pearl, Ludwig, and Gretsch sets to name a few, as well as Zildjian and Paiste cymbals.
I run BFD Eco through GarageBand on my MacBook Pro, and cannot be happier. My electronic drum budget was only $300. Many people would call this an impossible task if you are looking for realistic sounds. I say, anything is possible with a little determination and patience.
The Acorn Triple-D5 drumset ran me $275.99 and the software was $29, for an investment of $304.99. That is only $4.99 over my initial budget. Not to mention, I only had to pay $176 out of pocket for the kit, so it was really $205 for me ($95 under budget). I have money left over to buy mesh heads, or even a used DTXplorer drum brain.
To be fair, I already had a drum throne, which ran me $30 in 2008, and the MacBook Pro, which was about $1,000 3 years ago. I also had speakers, a USB midi cable, and Sennheiser headphones.
It is possible to find a great sounding electronic drum kit for less than $300. You just need a little determination and patience. Good luck in finding the right electronic drums for your home studio.