While the big Japanese corporations have their sights largely fixed on developing complete (and often excellent) full electronic drum kits, there are any number of drummers who need a rather more modest e-percussion arsenal to run with their acoustic sets. And the Koby Drum Mate is aimed squarely at this section of the market.
The concept of adding just a couple of pads and a brain to a kit isn´t revolutionary, but an all-in-one bundle at this price is, and for that reason alone the Drum Mate is an intriguing prospect. The Drum Mate ‘kit´ comprises a pair of Koby´s diminutive Nanopads, a simple new sound module, a mounting bar and a clamp to attach the whole shebang to your hi-hat stand. For players who need easy, affordable access to a palette of electronic sounds, it looks like a perfect option.
The rubber Nanopads are a dinky 11cm in diameter, and these sit atop a rounded, off-white plastic body. At their base, the Nanos have a threaded insert which screws onto the adjustable mounting post attached to the main bar supplied with the kit. It´s a simple but elegant arrangement, and the pads have a ¼" output for connecting to the brain.
In keeping with the simple, straightforward nature of the DM as a whole, the new brain doesn´t aim to offer V-Drum levels of refinement. The collection of sounds housed within tend to be a little noisy, and thus the brain is not one best suited for high-pressure studio situations (not that it´s intended to be). But if you´re using it in a live setting, or in rehearsals, it should do the job well - and there´s no reason to quibble when you´ve got the rest of the band to cover up slightly hissy samples.
The variety of tones here is well-chosen though, with some decent electro-acoustic kits, the expected 808-alikes and a smattering of ethnic percussion kits all available. Bearing in mind the price at which the whole thing ships for, there´s nothing obviously missing from the brain´s sonic palette.
And don´t assume that this is a two-padonly deal. The brain actually sports all the usual connections so can be expanded upon with extra pads should you feel the need. A total of eight main pad inputs (all ¼") are provided, along with a hi-hat control socket, Aux In and headphone inputs.