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.