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The 7 best Yamaha e-kits 2021: top electronic drum sets from Yamaha for beginner, intermediate and pro drummers

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The 7 best Yamaha e-kits 2021: top electronic drum sets from Yamaha for beginner, intermediate and pro drummers
(Image credit: Yamaha)

Japanese giant Yamaha is one of the 'big three' in the world of e-kits, and it offers a diverse and wide range of electronic drum set-ups to suit everyone from beginner drummers to professional gigging and recording drummers. Whatever you're looking for, our round-up of the very best of Yamaha's electronic drum sets should help you find the right kit.

Back in 1986, Yamaha was an early player in the electronic drum set market, unleashing their then incredibly futuristic PMC-1 kit. A decade on, the DTX name was born and now prefixes the entire Yamaha e-kit range.

As you'd expect, Yamaha’s decades at the forefront of acoustic drum kit manufacturing has had a big impact on the performance and build quality of its e-kits. On a practical level its electronic drum sets are notable for their reliable, adjustable hardware. They even benefit from Yamaha’s esteemed range of quality acoustic kits, many of which have been sampled meticulously for DTX modules.

Looking for a great Black Friday music deal? Check out our Black Friday drum deals page for all the latest news and the biggest offers - including epic deals on the best Yamaha e-kits. 

Best Yamaha electronic drum sets: buying advice

(Image credit: Yamaha)

One of the things we always get asked is how Yamaha's kits stack up in the battle of the big three? In other words, exactly how do they stack up against other big players like Roland's electronic drum sets or Alesis electronic drum sets

• Battle of the beginner e-kits: Alesis Nitro Mesh kit vs Yamaha DTX402K vs Roland TD-1K

One key differential is that, rather than the mesh heads found on some of Roland's entry-level kits – and certainly on the company's intermediate to top-end kits – Yamaha offers its own material, known as Textured Cellular Silicone. Designed to recreate the feel and rebound of traditional mylar acoustic drum heads, while also being pleasingly quiet, it’s a unique material, but it really works. These heads are found on Yamaha's DTX502 series and above.

There's always been great debate when it comes to Roland Vs Yamaha electronic drum sets. But which brand is best? Both companies offer a range of electronic kits for every level of drummer and budget, and with their own take on key technologies and pad design.

It has to be said that Yamaha isn't evolving and innovating at the rapid pace currently being set by Roland, but their current stable of e-kits still offers something for every type of player. 

At the beginner e-kit end of things you have the DTX402 series, which is focused on introducing new players to the drums in an accessible but structured way. The 402 module delivers 10 built-in training and learning tools to help drummers develop behind the kit, plus a companion app that adds even more useful tools to the developing drummer's arsenal.

Step up to the 502 and 700 series and you'll enjoy the aforementioned Textured Cellular Silicone heads, a wider range of better, more responsive sounds and more powerful modules. At the top of the tree is the 900 series. Here you'll find the best of everything: sounds, hardware, editing and recording functionality.

If you’ve zeroed in on Yamaha as your brand of choice, here’s our rundown of the best electronic drum sets in the company’s range right now.

The best Yamaha electronic drum sets available today

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1. Yamaha DTX402K

The ideal Yamaha e-kit for beginners – great sounds and training tools

Specifications
Launch price: $499/£376/€437
Pads: 4x rubber snare/tom pads, 3x cymbals, 1x beaterless bass drum pedal, 1x integrated hi-hat controller pedal
Kits: 10
Sounds: 287
Connections: USB MIDI, aux in, headphone out
Reasons to buy
+App-connected learning+Quality adjustable rack+Quiet pedals+Affordable

If you’re just beginning your drumming journey, the ideal electronic drum kit is one that’s sturdy enough to take a beating, is adjustable and comfortable to play and offers a selection of kits that sound decent in your headphones; too many additional features can be distracting. 

Yamaha’s entry-level 402K is aimed squarely at beginners. For starters the compact kit takes up minimal space, while the silent bass drum pedal does wonders for neighbour-relations. The rack is height adjustable too, so you won’t outgrow it for a while, and pads can be positioned where you need them. 

On the 402 module you’ll find 10 great-sounding kits covering every style from rock and jazz to dance and pop. Yamaha doesn’t scrimp on the education side of things either; the module comes loaded with 10 top training functions to help boost timing, speed and precision. 

What’s more, pair the module with the DTX402 Touch app (Android/iOS) to unlock even more lessons, challenges and kit customisation tools. When you’re ready to show your playing to the world, load up the Rec’ n’ Share app to, you've guessed it, record and share your playing.

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2. Yamaha DTX482K

For developing drummers craving a more realistic playing experience

Specifications
Launch price: $1,106/£842/€979
Pads: 3x rubber tom pads, 1x silicone snare pad, 4x cymbals, 1x rubber bass drum pad, 1x integrated hi-hat controller pedal
Kits: 10
Sounds: 287
Connections: USB MIDI, aux in, headphone out
Reasons to buy
+Realistic silicone snare pad+Additional crash cymbal+Upgraded bass drum pad and pedal+Module offers plenty of great features

The DTX482K sits at the top of Yamaha’s entry-level 402 Series. This kit shares the same robust rack and app-connected module as the 402K featured above, providing drummers with plenty of kit customisation options, in addition to a wealth of excellent developmental tools. 

What sets this set apart is the additional hardware you get for your money. The extra outlay bags you an additional crash cymbal, plus a sturdy bass drum tower and bass drum pedal for traditional drum set feel and response. 

The icing on the cake is the addition of a Yamaha XP80 triple-zone silicone snare which features a more responsive playing surface that brings drummers closer to the feel of an acoustic snare drum. Not only is this more forgiving on the wrists, but the more natural rebound should help you develop your single and double stroke technique much faster.

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A mid-range kit worthy of the practice room, studio or stage

Specifications
Launch price: $1,259/£959/€1,115
Pads: 3x rubber tom pads, 1x silicone snare pad, 3x cymbals, 1x rubber bass drum pad, 1x integrated hi-hat controller pedal
Kits: 50
Sounds: 691
Connections: Aux in, headphones, USB to host
Reasons to buy
+Huge range of quality sounds+Multi-zone pads and cymbals+Ability to load your own samples+Top training tools

Yamaha’s DTX502 drum module occupies the lower mid-range position in the company’s electronic offering. Giving scope for varying budgets and playing applications, Yamaha has produced five kits to accompany the new module offering various pad options. 

The DTX502's module gives the user a total of 691 drum and percussion samples and 128 keyboard voices. There is also plenty of space for user kits – 50 of them in fact. While many of the drum samples are taken from Yamaha's classic acoustic drums, this module is the first in the DTX range to incorporate additional sounds created by third-party VST developers. Samples are crisp and clean without being clouded or 'improved' with compression or masses of reverb – just a really great drum sound. 

Features on the cymbals such as muting, swells and choking are authentic and make the whole set more enjoyable to play. You are not confined to these onboard voices thanks to the USB port, which gives the user access to the wealth of drum sample libraries readily available. 

Aside from three 8” rubber tom pads, bass drum tower and three triple-zone, chokeable cymbal pads, the kit also comes complete with a KP65 kick pad and triple-zone XP80 silicone snare. While the rubber pads have the kind of feel and response that's fairly typical of many budget-type kits, the impressive snare, cymbals and kick pad help elevate the kit far beyond this level.

Read the full Yamaha DTX522K review

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Enjoy real feel pads and mechanical hi-hat

Specifications
Launch price: $1,499/£1,279/€1,487
Pads: 4x silicone snare/tom pads, 2x cymbals, 1x stand-mounted hi-hat, 1x rubber bass drum pad
Kits: 50
Sounds: 691
Connections: Aux in, headphones, USB to host
Reasons to buy
+Full complement of silicone tom/snare pads+Superb sounds on the 502 module+Adjustable rack system for optimum pad placement+Stand-mountable hi-hat

While the lower-end kits in the 502 series offer a great deal for your wallet, it is worth shelling out the extra for the enhanced response and feel of a full complement of Textured Cellular Silicone tom and snare pads, plus the stand-mounted hi-hat that you get with the DTX562K. With this kit you get even even closer to the feel and action of an acoustic drum set, with all the benefits of quieter pads, headphone amplification and a range of great sounds at your fingertips. 

As with the DTX522K, the 562K is bundled with the powerful 502 module. The lightweight and robust Yamaha DMR502 module/rack features a resin ball-type snare mount for optimum pad positioning, while the pad line-up includes the excellent KP65 kick pad, the triple-zoned XP80 silicone snare, plus three 7” silicone tom pads. Cymbal pads include the two-section RHH135 hi-hat which fits to a traditional hi-hat stand and works like a regular pair of hats. It feels natural natural, responds superbly and makes it far easier to re-produce hi-hat chops compared with just a hi-hat controller.

Read the full Yamaha DTX562K review

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5. Yamaha DTX720K

You want sounds? The DTX720K has loads of 'em

Specifications
Launch price: $3,042/£2,316/€2,693
Pads: 4x silicone snare/tom pads, 2x cymbals, 1x stand-mounted hi-hat, 1x mesh bass drum pad
Kits: 60
Sounds: 1,268
Connections: USB to host, aux-in, headphones, MIDI in/out
Reasons to buy
+Huge kit customisation option+Ability to add your own sounds+Fantastic rack system+Slick mesh bass drum pad

Taking the leap up to Yamaha’s DTX700 series represents some serious upgrades in terms of both hardware and module features and performance. There are two kits in this range, both offering plenty for the intermediate to pro drummer. The cheaper kit comprises an XP80 silicone three-zone snare, three XP70 silicone toms, two three-zone crash cymbals, a ride cymbal and a set of stand mountable RHH135 two-zone hi-hats. 

A key upgrade from the DTX562K is the formidable KP100 bass drum pad, complete with a mesh head that’s big enough to accommodate a double pedal. There’s also a new rack system in tow. The RS502 is designed to be compact, whilst giving drummers plenty of adjustment options to get their pads sitting right where they want them. 

If you’re looking for a huge breadth of amazing sounds, the DTX700 module has you covered. While 60 kits might sound like not many at this price point, the module houses 1,268 drum and percussion sounds that include samples of legendary Yamaha acoustic kits such as the Oak Custom. These sounds can be used to create custom kits, complete with tweakable effects, or you can add your own external sounds via USB, record MIDI data into your DAW or play a VST sound source. 

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6. Yamaha DTX760K

An e-kit that edges closer to feeling and sounding like the real thing

Specifications
Launch price: $3,499/£3,195/€3,715
Pads: 4x silicone snare/tom pads, 3x cymbals, 1x stand-mounted hi-hat, 1x mesh bass drum pad
Kits: 60
Sounds: 1,268
Connections: USB to host, aux-in, headphones, MIDI in/out
Reasons to buy
+12” silicone snare pad with adjustment knob+Larger silicone tom pads+Powerful DTX700 module+Ideal for recording

If the spec of the DTX720K sounds up your street but you have a little more cash to splash, the DTX760K offers even more bang for your buck. That extra outlay covers an additional crash cymbal, the superb XP120SD silicone snare which is not only stand-mountable and offers a larger 12” surface to strike, but a control knob on the rim can be used to tune the drum up or down, or turn snares on/off in real-time.

Additionally, the package comes complete with larger 10” and 12” tom pads and a slick RS700 rack system. Out of the box you have a great, natural feeling palette on which to paint your beats, and that’s before you get under the hood of the DTX700 module. It’s loaded with sounds that can be customised to your liking and makes this kit the ideal tool for practice, recording and even gigging.

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7. Yamaha DTX920K

Take your playing confidently from the studio to the stage

Specifications
Launch price: $5,247/£3,994/€4,644
Pads: 4x silicone snare/tom pads, 3x cymbals, 1x stand-mounted hi-hat, 1x mesh bass drum pad
Kits: 50 (plus 50 user)
Sounds: 1,336
Connections: USB to host, aux-in, headphones, MIDI in/out
Reasons to buy
+Sampling functionality+Premium silicone pads+Huge array of customisable sounds+Reliable hardware

If money is no object and you need a kit that elicits practically the same response and feel as an acoustic kit, while placing amazing customisation and sampling technology at your disposal, Yamaha’s flagship DTX920K electronic drum kit should be somewhere near the top of your shopping list. 

No expense is spared as far as hardware is concerned on this kit: the set-up comprises four premium X-series three-zone silicone pads for toms and snare, the monstrous KP 100 bass drum pad, plus four dual-zone cymbals, including the excellent RHH135 stand-mounted hi-hat. 

One of the key features of the sophisticated DTX900MM module is the ability to record samples natively and add your own via USB. What’s more, your can take these samples and, using the Stack function, layer multiple voices on a single pad. Want hand claps over your snare, or a vocal sample to trigger every time you hit the floor tom? You got it. Not only is the DTX920K a fantastic practice and home recording tool, but these features make it a powerful live performance kit too.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. It's my job to manage buyer's guides on the site and help musicians find the right gear and the best prices. I'm a guitarist and a drummer and I've worked in the music gear industry for 16 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance writer working with brands including Roland, Boss, MusicRadar and Natal.