If Roland's TD-4K and Techtonic's DD502(J) were among the cream of the crop in 2009, and Korg's decision to re-release its iconic Wavedrum was a stroke of genius in any situation, let alone in drumming circles, it looks like 2010 - if the highlights from this year's NAMM show are anything to go by (which they always are) - will offer much, much more of the same.
If not more. In fact, it’s not often new electronic drums outweigh acoustic drums in sheer volume of new releases. But with many of the big boys concentrating on new finishes and configurations (Mapex’s new Horizon and Voyager Series may well be the only new acoustic examples of note), the likes of Yamaha and Roland were left to steal the limelight.
And then there was Pearl, who’s return to the electronic drum market with the e-Pro Live drew some of the show’s biggest crowds, and kept everybody talking…
Pearl e-Pro Live electronic drum kit
In a nutshell, this is pretty much an acoustic kit fitted with Tru-Trac electronic heads. You can even go as far as to replace them with your regular skins and play the kit acoustically. Brass zone cymbals add to the setup’s ‘realness’ - Pearl’s philosophy being that players should be able to recreate the feeling of playing acoustically without having to adjust their technique to accommodate smaller, often cramped ekits.
Kit: 10", 12" and 14" toms, a 14" snare drum, and a 20" bass drum
Shells: real wood with two finish options: Artisan II finish in Quilted Maple fade and black wrap
Cymbals: brass Pearl E-Classic or traditional rubber EPC2 cymbals (both have three zones)
Module: R.e.d.box (r.e.d. stands for Real Electronic Drums) - 128MB RAM capacity accommodates 1000 high-def sounds, 100 high-def kits, plus 100 user-created kits
Next: Roland TD-12KX
Roland TD-12KX V-Drums electronic drum kit
Another addition to Roland’s popular V-Drums family aimed at live and studio-bound edrummers. Comes with the TD-12’s editing capabilities, but builds on the TD-12KV by adding a larger kick and floor tom and the all-new ‘improved’ MDS-12X rack.
Next: Roland Octapad SPD-30
Roland Octapad SPD-30
Roland’s second offering is the Octapad (not Octopad) SPD-300 digital percussion pad. Named after its eight trigger pads, this portable instrument uses V-Drums technology and includes 50 kits, ‘hundreds’ of sounds, 30 types of multi-effects and a handy Phrase Loop recording feature. Even handier are the illuminated LEDs behind the pads for low-light playing situations.
Next: Yamaha DTX900
Yamaha DTX900 electronic drum kit
The DTX900K and DTX950K are Yamaha’s latest flagship electronic drum kits and the first sets to come with Yamaha’s new DTX-PAD - “Textured Cellular Silicone Head” technology. Alongside improved control and feel, Yamaha claims they offer the quietest playing surfaces to date. The all-new DTX900 module boasts synth noises from the Motif XS range, and a host of sound features.
Next: Alesis USB Studio kit
Alesis USB Studio electronic drum kit
It wouldn’t be a music trade show without a couple of new Alesis ekits. The USB Studio, as the name (and photo) suggests, concentrates on recording and programming. The kit comes with a Trigger|iO interface, “dual-zone RealHead 8” pads, low-noise DMPad cymbals, and a compact, studio-friendly StealthRack.” It also works seamlessly with BFD, Toontrack and Reason software.
Next: Alesis DM10
Alesis DM10 Studio electronic drum kit
Last but not least is Alesis’s new DM10 Studio kit and ‘premium’ module. It boasts the same DMPads and StealthRack as the USB Studio and a massive collection of sounds. The company also claims that the DM10 brain is the “world's first drum module that enables players to load new sound sets via USB.”