The hottest new electronic drum sets for 2021

Best Electronic Drum Sets
(Image credit: Roland)

GEAR EXPO 2021: The passion for electronic drum sets sees no sign of abating in 2021, with all of the big names ramping up their familiar ranges to offer new features at ever more competitive prices. 

2021 could be the year that the electronic drum makers finally realise their dream of turning a hi-tech kit into the perfect fusing of musical hobby, exercise, hi-tech gadget and cool piece of furniture… Don't believe us? Take a look at what's new in the world of the electronic drumming.

Yamaha DTX6

Top of the pile and freshest out of the box are the brand-new Yamaha DTX6 kits. It's a triple-whammy of configurations aimed at "all drummers who need a compact kit and want to have fun, play like a pro and easily transfer their skills to acoustic drums."

The line-up is available in three configurations, and each one is centred around the new DTX-PRO module with a number of upgraded features to the pads.

Yamaha DTX PRO

Yamaha DTX PRO (Image credit: Yamaha)

Yamaha describes the DTX-PRO module as a "next-generation" sound module, boasting over 700 sounds arranged into 40 preset kits, along with slots for 200 user kits. But what Yamaha seems most proud of is its 'Kit Modifiers'. 

These are essentially control knobs on the module, which allow you to alter ambience (captured in the same studio as the sampled sounds), compression and other effects in real-time.

There are 14 trigger inputs, an aux-in and flexible headphone routing as well as USB which functions as both an audio interface (mobile compatible) and data connection for updating/transferring samples.

Yamaha DTX6 Series kits

At the top of the treee there's the DTX6K3-X, which features Yamaha's TCS (Textured Cellular Silicone) pads - as found on Yamaha's high-end electronic drum sets - on the snare (eight-inch) and toms (seven-inch). In addition to this, there's the new KP90 kick drum pad which is 7.5 inches in diameter, and uses multi-layered cushioning to produce a bass drum pad that Yamaha says "Makes you want to play more."

Cymbal-wise, the DTX6K3-X is equipped with three triple-zone PCY-135 13-inch cymbal pads, giving you two crashes and a ride, plus there's the 13-inch RHH135 hi-hat pad, which mounts to a traditional hi-hat stand for even greater realism.

In the middle of the DTX6 range is the DTX6K2-X kit. Here, you get many of the same features as the DTX6K3-X: three-zone, TCS snare pad, three-zone cymbal pads and KP90 kick drum pad, plus the RHH135 hi-hats. However, the tom pads are swapped for rubber pads.

The entry-level kit is the DTX6K-X. Being the most affordable, this configuration comes with one 10-inch crash cymbal pad (which is still choke-able), the same TCS snare/rubber tom pad configuration as the DTX6K2-X, and the hi-hats are a 10-inch pad controlled with a separate pedal rather than a hi-hat stand.

They're shipping now, priced at $2420, $2020 and $1360 respectively.

Alesis Nitro Mesh

Fresh for 2020/21 the Alesis Nitro Mesh is a superbly priced piece of 'kit'. You certainly get a lot to batter for your money, so there's definitely a question of 'why pay more?' here.

The kit includes an 8" dual-zone mesh snare, three 8” single-zone mesh toms, a 10” dual-zone crash (chokeable), two additional single-zoned cymbals  (one for hi-hat and ride cymbal), hi-hat controller pedal and a complete four-post drum rack. 

The module houses 385 sounds, 40 kits and 60 playalong songs and the layout is great for quick kit/drum voice editing – this is where the module has the edge over almost any other kit at this price-point. The Nitro offers up an incredible spec at an impressively competitive price tag and makes an excellent value first drum kit or a great cheap practice kit.

Yours for $379/£339/€390.

Roland TD-07KV

We can't talk about digital drums without mentioning Roland. Roland practically invented the genre with their first V-Drums set, now the TD-07KV pushes pro level features in an ever more affordable direction.

With Roland's patented, tuneable, dual-ply heads across the snare and toms, plus a standalone kick drum pad, the TD-07 is the most affordable, no-compromise setup in the V-Drums family. 

Roland dual-ply mesh heads all-round? Yes. A ‘proper’ vertical bass drum pad that’s played by a traditional pedal? Yes. Dual-zone, chokeable cymbals? Yes!

The TD-07 brain is equipped with 143 different sounds, arranged into over 20 preset kits, with slots for up to 50 stored setups in total. The sounds give a decent cross section of acoustic, traditional percussion and electronics for us to experiment with, following Roland’s recent ethos of providing usable sounds above thousands of novelty noises.

But where the TD-07 module really turns heads is with its simple, yet extremely convenient functionality with Bluetooth for connecting your phone into the module wirelessly, and USB for transmitting audio and MIDI straight into your computer.

Available now £739.