In addition to an offering of musical accessories including cables, stands and cases, Tourtech has recently launched a line-up of four eagerly-anticipated electronic kits with the beginner or more budget conscious drummer in mind.
Prices start from just £200 for the TT-12S model and continue through the TT-12SM and TT-16S models, which both come in under £300. This month we get our hands on the company’s TT-22M kit which, despite its flagship status in the line-up, is still firmly within the entry-level market at a mere £399.
The TT-22M is a five-piece mesh kit, which includes three 8" tom pads, a 10" snare pad and an 8" kick drum tower. All pads (except for the bass drum) are dual-zone, including the 12" crash and ride pads, plus the 10" hi-hat pad - which are also chokeable. This means separate head and rim sounds for the snare and toms, and bow or edge sounds for the cymbals. In the box is everything you need to get started except for a drum stool; there is an included single bass drum pedal, a drum key and even a pair of sticks.
The four-post rack comes ready built in a separate box from the pads; it just needs to be unfolded before the pads are ready to be mounted. This is a time-saver and should simplify the process for beginner drummers who haven’t yet been initiated into the world of e-kit construction.
After experiencing a little trouble inserting the cymbal arms into the snug upright posts of the rack (brute force to the rescue), the L-rods are locked in place on the clamps and the pads slotted on. Oval shaped memory locks beneath the cymbal threads hold the pads securely in place and prevent any swivelling. Overall, the rack is remarkably sturdy and once everything is in place there is no sign of the dreaded wobble - an all too common affliction of cheaper e-kit setups. The module comes with 26 preset kits with space for 15 user kits.
Sounds can be individually assigned from the 458 onboard samples. There are 20 MIDI playalong tracks and a recording function that enables drummers to lay down takes straight into the module. The included pads connect to the module via a digital cable loom, but there is also room to expand with a fourth tom pad and an extra crash using the ¼" jack inputs. These can be found on the back of the module alongside a mini-jack aux input for connecting external audio devices, 5-pin MIDI in/outs, master left and right jack outputs and a mini-jack headphone out.
In terms of the hardware alone this kit is excellent. There’s enough adjustability in the rack and clamps to get the pads right where you want them, resulting in a realistic playing experience and a kit that feels planted however hard you may hit. The large 12" cymbal pads rock back and forth on their arms allowing for a more authentic feel compared with others in this price bracket. The mesh heads offer a decent response too, although they don’t tighten up to quite the level we’d like, particularly the 10" snare pad.
The bass drum pad features a dense foam insert behind the mesh, which makes for a satisfying feel, particularly when burying the beater. This also helps combat any mis-triggering. The supplied bass drum pedal won’t win any awards for design or adjustability, but it does the job and you can always upgrade as your bass drum technique demands it. As is often the case with e-kits at this level - including setups from better-known brands - the sounds on-board the module are generally okay but not the most inspiring to play. From the 458 sounds onboard, many sound similar and there’s a little lack of diversity through the kit presets.
There are, however, some great percussion and electronic samples, which make for lots of fun, particularly when assigning them to the edges of the toms. As you progress, you may end up wanting to upgrade the module or move to triggering sounds via software like Superior Drummer - the pads and rack will certainly last the course if you go down this route. The kit is more than capable of handling everything from basic grooves and fills to complex flurries of notes, and proved great fun when jamming along to songs from our smartphone via the mix-in mini jack input.
The MIDI playalong tracks are the usual rock and fusion suspects, but we’d choose Spotify over these every time. On one occasion we did experience a little latency and also found that when playing rim shots - striking the head and rim together - occasionally neither the head or edge sounds trigger. The module does offer a plethora of trigger settings including sensitivity, threshold and cross-talk, and tweaking these certainly made a difference. You can’t expect the earth at this price, so we will forgive the odd technical glitch. The overall feel of this kit, combined with the sturdiness of the hardware more than makes up for any minor gremlins.