Electronic Drums vs. Acoustic Drums: Which One is Best for Your Child?

When buying a drum set for a child, parents are confronted with the option of an electronic drum set or an acoustic one.  This can be an important decision since they will have to live with their child making a lot of noise when they practice.  

Unfortunately, most parents have no clue what the differences are between an electronic and an acoustic drum set. This can lead to the purchase of a drum set that isn’t best suited to their child’s needs.   

First, parents should know that for the most part, drum manufacturers stick to making either electronic drums or acoustic sets. Few brands make both with the exception of Yamaha.  To understand how the manufacturer can make two very different types of drums, you may want to read a Yamaha drum set review online.  However, to understand the general differences between acoustic and electronic drums, you need to look at the following four aspects of playing the drums.

Sound

The two biggest advantages of an electronic set relate to sound.  First, there is the infinite number of drum sounds that can be programmed into an electronic drum set.  You can sample any sound and then have the electronic drum trigger that sound when it is struck with a drumstick.  

The second advantage is that an electronic drum set isn’t as loud as an acoustic set when you are playing it. This is perfect for parents who want their child to explore their creative passion but want the volume to be kept to a minimum.  This can be a big factor for parents looking to buy their child a drum set.

On the other hand, acoustic drums may not have as many sounds. However, the sounds they do produce can have subtle nuances that electronic drums can’t match.  The best example is with the sound produced using brushes on drums.  Electronic drums are not able to recreate the subtleties that playing an acoustic drum kit with brushes provides.  

Touch

Most electronic drum sets are only able to recognize 127 different levels of touch on the pads.  This means that no matter how hard you play, it will reach the limit of how loud a sound you can make.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can only play the electronic drum to a certain level of softness before the pad won’t recognize the touch and fail to trigger. 

Acoustic drums do not have this problem. No matter how hard or soft your child hits a drum head, there will be some sound created. Because of this, there are just more ways to create variations of the same sound with acoustic drums. 

Playing Live and in the Studio

The differences between an electronic and acoustic drum can also be important to consider if you are supporting your child’s dream of playing professional, whether live or in the studio.

One aspect of playing acoustic drums live that can be annoying is the way the sound is mixed in studio sessions.  Oftentimes, the house sound guy simply isn’t great at his job and integrating the acoustic sound with the rest of the music. Electronic drums allow you to mix the sound from the computer brain of the set, which can be plugged into the mixing board via a cable.  

As for recording, it can be challenging to set up microphones to record acoustic drums in the studio while electronic kits are basically plug in and record. If your child wants to record their playing, then an electronic kit is better able to support that.

Portability

Electronic drums are much lighter and easier to move around than acoustic sets.  In fact, some electronic drum sets are becoming so small that you can carry them in a backpack. The frame may need more room to store when traveling, but most frames can fold down so that they take up almost no space.  Acoustic drums are much heavier, and they require cases for each individual drum. This can make it harder for a child to transport.

The best drum set for a child is a matter of personal preference.  For parents looking to buy their child a drum set, they should first ask their child what they want to do with playing drums.  If the child is making and recording music, then an electronic set may be the answer while a child who wants to play in a band would probably be best served with an acoustic kit.  

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Comments

  1. Michelle S says

    My friend has a son into drumming. I’m going to share this with her – I know she was considering a set for next Christmas.

  2. Thanks for the info! I wish that I had played drums when I was younger but I’m sure that my parents were glad that I chose a different instrument! Lol

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