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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Electric Drum Kit: Effective Replacement?

(Image courtesy of drumza.com)


I recently purchased an Ion IED12 Pro Electronic drum kit. It seemed like a good choice, electronic drum kits have headphones so you can plug in and enjoy/practice enjoying your drumming without risking the wrath of the neighbor with the noise complaint. There is a huge range of prices that you can pay. I shot for the lower end because, as a musician, I'm about as broke as can be without being homeless, the kit only cost me $250. If you have more to offer than that you can buy kits for as much as $2,000. But should you?

Obviously I can't say much for those higher end kits but I must say this about the Ion drum kit that I do have, it's passable.

The Good:

  • It feels pretty good, not the same as a real drum kit but if you've ever played Rockband it won't feel too alien to you. 
  • The obvious quiet factor. It's refreshing not to get complaints. 
  • The crash is fairly intense and comes through almost as though you're playing a real kit.
  • Price: I didn't have to trade my kidneys to afford it. 
  • For newbie drummers the preset songs are a good way to get the feel of jamming with a band.
  • The build in metronome with adjustable time signature was a nice touch (but a lack of it would've been a major red flag) 
  • The 10th kit setting has a record scratching instead of the crash when hit. Not necessarily the best thing musically but I had a hell of a time with it.
The Bad:
  • If you want to hear your snare, you're out of luck, especially when plugged into speakers you can barely hear it. 
  • The pedals are unresponsive, especially for the high hat control. Often times you'll press down on the trigger and tilt to one side and not "closing" the hat. 
  • There is no real tactile feedback with the foot pedal, since it's not a hammer hitting the bass drum as per a real kit (this is fairly Ion specific, more expensive kits have a drum trigger for the bass drum as with the other drums). 
  • On a variety of kits the toms are too low as well. 
  • Speaker quality overall is poor. 
  • No easy way to record directly into a computer. 
  • Workmanship is shoddy and is dependent on the assumption that you're never gonna move the thing again.
 So the final verdict is this: should you have headphones and harbor no illusions about touting this thing to a band practice or (Atheos forbid) a gig, then you should be reasonably happy. With headphones and practicing on your own this kit works fine enough and is a fairly practical alternative to a full acoustic kit. Plus for the price you'd get the acoustic alternative is terrible, poor cymbals, shoddy drum heads and appalling to look at. So if you're looking for a kit to practice on indoors and quietly, then this is a decent buy.


17 comments:

  1. You dont get the same feel as a real drum kit though

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  2. I'm not much of a musician, but that looks insanely fun to play with when my cats are misbehaving. Despite my lack of musical prowess, this seems to be a solid review.

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  3. That looks awesome, not a bad price either. Shame about not being able to hear the snare though

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  4. cool stuff, I followed your blog,heres mine
    colinandnick.blogspot.com

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  5. i'd rather just play rockband tbh, sounds like there are more problems with this thing than i'd care to put up with even though i can't afford better :\

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  6. thats great, really if u have neighbours closeby I would recommend this aswell!

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  7. Atheos forbid, lmfao

    Nice review, glad to hear you don't completely hate the kit. :P

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  8. I'm sure it's a good for new drummers to test out their chops or whatever; practice and etc, but as far as I am concerned I would never buy one. Just doesn't seem like a reasonable purchase to me. Good post.

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  9. wow technology has gotten so advanced, this is pretty awesome.

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  10. It's great if you're like me and live in a unit with paper thin walls, and have almost no money. But when getting my own place, I would definitely get a real drum kit.

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  11. Never been a big fan of electronic drum kits, would rather use a DAW if i cant get a hold of real drums

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  12. it has such a weak feeling D:

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  13. as cool as those are, i feel they dont have the certain -ism about them that full drumsets do. that being said, i am not a drummer! ha

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  14. i bought one but i have no time ti do it and im not really good

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  15. These are great to practice on, I remember pissing my parents off so much when I was younger with my drum set.

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  16. I used to own a drum set. Obviously, they won't always give the same feel as a real one, but it's good if you don't have the money.

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