How Electronic Drum Kits Work, and How Pads are Affected
Author: Lachlan Bush Date Posted:1 June 2021
The Electronic Drum Kit
Electronic Drum kits are comprised of a few different parts. Firstly, you have the metal frame. This is the base of the drum kit and the start of the support structure for the drum kit. Next, you have the pads and cymbals. These pads are built to emulate how an acoustic drum feels. Next, you have the wiring harness, which transmits the signal from the pads and cymbals to the final element, the drum module / “brain”.
The module transmits and processes all of the drum hits in real-time. It translates the signal sent from the pad into sounds that are then played through the speakers in your amp or headphones. There are some limitations with these drum kits, and the pads do in fact have limits on how hard they can be played.
How EDK's Work
These drum kits use MIDI to make the audio work. We won't go into detail about what this means here, however, the most important thing to remember here is that the velocity/volume of each pad goes from 0-127. This means that you have 127 levels of how hard you can hit the drum.
At Artist Guitars our drum kits are built tough but all electronic drum kits have their limits. A common problem we have seen is people playing their drum kits so heavily that it actually results in the pad breaking and not sending sound.
How to Tell if a Drum Pad is Damaged
- To start with, it's best to get a gauge of how hard you need to hit the drum to get maximum volume, and then play a little softer than that. Max velocity won't sound good, nor be nuanced in its power range like a good drum should.
- Start out by hitting the snare pad really softly, and then work your way up to max volume. Once the volume stops increasing, even if you hit harder, you've found the limit. We recommend playing even a little softer than that.
- Once you've found the max for the snare, you can translate that to each pad. One key pad to work on is the bass drum, as it's quite easy to hit the bass drum too hard when using it as your kick.
- Test the levels and aim for something nearly full volume when playing at your max strength, but not quite maxed out.
If you consistently play at the maximum velocity it increases the likelihood of breaking your pads. These kits are durable but still need to be handled with a bit of consideration, and although our warranty covers you for 3-years, accidental damage caused by the customer mistreating the equipment is not covered.
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