The Quick Guide to Electronic Drums

Looking to buy an electronic drum kit, but not sure where to start? Our simple guide outlines the essential information that you need to know when it comes to buying your first kit!


What is an electronic drum kit

An electronic drum kit is a selection of pads and cymbals that replicate an acoustic kit. All the pads and cymbals plug into a module, which powers everything and is packed with a library of sounds. The biggest difference is that electronic kits are much quieter to use and can be played using headphones - preventing any potential arguments with the neighbours! An electronic kit also usually takes up less space and can sometimes be folded away. Unlike an acoustic drum kit, an electronic kit can have the sounds changed on each pad, selecting from the samples stored in the module. Most electronic kits will have a mixture of acoustic drum, percussion and electronic sound samples.

What are the Different Components of an Electronic Drum Kit?

Please Note: all electronic drum kits will be sold and photographed set up right-handed, but most of them are completely convertible to a left-handed set up with very little effort.

The Module

The module, sometimes called the brain, is what controls the whole kit and makes each part work, impacting the sounds on each pad, to the playback of any accompanying tracks. It can also be used to apply different effects and parameters within a given pre-set kit.


The module itself will make the biggest difference from one kit to another in terms of sound sample quality, sensitivity and pad reaction, not to mention of course budget. The more you pay, the more functionality you will have, e.g. Bluetooth connectivity, teaching functions, edit ability and sound control.

The Pads

The feel and response of the kit comes from the pads and more expensive kits will have a more natural feel, getting closer to that of an acoustic kit. These usually feature mesh rather than rubber drum heads.


The cymbal pads will also feel more natural the more you pay. More expensive kits will often feature a greater number of drum and cymbal pads, along with more substantial racks and hardware. However, it is often possible to upgrade what you already have, which is worth considering at the outset.

Common Features

Electronic drums have various features that you do not get on an acoustic kit, e.g. the ability to plug an external music source into your drum kit to listen to backing music and the drums at the same time. You can also control the volume of both through headphones.


Most kits will have an auxiliary input which allows a phone, tablet, laptop or any device with a headphone output to connect to the drum module. Another great feature a lot of electronic kits have are built-in teaching functions. This element will help a beginner and also a seasoned pro to practice their timing, and some even score you accordingly.


Most electronic kits have a record function that will allow you to record your practice sessions and help you to critique yourself. Where the electronic kit comes in to its own is external recording, plugging into a phone or laptop to record a drum track without hiring an expensive studio or disturbing anyone else with loud drumming. You can record with software or even trigger virtual instruments such as Toontrack Superior Drummer to improve the sound of your kit.

What Do I Need to Complete my Kit?

Electronic kits generally come with the module, all the pads and cymbals, the rack and the cables. Some confusion may start with the pedals, which for beginner kits will probably include both hi-hat and bass drum pedals. As you move up the price ladder, you probably won’t get a bass drum pedal and then when you go higher still, you’ll need to purchase a stand-alone hi-hat stand.

Additional products you will probably need to get started would be sticks, stool and headphones. Most stools are height adjustable and most headphones include an adaptor to fit all headphone sockets on different drum modules.


To help make it easier we have bundles that include everything you need (at various price points) to get yourself started. See the link below!


Finding your perfect kit comes down to buying something that fits your floor space as well as your budget, and hopefully gives you an instrument that inspires you to play drums for many hours at a time.
Many brands make electronic drum kits that are aimed at beginners, offering a comfy feel, great sound and a good learning experience on a budget.


When you treat yourself to a more expensive electronic kit you will have a better-quality kit which often will have a studier rack and better feeling pads. Overall, it will be better to play and will be more versatile and reliable. A longer warranty is a good benefit and a kit that is more future proof - allowing growth of your instrument as your ability grows alongside it - is a sensible consideration.


We only stock instruments, not toys. The brands we stock are, Alesis Tourtech and Roland. We also offer different bundle options for different budgets to make sure you get everything you need to set the drum kit up right out of the box.


If you want to know more about our beginner instrument offerings, click here! If you have any other questions, please contact us through the contact form on the website or just ring us on 01483 456777 and ask for the drum team.


  • Trigger: This is what is inside each pad and cymbal and turns the physical strike and vibration into an electronical signal that the drum module can translate into a sound.
  • Dual Triggers: A description of one pad having two sounds -e.g. the rim and head of a snare drum, or the crash cymbals choke, or the bell and bow on a ride.
  • Latency: This is any delay between hitting the drum and the sound coming out from it. Modern kits are very responsive and quick, so this shouldn't be an issue.
  • Loom: This is all the cables used to connect all the pads to the module. Modern kits don’t have the individual inputs the older kits have. Modern electronic drum kits tend to connect to the module by a D-pin loom, sometimes known as a snake.
  • Chokeable cymbals: This is a description of playing a cymbal and then muting the sound by clamping the cymbal between your fingers. Just like an acoustic cymbal, you can strike the cymbal and then stop the sound.
  • Mesh Heads: Type of pad surface that aims to recreate the feel of an acoustic drum kit.
  • Open Source: A drum module that will accept more samples into it so that you can update and add to the existing onboard library.
  • Preset: How many different drum kits there are on the module.
  • Aux-In: This is a spare input within the module that allows you to plug a music source into it, to hear both the drum kit and music through your headphones.
  • Inputs: How each pad is plugged into module and some have individual inputs and some have a d-pin cable loom
  • Samples: How a sound was created - e.g. is it a real drum that was recorded or a synthetically made one.
  • Layers: How many samples are layered on top of each other to create a sound.