Deciding whether to opt for a digital or acoustic drum kit can be a tough one – especially as they’re so similar yet so different. So many questions!? Which is the cheaper option? Which is loudest? Which is easiest to tune? The list goes on. The first thing that you have to consider is how you play. What type of music do you play? Where do you play? What’s your budget? Fear not – I’ve comprised a list of the main differences between digital and acoustic drums to help you (finally) decide which one to go for.

Advantages of electronic drum kits

  • Electronic drum kits take up less space than an acoustic set, and are great for temporary stage use. If space is an issue, they can be set up in a much smaller area and are more portable.
  • If you are considerate of your neighbours and want to play into the early hours, electronic drum kits can be used with headphones for quiet practice. This doesn’t mean that you can’t play on stage, as you can also plug them into an amp, without the use of microphones to pick up the sound.
  • You are not limited to playing conventional drum and percussion sounds. They can adapt to the style of music you need to play and are great for recording and editing. You can even play along with a CD or music track.
  • The best part? There is no need to tune them and no worrying that they will not stay in tune throughout a gig.
  • There are some great features on electronic drum kits to aid the learning process. Most models have a built in metronome to ensure you’re playing in time, with the added bonus of listening to yourself play through the headphones.


Advantages of acoustic drum kits

  • They definitely look the part and provide a greater presence on stage as part of a band set up thanks to the traditional design.
  • When learning to play the drums, technique is important. On an acoustic drum kit you can learn drum rolls, cymbal swells and hi-hat techniques and learn to perfect them.
  • You are not limited to playing with just drum sticks, acoustic kits enable you to experiment with brushes and mallets to create different effects.
  • You are not restricted to the drum kit you buy. You can always add on drums or cymbals and build the kit to suit your needs. As you progress as a player, your kit can progress with you.
  • They are much louder and there is no need for amplification. This makes the sound more natural. If you did want to play a bit quieter, you can always practice quietly using neoprene practice pads.


Our recommendations

Electronic drum kits:

Alesis Electronic Drumset with Portable Folding Rack

Carlsbro CSD120 Drum Kit Bundle

Alesis Eight-Piece Drum Kit with Forge Drum Module

Acoustic drum kits:

Stagg TIM J 5 Piece Junior Drum Kit.

Yamaha Stage Custom 700 Series Drum Kit. 

Mapex Tornado 111 22 Inch Rock Fusion Drum Kit. 


About the author

Jack is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Normans Musical Instruments and has been in this post since September 2012 after Graduating from University with a degree in Music. Jack's expertise is in guitars, technology and live sound although he does have a very well rounded knowledge of all aspects of Music. href="">Add Jack to your Circles on Google+