How to Set Up an Electronic Drum Set

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Many drummers have moved from traditional acoustic drum sets to electronic drum sets due to their versatility and portability. An electronic drum set is set up essentially the same way as an acoustic kit, with a few key differences inherent to the electronic capabilities of the instrument and its compact size.

Things You'll Need

  • Electronic drum set
  • Drum stool
  • Amplifier or headphones
  • Assemble the rack system included with your electronic drum set. Rack-mount systems are usually highly adjustable and modular and can be modified to fit the needs of the player. The vertical poles supporting the rack should be extended to an appropriate height for the drummer. The sweeping arc of the rack should be adjusted so the player can comfortably reach all of the drums.

  • Attach the electronic drum pads to the rack system. Electronic drums are generally much shallower and lighter than traditional drums, making it easy to attach the drums in a wide variety of positions. For most drummers, a traditional setup will be familiar and comfortable. The drum representing the high tom should be in front and slightly to the left of you, with lower toms mounted to the high tom's right in descending order. The cymbals should be mounted on the upper rack beyond the toms.

  • Fix the drum module to the rack where you can easily reach it. For most drummers, the module will be placed either to the left of the high hat or to the right of the lowest tom. Look at the back of the drum module to see what type of inputs are included. Each input will most likely be marked with a traditional drum name, such as "snare" or "kick drum." Wire the drum pads to the module accordingly.

  • Decide whether you want to play your electronic drum set through an amplifier or headphones. Generally, whatever output device you use will be connected with a standard 1/4-inch guitar cable to the drum module's output port. If you use headphones, be sure to have a 1/8- to 1/4-inch adapter on hand.

  • Turn on your module and familiarize yourself with the menus and sounds available. The module will probably play a recording of acoustic drum sounds by default. Virtually all drum modules include an array of other effects and have the ability to simulate a range of acoustic drum sounds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with the various sound kits available in the drum module. Some modules may include media drives you can use to import new samples into your drum kit.
  • Many electronic drum pieces are more fragile than their acoustic counterparts. Be sure to securely store all of the parts in cases when you transport your electronic drum set.

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