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A's Vs. E's: A General Discussion Question

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  • A's Vs. E's: A General Discussion Question

    Hello, all. I had some thoughts and musings I would like to share with you and get your opinions.

    How do you choose your gear for a given project? By this I'm not asking for advice, I want to know what goes through your minds. If you play acoustics, how do you tune your drums? What cymbals do you select? For electronic buffs, will you stay with the same Patch for an entire evening(or afternoon, or what have you), or will you change it by song, or even by section? What kind of gigs do you say, "I think I'll break out the pads"?

    I just posted at the "Technical" board of this forum regarding some false triggering problems I've been having with my current setup, and many times today when wrestling with my pads, I thought to myself "Screw it! I'm going electric!" but then I realized, I wouldn't behappy with an electric kit for this project. I've put too much thought,(money) and effort into shaping my A kit to suddenly swap it out for a Roland. But then I recall it doesn't always have to be one or the other. A lot of people go the middle of the road. Heck, I've triggered snare samples to spice up a tune every now and again, and I've enjoyed it. But then, that got me to more thinking. Okay, hybrids are cool. I know hybrids are cool, I have ten different brands on my acoustic kit myself(No fooling, I actually counted), but okay, I go A/E hybrid, what do I put in? What do I take out?(This got me wondering, if you close-mike a hybrid kit, wouldn't you have to worry about picking up pad noise?)

    Now, here's a question for you: what got you started playing E's in the first place? What was your first system? Do you still have it? Do you still use it(if you upgraded or traded or something)? Also, if you find yourself playing E's a lot, do you still play your A's at all? If so, when? Here's a kicker for you: do you ever find yourself playing one type of kit, then realize that the other would have been better for this project? What do you do then?

    Well, thanks for listening to my musings. Or rantings, depending on how you want to see it. Write back, tell me what you think. Have a good week, all.


  • #2
    - what got you started playing E's in the first place?
    I was busy with electronical music (harcore house/techno) and I wanted to do more interesting stuff with rhythms than programming them.

    - What was your first system?
    An Alesis D4 brain with very old Roland pads and a Tama rack

    - Do you still have it?
    No! I got rid of it.

    - Do you still use it(if you upgraded or traded or something)?
    I got myself an acoustic kit, which was a very wise choice. I improved much faster with drumming after I bought my Sonor kit.
    Right now I've got a whole Ddrum4 setup as well, with two Roland CY-6 cymbal pads and again an Alesis D4 for the extra cymbals

    - Also, if you find yourself playing E's a lot, do you still play your A's at all? If so, when?
    Right now I play at home by myself only. I play my ddrum kit about 75% of the time (can't practise late night on my acoustics, other wise it would be 50-50). I somehow always feel a bit releefed (did I spell that right?? I guess not) when playing my acoustics after I've played my edrums for a long time.

    - Here's a kicker for you: do you ever find yourself playing one type of kit, then realize that the other would have been better for this project? What do you do then?
    I might be joining a band soon and I'll use a hybrid kit if it works out. I'm gonna trigger the acoustic drums and add a few pads.


    My Personal homepage - MPCman's E-drum Picsite! currently with 13 profiles
    Music was my first love...


    • #3
      I bought e's so I could practice in apartments and at night. I bought a roland v-club kit. I guess you could say I upgraded it, I built all new mesh-headed toms and snare. I am finding that I do not like Electonic drums that much. My acoustic playing has become sloppy and lazy. I have lost a great deal of my chops. It sucks knowing that your skills are decomposing every minute.....


      • #4
        Originally posted by animal:
        My acoustic playing has become sloppy and lazy. I have lost a great deal of my chops. It sucks knowing that your skills are decomposing every minute.....
        I tend to think that I am specialising on e-drums. I too have noticed that it becomes akward and difficult to play a's.
        I do not really mind... I play e's only.

        It is like the keyboard player who finds it difficult to play a piano. They're different instruments, and you should approach them as such.



        • #5
          With me, I never plan to return to As. I look at them as two different instruments. For example, with As, you have to almost develop separate techniques for each drum, cymbal ect. With Es, only two real surface differences (mesh head and rubber cymbal pad). This might explain why one gets sloppy on As after predominantly working on Es.


          • #6
            For home and band practice, I'm using e's exclusively now. I tried my a's at band rehearsal a few weeks ago, and it was fun, but too loud in the confined space we rehearse in (guitar player's 25' * 15' living room). It is truly unbelievable that we used to rehearse that way. Our singer said she loved it and missed going home with her ears ringing, but that is insane to me as it indicates she was permanently damaging her hearing. We all kind of miss the shot gun crack of the acoustic snare and the drapery moving thud of my 26" kick drum (no kidding), but I'll deal with that through some improved stage monitoring later.

            For recording, my biggest challenge has been overcoming the concerns of the other musicians about using e's but once they hear the result, they are won over. "Wow, those sound just like real drums!" I think the advantage of total separation vastly outweighs the inconveniences of playing around with the module to get the right sounds.

            The only area where I still use my a's is for light cymbal work in quiet, or spacey, songs that we are recording. I just can't seem to get the same range of sounds and subtle shifting from soft to loud with the e cymbals as I can with the a's. For straight ahead ride and crash though, the e's are good enough for what I'm doing, which is mostly home recorded demo's. If we were going to go into a studio for a true professional recording that was for release, with a professional engineer, I would probably get a good set of shells (because my current ones all rattle and hum at inappropriate times)and use my acoustic cymbals.

            For live gigs, I'm going to stick with the e's for now. We practiced in a big gym on a big stage a few weeks ago to get prepared to do some bigger halls if possible. I set my e's up and played a long loop and went out front to hear it and thought they sounded fantastic. I don't know what you could do to make acoustic drums sound better IMHO. Our only concern is the on-stage monitoring, which is kind of weak (KC-500 and TOA KD3) when everybody is cranking to the max, but I'll beef up my low end and add what I need to on stage if we actually get a gig in a big hall or outdoors. I did think though that the e's looked kind of small on a big stage. I'm adding some Pintech pads and cymbals and hooking them up to my backup module (TD-6) for some more sounds and visual impact.

            Rock On!


            • #7
              I have said this before: acoustic drums sound best at home and in a drum shop. On places where the room reverbations give a good acoustic sound and no other instruments or factors hinder that sound.

              Live things are different. To stay in race with the other (electronic/amplified) instruments, an acoustic drumkit has to be miked. And then the problems begin: limited dynamics and a coloured sound from the microphones, all kind of sound processors are added (efx, eq, limiters, compressors), mixers, amplifiers, loud speakers. And at the end of this all you have a processed acoustic drum sound. Anyhow: not the sound which you had at home.

              Here the electronic drums can help. Their sound, dynamics (etc) is as good as a miked acoustic kit. Sometimes even better.
              Next: with electronic drums you can plug and play. On festivals or short gigs (where there isn't much time to sound check) just plug and play is important.

              But I am human too. And electronic drums don't feel and (always) play like an acoustic drum. Hence I decided to keep my snare and cymbals, ocassionally trigger them and - along with some tom drumpads - have a kind of best of both worlds

              A hybrid kit, also ...


              • #8
                I have switch to E's only and have no regrets. I still play the occasional gig with someones elses A's which is fun and reminds me how much I love my E's. I sold my A's right away to get my first E's a Roland TD-7 kit. I sold to the church and got the TD-10 kit and have had no desire to go back to A's at all. The E's are just to easy to deal with small rooms or funny rooms to give up. Example: We play a high school auditorium and the PA was really boomy(a lot of lone end) my toms where kind of muddy no definition so with a simple touch of a button I raised the low EQ on each time and got my toms sounding great. I would have had to retune the toms with A's and that would have taken 3 times as long. For me the E's are the way to go I truly have no desire to play A's again, they have become a part of my band sound and my drum sound for that matter.

                Ted H.
                Ted H.


                • #9
                  I have been through a few sets of e-drums...I originally decided to go that route because of the endless *****ing of band members that "the drums were too loud on stage".....

                  So I brought the e's out live and yes, there was a quieter stage volume, but the tradeoff is that the onstage vibe is missing...

                  There is no advantage to e-s over a's as far as portablilty, at least in my situation...and it was never really a plug and play situation for me.....

                  there is no comparison to a's and e's as far as technique....its like playing an accordian vs. a Steinway Grand...

                  I've now gone strictly acoustics for live playing, and will be scaling my electronic home setup considerably down for basic late nite practicing and project studio midi recording.....


                  • #10
                    PUTT...A's sound better at home or in a music store??? I almost went and tossed when I read that. Usually ina music store, the heads are beat to crap, the drums are WAY out of tune...Kids beat the crap out of drums in a music store...nuff about that.
                    I have a very hybrid V pro kit and a Fibes maple shelled kit. I do not think I could ever get the warmness of my maple kit out of my V's...be it in a living room or a club. I bought my E kit strictly so I could have a kit at home as I live in a townhome. I never use the E's live, it was too distracting wondering about my signal, my mix. When I am out live I want my attention focused on music and playing.....
                    Roland TD50x
                    Acoustic- Spaun drums, Gretsch Drums & Paiste Signature Series cymbals.


                    • #11
                      Steve Gardner, we have good drum shops in Holland.

                      An addition to what I said:
                      Last tuesday (30. april) I played on a festival. They had a Tama Starclassic kit. Not the worst kit, we all know. The 10 inch tom sounded great, full of tone, air and vibe. The 12 inch tom sounded more flat and the 14 inch tom was muffled. So was the bass drum. The snare (a very good) Osan sounded the best of all drums.

                      But when the band started to play the entire drum sound was gone. Even the 10 inch tom which sounded so good when I tested it alone. Only the snare sound was still alive.

                      I wish I could take my hybrid kit there at that festival


                      • #12
                        I first bought E's (Alesis DM-5 and various Roland, Yamaha, Pintech, & Drum Tech pads) for apartment practice. Did a couple of casual gigs with them, and thought there was potential there, since my A's were so bulky.

                        Came into some unexpected cash, and had to make a decision: Buy a great set of DW A's or Roland V-Drums. Since I already had some good A's, I went with the V-Pro kit.

                        I still play acoustics, and use a hybrid kit with my main band. I guess I see it as "why limit yourself?" I can put together most any combination of A's and/or E's to fit any situation, so versatility is it for me. I may end up going with some triggered A's eventually, but I'm pretty happy for now.


                        Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.