Hybrid kits are in higher and higher demand, so I have taken a look at the best ways to create and expand your set ups.
We’re living in the age of technology, and music certainly hasn’t been left behind. You know what this means? We’re also in the age of ‘Hybrid Kits’. Hybrid kits are any drum kits that are paired with at least one electronic element, which could be a sample pad, a trigger module or even a full-blown electronic drum brain. More and more frequently, artists are looking for drummers with hybrid kits, as these electronic elements dramatically expand the capability of a drum kit.
If you haven’t already added a hybrid element to your kit, or are looking for ways to expand your set up, here are some ways you can make this happen!
Sample pads are probably the easiest way to expand the potential of your kit. They perform a variety of functions all in one package. If you don’t know where to start, look no further! I’ve chosen only a few for this list, but there are plenty of options out there.
Arguably the biggest player in terms of sample pads, the SPD-SX is a development on Roland’s hugely popular SPD-S, and is dubbed 'The Ultimate Percussive Sampling Instrument'. With its nine velocity-sensitive pads and two trigger inputs all linked to its 2gb of internal memory (roughly six hours of samples), this already dramatically expands the possibilities. Add on to that the three multi-fx, a sampling mode and a pedal input, the potential is huge.
The SPD-SX's major competitor is the DTX-Multi 12. The most obvious difference is that the Multi-12 has 3 more pads than the SPD-SX. Alongside this, it has an extra trigger input, as well as an extra pedal input. It’s far more capable of being used as a mini kit in its own right, and with its softer pads, its also designed to be played with hands or even fingers. The feel is very much a matter of opinion, with its softer pads vs SPD-SXs harder pads. It also has a smaller storage, but has a larger selection of onboard sounds!
The cheapest of the three options I’ve included here. With eight pads, two pedal inputs and two additional inputs, there’s a lot of freedom. It has 200+ onboard sounds, but no onboard storage for custom sounds. However, it does support up to 32gb memory cards to allow you to play a huge number of extra sounds. Like the SPD-SX, the pads light up when triggered, which certainly looks great.
We do have these pads out on display so do come in and try them to make your final decision!
Trigger Modules and Triggers
A trigger module is possibly the cheapest way to create a hybrid kit. For those of you who are unfamiliar with trigger modules, they are simply electronic units that take inputs from either acoustic drum triggers or trigger pads, to produce electronic sounds.
The Roland TM-2 is a very simple option out there to expand your kit. It has two inputs, for both single and dual-triggers, to trigger one of its 100+ onboard sounds or any custom sounds loaded on to an SD card. It also has several powerful effects to manipulate the sounds. It can even run off battery power for the simplest of setups. However, you’re going to need triggers or trigger pads!
A drum trigger is a transducer that clips onto an acoustic drum, which when played, prompts an electronic unit, such as a trigger module, to play a sampled sound. There are different triggers for different drums, and you can get either single triggers or dual triggers which can be activated by different parts of the drum. Here at Wembley, we stock Roland, Ddrum, 2Box and Yamaha triggers. An easy rule to follow is to buy the triggers of the same brand as your module or sample pad. There are various differences, such as Yamaha’s solid housing, or Ddrum’s ‘Dual Redundant Triggers’, which allows you to switch to a backup transducer for a guaranteed flawless performance.
A trigger pad is a rubber, or similar, head that once struck, triggers an assigned sound on a module. Pads can be various shapes and sizes and used in different contexts depending on the need. Depending on how many inputs you have on your module or sample pad, you can gradually grow your kit with extra pads! A somewhat smoother transition into using a hybrid kit. To have a look at our stock, click here!
A little different from the above is the SPD::ONE. In 2017, Roland brought out a series of an all-in-one electronic percussion pads. These were the SPD::ONE Kick, Electro, Percussion and WAV Pad. Each model, excluding the WAV Pad, holds a number of sounds (relating to which pad it is), built in FX, and the ability to import your own sounds. The WAV Pad allows you to load up to 360 minutes of stereo audio, and even route a click track to your headphones only. As the SPD::ONE relies on no other gear to support them, they are easy additions to make or expand a hybrid kit.
A little less exciting than the above ideas, but I needed to make sure to add this on, as it is key. With any of the above additions, be it the Yamaha DTX-Multi 12, the Roland TM-2 or the SPD::ONE, you’ll need to think about where you want them to placed around your kit. Therefore, you’ll need to think about what hardware you’ll need! It’s difficult to suggest what hardware, as the possibilities are near endless, but if you’re unsure about what would work best for your intended set up, come into Wembley Music Centre and ask our drum team to offer some suggestions!
The possibilities truly are endless when it comes to developing a hybrid kit. And for those of you unfamiliar with it, it really need not be daunting. Always think about what you currently need, then what you think you’ll need 6 months down the line, to both save yourself going overboard, and from limiting the growth of your kit in the future!