Hybrid drumming – using both electronic and acoustic drums in your setup – has been consistently popular since the 80’s. With advancements in technology it has gotten better and even more popular amongst drummers. The ability to incorporate and operate electronic pads into an acoustic set will widen your drumming vocabulary and open you and your music up to new textures, sounds and flavors.
There are a few different ways to approach this kind of set up. Option 1 would be purchasing a multi percussion pad set like the Roland SPD-SX or the Yamaha DTXM12. This unit allows you to hook up to headphones to it or go directly into a PA system. It’s a very small imprint that can easily be added to any drum set up. The main function for a unit like this is various sampling options or actual drum set sounds, which can be easily customized to suit a specific triggering sound you are looking for.
Option 2 would be to purchase electronic trigger pads and a separate drum module. Examples of this would be the Roland PDX8 and the Yamaha DTX700. The difference between this type of set up and a SPD-SX, is though you can hook up a couple external pads to it, you can hook up more than a few pads up with an actual drum module. The tones would be similar but, the set up would provide a more spread out approach, you could put pads all around the kit. Sampling with either one of these set ups is great for practicing/experimenting at home, a live situation if the band calls for this kind of a percussion or in the studio. You’ll want to hit the studio prepared with saved sounds and a basic idea of how and where you want to use the sounds.
The 3rd option would be using drum triggers such as the Roland RT-30 series, accompanied with a drum module. This would be more for triggering actual drum set tones. A lot of metal and heavy rock music prefer to trigger kick, snare and sometimes toms because, triggering provides consistency with instrument sounds, a strong attack and clarity that you can change up on the fly if you need to. There are many ways to add these kinds of sound options to your set up, some may work for you and some may not but, the fun part is experimenting with the sounds, set ups and see what works best for you.