More and more starting and professional musicians today are setting their eyes on a stylish and capable electronic drum set to help them evolve their skills and enrich their music. A drum module is the very heart and soul of any modern electric drum kit and, therefore, should be chosen with much attention and care. Below is my list of top-5 best drum modules to check out in 2021. Hopefully, these detailed acoustic drum trigger reviews will help you make up your mind about which unit is the best fit for your needs and budget.
The undeniable winner is the Roland TM-2 Acoustic Drum Trigger Module since this unit efficiently combines impressive functionality with a user-friendly interface and affordable price tag. It is very versatile and well suited to meet the needs of different types of drummers. If you are a professional musician looking for an advanced device, you might also be interested in checking out the more high-end Roland V-Drums TD-50 module, which is another popular and widely praised option on the market today.
- The Best Drum Modules You Can Buy in 2021
- 1. Roland TM-2 – The Best Drum Module Overall for Novice-to-Professional Users
- 2. Yamaha DTX502 – The Best Drum Trigger Module For a Hybrid Drum Set
- 3. Roland V-Drums TD-50 – The Most Advanced Drum Sound Module For Professional Drummers
- 4. Alesis Nitro Drum Module – The Best Cheap Drum Module Pick For Entry-level Users
- 5. ddrum DD1M PLUS – The Best Drum Trigger Module For Semi-professionals
- Buyers’ Guide: How to Pick a Drum Module That Would Be Ideal For You?
- Final Word of Advice
The Best Drum Modules You Can Buy in 2021
Below, we would like to provide you with a list of the finest drum modules available on the market right now.
1. Roland TM-2 – The Best Drum Module Overall for Novice-to-Professional Users
Despite its compact size and rather modest looks, the Roland TM-2 model is an excellent acoustic drum trigger module that packs a lot of versatility and power. It is one of the best options for novice drummers who are just learning the basics and need an intuitive but functional instrument for reasonable money. It is also something professional musicians can use for music production or when recording in studios. The Roland TM-2 module comes in very handy as an auxiliary percussion unit or a backup module that you take with you during gigs and concerts.
The design of the module is kept simple as not to confuse inexperienced users. However, the interface behind it is impressive, featuring a total of 100 professional sounds, numerous sound-enhancing effects such as reverb, delay, and flanging, an easy-to-use SD slot, and MIDI conversion for connecting to other controllers. Connectivity has never been an issue for this model as it works equally well with drum pads and acoustic drum triggers.
- Model: TM2
- A Convenient and Affordable Way to Create a Powerful Hybrid Drum Kit
- Amazing sound quality;
- The ability to craft and customize your sounds;
- Compact and portable;
- Easy-to-use and integrates well with plenty of drum sets;
- It is a very reasonably priced option.
- Lacks editing options.
2. Yamaha DTX502 – The Best Drum Trigger Module For a Hybrid Drum Set
The Yamaha DTX502 unit is a superbly versatile tool that will become a great pick for both electronic drum module users and people looking for a hybrid drum setup. It is an improved version of the older DTX500 model, which offers a bunch of exciting novelties like 250 great additional sounds and up to 12 trigger inputs that enable you to connect and play a full-fledged drum set.
The module gives easy access to a total of 691 individual sounds and 50 kits mixed and optimized specially for Yamaha DTX. The fascinating collection of perfectly tuned drum and cymbal voices will help take your drumming up a notch. One will surely be amazed at the remarkable level of expression and detail that this averagely priced drum module can offer.
The Yamaha DTX502 model comes with USB connectivity, meaning you can record your sounds straight onto your PC or load sound samples to the module and appoint them within a particular drum set. One of the best-selling features of this module is its responsiveness. The design is simple and polished, and the user interface here is super-intuitive and easy to come to grips with.
- 691 Drum and percussion sounds plus layer and import options
- Add up to 4 single zone pads for a total of 12 pads
- A collection of 691 drum and percussion sounds;
- A lightweight model that is easy to move around;
- The model allows up to 12 trigger inputs;
- Good value for money.
- Comes short of a 5-pin MIDI connection.
3. Roland V-Drums TD-50 – The Most Advanced Drum Sound Module For Professional Drummers
The Roland V-Drums TD-50 model would easily be my top pick across every category if it were not for its heavy price tag. This exceptional drumming tool is one of the most advanced options available on the market today that can be used at high-profile live concerts and professional studio music production. The expressiveness and level of sound detailization are off the charts here.
Among the most prominent characteristics of the Roland V-Drums TD-50 module, there is an enhanced processor and an innovative Prismatic Sound Modeling technology capable of catching every single element of your play and rendering it in astonishing detail. The module packs over 100 drum kits, 30 thrilling multi-effects, a top-notch onboard equalizer, and tons of modeling options for every single sound.
The number of ins and outs available here cannot but dazzle. On top of a whopping 14 trigger inputs, there are three innovative digital trigger inputs, stereo master outputs, eight direct outputs, an input for an SD card, and a stereo mix input.
- Loaded with over 400 expressive instruments;
- The Prismatic Sound Modeling engine allows an unlimited number of sound modeling options;
- The unit offers incredible build quality and superb functionality.
- Too expensive;
- The interface might be overly complicated for drummers with minimal experience.
4. Alesis Nitro Drum Module – The Best Cheap Drum Module Pick For Entry-level Users
The Alesis Nitro drum module is a decent entry-level option suitable for beginners and budget-conscious drummers. The lightweight and compact Alesis drum module provide a sensible choice of 385 samples and sounds, including a collection of 40 preset drum kits and 60 play-along tracks, all easily accessible from the soundbank on the module. The kits that you can find here feature varying styles – from jazz, pop, and rock to electronic and percussive bits.
One of the best options offered by the Alesis Nitro drum module is the ability to store your own custom drum set arrangements. There is also a wide range of learning features implemented here, such as an onboard metronome, an advanced performance recorder, and an up-to-date sequencer. The USB MIDI connection allows linking the module to your PC or smartphone quickly and easily, and the headphone jack promises a more secure and enclosed practice session of drumming.
- Includes: Alesis NITRO module, rack clamp, cable snake harness, power adapter and user manual
- 40 ready-to-play classic and modern kits—385 drum and percussion sounds
- The ability to store custom drum set configs on board;
- A lot of learning potential for beginners;
- Easy to install and use;
- The module is an excellent value for money.
- The sound quality lacks the expression and detail that the more expensive units can offer.
5. ddrum DD1M PLUS – The Best Drum Trigger Module For Semi-professionals
The ddrum DD1M PLUS module is a solidly built and durable unit that can be used in a variety of settings – from garage gigs to semi-professional studio sessions. The module comes with an extensive choice of 335 percussion and drum sounds, 24 preset kits, 60 preset play-along songs, and 11 kits that users can program themselves.
The module is capable of delivering a consistently good quality of sound and reliable functionality. The unit features a total of 9 inputs – 8 for triggers or electronic pads and one more for a hi-hat controller. The module boasts USB and MIDI connectivity and has an old-school aux input for MP3 playback.
- DD1M PLUS Drum Module
- 8 Inputs for Triggers or Electronic Pads
- Intuitive and polished design;
- Durable and lightweight;
- 335 total sounds;
- A budget-friendly option.
- Not the best sounding bass drum trigger module.
Buyers’ Guide: How to Pick a Drum Module That Would Be Ideal For You?
It is essential to make careful and informed choices when buying a drum module since the set of features you decide on will ultimately affect the quality of your sound and your performance in general. If you make the right call, you will end up with a reliable instrument that will help augment your musical skills and promote your talents. However, focusing on all the wrong characteristics will likely leave you frustrated and massively dissatisfied with your purchase.
Below is a step-by-step manual on how to pick the device that will be well-matched to your individual drumming needs and, at the same time, will not be a heavy burden on your budget.
Step 1. Pick a product whose sample library is adequate to your skill level.
An electronic drum module is a superb recording device that provides impressive quality of the sound, which perfectly imitates acoustic drum sets. The majority of modern modules come with excellent sample libraries.
An entry-level, cheap drum module usually offers only under 100 sounds, while a premium drum sound module can give you more than 1000 of those. A novice drummer will feel more confident with a low-spectrum instrument that can help them get started smoothly, avoiding unnecessary confusion. At the same time, professional percussionists will be better off with a more advanced kit, featuring an SD card or other slots to enable the import and customization of their sounds.
Step 2. Make sure there is no delay in the sound.
A delay between the live sound and the sound in your headphones is a frequent problem that is more inherent in a cheap sound module but can also sometimes be found in some more expensive kits, making your music sound very off. If you want to always stay on the beat, make sure this delay is nonexistent.
Step 3. Look for units that allow downloading sound variations.
Mostly all of today’s electronic drum modules come with a variety of percussion options, offering you drums, bells, and plenty of other sound effects. However, only the best electronic drum module will let you download sound variations, which are very helpful if you are playing techno or other electronic music and want to customize the sound to your own needs and style.
Step 4. Choose the drum module that gives you the most authentic feel and sound.
If you want your module to give you the genuine playing feel of acoustic drums, you will have to pick one of the higher-end options. The more advanced the device is, the more flexibility you have in adjusting the responsiveness and velocity of your module and changing the equality setting of separate pads and cymbals. Additionally, you can get yourself a midi drum trigger interface, which works as an input expander for pretty much all drum modules.
Find the answers to all your drum module related questions.
Do you need a drum module for triggers?
Triggered drumming is made easier by the use of a drum module. However, having a full-fledged electronic drum trigger module is not an absolute must if you already own an external sound module capable of storing pre-sampled sounds. Just throw in a trigger-to-MIDI interface, and you are good to go.
What is the best Roland drum module?
The assortment of Roland drum modules is vast, and it keeps expanding year by year. Which unit to choose depends heavily on your budget, playing style, and current skill level. In my opinion, the Roland TM-2 acoustic drum trigger module is definitely worth your attention since this is one of the most powerful and versatile units and also the best sounding drum module in its price range.
If you aren’t planning to skimp when buying the best electronic drum set for metal, you may want to check out the TD-50 model. This advanced unit is the flagship module among Roland’s electronic drum sets that offers an extraordinarily authentic drumming experience.
How to connect two drum modules?
Many drummers are fascinated by the idea of experimenting with the sound that two modules may produce when mixed. To make the connection smooth and hassle-free, try the following:
- Make sure the two models are compatible, at least to a certain extent.
- Try the plugging-in approach first. Use the auxiliary cable of one module and plug it in the auxiliary headphone output of the other drum module. Do not forget to set patch levels to a lower volume when inserting the headphone jack into the mixing jack.
- Another way to go about this is to use a MIDI cable to link one module’s MIDI out with the other module’s MIDI in. This method is helpful in situations where your first module does not sound as good as the other one, and you want to be able to borrow the sound of the second unit while hitting the pads of the first module.
- If none of the said methods worked, you might want to see what other ways to expand your electronic drumkit exist.
What equipment do I need to record my drums using MIDI?
The equipment you will be using for this purpose includes:
- a medium-power computer;
- either a USB cable, a MIDI-to-USB converter, or a MIDI drum module;
- virtual drum software or a digital audio workstation.
Final Word of Advice
Buying the best value electronic drums is not an easy task, no matter how many drum trigger reviews you read. It takes time to find the one module that will effectively address all of your needs and wants. I believe that the Roland TM-2 module will be an ideal pick for a wide range of new and professional drummers, but the ultimate decision depends on the person’s unique requirements.
I appreciate feedback and hope you can tell me which electronic drum module you have. Also, share your opinion on what you consider the best drum trigger software in the comments section below!