How Do Electronic Drums Work

  • By: Music Tech Geek
  • Date: April 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Over the years, the musical world has changed. Musical instruments transform daily, and this is the case with electronic drums. Typically, some people confuse sample pads and electronic drum pads. Unlike acoustic drums, electronic drums are quieter because they work electronically.

Since they have internal speakers, electronic drum pads can replace drum kits. However, it is possible to compliment your electronic drum kit using drum pads. Did you know that you can use sample pads to increase the sound range of your acoustic kit?

How Do Electronic Drums Work
How Do Electronic Drums Work

The sample pads can also add loops and effects to your electronic kit. Electronic drums consist of a module. MIDI signals, drum pads, and amplification tools.

Electronic drum pads are highly recommended to beginners and kids because they are quieter. Ergo, it is easy for teens and kids to practice in an apartment or shared accommodation without soundproofed walls or ceilings.

Electronic drums are preferred by many people, including professional drummers and singers, because they offer numerous benefits, for example, triggering bases.

What Makes An Electronic Drum Work?

Electronic drums work differently, relying on the Brain and Transducers. Here are essential details that can help you understand how electronic drums work.


They refer to trigger pads or drum triggers. Transducers are available in different forms that correspond to the electronic drum. Usually, Transducers are located in the housing unit. It is important to note that their playing surface is made of either rubber, silicone, or mesh, depending on the type or brand of the electronic drum. Since rubber pads are low quality, you can only find them on cheaper sets.

On the other hand, silicone and mesh drum pads are high quality and are only used to make expensive electronic drums. High-quality electronic drum sets have numerous trigger zones on each drum pad. The drums are high quality because the more trigger zones on each drum pad, the more sounds you can play.

Once the drum pad is hit, it sends a message to the brain or module, and the corresponding note is eventually produced in the form of a sound. The sound is relayed by a trigger which works depending on how you command it.

For example, if struck hard, it produces numerous signals, thus resulting in a higher volume and vice versa. Modern triggers are highly sophisticated because they can produce different sounds from different zones. They also have multiple pick-ups to facilitate dynamic triggering and responsiveness depending on the drum set is used.

The Brain

The module function as the brain of the drum set. For an electronic drum set to function correctly, each pad has a connected trigger to the module. Although the module’s primary function is sound production, it can offer more, including practice functions, drum kit sounds, and play-along backing tracks.

Ideally, numerous drum modules are available depending on their type, sound quality, and the sound effects they produce. The brain is responsible for producing a wide range of sounds. By pushing a button, you can play different music genres, for instance, hip hop, jazz, RnB, and rock.


You must connect the drum module to an amp or headphones to function. Otherwise, you will only hear the pads tapping. If you want many people to listen to you playing the drums, connecting the module to a small amplifier is ideal. However, if you are practicing alone in your apartment, consider using headphones, although they might get uncomfortable after some time.

Finally, it is crucial to learn a thing or two about MIDI signals. MIDI signals allow the electronic drum kit to communicate with a computer. This is one of the massive benefits of electronic drum kits compared to acoustic drums. Since all drum modules have a MIDI USB port, the drummer can connect the drum module to a computer. The module will then send signals to the computer.

Using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), you can record the drums as you play, making it easier and more efficient. Acoustic drums work differently because they rely on drum mics and an audio interface. If you want to get more drum sounds, you can download a Virtual Studio Technology (VST) program on your computer.

Why do drummers prefer electronic drum kits?

  • Recording flexibility – drummers can record as they play with MIDI capabilities and even get more sounds by downloading software. You can easily record an entire concert or practice session for later use.
  • Variety of sounds – since drummers get invitations to numerous concerts, they should play different music genres easily. Unlike acoustic drums, electronic drum kits can play multiple music genres with a button push. You need to own several acoustic kits with acoustic drums to play different genres.
    Portability – electronic drum kits are easy to carry and pack, unlike acoustic drums. Even if you own a big electronic drum, it can fit several cases. The cases weigh less, and they are easy to carry and pack. You can easily take your kit to a concert or store it at home.
  • Live gig convenience – electronic drums are ideal for live gigs. If you are not required to make noise, the drum is excellent due to the near-silent pad performance. But, if you want to entertain a large crowd, connecting the drum kit to an amp gets you the best live experience playing electronic drums.
  • Practice freedom – practicing drums is not easy, especially in an apartment or shared accommodation. However, you can practice without disturbing other people’s peace with your headphones. Additionally, electronic drum kits are available with built-in metronomes and practice songs. This means that you can practice with actual songs. Some modules have auxiliary inputs where you can plug in an MP3 player or CD to practice while listening to your favorite songs.
Why do drummers prefer electronic drum kits?
Why do drummers prefer electronic drum kits?

Electronic drum kits have revolutionized drumming and the entire music industry. If you contemplate owning an electronic drum kit, it is crucial to understand how they work and how to use them. Finally, thorough research is needed to choose the best drum kit, especially first-timers. Always invest in a high-end drum model for an excellent performance.

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