How to transform your existing acoustic kit with electronics for unlimited creativity. Hybrid drums combine the best of both worlds!
There’s a mesh head revolution going on in the drumming world. Apartment living, the need for easy live sound reinforcement and project studio recording are on the rise feeding a need for great sounding quiet drum kits.
While some choose to go fully electronic, there is another group who choose to use their existing drum shells to create a hybrid acoustic electronic kit by fitting mesh heads and triggers.
Why do this? Apart from maintaining the look and feel of your acoustic drum kit, the beauty of it is in its versatility, the fact that you can mix and match your own drum sounds with electronic reinforcement allows you to leverage great benefits in practice, recording and live performance situations.
Let’s have a look at these situations the advantages in going hybrid with mesh heads and triggers.
Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Corporation Australia
Mesh heads and triggers open up ways to practice that just aren’t possible with a standard acoustic drum kit.
While it may be great fun to practice at full volume, not everyone has the living space to accommodate such practice. Therefore, most of us have to make do with practicing between odd times of the day with mutes that really dampen the feel and enjoyment of playing.
► Mesh heads are quiet
By their very nature, mesh heads allow you to play at full volume without disturbing your neighbours. With cymbal mutes or a set of electronic cymbals you can practice anywhere and anytime you like even at night.
► Triggers allow you to choose great sound
With an appropriate sound module, you can choose the ideal sound for the style you’re practicing. Change the rim sound on your toms to an Octoban for that Police cover or make your wooden snare sound like steel for some heavy metal drumming. Having a great sound to match the song you’re playing can increase your enjoyment and really help your playing.
► Mesh heads come in familiar sizes
Fitting standard drum sizes, mesh heads fit directly to your standard sized drums so you can use your existing shells and won’t have to adapt to playing a smaller kit. 22″mesh heads are also available as well as a complete kick drum trigger system to convert any kick drum.
Everyone loves the look of a full acoustic kit. However, in all but the smallest venues, your kit is going to need a few microphones to be heard throughout the room. Also changing conditions on stage can throw out the tuning of your kit in a bad way. A mesh head acoustic kit not only looks great on stage. It also allows you to get around these common issues.
► Lower Volume
With an appropriate drum monitor or fold back PA system, sound on stage is dramatically reduced meaning no more sore ears and much better communication between band members.
► Consistency of Sound
Do you ever find that the tuning of your kit is slipping in the middle of your set? Heat from stage lighting, accidental bumps or hardware wear and tear can affect the tone of your drum. With mesh heads and triggers, head tension does not affect the pitch and tone of your drum. So no matter what happens on stage you know your drums sound great.
► Simple setup, no fuss
Adding microphones to any instrument can add a host of issues. Mics can get in the way of your playing, cause feedback and usually require a sound guy to monitor. Using a mesh head kit means that no microphones or special positioning is required. Simply connect your module and plug-in your triggers and you’re good to go.
Making a recording with a fully acoustic drum kit in a specialised studio with top quality microphones is a great experience. However, many of us don’t have access to such facilities. Luckily, the drum sounds in electronic sound modules and software are recorded using these methods. Using mesh heads and triggers in your recording is an easy way to achieve studio quality drum sound on a budget.
► Record Anywhere
No specially treated room is needed to get a great drum sound in your project studio, bedroom or garage. Simply plug a USB cable and start recording.
► Easy Editing
Making minor changes to your performance is easy with a mesh head kit. You can speed up or slow down your performance and even move individual notes when recording your hybrid mesh kit via MIDI allowing you freedom of sound and perfect final results.
► Lower Cost
You don’t need a multi-channel audio interface, mixing console or expensive microphones. Just connect your module via the USB out to record directly into a computer. Mesh heads also have a much higher lifespan than acoustic heads saving you a lot of money.
If you are looking at ways to spend more time playing the drums, converting and enhancing your acoustic kit is easy and fun and could be the solution for you! There are many solutions already out there to help. Hopefully, you’ll find the process of creating your ideal kit fun and rewarding!