When it comes to recording drums, people may argue that acoustic drums are better than electronic or vice versa.
And you can come up with ten or twenty various arguments why one type of drum is better. However, it depends on many different things.
Both types have their pros and cons and acoustic drum can be better in one situation but for a particular case, electronic drums might be much better.
So, in this post, I will explain the difference and benefits of both types of drums and talk about which type of drums are better for recording.
Difference Between Acoustic And Electronic Drums
First, let’s talk about what’s the difference between electronic and acoustic drums and then see what benefits both types have.
So, the first and obvious difference is that an acoustic drum is an acoustic instrument, and electronic drums are digital instruments.
Acoustic drums are made from different wood such as Maple and poplar and use plastic drum heads for snare and toms. Cymbals are made from a copper alloy and bronze which gives its definitive sound.
On the other hand, electronic drums use plastic pads for snare, toms, and cymbals and don’t produce sound. They need a drum module to sound and this module allows you to choose the sound of a drumkit or individual pads.
Because of that, each drum sound different, and also, playing feels different. With acoustic drums, you get the sound depending on the configuration and you control the dynamics.
But with electronic drums, you control the sound and dynamics with the module. It allows you to choose a custom sound and also, shape the drum sound and add effects.
And there are no other significant differences between them other than price, ease of use, convenience, etc.
Acoustic Drum Benefits
Acoustic drums have many benefits and it’s my favorite type of drums but it doesn’t mean that they are better than electronic drums. I just love the natural sound and dynamics.
With an acoustic drum, you control the dynamics and feel of the sound. And you can change the feel of the whole song too. And that’s almost not possible with electronic drums.
Also, when you record drums with an acoustic drum set, you have unlimited options to create any sound you won’t with various mic placements. Then you can mix your drums any way you want.
So, if you like the real drum sound, and want to have dynamics, and full control over the sound, acoustic drums are great for that.
In general, acoustic drums are good for:
- Learning – Acoustic drums are the best for beginners who just starting to learn to play drums. You will learn how to control dynamics, how it feels to play on real drums, etc.
- Gigging – Of course, if you are gigging musician or are in a band, acoustic drums are great for that. Yes, you can use electronic drums in small clubs and studios, but acoustic drums are better.
- Recording – Acoustic drums are the best way to record rock, metal, pop, or any other genre. Also, recording engineers use drum samples to blend with acoustic drums to make the sound more powerful.
Electronic Drum Benefits
Electronic drums have many benefits and sometimes it’s better to use them instead of acoustic drums.
For example, electronic drums are more compact in size and they are great for small rooms and recording studios.
If you are a beginner, I recommend acoustic drums but as you progress, you can get an electronic drum set because they are great for practice. You can use headphones for silent playing.
Additionally, with drum modules, you can create bizarre sounds and effects which can’t be done on acoustic drum sets.
In a nutshell, electronic drums are good for:
- Practice – Electronic drums are great for practice. You can use it at your home or if you are gigging musician, you can warm up on electronic drums.
- Recording – Although I prefer acoustic drums for recording, you can get good results with electronic drums too. Especially, if you record EDM tracks or want to have some unique sound effects.
- Sound effects – Drum modules allow you to not only choose different drum kits but also add various effects such as reverb, delay, and much more which expands the capabilities.
Which One Is Better For Recording?
So, as you can see both types of drum sets are great, have their benefits, and can be used in different situations.
But what about recording? Which one is better to record drum tracks, why, and in what situations you should use acoustic and electronic drums?
That depends on many things but I will try to give you recommendations and suggestions based on my personal experience.
When To Use Acoustic Drums
If you mostly record blues, rock, metal, or other instrument-based music, you should definitely use acoustic drums.
It will give you better results and will sound more natural. But you have to consider a couple of things before recording.
And one of them is the room space in your home studio. Acoustic drums require more space and if your studio doesn’t have enough space, then it might not work.
Also, you must have good acoustic treatment in your studio to record good-sounding drum tracks.
So, if you have a budget, space in your room, and an acoustically treated room, then you should use acoustic drums in your home studio.
When To Use Electronic Drums
On the other hand, you should use electronic drums if you are on a budget or have a small room. Because you can find good and affordable electronic drums and they are more compact in size.
Also, electronic drums don’t require room treatment because you don’t need to use microphones to record them.
Another benefit of electronic drums is the sounds and presets. Good electronic drums like those in this list come with drum modules that offer effects, drum sounds, and presets. So, it might be a better choice for you.
Also, if you mainly record EDM tracks or want to create awkward sound effects, or just experiment, electronic drums are great for that.
However, if the money or studio space is not an issue for you, then having both types of drums is the best option.
Acoustic vs Electronic Drums FAQ
There are many other things about electronic and acoustic drums and it’s hard to cover all topics.
So, here are some frequently asked questions about both drum types and you may find your answer here.
Is Acoustic Drum Better Than Electric?
It depends. Acoustic drums are great to record rock, metal, and other instrument-based songs. For EDM or weird effects, an electronic drum is better.
Does Electronic Drum Sound Real?
Although it’s digital, modern electronic drums produce very high-quality, real drum sounds and you don’t need an expensive drum kit to achieve that.
What Type Of Drums Are Better For Beginners?
If you are just learning to play drums, I recommend some beginner acoustic drums. However, if you already know a little bit, electronic drums would be a great practice instrument.
As you can see, electronic and acoustic drums are great in their own way and can be used for multiple situations. Both types are great for recording, you can use them on stage, and each drum type offers its unique sound and features. For complete beginners, acoustic drums are better but for small home studios, I recommend electronic drums.