Hybrid Drumming

What do you need to start hybrid drumming?


Here are the devices you’ll need to start hybrid drumming. If you have a tight budget you can still get everything off of eBay. If you need any help don’t hesitate to email me: aram (at) hybriddrumming.com

Needed equipment

In order to start hybrid drumming now you will need:


  1. Your acoustic drum set
  2. Triggers to go on your acoustic drums or trigger pads to setup with clamps to your rack or to your cymbal stands.
  3. An electronic drum module / Sampler / Trigger module with laptop + Software
  4. A few jack cables to connect your triggers to your module
  5. Headphones (because speakers are not a great solution)


    • Modules (Samplers / Drumcomputers / DAW’s and Software)


In order to play electronic sounds with your (triggered) acoustic drums or with pads, you will need a drum module or a sampler. This is the BRAIN. This is the most important piece of equipment for a hybrid drummer because it is the piece of gear that will be producing all the sounds. And there are a few differences here. Let’s see:
  1. A drum module is this box you get when you purchase your e-drumset. So it’s an all-in-one “brain”. It usually comes with different Factory kits and some user kits for you to edit and match your own sounds!
  2. A sampler is something like the Roland SPD-SX or the Yamaha DTXMulti 12. It is made for you to put it along your drum set to play single hits or different layers of sound. Here you can load all kinds of sounds to your sampler. And most of these samplers give you the possibility to plug in a few more trigger Pads as well…
  3. The third kind of modules are trigger modules that “translate” your trigger hits to midi like the Alesis Trigger i/o. And usually the signal can be sent as a USB signal to your DAW (digital Audio workstation like ableton Live, Logic, cubase and so on…)
The third is my own favourite because once you start getting into software, your hybrid drumming gets REALLY limitless.
But never mind if you own a sampler or a drum module! Most will enable you to interact with your DAW, because most of them support midi (or have USB which is still Midi!, more on this later…)


    • Triggers (Triggers / Trigger pads)


There are many kinds of triggers out there with different duties to fulfil. There are electronic pads (usually black) that are made to produce the quietest sound possible when you hit them so you wouldn’t wake up your neighbours. Those come in different sizes and shapes… Snare pads, tom pads, bass drum pads and cymbal pads. And other triggers can be just attached to your acoustic drums, and they would produce a trigger signal as you hit your acoustic drum, that being a snare, tom-tom, bass drum and so on…
Some pads as well as triggers are dual or stereo… This means that they contain two different zones that trigger different sounds (send different trigger signals or midi notes). Usually it’s a cymbal pad that has a bell and an edge sound or a snare that has a head and a rim sound.
One thing you’ll have to consider is the cable you are using. for the stereo pads/triggers you’ll habe to use a stereo jack (symmetrical). otherwise you won’t be able to hear the second sound.


    • Headphones / Speakers


I prefer using headphones over speakers or wedges. The reason is that your drum set is already very loud, adding speakers will have you bombarding your ears with your loud drums PLUS your electronic sounds. The benefit of playing with headphones is that they reduce the volume of your drums and give you a clearer reproduction of your electronic sounds. Now let’s pause for a second right here!!! I know this is a problem… many drummers say: playing with headphones is not the real deal! And yes that is true. But you know what? There is a simple trick to get your “real deal” sound while still having headphones on! Ready? The answer is called microphones!!!! YES! There you go…
So here is what you need for the amazing secret for your monitoring:
  1. A mic: the most suitable would be a small diaphragm microphone (usually used as an overhead mic or as a hi hat mic). Costs under 100€…
  2. A mixer desk (for around 50€)
  3. Headphones (plus extension cable)
This setup will give you the possibility to hear everything happening around you in a humane volume! So the microphone replaces and SAVES your ears.
That’s it! And this would give you the following:
  1. No loss of “real deal” drum sound
  2. No loss of hearing! Huge thing by the way.
  3. Gives you the ability to run your metronome thorough the mixing desk, so you have a nice mix of your drumming, click and your electronic sounds.
This has been my setup for the last 7 years and i hope i had discovered this earlier. I use it while practicing with my bands as well as live, when the sound guy has a limited amount of monitoring lines. And the best thing about it is, you have your own sound everywhere you go.. No bad sound surprises in small gig situations.

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