You must have seen and heard a lot about electronic drum sets but do not know how the digital wonder can produce sounds. You might wonder how it matters whether you know about the working of drum sets when your only intention is to make good use of it. However, having some knowledge about the way the electronic drum kits (sets) work would help to handle the equipment better, help in troubleshooting and encourage your creativity. To make things easy for readers, instead of going into the technicalities behind the working of electronic drum sets, we will try to explain it in a layman’s language so that you can learn the basics about the working modalities.
Sound producing components
For producing the drumbeats and sounds, electronic drum sets (kits) require the transducers, which are visible as the trigger pads and the module or trigger interface. The transducer along with the replaceable trigger is kept inside a housing, under the playing surface that can be made from rubber. Sometimes, a woven head or mesh forms the drum shells. Multiple sensors placed on the playing surfaces of drums and cymbals helps the module to produce sounds produced by the striking of various parts of the instrument like the rim, and the head of the drum, bow or edge hits on a cymbal and the sound of the bell.
How the pads generate sound
Technology is a great leveler because although the pads might be available in different shapes and sizes and also differ in its type but they function in the same way. When you strike the pad, the transducer is first to react by sending an impulse to the module resulting in playing the note meant for that channel. When you hit the pad harder, it generates more and strong signals that translate into the louder volume. Similarly, lightly striking the pad generates weak signals that produce the quiet sound of lesser magnitude just as it happens in the case of acoustic instruments or drums.
Nuanced sounds reflect the drumming technique
What you have read so far represents the basic principle of working of electronic drum sets. Technology has allowed the creation of much more complex modules capable of producing nuanced sounds that accurately reflect the techniques of the drummer. With progress in technology and quality triggers becoming cheap, hybrid models are getting popular. This has made possible to include a multi-pad into the acoustic drum set, and you can even combine acoustic triggers with the trigger modules available. To capture the sounds produced by striking various parts of the instrument, you have to use multiple sensor pads mounted under the playing surface of drums and cymbals.
It is incredible to see how creative today’s drummers can be with the blessings of technology that allow them to produce new sounds beyond the traditional sounds of percussions and drums. With the help of electronic drum pads and a pair of sticks, they can now even create the effects of thunder and lightning provided it is included in the sound module.