For more than two decades, drummers have used electronics to trigger acoustic drums. I know this makes you wonder whether the technology was there already.
Well, we know, electricity has always been with us. However, triggering hardware and software was not as advanced as we see today.
And that is why today, we can see an increasing interest in triggering acoustic drums.
Well all need to embrace technology, right? Well, why should drummers be left behind?
We shall be looking at what triggering means, how it is done, and why it is important. Also, I will take you through a review of the best drum triggers in the market.
When beginners hear about the concept of drum triggering, they get scared, thinking it is complicated. However, it is very simple.
In a situation where a drummer uses a drum trigger, the drum trigger/acoustic drum combination becomes like an electronic drum pad.
And perhaps you are already wondering how this done. What equipment or accessories is needed?
Don’t sweat yourself. This is why I am here; you help you see just how simple things can be.
What is an Acoustic Drum Trigger?
Electronic drum sets have become quite popular with modern society. They use a module to trigger sounds from drum pads.
This means the player has more control of the sound and the volume. They can play different drum kits and for various genres of music without having to change the drum set.
But electronic drum sets don’t sound a natural as the acoustic ones. This is why most professional drummers don’t use them.
Acoustic drums, on the other hand, do not offer much control. But they sound great. This is why they are the best choices for all drummers.
So, drummers need a way to combine the functionality of e-drum sets with the sounds of acoustic drums.
Still not wondering how this is possible?
Note then; electronic drum pads cannot produce sound without the module. It is this device that converts the mechanical energy of hitting the pad into sound.
In the case of acoustic drums, we use the drum triggers; well, modules are also drum triggers. But I will get into that shortly.
Now let’s try to break this down.
The principle of sound
Consider for a moment, the nature of sound. When you play or hit something like a guitar, a piano, a windpipe, or anything else, the sound is produced as a result of that striking.
As you may already know, sound travel through vibration, which resonates at a specific frequency before your ear picks it up. Try talking right now, for instance, your vocal cords are vibrating at a frequency, right?
Yes, and your brain interprets these vibrations as speech and words. The surface you strike – you vocals, the tough and other parts of the mouth involved in speech – becomes the “trigger,” or rather, the source of the sound.
This is the same thing that happens with drums. The drum head vibrates when you hit an acoustic drum, creating sounds. The sound vibrates at a specific frequency, of which the tension of the drum head controls.
When the frequency of vibration changes, you get a different pitch. And the tone of the drum heads is controlled by various factors, like the type of drum head, the shell, and the damping intensity.
Even with electronic drums, the process is the same. The mesh or pad on the V-drums causes a vibration that is picked by a sensor.
Your ear picks the sound, the brain process, and decodes it. The drum module on e-drums does the same thing. But the module does more than acoustic shells. It can adjust the tuning/pitch, tone, and the shell material. And this is why another name for e-drum modules is “the brain.”
Now, about Acoustic Drum Trigger
The sound produced by acoustic drums and cymbals is limited to the available instruments. In a four-piece drum kit, with a ride and h-hat cymbal, you can only get a particular set of sounds from those pieces.
On the other hand, a 32-piece monster with all sorts of gear will lead to more soundscape.
But instead of having all these instruments, what if you can trigger additional electronic sound while playing the acoustic set? You can do this using an acoustic drum trigger.
This is a special device used to work as the module for acoustic drums. It gives more control and elevates the imagination of the drum player.
Is Drum Triggering Applicable?
The best way to understand how vital drum triggering can be is to visit a club.
In a case where drum triggers are used for club work, you can hear different sounds in every room. The PA quality is often disappointing. And there is nothing to be pride in the quality of microphones, among other things.
You, drumming is not like playing bass and guitar, where the player has more control over what the audience gets. Hence, we use triggering of quality sounding drums to solve these issues.
When you plug the drum trigger into the sound module, you will need a ¼ cord to connect to the PA. It can also connect your drum amplifier.
What you get is wonderful crushing sounds you here from the studio. And the device can help you alter the drum sounds to meet the song.
You will not hear the loud guitars in your ear anymore. Fewer mics mean clear, punchier, and louder drums in the PA system. What is more, the instruments will not be confusing thinks.
And now, notice how recording hardware and software have developed over the years. Today, you can recording in a home production studio. Triggering makes it possible to play the drums, record the overheads and the drum performance in MIDI and audio.
In case you want to change the drum sounds, you don’t have to record them all over again. The sound engineer will just press different sounds.
How do you use drum triggers?
Well, first, you need to arrange the parts in the right manner. You will get different drum triggers.
A basic trigger setup has three parts; the drum, the trigger mounted on the drum, and the trigger place on the interface.
There are trigger interfaces those onboard sounds, and those that don’t have sounds. But they both turn a trigger pulse into MIDI.
How you use the trigger, therefore, depends on the one you choose.
Electronic drum modules can function as trigger modules. Hence you don’t have to buy another one because you already have the most expensive drum trigger.
But for those who don’t have e-drums, you will need to buy one.
We have already explained how triggers sense vibration. There are three important places for this; the head, the rim, and the drum shell.
Based on this, drummers have two foundational trigger constructions, head contact, and rim mount triggers. They all use piezo crystal technology.
When the shell is hit, it causes the piezo to vibrate, creating a certain amount of voltage. This voltage is sent to the trigger-to-MIDI converter, which turns it into MIDI information.
Triggering technology is quite basic. You need to understand how they work if you are going to get the best from them.
With so many products on the market, it is vital to pick a trigger that satisfies your needs. Then, with a little practice, you will soon understand how they all work together.
And that leads us to the next section.
The Best Drum Triggers Reviewed
Roland has been on top of the e-drum technology. Every product they put on the market aims to serve a specific purpose. And the RT-30HR dual-zone drum trigger is no different.
It is pretty portable and convenient for all drum hoops. Be it classic or in-ward curved, you can be sure this device will serve you right.
It’s built with the highest quality ABS plastic with long-lasting strength.
It will pick both heads, and rim strikes. Hence, it could be the best tool for getting the right MIDI tones from your acoustic sets.
If you need the perfect way to play electronic sources, this is what you need.
- Compatible to related products from Roland
- Sturdy and long-lasting
- Dual-zone triggering.
· This piece can be quite expensive.
This trigger is among the latest products from Roland’s trigger line. It is only about three years old, and it is built specifically for the bass heads.
It is easy to mount, thanks to Roland’s advanced easy-mounting system. It is a self-mounting tech that puts the sensor into the right position again the drumhead without human intervention.
Many users have high commended it for its sensitivity and response.
Its construction features high-quality ABS material. This makes it withstand stray kick from your pads.
- Sturdy and high quality
- Self-mounting technology
- Great sensitivity and response
- Compatibility with other Roland products.
· It is only for the bass drum.
Are you looking for a cheap alternative that will give you professional output? Well, check out the Pintech RS-5 could be all you need.
But the low price does not mean it is any less quality.
You will first be met with an exciting “Kwik Clip” mounting system. This works perfectly, keeping the trigger intact during the performance.
Its sensitivity and response are pretty decent too. Hence, a player can use it for home recording, and also as a silent e-drum kit converter.
For recording, you will have to connect with drum software to create samples. And of the converter, you just mount it to the mesh.
Also, the trigger functions perfectly as a contact mic for acoustic guitars.
- Responsive and sensitive
- Functional for different situations
- Contact mic for guitars
· Some users say it is not durable.
This is my personal favorite. Considering the price, I can say it could be the most reliable device on the market.
It comes as a complete drum kit with five units, one for each drum shell. Many other triggers are sold as single pieces. But the DDRUM Acoustic Pro has everything in one package.
The triggers have a high-quality signal, and they are easy to use. Also, its sensitivity and response will not disappoint.
However, they don’t offer any protection to keep you drum shells protected.
- High quality
- Full five-piece package
- Highly sensitive and responsive.
· Many users find its mounting system as its weak point.
This is also a great cheap alternative for a quality drum trigger. The Aquarian Kickzone Trigger is for the bass drum. And it comes in a simple design, yet functional in triggering any bass drum head.
Though simple to use, it comes with great response and sensitivity. It is simply what you need to get the best sound from your bass shell.
- Highly sensitive and responsive
- The adhesive backing to keep the cord stable is not that stable
- Not recommended for live performances.
Who doesn’t know Yamaha in the world of Electronic musical instruments?
And for this reason, you can be sure the Yamaha DT-50K will offer you high quality triggering results. Its features are pretty impressive too.
The quality of sound production is almost unmatched. And you can count on its response and sensibility.
It comes with a metal body as well. This means it is more sturdy and long-lasting.
Its mounting system is pretty impressive. It is just simple yet very effective, with easy steps to attach. It is also safe to the drum shells.
- A renown brand
- Wonderful response and sensitivity
- Sturdy and safe mounting system.
· A bit pricy.
Technology will continue shaping the music industry. And for drummers, it is all joy as it makes things easier.
Drum trigger is among the best technologies drummer could ask for. But it all begins with knowing what they are and how to use them, which is hope you have learned for this article.