A digital drum kit can be a variety of things in the field of music composition and recording, depending on the context in which it is used. It can be a set of electronic drums that a drummer hits to create digital sounds, or a collection of digital sounds that are used to compose an electronic drum part. Any device or software program that plays digital drum files can be referred to as a digital drum kit. This term can also refer to a collection of electronic digital drum sounds, as opposed to a drum kit that sounds like real drums.
Digital drum kit devices are also known as digital drum synthesizers or drum machines. These are typically stand-alone devices that, when connected to a speaker, play a synthesized beat that has been customized using the device’s controls. Digital drum synthesizers produce sounds that are either stored on the device or transferred via a removable media card. Software drum machines are similar to drum machines in that they perform the same basic functions, but they are controlled a computer. The beats are usually recorded or transferred to an audio file type for use in a finished piece or song after they are created or programmed.
There are some advantages to using digital drum sounds in the studio and during live performances. They can be used as a placeholder for recorded drums while the rest of the instruments and parts in the song are being recorded. Digital drums can be used in place of a drummer in a live performance. Portable digital drum kits are easier to set up than traditional drum kits, and they can be a more dependable and timely musical partner than a human.
The lack of a personal touch when using a digital drum kit system in live and recorded music is one disadvantage. When playing music with a group, a drummer can adjust her tempo and volume for impact or if the band’s tempo starts to veer off course. Pre-programmed digital drums are unable to make these adjustments on their own, necessitating the participation of the other musicians in the band. By manipulating the drum program, a skilled digital drum programmer can replicate these effects, but programming digital drums that mimic human drumming variations can take a long time and a lot of tweaking before the effect appears authentic.