3 Ways to Create a Hybrid Drum Kit

A Sound Source and Triggers are All You Need

hybrid drum kit

Photo: Acoustic and Electronic Hybrid Drum Kit

hy·brid noun \ˈhī-brəd: something that is formed by combining two or more things.

The tools available for drummers have been evolving for decades, and practically speaking, the modern acoustic kit is a hybrid drum kit in and of itself. Today, however, when we use the word “hybrid” in relation to drums, it usually refers to blending electronics with acoustic drums. While this is certainly not a new concept, the technical improvements in triggering technology, the incredible advances in sound-generating methods, and the availability of quality sounds make creating a hybrid drum kit more commonplace than ever before. A sound source and a way to trigger the sounds are really all you need to make this happen. There are three methods for doing this: percussion and sample pads, additional pads around your kit, and  acoustic drum triggers. Here is a quick rundown of how to incorporate each into your acoustic drum setup.

1. Percussion and Sample Pads…

The easiest, and perhaps the most visually obvious, blending of acoustic and electronics is the use of sample pads and percussion pads. These pads are mini kits on their own and easily lend themselves to any hybrid drum kit setup. A sample pad such as the SPD-SX has hundreds of sounds already built in, but it also allows you to sample (record), import, and trigger any sound. Repeat…any sound. A percussion pad typically  allows you to trigger the internal sounds within the instrument. Here is a deeper explanation of Roland sample pads vs. percussion pads.

Related: the new HandSonic HPD-20 Digital Hand Percussion

2. Additional Pads Around Your Kit…

The second method for triggering sounds is the use of additional drum pads around your acoustic kit. These could be in the form of rubber pads, mesh pads, or bar pads in conjunction with your sound source. Sample pads and percussion pads such as the SPD-SX and the SPD-30 have trigger input connections in the rear of the unit to connect additional pads. Additionally, drum sound modules, like the TD-30 and the TD-15, are designed to work with virtually any connected pad.

3. Drum Triggers…

The third and stealthier method of triggering sounds is the use of drum triggers. Like their pad counterparts, these triggers also need a sound source. The obvious difference with drum triggers is that the sound is mixed with that of the acoustic drum.

Related: What are Drum Triggers?

The following Music Radar video narrated by Ryan Jenkinson for Drum Expo 2013 explains in detail how each one of these triggering methods work.

Hybrid Drum Kit with All 3 Triggering Methods