Electronic drum kits rely on the drummer hitting drum pads to trigger sounds, and the drum pads are typically hard rubber or mesh. Each type of drum pad offers a large difference in feel during playing, as well as offering different acoustic qualities. For this particular comparison
Acoustic Sound – Which is More Quiet?
Since this website is about keeping your kit silent, lets talk about the acoustic sound qualities of each type of drum pad. As you can probably guess, the rubber drum pads are louder than the mesh drum pads when you whack them with a stick. The mesh pads have a softer acoustic quality, and they will be much less likely to make noise if you are trying to keep quiet in an apartment or similar situation.
Each type of drum pad has a different feel, and there seems to be varying opinions of each type. Rubber pads can vary in feel based on how thick the rubber is and what type of rubber is used. Mesh pads can vary in feel based on how tight or worn the mesh is.
Rubber pads will have a harder feel, and some people suggest that they can fatigue your wrists during extended play. For hard rubber drum pads this would likely be true. For softer rubber, the fatigue factor might not be as much of a problem.
Mesh pads tend to feel more natural, but some drummers think they can be too soft or spring-like – some even saying they feel like hitting a trampoline with a drum stick.
Most of the time, the cheap rubber pads will make an appearance on the cheaper drum kits, it’s as simple as that. You will find them on Yamaha, Roland, Alesis entry-level electronic drum kits, for example. The mesh pads are made by Roland and are called V-Pads, and they are considered to be higher-end technology and are patented by Roland, which of course means they cost more.
Other Types of Pads
Yamaha makes a drum pad called the DTX-Pad – it’s similar in visual look to the Roland V-Pads with a more typical “drum” look, has a textured cellular silicone (TCS) head which is unique to Yamaha’s drum pads, and is very quiet acoustically while having a natural drum head feel. High-end Yamaha kits have these pads for the snare and toms.
Alesis makes a drum pad called the Alesis RealHead Pads. These pads have realistic drum heads with rims, each having their own trigger zones. These have a harder yet more natural feel, but make decent acoustic noise when struck with a drum stick, much like a practice pad.