Most electronic drum kits come with a kick drum pad. Some are designed to work without having to buy a kick pedal. Some are designed so that you have to attach your own kick pedal to use with the kick pad. There seems to be quite a bit of variation in the size and type of pad through the range of electronic drum kits on the market.
The Kick Pads
The kick pad can end up being the most acoustically loud part of the electronic drum kit. This is due to the nature of the kick drum to start with, it is intended to be kicked hard with a loud beater, and that is simply just a lot of energy and acoustic potential compared to what can be going on with other types of pads on the drum kit.
There is also the consideration that the kick pad is sitting on the floor, along with the pad that it is kicking. That can transfer noise or vibration into the floor easily – while the other pads on the kit are suspended from the ground differently.
The Kick Triggers
Triggers, depending on the type that you use, can help reduce the amount of acoustic noise on your kit. Some kick triggers actually just attach to the pedals, and work independently from the kick drum or pad itself. So you don’t even need a kick pad. It’s a neat concept.
Kick triggers can have a different feel, however, or at least it can depending on how you set it up. In my situation, I don’t even have the beaters attached to the kick pedals. I just like the way it looks, and to me it has a good feel. I was able to adjust quite a few things though, on Axis pedals mostly, to get a good feel without a beater. It’s possible to leave the beater on the pedal and still not have a pad or drum while using the Krigg triggers. I tried it that way, it was just too weird for me though.
Triggers that allow you to avoid using the beaters to trigger the kick drum are ideal for silencing your kit. The kick will be near silent from an acoustic standpoint.
The differences between using a kick pad or triggers can be fairly dramatic in terms of drumming feel, acoustic sound and floor vibration. Most pedals are adjustable enough to allow you to make tweaks to accommodate triggers and still have a good feel. It’s a personal preference most of the time. If you are going for noise/vibration control use triggers.