When spending up to $2000 on an electronic drum kit you can find some nice kits with lots of features and great sounds. This price range approaches the high end of the conventional looking electronic drum kits while not quite yet getting into the acoustic design electronic drums.
NUX DM-8 Electronic Drum Kit
The NUX DM-8 is currently the flagship drum kit from NUX and offers the most features from their drum kit lineup.
The 12-inch mesh snare drum feels very close to a 14 inch acoustic drum in size, and it mounts on a traditional snare drum stand which is included. The snare drum has a triple zone design and it supports techniques such as rim shots and cross sticking. The three 10-inch dual zone tom pads are all mesh and provide a good amount of playing surface. The 10-inch kick pad has a good amount of surface area as well which can give you some flexibility when setting beater heights and when using double pedals.
The cymbals on this kit can be played all the way around the full the surface of the pad, which is great, and they all have choke capabilities. The ride cymbal is a 14-inch triple zone pad with edge bow and bell zones. The two 12-inch crash cymbals have edge and bow zones. The 12-inch hi-hat pad has edge and bow zones as well, and it mounts onto a real hi-hat stand, which is included.
The drum module includes 30 preset drum kits and also has 18 slots for saving custom drum kits. In addition to creating kits with any of the internal sounds, you can also load in your own sounds samples as wav files via USB. As far as effects go, EQ and compression can be adjusted for individual or for the entire kit. There are also overdrive and reverb effects that can be applied to the whole kit.
The module also has a lot of nice connectivity features for recording and outputting to different types of devices. The module can send 14 individual tracks of audio over USB for multi-track recording with a DAW. MIDI signals can also be sent over USB or via the MIDI output. There is a USB disk port for importing samples. There are also extra tom and cymbal expansion ports to add one more of each type of pad.
As far as accessories go, this kit comes with a kick pedal and a hi-hat stand, so you won’t need to purchase those separately. You will need to provide a throne, some drum sticks and headphones or a drum amp.
ATV EXS-3CY Electronic Drum Kit
The ATV EXS-3CY drum kit offers a nice lineup of pads and a great sounding drum module with low latency for very responsive feel during play.
This is the smaller version of the EXS series of drum kits from ATV, meaning that the pads around the kit are a couple inches smaller in diameter than the larger version, which is the EXS-5. The EXS-3 version of the kit is sold for less than $2000 which is why it makes this list.
The mesh pads on this kit use three sensors to create excellent response and feedback during play. The snare and toms are all 10-inch mesh pads. The kick pad is also 10-inches and has large enough surface area to fit single or double pedals with varying beater heights.
The cymbal pads are all 360 degree pads that can be triggered all the way around the surface. The hi-hat is a really nice 12 inch pad with an optical system, which makes it feel very responsive to different types of hi-hat play and techniques. The two crash cymbals are 12-inch pads and the ride is a 14-inch pad with three zones for bell, bow and edge sounds.
The xD3 module that comes with this kit is focused more on providing low latency playback and high quality, natural drum sounds rather than providing sound design features. The drum kits sound very tight and focused, like you’re sitting right behind a kit in a dry studio room. There are only 5 preset kits in the module, but you can download more from the ATV website. They also have plenty of extra drum sounds for sale on their site.
Connectivity wise, this module has stereo outputs and a single audio input jack. There is MIDI output over USB. One of the limitations of this module is that there is no multi-channel audio output for recording, which is odd considering how good the module sounds, which limits it’s recording capabilities. So if you want to use this module for recording you’ll need to rely on MIDI or work with the stereo outputs only.
This kit is a good pick if you want a very natural sounding module and excellent response from the pads, especially the hi-hats. But it’s output limitations might not be ideal if you want to record the audio output. This kit also doesn’t include a hi-hat stand, kick pedal or throne, so those parts will be an extra expense.
Roland TD-17KV2 Electronic Drum Kit
The Roland TD-17KV2 is a nice place to start if you want to get into the Roland V-Drums ecosystem. It’s a very playable kit out of the box and most of Roland’s non-digital pads work with the TD-17 module.
This kit features mesh pads for the snare and toms. The snare is the PDX-12 pad, which is a 12-inch, dual zone pad that can generate sounds from the head and rim as well as rim shots. The toms are the PDX-8 pads, which in an 8-inch dual zone pad that can generate sounds from both the head and the rim. The kick pad is the KD-10 kick tower, which has a 5 inch pad surface and works with many types of double pedals.
The cymbal pads that come with this kit are pretty nice for this price level. The crash cymbal is one of Roland’s new thinner design pads, the CY-12C-T, which is a 12 inch, dual zone pad with both edge and bow zones. The ride cymbal is another one of Roland’s thin design pads, the CY-14R-T, which is a 14-inch, triple zone pad with edge, bow and bell zones. The hi-hat is a standard CY-5 pad, which is a 10-inch pad that is pretty common on Roland’s intermediate level kits. The hi-hat is operated with the FD-9 controller pedal, which is one of Roland’s better hi-hat pedals.
The TD-17 drum module is loaded with really nice drum sounds and has 70 preset drum kits. This module can also be loaded with new kits from the Roland cloud. This is also a good module for sound designers since you can layer drum sounds for custom drum kits and further change the sound parameters and use the built-in multi-effects to create unique sounding drum kits. There is also an extra input for another cymbal pad, so you can add a second crash cymbal pad at some point if you want to. The TD-17 module supports most of Roland’s non-digital pads, but just keep in mind that the newer digital pads won’t work with this one.
As far as accessories go, you’ll need to provide your own drum throne and kick pedal, but at it’s price point you can still get under $2000 even with the extras. This is a nice kit to get into if you want some of Roland’s better playing V-Drums without getting into their very expensive acoustic design drums or digital pads.
Alesis DM10 MKII Pro
The Alesis DM10 MKII Pro drum kit offers some nice features for it’s price point. It has large mesh pads, a sturdy rack and some neat features in the drum module.
This kit has a dual zone mesh pads for all of the toms and snare. The snare pad is 12-inch mesh pad that mounts on a snare drum stand. There are also two 10-inch and two 12-inch tom pads. The kick pad is an 8-inch pad and it’s large enough to fit double bass pedals.
The cymbal pad lineup on this kit is pretty nice overall. There is a 12-inch single zone hi-hat pad, which is controlled via a foot controller pedal. There are two 12 inch dual zone crash pads with edge and bow zones. The ride cymbal is a little larger 16 inches in diameter and it has edge, bow and bell zones.
The drum module has some good features for those that like to sound design their kits. There are 80 preset kit built in with a library of 700 drum sounds to use, and 20 custom kit slots. You can also save kits to a USB drive if you run out of space internally. You can load your own samples and drum kits via the USB slot as well. There are plenty of ways to modify the drum sounds such as pitch, decay, panning, levels and muffling. There are also multi-effects available and reverb settings as well as master compression and EQ.
Expansion is a bit limited, since the pads on the kit use up all the available inputs in the sound module. But it has a decent amount of pads included so it’s not that big of a deal. This kit is fun to play and has a lot of sounds and custom kit possibilities, and it can be a good kit for drummers who want to spend more time playing around with custom drum kits and sounds.
Yamaha DTX6K3-X Electronic Drum Kit
The DTX6K3-X drum kit makes good use of Yamaha’s TCS pads around the kit and also has a great sounding and feature packed drum module.
This snare and the tom pads are all TCS pads, which is Yamaha’s proprietary silicon compound for drum pads that provides excellent response and less fatigue when compared to other types of rubber. This is a good kit to look at if you prefer an ultra-premium rubber style pad over the mesh pad options that are found on just about everything else. The pads are a little smaller at 8 inches in diameter, but very playable. The snare is the XP80 pad which has dual zone capabilities and can handle techniques like rim shots. The toms are the XP70 pads, which are only single zone pads.
The PCY135 ride cymbal is a 13 inch cymbal pad with edge, bow and bell zones. The crash cymbals are also the same PCY135 pads as the ride, but only the bell and edge zones are usable with the drum module. The RHH135 hi-hat pad is a dual zone 13 inch pad with good capabilities for a hi-hat pad. It can be played on the edge, bow and also can do foot closed and foot splash sounds. It also mounts on a standard hi-hat stand, which is included with this kit.
The drum module is pretty nice on this kit and one of it’s strengths overall. There are 40 preset drum kits and 200 user slots for saving custom kits. You get some nice sound design options along with sound layering features and sample import options, so this module can be fun for drummers who like to design their own kits and sounds. Connectivity is also good since you can send both audio and MIDI over the USB connection, but the USB audio output is only a stereo pair of outputs and not multi-channel audio.
The rack is really compact since it doesn’t have a cross bar section on the right which makes room for the hi-hat stand. As far as accessories go, this kit does include the hi-hat stand which is great, but it doesn’t include a kick pedal or a throne.
What Can You Expect From a Sub-$2000 Electronic Drum Kit?
The drum kits you’ll find in the $1000-$2000 range start to get pretty full-featured in terms of pads and module, but they don’t quite get on the level of acoustic design kits or pro level kits with digital pads and stuff like that.
- Dual Zone Snare and Tom Pads – Snare pads are larger in this range with 12-inch pads being common. Tom pads are usually dual zone but there are some exceptions.
- Multi-Zone Cymbal Pads – Just about every kit in this range is going to have a three zone ride pad which is great, and most kits also have at least one or two dual zone crash cymbal pads.
- Hi-hat Pads – The hi-hat pads are kind of a mixed bag in this price range. Some kits will have fairly basic single zone pads and others have more advanced pads, with the ATV kit even having optical hi-hats. The pedal implementation also can vary, with many kits sticking with hi-hat controller pedals, but some offering hi-hat pads that mount on real hi-hat stands.
- More Sound Design and Custom Kit Options – This is where you start to find more sound design features such as adding reverb and compression effects or other multi-effects, along with the ability to save more drum kits. You’ll also start to see sound layering options in the modules which let you stack more than one sound onto a trigger or pad.
- Larger Kick Tower Pads – Most drum kits have larger kick tower pads that will work well with double bass pedals, and they usually have good sensitivity and response for quicker pedal work.
What Accessories Will You Need?
Some of these drum kits come with accessories, but it varies depending on the kit. It’s good to take a careful look at the accessories that come with kits in this price range. If you need to buy a kick pedal, throne, hi-hat stand it can add up quickly on top of the price of the kit itself. For this reason if your total budget is $2000 you might want to budget about $1500 of that for the kit and the rest for the kick pedal, throne, hi-hat stand and headphones if any of those are going to be needed as well.
When you start to get into the $1000-$2000 range you won’t find as many kits that include kick pedals. This is probably due to the target market of the kits. Drummers spending this much on a kit would probably be more picky about the kick pedal they are using. They will likely have one that they own already or would prefer something better than what a drum company would package with the kit anyways.
A Drum Throne
Most kits in this price range won’t include a drum throne either, so expect to have to pay extra for that as well. This is the price range where less beginners will be operating in and usually drum thrones are only packages with beginner kits if at all. Probably similar to the kick drum thing, where drummers at this level would prefer something better than what would be packaged with the kit anyways.
A Good Rug
Setting up your kit on a solid rug will be essential. The hi hat pedals, kick pads and kick pedals will likely have velcro or spikes to stick to carpeting to keep them in place. Carpeting will also keep the rack stand from moving around and sliding on the floor. Not all rugs are equal. Look for the really stiff or heavy types of rugs that don’t bunch up or wrinkle and that will stay flat on the floor.
Headphones & Extension Cables
Very rarely will an electronic drum kit include a pair of headphones. You’ll need a pair of headphones if you want to play your electronic drum kit quietly. There are so many options available for headphones and it’s possible to find decent drumming headphones for any budget. Check out our headphone reviews to see what we recommend for electronic drummers.
Most kits will include a basic pair of drum sticks. Some don’t, though. If you are just starting out, the included stick will be just fine to use. Some people prefer to use nylon tips sticks if they use mesh heads. The reasoning is that they are less likely to have barbs or slivers that damage the mesh drum heads. So that is something to consider. It’s also best to avoid using any drum sticks that you’ve used on an acoustic kit on your electronic drum kit, since worn, chipped sticks could damage the mesh and rubber pads. Check out our recommended drum sticks for electronic drums if you need some tips.
A Cable For Connecting Audio Sources
You will at some point want to hook your phone or an MP3 player or some sort of audio player to your drum module to play along with music that you like. To do this, you’ll need a cable that probably didn’t come with your drum kit. Usually you’ll need a 3.5mm stereo cable, but it could vary depending on your equipment.