If you’ve ever wondered what hybrid drums are, why drummers use them or how to create a hybrid drum kit, you’ve come to the right place. This is our beginner's guide to hybrid drums!
Hybrid drums are quickly becoming the norm for performing musicians as a hybrid drum kit allows you to, among other things, add samples and extra sounds to your acoustic kit.
If you want to trigger samples, fatten up your drum sound with effects or add layered sounds to your drum kit then you should look at creating a hybrid drum kit. It’s easier than you think.
First of all, let’s answer a few questions we get asked all the time here at PMT.
What Is A Hybrid Drum Kit?
In summary a hybrid drum kit is a drum kit that incorporates both acoustic and electronic drum elements. This could be an acoustic kit with trigger pads, electronic percussion triggers or electronic cymbals. Additionally, this could be an electronic kit with acoustic elements such as an acoustic kick, cowbell or even acoustic toms.
A hybrid drum kit is the meeting of two worlds to create different sounds.
Why Would I Want Hybrid Drums?
Well, if you’ve ever wanted to layer two different snare drums on top of your existing sound, add a stadium-esque boom to your kick or change the sound of your tom drum to a Beatles-like tea towel covered sound, then hybrid drums are the way to go.
Here's an example of what they can do...
What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid Drums?
There are many benefits to utilising a hybrid drum kit set up, mainly they offer 3 main features:
Enhance the sound of your existing acoustic kit
You can layer both acoustic and electronic sounds onto your kit
Add new sounds to your acoustic drum kit
So, let’s break each benefit down a little further.
1. Enhance The Sound Of Your Existing Acoustic Kit
No matter how much you’ve spent on your acoustic drum kit, if your drum heads aren’t tuned correctly or the room your playing in isn’t suitable, you might not get the best sound possible.
A sound module in conjunction with a drum trigger lets you enhance the sound of your acoustic kit by adding electronic elements that you wouldn’t normally get. This could be adding more bass to your kick drum, so you really feel it, extra snap or presence to your snare and a tighter, more aggressive sound to your tom. This doesn’t take anything away from your existing drum sound, but adds a whole lot more. Best of all, the sound engineer can mix this in with the rest of the band making your drum sound even better.
This ensures our drum sound is consistent and clean throughout the gig. No more saggy drum skins dragging your sound down.
2. You Can Layer Both Acoustic & Electronic Sounds Onto Your Kit
Like we said; a hybrid drum sound doesn’t take anything away from your acoustic sound. It adds to it. One of the major benefits of a hybrid drum kit, and using triggers and a sound module especially, is the fact you can layer sounds over your existing drums. For example you might want to add a cowbell to your top snare, a deep sub sound to your kick or even a dog barking to your tom – we’re not judging!
3. Add new sounds to your acoustic drum kit
Let’s say for example you need to trigger a trumpet sound for part of your song, you need a cymbal to sound like a China crash or you want something like a cowbell or other percussion instrument to form part of your drum sound. Now let’s say you only need that sound for one song.
There’s no point going out and buying a new cymbal or cowbell (or trumpet) for one song! A hybrid drum kit with sound module and trigger allows you to add new sounds whenever you need to. You can record samples, upload your own sounds or even trigger complete songs that will play when you hit a certain drum. This is perfect for those who need a wide variety of extra sounds as part of their setup.
You can add a host of different sounds to your kit, use them for one song then completely change the sound for your next song via the drum module. It’s that easy.
What Do I Need To Create A Hybrid Drum Setup?
When you’re creating a hybrid drum set up you’ll need one of these options:
Trigger Module + Triggers
A Drum Module
Software + Laptop/PC/Mac
A sample pad features integrated pads that you hit with your drum stick (or hand). They are pre-loaded with a range of drum and percussion sounds and you can also upload your own via a computer. These are great for triggering click tracks, backing tracks or a sound without adding triggers to your actual drum kit.
We think these are some of the Best Hybrid Drum Sample Pads:
If you don’t want large pads you could always use a Trigger Module. A trigger module is a very portable option that allows you to use a range of built in sounds or load your own onto an SD card. You connect your triggers, or even your percussion pads to your unit and you’re all set! Again, you can put whatever you want on your trigger whether its an effect or a new sound to layer over your drum.
We think these are some of the best Drum Trigger Modules:
You can import user samples via USB or enjoy 8 of the preloadd sounds which include handclap and snare variations.
One of the cool featiures is the fact you can power it via battery, which means less wires and the ability to take your hybrid drum sampling mobile!
A percussion pad offers a more streamlined functionality. These percussion pads are great for hybrid drum kits if you need a host of single, one shot sounds. They can incorporate melodic sounds, drum sounds and percussion instruments. You can also create percussion loops to play over with your drums.
We think these are some of the best Percussion pads:
A drum module is a little different to a trigger module as it will include complete kits. You’ll need one of these if you want a larger mix of electronic drums in your acoustic set up. If you want to incorporate electronic cymbals or incorporate any of your Roland V-Drums parts, this is ideal. You can actually connect any Roland V-Drums module past or present to drum pads or acoustic drum triggers, so if you have one of these, that’ll do too!
This is a little more complicated, so we’d only recommend this route if you needed to utilise MIDI and change parameters constantly. When you use software and your computer, all the samples live entirely within your computer. You will need a trigger interface to connect your computer with the trigger or pad you want to hit. One thing to note is that there is a possibility of increased latency with this option.
Again, this is a little more complicated, so we recommend utilising the range of hardware options out there.
Roland have actually created a handy guide to hybrid drumming which also includes tips on how to set up your hybrid drum kit. We highly recommend checking it out HERE.
So what do I need for my sound?
In summary, if you want to create a hybrid drum kit, but you're not sure what you need, we've broken it down into three points below:
Best for triggering samples & drum sounds – Sample Pad
Best for triggering single sounds or creating loops – Trigger pad
Best for creating a whole different kit, layering kits or enhancing single drums – Drum Module / Trigger Module & Drum Triggers
We hope that’s helped answer a few questions you may have about hybrid drumming and hybrid drum kits.