The Best Tabletop Electronic Drums (Are They Worth Buying?)

Tabletop electronic drums are odd. They are electronic multipads like SPD20sx but not quite, they are their own thing. Tabletop edrums like the Yamaha DD75 have buit in speakers, they come with pedals, even optional battery power. But are they worth buying? In my opinion, they are only worth getting if 1: you are on an extreme budget 2: if space is a BIG issue. For some drummers, empty space at the appartment is so tight even a small edrumset is too big. But if you can, try getting an Alesis Nitro instead. Its only $150 more than these tabletop drumsets, but it’s much more fun to play.

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Comments

Aristana Prawira says:

Hi Justin! I’ve had DD65 for 2 years. I have to agree with you about “tabletop drum isn’t that fun to play”. I think DD65 is pretty good for beginner drummer, or for intermediate drummer who has tight budget and limited space for practice (like me). At least I use it in my room for practicing my chops, or warming up before show. DD65 really help me to keep drumming. Greetings from Indonesia 🙂

Suki Kirai says:

Very informative, thanks!

Garth Olcese says:

I live in the Netherlands where the population density is high and shared-walls and row houses are the norm. I built a small sound proof room in my house so I can play drums there without bothering neighbors, but it’s small, dark, and my drum kit is terrible. So a few months back I stumbled upon the KAT KTMP1multipad and I realized it was so small and portable I could play it anywhere in the house with head phones or through speakers with the volume at a reasonable level. I decided to get one and test it out to see if the KAT could be an adequate replacement for my terrible physical kit.

Long story short – It can, and I highly recommend it. It’s like 99 bucks. It’s one pad divided into four smaller pads. You get 50 build-in sounds, and it’s very portable. Downsides are it has no internal speaker and the add-on kick pedal and hi-hat controller for it are pretty bad, especially the hi-hat pedal. I tried using a Yamaha silent-kick and a few other pedals, but the KAT multipad doesn’t recognize them.

If you live in an apartment, and have noise issues and space issues it is an ideal multi-pad. Though four pads for drum sounds may not be enough for you. It wasn’t for me, so I got two.

I have two, (99 bucks a piece). One angled slightly above the other.
I run them through a small passive mixer (75 bucks) and out to speakers.
The kick pedal and hi-hat trigger cost like 160 bucks.
I mount the two pads on the bases of two cheap cymbal stands (50 bucks for both).
Total price tag for this very portable and versatile kit its less than 500 bucks. Keep in mind it’s 500 for my suped up kit, but you can use one multi-pad on a kitchen table and its cost with the pedals is around $250

Though it’s a great space saver, and I love being able to use headphones, and it’s so portable, the thing I actually like best about and recognize gives it great value is that the on-board sounds are pretty good, and the tune / reverb / volume / sensitivity / balance controls allow you to get much better tones then you would get out of a standard cheap drum kit. Let’s face it, even with new drum heads perfectly tuned, you can only make a cheap Tama or Pearl kit sound so good. And cheap cymbals sound terrible. Even the first few grades of Zildjian cymbals can be pretty underwhelming. So often, if you don’t have more than a grand or, when you get a kit, you can end up with some pretty lousy sounding gear. For a while, when I was first starting out I had a snare drum that sounded like a bag of Doritos. So, having tried the KAT and having had a lot of time on very average low to mid range kits, I think the KAT sounds better and feels better (except for ride cymbal and hi-hat). Which is why, when I sold my Pearl kit and snare and cymbals, I kept the hi-hat and the Ride cymbal. The multi-pad just isn’t sophisticated and nuanced enough to allow you to do the full range of things you can do with physical cymbals. For super intricate hi-hat work and / or nuanced ride cymbal work, it’s good to have the real things on hand.

To go backwards and ramble about portability, I wish I could go back in time and hand myself this thing 20 years ago. When I think of all the hours spent lugging huge drum sets around to gigs and band practices, and think that I could have carried my whole current KAT setup in a messenger bag instead, I feel bad for my younger self.

Back to main point – try the KAT KTMP-1 Multipad. It’s really, really good value for price.

SUMMARY

The mutli-pad is great. Very good velocity and sensitivity. Not a lot of cross-talk issues. Occasional failure of pads to trigger, but not more than once or twice in a song max. No way to put additional sounds on, but the onboard ones are pretty good. It’s solidly build. Can withstand a significant beating. Super portable.

As for the accessories: The KAT bass drum trigger isn’t half-bad once you get your pedal all set up just right with that weird inverted beater.

The KAT hi-hat trigger, not so great. In fact it’s noisy, cheaply built, and not dynamic at all. The depth of the pedal on the hi-hat clutch is way to much. You have to push down and pull up too much to trigger the open / close sound. Here’s what you do to make it better. Open the pedal and figure out how to adjust the depth. Either add additional foam, or put a bolt in the mechanism to shorten it’s maximum possible open position. Once you do that, it becomes bearable.

Watchman4u says:

I have the Alesis table top but an older one those kick & HH buttons these are square I wonder if I could use a Kick petal & HH petal w/the older one. It’s got slots to sit on a Snare stand. It has MIDI out so I was thinking of using it w/EZ Drummer.

Angga Zulfiawan says:

really helpful for beginners like me that just start to play drums..consider the space and loud (since i will have my 2nd baby), should go for yamaha dd75 …thanks bro..regards from indonesia

Jon Hunter says:

Medeli is better.. I’ve used both the dd65 and medeli dd305 and dd315.. Better sound quality and features are exactly the same plus user friendly

Toby Evans says:

But NEVER buy the Yamaha dd3

orang Indonesia says:

do you recommend these to beginner ???

PodGodPlayz says:

Hey man, I’m a new drummer and for the past year I’ve been using home items and LEGOs to make drum sounds and jam to songs. I am thinking about upgrading to a tabletop and my two options are the PylePro PTED01 or the Yam DD75. The PylePro looks like it has a lot of features, and Yamaha one looks high quality and it has one more pad than the PylePro. I plan on keeping this tabletop for a good maybe 3 years. Which one would you recommend? Thanks!

subilon says:

I have the alesis compactkit7 and I love it but u really need to plug it into a drum amp otherwise it’s not loud enough

drummerboypoyntz87 says:

I’ve had one of the Medeli type sets for over 2 years, mainly because of space in my house. My real kit spends most of its time stored in the loft unfortunately. But the tabletop kit keeps me playing, enables me to record midi on my DAW, and is quick and easy to take to church and play through the PA system on Sunday morning. Obviously it takes some getting used to, but I bought a second hand ‘Rock Band’ game pedal from ebay and it really improved the bass drum aspect of playing.

One thing I will say though, these things are sometimes sold with the phrase ‘beginner kit’ or ‘for those who are learning’. These table top kits are the worst thing to learn on: The pads are to small; the layout is wrong; the feel is completely different. Their real benefit is that they are cheap and convenient.

Thanks for all you videos Justin, I find them enjoyable and helpful.

lebroucke says:

can I use those Medeli drums with my vsti drums in my DAW?

laskholt says:

I see there is a few old timers like my self that restarted their drumming with one of these. I bought a dd65 to go back to drumming after 30 years. You are right that the ‘pedals’ are no fun, so those where quickly switched to better ones. I later sold the unit and got at least half of my money back. I bought a Roland TD-9, which I now use for practice and trigger SP3 for recording. Recently I bought the dd65 back again, planning to use it for travelling and playing with old band buddies, then using a jamhub unit to connect their vocals, keyboard, guitar and bass. No problems to bring along and setup is super easy and relatively quite. I also own a SDP-30 which I don’t find any use for. One of the things that differs the Yamaha from the others is the placement of the hi-hat. It’s placed very clever, giving you the right “right hand over the left hand’ practice. For those looking into these for a start because of the budget, small space or easy to bring – go for a used one. You will get most of your money back by reselling if you choose to, and much more fun experience than banging on anything else. By far not perfect, but a very good start.

WERNER SCHARMACHER says:

dont pay by musikstore. my dd75 was defekt,and before it was by myself,it was by other peoples. the was open before

Patti Cake says:

I started out on a tabletop set – an Awowo. Almost immediately I bought a snare stand to put it on, and next thing you know, I had bought a used Roland TD-4 module, a rack and some pads because the Awowow pads, like most tabletop drum options, were very hard and hurting my wrists. Thank goodness for the mesh heads on my Pintechs!

Ryan Glick says:

I have the Yamaha dd65. I love it personally and it lasted me for a long time and also great for my small bedroom to practice. I enjoy the Yamaha dd65

Cool Thundertoon gaming says:

Where are the floating drum sticks????

Buzzing Rocks says:

Great review. 🙂

Tim Denham says:

I got the DD-65 used to play at my office. Perfect. Have them in a corner and when I feel like playing I go over and play. Awesome. I wish I had the DD-75 because I could use the extra custom kits and more voices always gives you more options. Nice review.

Greg Terry says:

I still have a Yamaha DD-55. I switched to a Simmons kit 2 years ago. The DD-55 has held up to major abuse and still sounds good.

tazz IS FANGASMIC says:

you mine as well just buy an electronic kit/a practice pad tower

will howson says:

I guess the yamaha one doesn’t bring as much to the table.

khairul Azhar Dabros says:

Thanks bro..Good information

nicholas brandwood says:

So, as I was featured in the video X) … I ended up getting the DD65, and yeah, it was a low investment Eur.170 test to see if the drumming bug would take or not. They hold their resell value on ebay really well too.

Anyhow, I replaced it 6 months later with the dtx450 for about Eur.480, but I my 7 year old uses it, its a perfect size for him, and sometimes I either use it for hand drumming or set it up as an extra 8 pads to the kit for messing around with. I briefly looked at geting a kick tower or foot switches for it, but they cost about as much as buying the dtx so….mehh.

Generally I don’t use the sounds on either, I midi them into a 2011 macbook air with addictive drums instead so they’re just triggers. I’ve never tried a real acoustic drum kit so I can’t compare.

but as we’re on the “what do you think of…” have you looked at this: https://www.megadrum.info/ ?

Mark Swint says:

Fucking awesome review….ty

Pette says:

This is why I like your videos.. You don’t only shows your own kit, you want to spread the world about there’s a lot of options for beginners as professionals to drum. Godd job 🙂

Jason Wou says:

I bought Yamaha DD65 on Ebay for $30 shipped. I have extra KP65 and FD7 lying around so I’m using them for pedals (instead of included switches). Man this is the best. I can hook this up to Superior Drummer2 and it’s the best thing ever. So small and so cheap, yet good enough for tight space gigs. Not bad.

Alessio Dell'Agnello says:

Really like all of your videos, plenty of intresting stuff!I play Bass but got more and more intrested in drums, finally last week I ordered my first practice pad and started exercising before getting a tabletop..problem is that I feel like the pratice pad is already annoying enough for the neighbors. Whats your opinion on the aerodrum (Only full silent option in market ) to train limb independence with “real” sounds, and continue building rudiments with rebound on the pad?

Dimitris Vasileias says:

That outro lol

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