The 7 Best Electronic Drum Pads That All Professionals Use

I researched the market in a quest to find the best electronic drum pad.

I run into some substantial differences in:

  • quality
  • pre-built sounds
  • storage
  • features
  • interface

In compare to electronic percussion pads, sample pads offer you more freedom to be creative but they don’t have pre-made sound database percussion pads have.

As a drummer, I fully understand features we need from sampling pads, like to have easy to use interface, different metronome options, soft and large pads, good sound, external input jacks, large screen, etc.

I found several electronic drum pads that currently rule the market. Every professional drummer who decides to add an electronic pad to his set will use one of these.

In this article, I will compare all the important features and point to you some pros and cons as we go over. 

Let’s start by checking the front side of each electronic drum pad and dive a little deeper into the interface of each.

the 7 best electronic drum pads

Editor's pick

eletronic drum parts

1. Roland SPD-SX

8.4

ThatScore

Firmly built

yamaha sample pad review

2. Yamaha DTX Multi 12

6.4

ThatScore

Most modern

electronic sample pad

3. Alesis Strike Multipad

8.4

ThatScore

Best perc pad

best electronic percussion pad

4. Roland Octapad SPD-30 ​

7.9

ThatScore

Budget friendly

best cheap drum pad

5. HXW PD705 Avatar

7.6

ThatScore

Electronic freak

nord drum pad

6. Nord Drum 3P

7.7

ThatScore

Small giant

alesis sample pad review

7. Alesis Sample Pad Pro

8.4

ThatScore

1. Roland SPD-SX

Editor's pick

8.4

ThatScore

eletronic drum parts

2.Yamaha DTX Multi 12

Firmly built

6.4

ThatScore

yamaha sample pad review

3. Alesis Strike Multipad

Most modern

8.4

ThatScore

electronic sample pad

4. Roland Octapad SPD-30

Best perc pad

7.9

ThatScore

best electronic percussion pad

5. HXW PD705 Avatar

Budget friendly

7.6

ThatScore

best cheap drum pad

6. Nord Drum 3P

Electronic freak

7.7

ThatScore

nord drum pad

7. Alesis Sample Pad Pro

Small giant

8.4

ThatScore

alesis sample pad review

Roland SPD-sx

8.4Expert Score
Best overall

Interface
9
Storage
6
Usability
9
Built quality
9
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Good interface
  • Fast respons
  • Multi sampling
Cons
  • Thick pads
  • Plastic buttons
  • 4 GB of internal Memory

The Front Side

roland sample pad

This is the left side of the electronic drum pad. Going from left to right, in the upper row we have a: 

  • power button
  •  master volume button that controls sound volume you send to an external device
  •  headphones volume knob
  •  click speed button
  •  button to start or stop the metronome

In the down row, we have two buttons that modify the master effect and four buttons to turn on/off the delay, filter short looper, and FX.

roland spdsx review

In the center of the sample pad, we have a medium size screen that shows the kit name, BPM, signal, etc. All menu options are shown here. Three buttons underneath the display execute the functions shown above.

roland spd sx left side

On the right side of SPD-SX, we have:

  • The KIT button that displays the top screen
  • MENU button that accesses various functions, such as overall settings for the entire drum pad
  • SAMPLING button captures a sample

Also, two very useful buttons:|

  • QUICK MENU button that accesses a quick menu 
  • ALL SOUND OFF button that stops all currently playing sounds 

The most useful button here is the PAD CHECK button very useful in a live situation. It allows you to check which sample is loaded on a particular pad. The way to do this is to hi that pad while holding the button. It will play the sample in the headphones but not to the front of the stage.

The Rear Side

roland spd sx rear inputs
  1. Security slot
  2. You can connect a USB flash drive
    here. This allows
    you to import audio files  or save
    SPD-SX waves and settings to your
    USB flash drive.
  3. You can connect your
    computer
    here via a USB cable. The included software
    lets you import audio files or sample the sounds played
    by your computer.
  4. External power supply – AC adapter
  5. Output for midi device
  6. The MIDI IN connector is used to receive control or performance data from another MIDI device, such as an external sequencer, via a MIDI cable
  7. The Gain knob is used to adjusts the volume that’s
    input to the AUDIO IN jacks
  8. When you want to sample, connect your microphone or digital audio player to these jacks.
    The sound that’s input to these jacks will be output from the MASTER OUT jacks and the
    PHONES jack.
  9. Left/mono channel for audio input explained under 8.
  10. A Foot Switch (FS-5U, FS-6)
    can be connected here and used to
    control a variety of things.
  11. Sub Out – Connect them to your mixer or audio system.
    These jacks output the sound of only the pads
    you’ve specified.
    If you’re outputting in monaural, connect to
    only the L/MONO jack.
  12. Sub out
  13. External pads or acoustic drum triggers can be connected here.
  14. External pads or acoustic drum triggers
  15. These jacks output the sound. Connect them
    to your amplified speakers or recording
    device.
  16. Output jack  – If you’re outputting in monaural, connect to
    only the L/MONO jack
  17. Phones jack – Headphones can be connected here. Sound will still be output from the SUB OUT jacks and MASTER OUT jacks even if headphones are connected.

Pros

History

Roland has a long history of producing the multi pads and this is their latest addition. They have a clear understanding of easy to use interface and intuitive quick access to the most frequently used functions.

Speed

As far as the speed goes it is faster than Alesis Strike Multi Pad although Alesis is released recently. You will notice the speed feature when you press the click, it starts right away, cool right?

Usability

With SPD-SX you get over 3 hours of sampling time. The black version has 4 GB while the red one has 16 GB and costs 100 bucks more. 

The sound base is controlled trough Wave Manager, the software with which you can easily rename, drag, drop and save the samples. 

The pre-built sound base is not so large, there are more than 200 loops and sounds but after all, this is a electronic sample pad and the idea is for you to create your own samples.

Click feature

The option we all need is hearing the click and not sending it to the front which this electronic drum pad supports. 

Kit Chaining

Roland SPD-SX has a kit chaining feature used to save the kits by the order you like. 

So, for instance, you save it kit 1, kit 50, kit 13 and then you just press next when you want to switch. A very useful feature for live situations.

Sampling

Switching between samples is smooth, the first sample doesn’t stop when you play the second, except if you want so. Also, the red lights show you exactly what pad is on.

You can connect the sampler to a phone in order to manipulate the samples so you are able to load, control and split them on the device

Cons

There are no big cons with the Roland SPD-SX but let me point the few things I don’t like.

When it comes to the quality of workmanship there are two things I don’t like: 

  • the pads aren’t too soft 
  • the buttons are made out of plastic

Storage

The storage of just 4 GB and not having the sd card slot can come hard sometimes. If you need more storage you are forced to buy a 100 bucks more expensive model which is not too much if you want to stick with the Roland. 

However, you don’t have to store the samples in the pad. You can use the SPD-SX as a sound card and load samples directly from the computer

There is a way however of getting some additional space by whipping out all the pre-built sounds. 

The sound base is small but the purpose of sampling pad justifies that. There is no Hi-Hat control input jack because the SPD-SX was designed more like a sampling pad, not as a mini kit.

Yamaha DTX MULTI 12

6.4Expert Score
Best price drum pad

Interface
7
Storage
4
Usability
5
Built quality
9
Value for money
7
Pros
  • Built quality
  • Internal sounds
  • 12 pads
Cons
  • Small display
  • Complicated interface
  • No lighting
  • Metronome volume knob is back

The Front Side

yamaha electronic pad display

The first thing we see on the left side of the DTX MULTI 12 is the main output volume knob. In the center, we have a two-line LCD screen where you can see all the settings. 

The right section of the display shows the pads that have been struck and are currently producing a sound.

yamaha sample pad buying guide

The most important options are stationed in the center. On the left you see MIDI,VOICE,KIT, PATTERN, WAVE, UTILITY button. All these buttons are used to access the settings in the menu. 

  • Click-track button used to start and stop the built-in click track (or metronome). In addition, you can also activate the tap tempo function by holding down the SHIFT button and pressing the button.
  • EXIT button. You can use this button to exit a page or turn sounds on and off by holding a SHIFT while pressing the EXIT button.
  • ENTER button is used to execute processes and confirm values. By holding the shift you are able to activate the panel lock function to lock and unlock the front panel.
  • STORE button is used to store settings and other data in the DTX MULTI 12’s internal memory. In addition, this button will light up whenever parameters have been changed but not yet stored
yamaha dtx multi 12

These selector buttons are used to navigate between parameter setting pages and parameters in the various setting areas. 

You can activate and deactivate the input lock mode by holding down the SHIFT button and pressing the VA button. 

Two large buttons are used to DECREASE or INCREASE the value at the cursor position. By holding a SHIFT button you are able to skip 10 units at once.

The Rear Side

  1.  On/off button
  2.  External power supply – AC adapter
  3.  Output for midi device
  4. The MIDI IN connector is used to receive control or performance data from another MIDI device, such as an external sequencer, via a MIDI cable
  5.  The Foot Switch jack is used to connect an optional footswitch
    (FC4, FC5, FC7, etc.) or hi-hat controller (HH65, etc.) to the
    DTX-MULTI 12.
  6. The Hi-hat Control jack is used to connect an optional hi-hat
    controller (HH65, etc.)
  7. Trigger-input jacks are used to connect optional pads.
    The PAD jack is compatible both with mono and stereo (two and three-zone) types; 
  8. Trigger-input jacks are used to connect optional pads. The PAD 8 jacks support standard mono-output pads
  9. Trigger-input jacks are used to connect optional pads. The PAD 9 jacks support standard mono-output pads
  10. AUX-In jack  External audio signals can be input via this standard stereophone plug. In this way, you can connect an MP3 or CD player
    to play along with your favorite tunes.
  11. Gain knob – Use this knob to adjust the gain level for audio being input via
    the AUX IN jack
  12. Output – Use these jacks to output line-level stereo mixes. For example,
    you can connect each of the jacks to the left and right inputs of
    an external stereo amplifier or mixer using mono audio-jack
    cables
  13. Output mono – For mono output, use the L/MONO jack only.
  14. Volume knob – Use this knob to adjust the level of audio output from the PHONES jack. 

Pros

Number of pads

This is the first sampling pad from Yamaha. Although there is room for improvement I would say they done a great job. It’s the only out of three pads from this list who has 12 pads. It is built well, very firm and stable but with soft pads.

Extra

  • The buttons are made out of high-quality rubber.
  • The “two-floor” placement of the pads can come handy in live situations when you are in dark and the visibility is reduced.
  • Footswitch and sub out are also great features. 

Mini Kit

It is made more like a mini kit so it has a large sound base with 1277 sounds onboard and a hi-hat jack and 4 one-zone or 2 two-zone triggers.

A great option in comparing to Roland sampler, for instance, is playing samples directly from USB. It is very easy to add and layer samples trough Yamaha app DTXM12 Touch.

Cons

Display

Let’s start with the biggest con on DTX MULTI 12, the display. It is too small for this kind of powerful device. Interface navigation is a real pain in the but. 

This sampler has various options and it is a very powerful device but the tiny screen makes things harder.

Display

Let’s start with the biggest con on DTX MULTI 12, the display. It is too small for this kind of powerful device. Interface navigation is a real pain in the but. 

This sampler has various options and it is a very powerful device but the tiny screen makes things harder.

Complexity

Due to complexity, this device has a multi-level menu but the navigation is very complicated.

For instance, if you want to increase metronome volume you need to go to settings which is almost impossible in live situations. Also, the metronome volume knob is placed on the rear side of the sampler.

Storage

The 64 MB for a modern sampler just isn’t enough. It would be helpful if you could delete some of the unnecessary sounds but you can’t. Anyway, forget about the large numbers of large wave samples.

In comparison to other samplers, this one has just one volume knob. Last but not least is the lack of lights like on the SPD-SX or Multy Pad.

Alesis Strike Multi Pad

8.4Expert Score
Newest and most modern

Interface
8
Storage
9
Usability
8
Built quality
8
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Large display
  • Soft pads
  • Lighting
  • Big storage
Cons
  • Metronome reaction
  • Hard to press buttons
  • Flow between kits

The Front Side

electronic drum pad for drummers

On the left side of the Alesis drum pad, we have four rows. In the first row starting from the top we have three-volume knobs. 

  • main output
  • aux
  • headphones volume

In the second row, the first two buttons are used to edit effects on the sets and on the main output. The last button PAD CUE  is used to audition sounds to the headphone outputs only. 

When active, the button LED will flash on and off, and any pads triggered will be routed directly to the headphones without interrupting the main audio output.

The third row has also three buttons marked as A, B, and C. With these buttons you can switch between banks. Holding them you can edit the bank. 

The last row is reserved for two knobs, enhanced with some led light in the background. They can be assigned to control pad parameters or FX parameters

electronic drum pad

The large multicolor display of Alesis Multi Pad is placed in the center. Here you have all the information about the current kit you’re playing. 

Also everything you do like editing pads, fx, samples, adjust settings is showed on this multi-color display. Underneath the display, there are 6 buttons used to access the functions above.

best sample pad

On the right side of the Alesis drum pad, we have some very useful options. 

  • By pressing the BPM button you are able to set the tempo and choose the time signature. 
  • METRONOME  button used to turn to click on and off. By holding this button you will be able to change the sound, volume interval, and pan.

The large knob you see on the left is used to scroll through settings and parameters. Also by pressing it, you can enter the settings or by pressing it again you are able to save it. 

In the Perform Mode, there are three options: 

  1. Pad View
  2. Trigger In View
  3. Foot Control View 

The PERFORM button is used to navigate between them.

  • With the SAMPLE button, you can record audio from record inputs, USB or midi device. As you probably assume the PANIC button is used to stop all the sounds immediately.
  • The KIT button allows you to enter the list of kits where you can edit them. With large + and – buttons you can select the right kit. PAD button controls response, lights and output routing of the pads. 
  • With the SOUND button you can access the base of sound or you can import your own. UTILITY button controls global settings and backups.

The Rear Side

  1.  External power supply – AC adapter
  2.  On/Off button
  3.  You can connect a USB flash drive here. This allows you to import audio files  or save waves and settings to your USB flash drive.
  4. You can connect your computer here via a USB cable. Also, you can import audio files or sample the sounds played by your computer.
  5. The MIDI IN connector is used to receive control or performance data from another MIDI device, such as an external sequencer, via a MIDI cable
  6. Midi Out
  7. Output right –  Connect these outputs to your loudspeakers, audio interface
  8. Output left
  9. Trigger input –  Connect these inputs to your acoustic or electronic triggers. When
    connected, hitting a trigger will send an electric signal to the drum module, which will trigger the corresponding sound.
    Trigger In is a single-zone connection.
  10. Trigger input –  Trigger Ins 2/3 is a dual-zone connections. 
  11. Aux Output Right – Connect these outputs to route audio signal to another destination. You can
    individually route sounds from each pad, trigger in, or foot control to either the Main Outputs or Aux Outputs.
  12.  Aux Output Left
  13. Trigger input –  Trigger Ins 4/5 is a dual-zone connections. 
  14. The HH trigger Pedal can be connected to an on/off control or a variable foot controller.
  15. Record Input Right – Connect these inputs to an audio source such as a smartphone, microphone,
    instrument or mixer for recording samples which you can then assign to the pads. The sound from these inputs is also
    passed to the Main, Aux, or Phones Outputs
  16. Record Input Left
  17. Foot Control Input – Connect optional footswitches to these inputs for additional sounds or
    control functions. 
  18. Foot Control Input
  19. Mic/Line Gain  Turn this knob to set the gain level of the Record Inputs. If you are using a mic-level input, turn the knob toward the Mic setting.

Pros

This sample pad is the newest of all three from the list and it is the first GOOD multi-pad from Alesis. I really don’t like the pads in the past, they had a lot of flaws like hard pads, bad interface, errors here and there. 

They just haven’t been useful, for instance on some of them you couldn’t play two samples at once, or you couldn’t play click only in the headphones.

With Strike Multi Pad they decided to forget the past and jump into a higher league. 

Pads

The first big pro are the pads, they are soft and much better built than the ones in the past. It is larger than SPD-SX so the pads are also slightly larger as well. you couldn’t play two samples at once, or you couldn’t play click only in the headphones.

Display

The second large improvement is the multi-color display, it is the biggest of all three. Very easy to use and enjoyable. The interface, it is more similar to SPD-SX than to DTX MULTI 12. The screen is reinforced so it should handle some hit from time to time.

Lights

Lights underneath the pad are also a great addition. Not just they look modern but the lights this big come handy in a live situation. The colors are changeable, so, for example, you color some sounds in green color or some samples in yellow and so on.

Storage

I need to mention the 32 GB of internal memory. For the same price as SPD-SX, you get a lot more storage. It has 8000 pre-built sounds and loops which are better organized than on the other two multi pads.

Best out of both worlds

Similar to Yamaha it can be used as a mini electronic drum set because it has a hi-hat jack and a couple of other external triggers. It has an option of multi-layer zones and multi-layering effects.

It has two headphone jacks so you don’t have to use adapters are a great additional feature. 

Strike Multi Pad has many similarities to Roland SPD-SX such as:

  •  “stop all sounds” button
  •  three-volume knobs for main, headphone and aux
  •  button to check a sample before playing outside
  • knobs for DJ stuff

Cons

One con that is not directly related to the pad itself is a fact that this product is new so still, there aren’t enough “how-to videos” and tutorials online.

Buttons

Buttons are kinda hard to press so sometimes in a live situation it happens that you don’t click some button. But, when you get used to it should go smoothly. A button that would come useful but doesn’t exist is the EXIT button.

Lack of speed

Although it uses newer technology this sample pad is a little bit slower than Roland especially when it comes to loading time.

In comparison to SPD-SX, it doesn’t have a kit chaining feature which means that you are not able to sort kits how you would like. It is possible that they will change this with some if it’s future software updates.

Metronome issue

One of the things I hate the most is the metronome issue. When you hit the click, it doesn’t start at the moment which can be frustrating.

Kit switching

The switching between kits it’s not solved yet since the sample you played at first will stop when you switch to another kit. The Strike Multi Pad does not have a software editor like DTX and SPD-SX

Roland Octapad SPD-30

7.9Expert Score
Best percussion pad

Interface
8
Storage
6
Usability
9
Built quality
8
Value for money
8.5
Pros
  • Easy to use and tweak
  • The phrase-looping use is easy to work on and creatively fulfilling
Cons
  • Cannot import external samples
  • Footswitches are sold independently

The Front Side

As for its front side beside the panel and controls, the Rolland offers us an elegant-looking add-on to our music experience. 

The drum pad’s front has a light grey pad surface and a black and white aesthetic overall. 

On the front side of the pad, we see the usual:

  • Volume Button used for setting your volume up or down
  • Master Volume dial that regulates sound volume you send to an external device
  • Power Button
  • Play And Record button
  • Stand By Button
  • Erase Button 
  • Set Loop
  • Phase Loop button that offers you unlimited possibilities and sets this Rolland pad far from the rest.
  • 160×160 Dot Display that is easy to use and comfortable to look at

The Rear Side

  1. We are starting out with the USB MIDI connection with a USB cable that can connect the OCTAPAD to your PC for triggering sounds or recording MIDI information to your software sequencer (DAW).
  2. Next up is the USB MEMORY SLOT With a USB memory (sold separately), you can backup and load your data. PHONES jack Even when using your headphones. The sound is still output from the OUTPUT jacks.
  3. OUTPUT jacks are used for connection to your amp or recording system. If you want to make a MONO connection, use the L/MONO jack.
  4. MIX IN jack is used for connecting an external audio device (MP4 player, computer, CD player…). This audio signal will be sent to the OUTPUT and PHONES jacks.
  5. DC IN 
  6. PHONES jack Even when using your headphones. The sound is still output from the OUTPUT jacks. (Stereo ¼ inch, phone type)
  7. FOOT SW jack, you can connect a set of footswitches to this input for different possibilities, it can also support a dual footswitch.
  8. MIDI connectors
  9. EXTERNAL TRIGGER INPUT Also, jacks 1–4 have specific indications. You can use them however you see fit. 

Pros

Phase Looping

If you started getting into drum pads, you must have come across many videos about Roland’s phrase looping. 

The summary of its use is: you can record a pattering live and then play along with it. You can give it flare and put a real personal touch to your sound. Every time, you will be creating something new.

 

Ease of Use And Pad Quality

It is incredibly easy to use and makes for a great purchase. It can help carter to beginners and intermediate players. 

The pads are extremely sensitive. Just by brushing lightly with the tip of your finger, you can get a sound out of them. 

They are really fun to use. If you’ve ever considered adding a drum pad to your setup, the SPD30 commands attention by drummers and non‑drummers equal. It’s a quick and easy way to add some character and percussive flair to your music.  

Managing and editing the effects is quite a simple task. You navigate the edit tab and use the knob to turn to the effects parameter you want to tweak.

Cons

Pre Recorded sound and recording

This model’s downside is that if you want to put in pre-recorded sound and use it to make something new. It can not be done. This downside can be a hassle, but it also pushes you to new highs. 

This is a clear miss from Roland, but we can hope and expect a  feature like this will be added to their next model. Until then, no external sounds can be added to your sound library.

 

Footswitch pedals are not included in the package

The SPD30 can be used with a footswitch pedal. This small addition allows a performer to control several phrase‑loop functions without having to use their hands. 

With a foot click, you can do several things:

  • Mute a pad sound, start playing a loop
  • Bypass an effect
  • Stop or start recording your session. 

The SPD30 can also be used with a dual pedal.

The con in this whole process is that the footswitch pedals don’t come in the package. So they are sold separately. They are not a necessity but something good to have around when trying something new out. 

HXW PD705 Avatar

7.6Expert Score
Budget friendly

Interface
7
Storage
7
Usability
7
Built quality
8
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Price is below average
  • Nice build quality
  • 9 pads in total and 30 prerecorded effects
Cons
  • Not for the advanced musicians
  • Lack of wave editor and USB cable

The Front Side

The front side of this drum looks very minimalistic, but that is not a disadvantage actually. Considering that this is a model for beginners or casual drummers, this can be viewed as an advantage. A hundred buttons on the front side can be confusing for the casuals. The front side of PD705 includes: 

  • Six main pads used for practicing
  • Three top pads which you play with the shoulder of your drumsticks
  • Power Button for turning on and off the pad
  • Volume Button
  • CLICK, REC, KIT, and SETUP used to control drum kit effects, drum samples you want to use at the moment, tweaking drum loops, effects, etc.
  • LED Display where you can see your current setup and where you can customize the pad effect
  • OK, SELECT, DIRECTIONAL BUTTONS used to navigate the LED Interface

Basically, it has all of the essentials for the casual drummers out there. Buttons can also glow in the dark and that can be useful when playing in the dark.

The Rear Side

The read side of the pad follows the same pattern. Nothing to be excited about, but at this price range, this is a solid bargain.

  • Two dual inputs for external triggers (kick pedal, cymbal pedal, etc). The pad supports 2 external devices, but, using the splitter, you can increase that number up to 4
  • Two footswitch inputs:
  • Two audio outputs (Right and Left). This is a standard output for external audio devices such as speakers, or amplifiers. It supports stereo amplifiers, as well as a mono signal on the left output.
  • USB Slot B for the PC connection. With the PC, you can connect the pad with all popular DAWs. It can be also used as a MIDI control output
  • USB Slot A used to update the software and to download the new samples
  • 5 MIDI Cables for MIDI devices

Pros

Price

The biggest pro I can give you is the price, which is an absolute steal. You will get a decent drum pad for your child, or for you if you just entered the world of drumming.

 

Number Of Preset Drum Effects

The pad comes with the 30 preset drum effect, which is more than enough for daily use. You can also use the USB A port to download more effects, but you will surely not need them, since the inbuilt effect can satisfy all of your needs.

Importing new effects and sounds is a bit complicated, but it is worth a little effort if you want to experiment with the new effects.

 

Solid Build Quality For The Price

Build quality is especially nice. I was expecting a low-quality product since this is one of the cheapest models on the market, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality this pad offers. It is hard, and it looks like it can last for years.

Pads are also very satisfying on hit, and the fact that you technically get 9 of them is astounding. The bottom pads have a lot of surfaces, so you won’t accidentally hit a nearby pad instead of the desired target.

Cons

Barebones Drum Effects

At this price point, every con I have with HXW PD705 Avatar is just a nitpick. If you are a beginner drummer, you already have your eyes set on this model. 

While I only have praises to sing about the inclusion of 30 prerecorded effects, they are very barebones, and they can’t be switched on the fly.

 

Lack Of USB Cable And Wave Editor

The lack of a USB cable is also not a big deal. USB cables cost a couple of bucks and are very easy to find. But, it is a real nuisance when you unbox your new drum pad, want to connect it to a computer for updates, and you see a USB cable missing. Nobody wants to walk/drive to a store when there is a new drum pad waiting for him(or her) at home.

It also does not come with the Wave Editor. it is not a big deal, since most casual drummers won’t ever use it, but for me, it was something that was really lacking.

Nord Drum 3P

7.7Expert Score
Best on budget sample pad

Interface
7
Storage
7
Usability
7
Built quality
8.5
Value for money
9
Pros
  • Fantastic build quality and hit feel
  • Sounds are out of this world
  • Extreme levels of sound customization
  • Reverb and Delay addition
Cons
  • Can be a bit overwhelming at first

The Front Side

The interface of the Nord Drum 3P can be a bit scary on sight. It has a lot of customization options and you will always get the sound that you want out of it.

The six pads are very well built and are incredibly satisfying to hit. 

The Panel allows for changes on the fly. You can customize your sound even mid-play. It may look horrific at the beginning, but it offers incredible levels of customization.

  • DIAL serves to select Drum Kits. It is speed-sensitive, meaning if you turn it quickly to the left side, it will go down to its lowest value
  • CH SELECT BUTTONS is used for selecting various channels
  • PEAK/FOCUS LEDS indicates the maximum velocity of the electronic drum pad
  • TRIG/MONO LEDS indicates pad activity
  • PARAMETER BUTTONS select the name and value of the parameters
  • LOWER PARAM BUTTON used for the access of the lower parameter row
  • SHIFT/EXIT BUTTON access secondary button functions
  • TRIG/TAP BPM BUTTON triggers the sound of the current channel
  • DRUM KIT/VALUE LED DISPLAYS displays the drum kit and parameters selected
  • MASTER LEVEL is a classic master volume button

The Rear Side

The rear side looks more like your everyday electronic drum pad. The front may be unorthodox, but the rear has all the typical jacks like: 

  • Headphones– your typical 1/8 inch stereo headphone jack.
  • LEFT AND RIGHT OUT classic out used for amplifiers or speakers. The left one can be used for MIDI connection.
  • KICK CONNECTION this electronic drum pad works with all kinds of triggers. Usually, this connector is used for kick pedals or kick cymbals.
  • MIDI IN this jack is used to receive MIDI data that is being sent from other external devices such as computers, or controllers. MIDI is also used for updating the electronic drum pad
  • MIDI OUT this output is primarily used for recording the tracks or transferring them to your computer.
  • POWER used to power your electronic drum pad
  • OFF/ON SWITCH used to switch the device on and off
  • Stand Holder is used to attach your Nord Drum 3P to a stand.
  •  

Pros

Sound Quality

The first thing that comes to mind when playing Nord Drum 3P electronic drum pad is how awesome it sounds. I often forget that I am playing another drum pad instead of real drums when I am using these pads.

Build Quality And Customization

The premium quality guarantees years and years of usage. It is satisfying to hit, the pads do not feel too rubbery like on the cheaper models, and the hit sounds simulated the real deal perfectly.

All of this comes with extreme levels of customization. You can customize all little details like resonance waves, cymbals, wave types, etc. Whatever you can think of, Nord Drum 3P can produce it. With all this, the pad will almost sound like the acoustic drums.

Also, Nord Drum ensures us that this electronic drum pad can be played using only your hands. While this is true, this is not practical, as the pads need to be hit very hard in order to produce sound.

Importing new effects and sounds is a bit complicated, but it is worth a little effort if you want to experiment with the new effects.

Cons

Difficult To Use For Casuals

While I do not have any major con with the Nord Drum 3P, I still got to write this part. Jokes aside, many of the premium models are made by professionals who know how to make a good premium drum pad and have the resources to do it. Nord Drum is no different.

It is clear that we have an excellent model that is well worth its price. The only downside I could think of is that it can be a bit confusing for the new drummers. The control pad is great, and it offers customization that is impressive. But the fact that every button has more than one function, coupled with a minimalistic display, will give the casuals a hard time.

Does Not Include Hi-Hat Pedal

Another nitpick I have is that it does not include a hi-hat control pedal. Switching between open and closed hi-hat on the go would be a nice addition to this premium model.

It also does not come with the Wave Editor. it is not a big deal, since most casual drummers won’t ever use it, but for me, it was something that was really lacking.

Alesis Sample Pad Pro

8.4Expert Score
Best on budget sample pad

Interface
8
Storage
7
Usability
8
Built quality
9
Value for money
10
Pros
  • Amazing design
  • Expendable triggering options
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Menu a little too simple
  • Switching kits

The Front Side

  • Pad: When you strike these single-zone pads with your drumsticks, a LED pad will illuminate
  • LCD: This shows the current parameters and additional actions. 
  • Cursor Left: Push the button to reduce the value of a parameter. 
  • Cursor Up/Down: Push the keys to move any way you want will it be up and down or just browsing the menu options.
  • Cursor Right: Push the button to enhance the value of a parameter or to gain access to a submenu.  
  • SD Card Slot: Put in a conventional SD card containing WAV samples into this slot. 
  • Main Volume: Sets the overall sound level for the Main Out. 
  • Phones Volume: Sets the overall sound level for the Phones Out. 
  • Phones Out: Attach a set of 1/4″ headphones to this output.

The Rear Side

  • Aux In:  This aux can be used to connect your phone media player or a CD player
  • Aux In Volume: Sets the level of the device connected to the Aux Input. 
  • Power Switch: By pressing this button, you will turn on SamplePad Pro. Also, by holding this button for not longer than two seconds and releasing it to turn SamplePad Pro off. 
  • DC Input: Connect the added power adapter and connect the adapter to wall power. 
  • Kick Pedal Input: Attach a kick trigger or footswitch using a 1/4″ TS cord to use this input as a kick trigger while drumming. Choose “SWITCH” if you are using a footswitch/switch trigger. Pick “TRIGGER” if you are using a velocity-sensitive pedal or velocity-sensitive kick trigger. 
  • Hi-Hat Input: Connect a Hi-Hat pedal using a 1/4″ TS cable to use this input to control the state of a HiHat while playing. Choose “SWITCH” if you are using a standard footswitch. Choose “VARIABLE” if you are using a variable hi-hat pedal.
  • Footswitch Input: Connect a standard 1/4″ TS single-button or 1/4″ TRS dual-button footswitch here to control functions assigned in the Footswitch options menu. 
  • Pad 1: Connect a dual-zone or single-zone drum pad, cymbal pad, or trigger to this but using a 1/4″ TRS cable for dual-zone or a 1/4″ TS cable for single-zone.
  • Pad 2: Connect a single-zone drum, cymbal, or trigger to this input using a 1/4″ TS cable. 
  • Main Out: Use standard 1/4″ cords to connect this output to a speaker or amp system. 
  • MIDI In: Use a standard five-pin MIDI cord to attach this input to the MIDI OUT of an external MIDI device. 
  • MIDI Out: A standard five-pin MIDI cable to attach this output to the MIDI IN of an external MIDI device. 

USB/MIDI Port: Attach SamplePad Pro to a computer to transfer and receive MIDI data or load examples to the SD card.

Pros

Excellent Pad At This Price Range

When it comes to the pros and cons of this amazing drum pad there is not much that can be said. It is an amazing-looking thing. 

It offers so much for its price and beyond that. It has an elegant design and gives off an expensive feel to it.

Custom Sampling

Custom sampling is already a good deal to have on your drumming pad but you will also be getting a free bonus sample pack with it. 

SamplePad Pro has extra triggers and pad inputs. With this amazing feature, you can make this set unique for every single use. 

This is a one-of-a-kind deal that offers an open door to anybody that wants to expand their horizons in music and their creativity.

Cons

Menu

When it comes to cons there are again not too many. A few things we can point out are simple hiccups and they don’t alter your way of enjoying or playing.

The first thing can be the menu. It looks very neat and clean. This is something that can be expected from such a high-quality company but it is a little too clean. 

It doesn’t have Y/N buttons which can make your job a little bit more hard when trying to navigate your way. 

Switching Kits Live

If you like playing live this is a kit for you. But, keep in mind that while switching kits live will take some time. Something like this would not make any problems to a non-professional but if you do play drums professionally it can sound a little sloppy. 

Conclusion

The Roland SPD-SX has everything one modern electronic drum pad needs to have. I am not saying that other pads are not as good but for me, this one definitely has some advantages. 

I think it is because of Roland’s experience in making multi pads. 

As a drummer I want all important features like headphone volume, click settings, check button, sound off button to be near and easily accessible. The speed and usability go in favor of the Roland sample pad.

As the best electronic drum pad I choose Roland SPD SX.

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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