Interesting Electronic Drum Discoveries at Winter NAMM


Hybrid Acoustic Drum Kit

This year at NAMM I came across some very interesting developments in the electronic drumming universe. Technology today is getting really good, so I thought I’d share with you some of the coolest things I found.

Gen16 AE

Zildjian Gen16 AE (Acoustic Electric) Cymbals

When I first saw the Zildjian Gen16 AE (Acoustic Electric) cymbals I was pretty shocked. At their core they are real acoustic cymbals but with hundreds of different sized holes in them. This is to drastically cut down the volume of sound they make when played. They claim to have a 75% reduction in sound and when I played them, this seemed to be true. So right away you could swap these out on your kit and have a much quieter setup. The really cool part is when you incorporate their DS (Direct Source) Pickup

DS Pickup

Zildjian DS (Direct Source) Pickup

and their DCP (Digital Cymbal Processor), you can essentially have unlimited sounds with the ability to shape each cymbal sound as well. Now you don’t need 200 different cymbals and you can control the volume of each of them to match every situation! Keep in mind, this setup is not a trigger, it actually consists of the sensor that attaches to the cymbal and an LED light preamp module (which can change colors when your strike the cymbal) that attaches to the cymbal stand and acts more like a very specific microphone, that then plugs into the DCP.


Zildjian DCP (Digital Cymbal Processor)

This overall concept gave me goosebumps when I saw it in action, the possibilities are endless!

Now drum triggers have been around for a while but usually they are not very accurate. Aquarian now makes a drum head with a trigger BUILT IN to the actual 3-ply acoustic head called inHEAD. When played, they sound like great studio recording heads but when hooked up to the quick release inBOX (combination signal booster, trigger conditioner and inHEAD power supply) they can be used with perfect accuracy with any drum trigger module.


Aquarian inHEAD with inBOX system, rimSHOT and kickZONE triggers

This is due to the FSR (Force Sensing Response) technology built into the entire head that requires pressure to make the connection rather than the typical vibration type sensing that can cause mis-firings and loss of dynamics. They even make the rimSHOT and kickZONE triggers so you can have separate sounds for the rim and kick drum easily.

If you want something that is very quiet with electronics, Aquarian now makes a product called onHEAD PED that you simply place on the drum that incorporates their same FSR technology for very accurate triggering.


Aquarian onHEAD PED trigger and onHEAD EBD bass drum trigger

It’s essentially a great feeling drum pad that sits on your drum head and plugs into the inBOX to send the signal out to your drum module. With this concept, they also developed a product for your bass drum called onHEAD EBD that works the same way with very little acoustic sound created!

Finally, Roland Triggers have been updated and improved

Roland Triggers

Improved kick, snare and tom triggers by Roland

and can also work with the new Remo Silentstroke mesh drum heads


New Remo Silentstroke Drumheads

to create a virtually silent electronic setup when combined with any drum module. Roland also makes a curved bar trigger now meant to blend seamlessly into any acoustic drum setup that’s pretty cool as well.


Hybrid Acoustic Drum Kit with Roland Curved Bar Triggers and SPD-30 Octapad

Interesting stuff right!? I hope you can incorporate some of this new found knowledge when building your hybrid kit, there’s a lot available to us today. What drumming electronics have you used before and what were your results?

About Drummer Ryan GIO

Life long professional drummer!
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