Techtonic Digital Drums
Upbeats: 5Offers basic functions 5Compact & lightweight Downbeats:
6Limited sensitivity levels Contact: Soar Valley Music Ltd Tel: 0116 230 4926 www.soarvalleymusic.co.uk
Techtonic Digital Drums
Techtonic Digital Drums words: Ian Croft images: Eckie
At the lower end of the digital kit range a familiar package offers entry players a good place to start
tarting out in whatever musical position, be it guitarist, bassist, or keyboard player requires some kind of investment or outlay. The Techtonic digital kit is well positioned to allow those with budgetary concerns and those wanting to step onto the first rungs of the drumming ladder to purchase a product that will assist them in fulfilling those ambitions. Sharing many similar characteristics to those found on the Black Mamba II and JHS PP 900E kit, both formerly reviewed within Drummer’s pages, the Techtonic set is definitely an entry level practice or home recording kit that provides a basic selection of sounds via the digital brain.
Construction This kit is the ‘flat-pack’ kit of e-kits in that it is packaged into a single carton that takes little time to unpack and assemble. By reading the concise instructions and following the images you should be hitting the ‘on’ button, donning headphones and playing beats within an hour without breaking sweat. The fully adjustable rack allows for good general positioning of the drum and cymbal pads and apart from supporting the entire setup efficiently, the overall weight factor makes it highly portable and therefore ideal for home use. The kit comprises four 10” rubbersurfaced drum pads, one stand-alone and nicely weighted kick drum pad
and a thoughtfully included bass drum pedal. Cymbal-wise you find three similar sized pads, also rubber coated – ride, crash, hi-hat cymbal pad and a hi-hat controller pedal. A colour-coded cable snake ensures you plug everything together correctly without fear of finding that the snare pad has become the floor tom for example. With a set of drumsticks included, you only need to supply a drum stool, headphones or monitoring system and you are all set to go.
The Brain The instructions for operating the brain module are easy to follow and by spending a little time experimenting with what does what you will soon be fully conversant with the controls and sounds at your command. Containing 215 voices, 20 preset kits and ten user-defined kits, the digital brain module does allow you to construct and configure your own individually tailored sets. There are 50 preset songs and a click track/metronome that will help you keep good time when practising or playing along to tracks.
In Use The brain module is simple enough to navigate around and most of the programmed kits are usable, though there are a few that might raise some eyebrows, being a little on the wild side, but nonetheless enjoyable for their esoteric nature and you can create some fairly
CONCLUSION adventurous sounding sets. However, if you are using this set mainly for practice purposes, then ‘kit 1’ will most certainly satisfy your needs by providing you with a basic ‘rock kit’ set of sounds. The headphone socket is conveniently positioned to the side of the module and via the Aux In jack socket you can run a CD/MP3 player or iPod out of the back of the brain, allowing you to step away from the pre-programmed 50 songs on offer. Metronome adjustment is simple to work with and will help in getting your beats and grooves to sit in time. Response levels are pre-set and adequate, though there is no ability to fine-tune sensitivity for bringing out ghost notes for example. The hihat controller has a nice feel, though I found that open/closed funk hi-hat ‘barks’ are a bit sluggish, particularly when playing at higher tempos. The snare and tom pads offer satisfactory rebound levels and though the cymbal pads do sound and feel a little clunky, they trigger their appropriate sounds quite effectively. D
You do need to remember that this kit is designed and priced for those that want just a basic starter set and you will have to up your budget if you want finer sensitivity levels, or dual-zone pads. The metronome/click functions will assist in improving your time and the pre-programmed songs may inspire you to play other unfamiliar musical styles you might not otherwise encounter. When your recording or practice session is concluded the nicely lightweight kit folds up compactly, allowing you to put it away without intruding too much on room space. However, a search on the web produced several identical kits, making this a fiercely competitive product, certainly one that you can gain from if you are just beginning the drumming journey.
Review of the Techtonic DD502(J) electronic drum kit by Ian Croft. Courtesy of Drummer Magazine.