ATV Adrums Review
Ultimate Buying Guide
The concept of electronic drums has divided most drummers for decades. Some drummers are all for it, some drummers don’t even want to think about it. As technology advances, so does the design quality of electric kits, and many electric kits have started to get closer to achieving the real feel of an acoustic kit.
ATV aDrums have headed in this direction. Their Artist kit is an electronic drum kit that has the look and build of an acoustic kit.
It looks great, but does it have the features to match?
What to Expect from the ATV aDrums Artist Electronic Drum Set
The kit is designed to look like a standard mid-tier acoustic kit. It has authentic 6-ply birch drum shells, with dual-layer mesh heads to cater for the electronics. The birch drum shells are painted and lacquered for a natural look, with the piano black finish giving it a clean appearance.
The kit comes with heavy-duty, double braced hardware. This includes two cymbal stands, a snare stand and mounts for the toms. The mounted toms add to the mid-tier acoustic kit aesthetic.
Unfortunately, the kit doesn’t come with a kick pedal or hihat stand, so you’ll need to buy those separately.
ATV aDrums have four configuration options to choose from when buying them. The Artist standard set is a 4-piece setup with 2 cymbals and a hihat. The Artist expanded set includes an extra tom and cymbal. Both kits will then come with the option to include the aD5 Drum Module or not.
The aD5 drum module is limited compared to competitor drum modules. It is designed to be easy to understand and easy to use. With a few simple features, you will know how to work the module in a few minutes of tinkering.
It only has 4 preset drum kits. The preset kits are:
1. Vintage Studio
3. Metal 9000
4. Legacy Jazz
There is no option to edit these sounds. You can’t alter pitches or add reverb. However, the sounds of the kits are highly authentic, since they have been sampled from real acoustic drums in studio spaces.
ATV’s website has separate sounds that you can purchase and run through the module.
There are no onboard speakers, so you will have to plug the module into headphones or an external amplifier.
The module has a mini aux input which allows you to run MP3 tracks through it. You can play to music this way.
One of the standout features of the ATV aDrums Artist kit is that it can connect to most electronic drum modules. It is not limited to the aD5 module. You can use a different drum module that you like, along with the high quality feel and aesthetic of the aDrums. This is a great feature, since the aD5 module is quite basic. This could potentially save you money, since the option to buy the kit without the module is a bit cheaper.
The aD5 module, along with most electronic drum modules, has MIDI output. MIDI output allows you to connect the kit to your computer. You can then record the drums using a DAW(Digital Audio Workstation). The DAW will allow you to expand on your drum sounds. MIDI drum recordings can be manipulated with the DAW, making the aDrums a perfect tool for making and recording music.
The ATV aDrums Artist kit comes with dual-layer mesh head pads. These pads are tunable, meaning you can adjust the tension to have them feel as tight or loose as you want. The cymbals are standard rubber pads.
Multiple sensors are placed under each pad to eliminate hotspots, so you don’t have to hit the center of the pad to get the right sound. This brings the kit closer to feeling like an authentic acoustic kit.
The snare and floor tom pads are 13”, the rack toms are 10” and the bass drum is 18”. The hihats are 14”, the crash cymbal is 16” and the ride cymbal is 18”. These sizes are larger than most pads on electric kits, and give the vibe of playing on a normal acoustic kit.
The snare pad has a cross-stick sensor, making it easier to know when the drummer plays a cross-stick. The rim also has a separate sensor to the snare, allowing for accurate rimshots.
The cymbal pads have 360 degree sensors, making them sensitive all around the surface, You don’t have to play in a specific zone like in most electric kits. You can choke the cymbals and play on their bells, features that many electric kits don’t have.
The hi-hats have a non-contact sensor, which basically helps the hi-hat to feel as authentic as possible, without affecting the sound.
The rubber pads of the cymbals tend to get micro-dents when played too hard. It doesn’t affect the sound, but can affect how they look.
ATV Corporation was founded in 2013 by Ikutaro Kakehashi, the same founder of Roland Corporation. You can assume that the man who founded Roland knows what he’s doing when it comes to electronic instruments.
The company specialises in electronic music instruments and video equipment. They are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of possibilities within that world.
With regards to electric drum kits, they are well on their way to becoming a main competitor in the market.
Things To Consider:
Due to the MIDI functionality, the ATV aDrums would be good for studio sessions that required easy editing of the drum parts. The authentic onboard sounds and ease of use would be beneficial to people who don’t have drum microphones.
However, it will always be better to use an acoustic drum kit in the studio. The feel and intricacies of an acoustic kit will transfer over better into a song.
For Live Performance
If you are looking for an electric kit to use for live performances, the ATV aDrums Artist kit should be high on your list. The visual aspect to this electric kit is highly desirable. On stage, it will look like you’re playing a regular acoustic kit, but you will have all the benefits of an electric kit.
Your sound engineer will be your best friend, since he won’t have to worry about mic’ing up the kit. He can control everything from the sound desk. If you are playing too loudly, he can just turn you down from his side.
The drum sounds from the aD5 module will fit decently into most live gig situations. You could also run MIDI through a laptop to get different sounds.
The kit can be a bit tricky to setup with the drum module. Let’s be honest, no one likes reading long manuals. Here is a video that will help you out with the setup:
MIDI recording is one of the most beneficial parts of using an electric kit. The ATV aDrums Artist kit records MIDI the same way as all the other electric kits. Here’s a video that explains how that works:
ATV is a young company, but they are taking huge steps in the electric drum kit world. The aDrums Artist series puts more focus on the quality and feel of the drums than it does on the drum module. However, the simplistic design of the aD5 drum module may be attractive to a lot of players. It does a job, and it does that job well.
If you need more from the drum module, the expandable qualities of the kit make getting more extremely possible.
If you want an electric drum kit that looks like an acoustic kit, plays like an acoustic kit and sounds like an acoustic kit, the ATV aDrums Artist kit may be just what you are looking for.