Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid Review

Ultimate Buying Guide


Electronic drum kits aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. They don’t give you the same feel as an acoustic kit. Some people don’t like the fact that they don’t even look the same. Well, here’s where the Pearl e/Merge comes into play. This kit is Pearl’s latest electronic drum kit option and it’s top-the-range. It’s designed to look and feel like an acoustic kit. So, let’s dive in and have a look at what it offers. 

Key Features: 


  • Acoustic-like look and response 
  • MDL-1 drum module 
  • Collaboration between Pearl and Korg 
  • 16GB Internal memory 
  • 6-layer PUREtouch drum pads 
  • 18” bass drum shell 
Build Quality
Price to Value Ratio
  • Large bass drum that is good for double pedals
  • Looks great
  • Feels like an acoustic kit
  • MDL-1 module has many high quality sounds
  • Cymbal pads get micro-dents
  • aD5 Module doesn’t have many sounds

What to Expect from the Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid


The Pearl e/Merge was designed by Pearl along with Korg, a company famous for their electronic instruments. So, the MDL-1 module that comes with this kit has many famous sounds from Korg, as well as sampled acoustic kits from Pearl. 

The sound options come in 8 different categories and they range from acoustic drum kits to a whole world of synthetic percussion and melodic sounds. 

The module is quite easy to use, with all the options having dedicated button on the front of the interface. 

The module feature an ambience slider which allows you to adjust the level of the room mics used for recording the original samples. This allows you to get a range room sounds such as high echo or tight controlled sound. 

You can also load in your own samples from a flash drive.


The MDL-1 module has a USB output port, allowing you to connect this kit to a computer.  You can set the kit up with a DAW and then record MIDI. You could also use a drum kit plugin to play different sounds from the pads. This gives you an endless amount of sound possibilities. 


The kit features a 14” snare drum that has 3 different trigger options. These allow you to play rim shots, cross sticks and general snare notes. It’s very responsive, so ghost notes will be expressed very clearly. 

The tom pads are 10”, 12” and 14”. They are dual-triggered, meaning they produce sound from the head and the rim. These sizes are similar to standard acoustic tom sizes which is great! 

The bass drum is 18” and resembles a normal acoustic bass drum. It’s great for double pedals and offers a unique responsiveness that makes you forget it’s part of an electronic kit

The kit then has 14” hi-hats, a 15” crash and an 18” ride. The hi-hats have 2 trigger zones and can produce all the sounds an acoustic hi-hat can. The crash has a dynamic range of sounds and the ride has 3 trigger zones, meaning you can play the bell.


Roland TD-50K

Roland is the top dog electronic drum kit company. They’ve consistently produced the best drum kits on the market over the years. The TD-50 is their top product. It has a lot of the same qualities as the Pearl e/Merge. A big difference is that the Roland sounds are created instead of sampled. This gives them a lot more space to be manipulated and altered. 

The TD-50 does offer a few more features, making it a lot more expensive. The TD-50 is probably the most expensive electronic drum kit on the market at the moment. 

The drum pads on the Roland are higher in quality, with the snare having 8 sensors and the ride having 5. You can also check the Roland VAD506 with a more hybrid approach. 

The Roland TD-50 is a better kit than the Pearl e/Merge. However, it’s almost double the price depending on where you buy it from. So, the e/Merge would be a better option if you don’t want to spend that much money. If you want to know more about the td 50 here’s a complete buying guide. 

ATV Adrums

The ATV aDrums have full-on acoustic drum shells just like the Roland VAD706. This makes them look even more like an acoustic kit than the Pearl e/Merge does. However, the drum sizes are a bit smaller than the e/Merge, with the snare and floor tom being 13” and the rack toms being 10”. 

The aDrums drum module also doesn’t have too many sounds on it, so there isn’t as much to work with. It’s basically designed to be a real-feeling electronic kit that is has a simple layout and is simple to use. The acoustic kits on the module do sound fantastic though. 

The ATV aDrums electronic kit has less features than the Pearl e/Merge, making it slightly less pricey. Check our full review here.

Things To Consider:

For Studio

The onboard acoustic drum kits on the module sound really authentic, making the Pearl e/Merge a great option for a studio electronic kit. You could track drums for a song and no one would know that you’re using an electronic drum kit. The MIDI capabilities also help with studio work, since MIDI notes can be easily edited and manipulated after you’ve done the recording.

For Live Performance 

The MDL-1 module has 8 outs for the drum and cymbal pads. This will give a sound engineer full control over the sounds that they produce, allowing for easy mixing in a live situation. This will make the Pearl e/Merge a really good live gigging option. It also looks quite similar to an acoustic kit, so you won’t lose that stage presence like you will with other electronic kits. 

Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid Review
  • Build Quality
  • Performance
  • Price to Value

Final Thoughts

The Pearl e/Merge Hybrid is one of the best electronic kits on the market. It’s extremely high priced, since you’re getting all the latest technology. So, it’s not really a good option for a beginner. 

Be sure to pair it up with a good amp an check this guide on amplification.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, then this kit is a seriously good electronic kit option. It can be used for practicing, recording and gigging, giving you all that drums have to offer.

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