If you are in a hurry and want to know what are the best drum triggers, are the Yamaha DT-50K (single-zoned) and Yamaha DT-50S (dual-zoned)
Drum triggering gained attention in the 90s because it overcame potential problems that even the best drum mic kit had when playing in live performances. The solution came by triggering pre-recorded samples in the drums while preserving the dynamic range of drummers and volume.
Nowadays, this technology is improved, and it’s also cost-effectively used today to create a “hybrid drums,” basically an acoustic kit and an electronic kit combined.
What Should You Look For Before Buying Drum Triggers
As you read the entire article, including the reviews, you will understand why all these features are significant and make a real difference in buying decisions.
Dual trigger or single trigger
A single trigger only works by picking up the sound of one source only, that’s the case of most drum triggers available in the market. However, some triggers, called dual triggers, can pick up the sound of two points like you would probably need in a snare drum (head and rim).
Mount and type
There are mostly two types of drum triggers mounts. The first one is adhesive; it is directly stuck in your drumhead, more exposed. The second type more common are rim mount triggers, these are more protected as they are contained in a protective housing (i.e., metal housings).
But we are not talking only of aesthetics here, these two types of mounts sound apart as they “collect” vibrations from different parts (drum heads and drum rims).
Compatibility with Module
Make sure if the trigger you are buying is compatible with your drum trigger module. Most of the triggers found on the market are interchangeable, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and end up returning your trigger because of incompatibility.
Compatibility with Drums
Are you triggering your drum tones, snare drum, or your bass drum? Whatever drum part, you need to know this information before buying your drum trigger. Most triggers are versatile to fit anywhere, but some are designed to fit a specific drum.
Some triggers are designed to use XLR to ¼” cables, but others use ¼” to ¼: (standard guitar cables). Another important thing you should look for is buying extra cables as they tend to go bad easily.
Among the variety of drum triggers on the market, here are the best options:
Best Drum Triggers (If you Own a Roland Module) Roland RT-30HR Dual Trigger for Hybrid Drumming
Made by the Japanese company Roland, this is an advanced dual-trigger device with independent head and rim triggering. Perfect for snares and other drum parts that demand dual-zone triggering.
It features an excellent build quality with durable fiberglass-reinforced housing, and it fits most standard rims/hoops as it’s easy to attach. A nice feature is that Its triggering is pretty accurate and even has the sensitivity to recognize harder hitting. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about latency or accidental triggering.
Compatible with most Roland products are great, but some users report poor compatibility with other manufacturers’ modules.
These triggers are good to practice at home using silent stroke heads and work fine with only a bit of adjustment to your module/converter’s parameters. They are also great for using them in an acoustic set, adding triggering layers to acoustic sound during live gigs.
The major problem with this trigger is its price that can be higher than most triggers out there.
- Great for your hybrid drum set
- No worries about latency or accidental triggering
- Well built fiberglass-reinforced housing
- Thumbscrew isn’t well built it may come off after a few uses
- Recommended for Roland products only, other manufacturers not so much
This trigger kit is a low-cost alternative trigger created by the Swedish company ddrum. Unlike most triggers that are sold separately, this is a kit made for your snare, three tom-toms, and a bass drum.
These triggers can be a bit tricky to attach to drums. You have to put the trigger at 2 o’clock or 11 o’clock to get a good sound, but once set, they seem to work very well with accurate performance.
A disappointing feature is all triggers are single-zoned (one sound per trigger), so you need to buy an extra trigger for the snare drum if you are willing to get a rim shot sound.
Another disappointing thing about this trigger is its thin wires; caution is required when moving them.
- It’s a 5-piece kit, so it’s probably all you need to trigger a standard drum set
- Thin wires need to be moved with caution
Best Drum Triggers Overall Yamaha DT-50K Drum Trigger
This is an accurate and consistent drum trigger by the also Japanese manufacturer Yamaha.
A neat feature is its metal casing that is well-chromed and looks very nice, and it’s hard to tell it’s a trigger just by looking at it. A perfect trigger to live performances with a hybrid drum kit.
It’s an uncomplicated trigger to attach and remove from the drum. An excellent thing is you won’t find any problem with the foam contacting the head – some other triggers can face this issue. Once attached, the trigger works well.
Another great feature is that you can adjust the trigger’s sensibility according to your preference and avoid accidental triggering.
This is a single-zone trigger, and if you need a dual-zone trigger (to your rimshot sounds), you should buy the DT-50S built almost the same as the one we are reviewing and also works fine.
Another downside is its price; it’s probably the most expensive trigger in this roundup review.
- The metal housing is reliable
- Sensibility is adjustable
- No worries about latency or accidental triggering
- Easy to set-up
Budget Bass Drum Triggers Aquarian Kickzone Bass Drum Trigger
Made by Aquarian, a company created in the 80s by Roy Burns, a world-famous drummer, this is a simple design option if you want to trigger your bass drum.
Unlike other triggers we reviewed, it is not attached to the drum rim but attached to the drum head with an adhesive, and the cable bracket keeps the cable in place. For this reason, it’s not the best option for live performances and touring.
It’s a cost-effective trigger that works well and surprisingly doesn’t have any negative impact on the sound.
It’s a versatile trigger as its compatible with most drum trigger modules.
- Compatible with most drum trigger modules
- Isn’t recommended to live performances or touring
- Cable length is short
Budget Drum Triggers Pack Pintech Percussion RS-5-5PK Trigger
The last trigger we are reviewing today is also one of the most cost-effective of all of them.
Made by Pintech Percussion, also an American company, like a ddrum trigger kit (also reviewed by us), it’s a 5-pack trigger kit that offers decent quality and a one-time investment to your drum kit.
It’s easy to set up with the “Kwik Klip” mounting system that ensures that the audio jack stays in place and fastens to the tension rod. It keeps the trigger in place just fine.
Something cool is that most users report that this unit works well with mesh heads and acoustic drum heads.
Another surprising feature is its compatibility with different drum modules. Overall, a convenient drum trigger.
If you are using in mesh heads, be aware that this trigger doesn’t stick well to them. A solution would be to get a kick drum impact patch and stick that on the mesh head first, as they stick well to mesh heads. Then you would stick the sensor on the impact patch.
- Works fine with acoustic or mesh heads
- Easy to set-up
- One-time investment (it’s a kit)
- Good to a home or studio setup
- Isn’t recommended to live performances or touring because of its mechanism
- They don’t stick well on mesh heads
And the winner of this roundup is the Yamaha DT-50K. Not only because of how great it looks because of its metal housing and chrome finish, but it’s also the sturdiest we reviewed today.
As it’s attachable to your rim and not adhesive, it’s recommended to live sessions as recommended to studio recording. Yamaha’s quality makes this trigger last for years. We reviewed the single-zone version today, but there is also a dual-zone version that is the DT-50S, built almost the same and reliable as much. Its compatibility with other modules is also really appreciated (i.e., Roland’s RT-30HR is an excellent option, but if it’s a different module than Roland, it doesn’t perform well).