There’s a mesh head revolution going on in the drumming world. Apartment living, the need for easy live sound reinforcement and project studio recording are on the rise feeding a need for great sounding quiet drum kits. While some choose to go fully electronic, there is another group who choose to use their existing drum shells to create a hybrid acoustic electronic kit by fitting mesh heads and triggers.

Why do this? Apart from maintaining the look and feel of your acoustic drum kit, the beauty of it is in its versatility, the fact that you can mix and match your own drum sounds with electronic reinforcement allows you to leverage great benefits in practice, recording and live performance situations. Let’s have a look at these situations and discuss the advantages in going hybrid with mesh heads and triggers.

Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Corporation Australia

Practice

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While it may be great fun to practice at full volume, not everyone has the living space to accommodate such practice. Therefore, most of us have to make do with practicing between odd times of the day with mutes that really dampen the feel and enjoyment of playing. Mesh heads and triggers open up ways to practice that just aren’t possible with a standard acoustic drum kit.

► Mesh heads are quiet

Mesh heads allow you to play at full volume without disturbing your neighbours. With cymbal mutes or a set of electronic cymbals you can practice anywhere and anytime you like even at night.

► Triggers allow you to choose great sound

With an appropriate sound module, you can choose the ideal sound for the style you’re practicing. Change the rim sound on your toms to an Octoban for that Police cover or make your wooden snare sound like steel for some heavy metal drumming. Having a great sound to match the song you’re playing can increase your enjoyment and really help your playing.

► Mesh heads come in familiar sizes

Mesh heads fit directly to your standard sized drums so you can use your existing shells and won’t have to adapt to playing a smaller kit.

Performance

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Everyone loves the look of a full acoustic kit. However, in all but the smallest venues, your kit is going to need a few microphones to be heard throughout the room. Also changing conditions on stage can adjust the tuning of your kit. A mesh head acoustic kit not only looks great on stage. It also allows you to get around these common issues.

► Lower Volume

With an appropriate drum monitor or fold back PA system, sound on stage is dramatically reduced meaning no more sore ears and much better communication between band members.

► Consistency of Sound

Do you ever find that the tuning of your kit is slipping in the middle of your set? Heat from stage lighting, accidental bumps or hardware wear and tear can affect the tone of your drum. With mesh heads and triggers, head tension does not affect the pitch and tone of your drum. So no matter what happens on stage you know your drums sound great.

► Simple setup, no fuss

Adding microphones to any instrument can add a host of issues. Mics can get in the way of your playing, cause feedback and usually require a sound guy to monitor. Using a mesh head kit means that no microphones or special positioning is required. Simply connect your module and plug-in your triggers and you’re good to go.

Recording

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Recording with a fully acoustic drum kit in a specialised studio with top quality microphones is a great experience. However, many of us don’t have access to such facilities. Luckily, the drum sounds in electronic sound modules and software are recorded using these methods. Using mesh heads and triggers in your recording is an easy way to achieve studio quality drum sound on a budget.

► Record Anywhere

No specially treated room is needed to get a great drum sound in your project studio, bedroom or garage

► Easy Editing

Making minor changes to your performance is easy with a mesh head kit. You can speed up or slow down your performance and even move individual notes when recording your hybrid mesh kit via MIDI allowing you freedom of sound and perfect final results.

► Lower Cost

You don’t need a multi-channel audio interface, mixing console or expensive microphones. Just connect your module via the USB out to record directly into a computer. Mesh heads also have a much higher lifespan than acoustic heads saving you a lot of money.

Mesh heads and triggers give you options, versatility and most importantly allow you to play when and where you want. With all of the added benefits of going hybrid there’s really no reason not to give it a try.