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So you have decided to upgrade your classic acoustic kit into a hybrid set whose range knows no bounds. You’ve picked out the drum module you want to use, but alas, you are stuck deciding which trigger to buy. Should you go for a head-trigger or a rim-trigger? Should you get the expensive metallic one or the cheap plastic one? Well, don’t worry about that any longer. We have listed down the six best drum triggers in the market right now and have also included a buyer guide to help you choose the best one for you. So without further ado, let’s dive into these six excellent triggers.
Contents on this page
- The 6 Best Drum Triggers – Our Reviews
- 1. Roland RT-30K Kick Trigger – Best Overall
- 2. Roland RT-30HR Dual Zone Trigger – Runner-Up
- 3. Yamaha DT-50S Metal Body Drum Trigger – Value for Money
- 4. ddrum Acoustic Pro 5-Piece Drum Trigger Kit – Premium Option
- 5. Pintech Percussion RS-5 Acoustic Head Trigger – Cheapest Option
- 6. Aquarian Kickzone Bass Drum Trigger
- Best Drum Triggers Buying Guide
- FAQ’s for Drum Triggers
The 6 Best Drum Triggers – Our Reviews
1. Roland RT-30K Kick Trigger – Best Overall
The RT-30K is an excellent kick trigger from Roland that is compatible with all acoustic bass drums. It has a fiberglass reinforced body that safely houses the electronic components inside and makes it very durable. The mounting mechanism comes with a self-guiding capability that makes the overall installation process extremely simple and quick. However, users have reported that the RT-30K does not sit well in bass drums with a small outward flange.
Roland RT-30K is an expensive trigger, but it is worth the investment. It is incredibly accurate so that you can say goodbye to ghost notes and double triggering. The accuracy is so good that even in setups with double kick pedals, there are no miss-triggers. The sound is also very crisp and clear. It is compatible with Roland TM-2 trigger modules, TD-Series V-drum sound modules, and the SPD-series percussion pads. You also get a TRS connection cable with it to connect to these modules. If you want the best experience and don’t mind shelling out for it, the RT-30K would be ideal for you.
2. Roland RT-30HR Dual Zone Trigger – Runner-Up
The RT-30HR is a dual-zone trigger that lets you sense dual vibrations with the same device. It has two built-in sensors, one for the head and another for the rim, giving you the functionality of two triggers in one. Like the RT-30K, the RT-30HR also features a fiberglass reinforced body that helps protect the delicate electronics. The self-guided mount is easy to use and is compatible with most metal drum hoops. However, using it with standard triple-flange hoops is problematic. These hoops tend to drop to lower positions while tightened; the trigger cannot correctly handle this as it is designed for hoops that sit well above the drumhead. While you can mount this to any drum, Roland recommends that you use it with a snare drum for ultra-fast triggering.
The RT-30HR is one of the most advanced acoustic drum triggers you can get your hands on. It has ultra-high trigger sensitivity and can process the vibration very quickly. It means that the latency is minimal, reducing the time between striking the drum and hearing the sound. This broad range is also incredible. It is perfect for both live performances and recording work as miss-triggers, and double triggering are nearly non-existent. The only thing hindering its live performance potential is that the thumbscrews holding it in place tend to come loose when under heavy load, so you might have to tighten them mid-gig. This trigger also has a few exposed wires, so you will have to be careful not to damage them while moving around.
The RT-30HR has so much similarities with the RT-30K. It also comes with a TRS cable and is also compatible with Roland TM-2 Trigger Modules, TD-Series V-Drums sound modules, and SPD-series percussion pads. Drum modules and DAWs will be able to use it without any calibration. If you need dual-sounds from your drums, the RT-30HR will be perfect for you. While it isn’t cheap, it is very responsive and adds plenty of versatility to your drum.
3. Yamaha DT-50S Metal Body Drum Trigger – Value for Money
Yamaha is a company that has a very long heritage in musical instruments. The DT-50S metal body drum trigger is a dual-zone acoustic trigger that provides terrific accuracy. It is designed to be used explicitly with your snare or toms. It can deliver the sound and resonance of the drum authentically. It works flawlessly with almost all drum modules. The DT-50S uses a stiff cone for picking up vibrations; this allows it to trigger better than Roland’s soft foam approach. It can pick up the fastest triplets and rolls consistently.
The metal cast body makes the trigger extremely durable, cool-looking and allows it to blend into the drum’s rim. There are no exposed wires in the trigger. This, combined with the metal body, ensures that the DT-50S will last years. The trigger can consistently pick-up even the faintest of vibrations. It even comes with a knurled screw that allows you to adjust the level of sensitivity. While it is quite expensive, the DT-50S delivers amazingly.
4. ddrum Acoustic Pro 5-Piece Drum Trigger Kit – Premium Option
The ddrum Acoustic Pro 5-piece drum trigger kit is a good trigger kit that isn’t very expensive. It is a five-piece set with triggers for a bass drum, a snare, and three toms. It will allow you to convert your entire kit into a triggered setup with just a single purchase. The snare trigger is a dual-zone trigger. The triggers are pretty good at picking up even faint sounds but aren’t reliable enough to be used for live performances. The trigger doesn’t use any adhesive to mount to the drum, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off. However, the mounting mechanism can damage your drum shells as it has no protection.
5. Pintech Percussion RS-5 Acoustic Head Trigger – Cheapest Option
The RS-5 is a universal drum trigger that can work with all types of drums, from the largest kick drums to the smallest of toms. Its versatility is not limited to just the drum types but also includes positioning. It can be mounted to the shell or the head and can be positioned anywhere. It comes with a “Kwik Klip” mounting system that allows quick setup and breakdown without damaging your drums. You can even mount this onto your cymbals if you want to. The only disadvantage with this system is that it uses mounting discs that tend to get worn over time and need to be replaced.
The triggering mechanism is extremely sensitive and responsive at its price point. The trigger is covered with a small, sturdy shell that protects the components from damage; therefore, this trigger has excellent durability. However, this extra durability comes at a premium, and this trigger costs a bit more than the other cheap options.
6. Aquarian Kickzone Bass Drum Trigger
Aquarian Kickzone is an inexpensive bass drum trigger that delivers reliable performance. It comes with a cord control bracket for easier cable management. It has an adhesive backing to stick onto the surface. You also get a separate bracket for managing the cable. It can be easily fitted onto any bass drum and is compatible with most drum modules. It works with a mono jack and can be used for both live performances and recording sessions, but it is best to use for practice.
This trigger uses adhesive to stick to the drum; while the adhesive is firm, it tends to wear off. The frequency of miss-triggering and latency is much lower than other low-cost drum triggers. It can work with nearly all the drum modules, and it provides consistent triggering. The low cost and good reliability make it a good choice.
Best Drum Triggers Buying Guide
There is a whole slew of different manufacturers and models of drum triggers in the market right now. Not all are the same, and the performance difference between brands and models are quite extensive. The following guide will help you pick the best one for you.
Check for Compatibility
Compatibility with your acoustic drum module must be the first thing you check before considering a drum trigger. While most triggers are compatible with all drum modules, there are a few exceptions. Check the manufacturer’s website or read online reviews to ensure that the drum trigger works with your module. Buying an incompatible drum trigger will lead to unwanted loss of time and money, so always check for compatibility first.
Triggers for Drum Type (e.g., for toms, snares, and bass drum)
Nowadays, there are drum triggers that are specifically designed for each drum type. They are custom-made to pick up the acoustic range of their drum-type better. Toms, snares, and bass drums each have their specific triggers. However, if you want more versatility and expandability, you should get a universal drum trigger. These triggers will work seamlessly with all drum types, and therefore, you will be able to shift them from one drum to another without hassle. However, remember that a snare drum trigger will perform better on a snare drum than a universal trigger.
Type of Drum Trigger
Drum triggers work by sensing vibrations and converting them into electrical signals. When you strike your drum, not only does the head vibrate, but so does the shell or the rim. Therefore drum triggers are not limited to the head but can also detect vibrations from the shell or the rim too. There are multiple types of drum triggers based on where they sense the vibration. Head contact triggers and rim mount triggers are the two most basic types.
Head contact triggers
Head contact is the most popular drum trigger used by professional drummers due to their better performance than rim mount. They are placed onto the drum head or shell using a double-sided tape or an adhesive. Not only are these triggers more sensitive, but they are also cheaper. However, these triggers tend to be more delicate and need diligent care.
Rim mount triggers
These triggers are mounted to the rim using housing that typically comes included with the trigger. Since these triggers lack sensor height adjustment, you will only be able to attach these to rims of specific heights.
FAQ’s for Drum Triggers
What are the triggers in drumming?
Triggers are hardware equipment that converts the acoustic sounds of your drums into electronic ones. They do this by detecting the vibrations in your drum shell or rim and converting them into electrical signals.
Do you need a drum module for triggers?
Yes, the Drum module is a must as Triggers alone can’t convert these electrical signals into music. They can only convert the vibrations into electrical signals. However, the drum module is not the only equipment capable of doing that. You can also use a sound replacer with triggers if you want to.
Well, this concludes our list of best drum triggers and our buyer’s guide. If you have the money, it is best to shell out for getting the Roland RT 30-K or 30-HR triggers or Yamaha’s DT-50S. They have an incredible triggering response and should last a very long time. However, if you want a cheap drum trigger Pintech RS-5 is still good.