Your worship team should convert its acoustic drum set to a digital one. You’re going to get some ‘push-back.’ And it’s possible someone might leave the worship team. But in the end, you’ll be convinced it was the right decision.
I can hear all the drummers screaming now, “It doesn’t sound the same! They’re not as good as an acoustic set. They’re way too expensive and it’ll be a waste of money.”
The volume that comes from acoustic drums can sometimes be overwhelming. Whether the drummer is incapable of adjusting volume or the stage layout simply doesn’t work to your benefit, many worship teams struggle with acoustic drums. The first idea is often to purchase acoustic panels, the giant plexiglass barriers that help reduce the sound from the drums. These take up more space, look horrible, and often reflect stage lights onto areas you can’t control. In addition, they often don’t effectively reduce enough volume.
I recommended digital drum kits to many worship teams for two reasons: Control and Options
It’s the sound engineer’s job to help create the sound mix that is right for the audience. If the drums overpower everything else, there is nothing the engineer can do to make it better. Nothing. He has no control.
A digital kit gives the engineer total control, delivering the right volume to the main house and stage monitors. Since the drum ‘pads’ are nearly silent, he can play has hard as he wants, the but volume will be what it needs to be based on the engineers settings.
Digital drums have come a long way since their inception. The options they can provide are near infinite. Many of them have several sizes and types of pads, double kick, and a wide variety of cymbal sounds. In fact, many of the pads used for both drums and cymbals register all types of hits, slides, taps and other touches drummers use to create various sounds. With the click of a button, you can change the tone of the entire set to accommodate a soft traditional hymn to a rocking celebration of thunderous joy.
And they sound fantastic!
Much like the conversion from pianos and organs to digital keyboards, the technology and engineering that has been developed the last couple decades is nothing shy of amazing.
It’s true that many drummers can tell the difference, but with the kits that have been manufactured recently, a vast majority of your audience won’t know the difference…unless the acoustic set was too loud. Then your audience will notice, and they’ll thank you.
It’s also true that most drummers will put up a fight and refuse to use a digital set, citing the claims above.
But if you’re in a position to do so, I recommend you remind the drummer that Sunday worship is not about them. Worship is not about the drums or whether he/she likes the feel and sound of the acoustic set. The musicians on stage are merely leading the congregation in their worship of God. Shouldn’t we do everything we can to provide a distraction-free worship environment?
In my experience, the drummers who give an honest try of learning and using digital sets, find them to be very accommodating and excellent for the worship environment.
They’ll still prefer the traditional acoustic set, but when they keep in mind what is best for the worship band and congregation, they’ll happily continue to use the digital drums.
It does take some effort to invest and convince the drummer to go along, but in the end, if done right, it’ll be way better than drum shields.