A Great Tool for Drummers of all Ages
It’s no surprise that the pandemic changed the behaviors and habits of all kinds of people. Musicians were no different.
One of the biggest shifts in the musical world came about through our need for collaboration. We weren’t able to congregate in the same settings–concerts, jam sessions, in-person rehearsals, etc.–and had to find creative and unique ways to adjust to our new normal. For many, if not most, this meant turning to the virtual world.
- A Great Tool for Drummers of all Ages
- In Comes the Yamaha EAD-10
- Rating: Highly Recommended – 4/5
Music lessons, rehearsals, and coachings began to use platforms like Zoom, Google Meets, Skype, and more. This shift forced many to learn new skills and, for some, purchase new pieces of gear.
For drummers, we were quick to find out that the built-in speakers inside of our laptops and smartphones were not capable of capturing the dynamic sounds of our instruments. Some drummers were lucky enough to have a high-tech studio setup that allowed them to produce recording-quality content and seamlessly transition into virtual lessons, creating a virtual space that was almost as good, if not better, than the quality of an in-person lesson.
However, for every teacher that had this kind of set-up, there were likely dozens of students that couldn’t produce similar sounds on their end. Maybe all these students had was the laptop or a simple microphone meant for other purposes. I know that for me and my students, many of our initial lessons in the virtual world were spent finding the right placement and setup of their technology.
In my own studio, I have about 10 microphones and a recording interface that I can use to create suitable, high-quality sounds for recording, collaborating and teaching. Even though these pieces of gear are not on the ‘elite’ end of the spectrum, they still cost me upwards of $3,000. In comparison, a high-end setup could cost well above $10,000, $20,000, or more.That’s quite the investment even for a professional, elementary-aged students just trying to learn the instrument for fun notwithstanding. Additionally, aside from the prohibitive cost of such equipment, it can take an hour or more to set everything up, sound check, and have everything ready for our lessons.
If only my students and I had the perfect piece of equipment; something simple to set-up, cost-effective, and guaranteed to help us create an effective learning environment.
In Comes the Yamaha EAD-10
In 2017, Yamaha began selling their revolutionary EAD-10 Drum Module. Here’s some background on this product from their website:
“… the first-ever stand-alone drum module system enabling drummers to mic up an acoustic drum set quickly and professionally, while transforming the set into a powerful digital studio for rehearsal, recording and performance.
The EAD10 addresses persistent challenges facing drummers who want to record high-quality drum performances easily and affordably, thanks to its central module and combination microphone/trigger sensor that easily mounts on the bass drum. The microphone effectively captures and reproduces the natural, dynamic sound of the entire kit, while the module adds any number of effects, including flange, phase, and several varieties of reverb.”
Instead of purchasing and setting up multiple pieces of equipment that require a serious upfront investment of cash, time, and technological expertise, the EAD-10 allows for drummers to create a high-quality acoustic environment in just a few easy steps:
- Place the microphone/trigger sensor (the small device on top of the kick drum)
- Place and plug in the central module (the box next to the hi-hat)
- Plug the sensor into the module
- Plug the module into your computer or smartphone ** On your computer, you will need some sort of DAW (digital audio workstation). On your smartphone, you’ll need to download Yamaha’s “Rec’n’Share” app.
Essentially, the module turns your acoustic kit into an electronic drum set. This allows the user to create studio-quality sounds and provides them access to dozens of unique voices that will transform their kit. Plug in a pair of headphones and the user can have fun for hours just sampling the different voices that it provides.
If you’re interested in hearing what the EAD10 sounds like, check out this video!
Cost-Effective for Professionals:
For the professional musician or music educator, this product is a breeze to use and won’t break the bank. Compared to a professional studio setup–which may require sound treatment along with all of the aforementioned gear–this product will save you So much money.
Easy to use:
Once everything is plugged in, you’re basically ready to go. As long as you have the necessary software installed and know how to route everything, you should be ready to start. From unboxing to capturing my first note, I spent about 15 minutes setting everything up.
If you’re teaching, this feature is fantastic. In its regular setting, the EAD-10 is focused on picking up the sounds of the drum set. When you hit the talkback button, it increases the microphone sensitivity and allows you to clearly speak to your collaborators or students.
We all know how important a good sense of time is for a drummer! Having a built-in metronome is a great addition to this product.
Many Different Sounds:
While the drum set already produces many different sounds on its own, the EAD-10 allows you to produce unique sounds–from studio-inspired reverbs to drum and bass style settings. For musicians of all ages, these unique sounds can inspire creativity or provide hours of fun and exploration.
Expensive for beginners:
For many students, this product will still be a bit pricey. I’ve seen it alone from $400 (used) to $700 (new) and everywhere in between. For students just starting out, who have already spent hundreds of dollars on an instrument, this is likely a steep price.
May Not Pick Up All Instruments on larger set ups:
On my set up, I use two floor toms (14” and 16” diameter) to the right of my kit. The 14” floor tom next to the EAD-10 gets picked up fine, but the 16” tom loses a significant amount of volume. I would imagine that it would have a hard time picking up instruments on larger set ups. If you like to use 5 or more toms, just know that the microphones may have a difficult time picking up on the instruments a little further away.
Individual Instruments can not be separated out:
If you’re a studio musician, this isn’t a great substitute for properly recording drums for mixing. Individual instruments can’t be separated and treated individually. Whatever goes into the EAD-10 will be exactly what comes out. Of course, you can edit the entire project once it’s in your computer, but you can’t change anything about the individual instruments.
Doesn’t Come With Everything You Need:
My biggest issue with the product was that it lacked three components: a stand for the control module, a simple carrying case, and a USB cable (it requires a typical USB printer cable) for plugging the EAD-10 module into the computer. I would be willing to pay an extra $50-$75 for these items to come included in the purchase.
Rating: Highly Recommended – 4/5
I give Yamaha’s EAD-10 Drum Module a rating of 4 out of 5. It’s a powerful, simple, and fun tool that every drummer could benefit from having in their arsenal. It makes a young professional or hobbyist’s transition into the virtual music world easy and straightforward. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to create online content, teach virtual lessons, or collaborate with other musicians online! If I could go back and do it all again, I would have purchased the EAD-10 before I purchased microphones, sound dampening equipment, and a recording interface. I’d highly recommend it to any educators and serious students as a way of increasing the quality of their lessons, remote sessions, and more!
Author: Nick Bolchoz
Nick has worked with Ensemble Music Schools since 2020 and serves as the organization’s social media ‘guru’ while assisting in digital marketing and content creation. He also teaches at one of their schools in Orland Park, IL, The Music Connection.
An in-demand Percussionist and Drummer, Nick earned his M.M. in Percussion Performance from The University of North Texas and his B.M. from The University of Kentucky. Currently living outside of Chicago, IL, Nick stays busy teaching, touring and recording. You can catch him on the road with Chicago Blues Hall of Fame Guitarist, Michael Charles. You can read more about him and watch him play on www.nickbmusic.com.