- Review Price: £129.99
There’s some manner of universal law that means that at some stage in life, we all want to be in a band. It may last a split second, or, as evidenced by the plethora of people that go on to create or join musical groups, a lifetime, but every last one of us is subject to it. Unfortunately, many who do decide to act on this impulse are generally thwarted by the constraints of reality; be they financial, spousal or otherwise.
My particular ambitions of becoming an unstoppable, world class drummer arose and were duly crushed in my late teens by the joint restrictions of my parents’ refusal to allow me to have a drum kit (too loud, not enough space in the house, so on and so forth) and their insistence that even if I was allowed I would have to pay for it myself. Not having several hundred pounds spare, I conceded and the dream died – having several friends in bands themselves did nothing to dull the pain.
I expect I’m not alone in having been thwarted in my musical ambitions by the inherent flaws in the modus operandi of the humble drum kit. While the basic appeal of hitting things with sticks and having them make a lot of noise is a profound one, that same feature is also a major inconvenience – especially when learning to play. It’s bad enough for neighbours to have to hear continuous bangs and crashes when played properly, let alone with the exact opposite of finely-honed skill.
There is, as ever, an alternative to a conventional set of drums. Many manufacturers now offer electric kits but they have the problem of being rather expensive compared to similar quality traditional gear. If only, then, someone could manufacture an electric kit that didn’t cost a fortune but offered the experience and, importantly, enjoyment of playing a real set.
Enter ION and the iED05 USB Electric Drum Kit. Rather than take the method preferred by other electric kits, the iED05 doesn’t actually work by itself, but rather requires being hooked up to a PC over USB in order to function. This helps keep the price down to a manageable £130 as all the processing is done by software on the PC and there are hardly any electronic components, other that the “drums” themselves.
Another improvement, hypothetically at least, is that it should be relatively easy to expand the number of drum sounds the kit is able to replicate – as the kit itself is in effect just serving as a MIDI trigger – in layman’s terms, you hit a drum with a stick and it plays a sound file. The more sound files you have the more realistic or varied a drum kit you can replicate. For the more advanced readers, I’ll note that the drums aren’t actually MIDI triggers.