Electronic drum sets have become seriously popular in the drumming world. Most professional drummers have an electronic kit to practice on.
The problem with a lot of electronic kits is that a lot of them come with mediocre drum and cymbal pads. It’s a good thing that they have the ability to be upgraded! Companies sell pads separately, meaning you have the option to improve your electronic kit’s quality.
I have put together a list of the best electronic cymbal pads that money can buy.
5 Best Cymbal Pads for Electronic Drums
1. Roland CY-5
The Roland CY-5 is a small 9.5” pad that can be used as a hi-hat or a splash cymbal. You could use it as a crash or ride, but it wouldn’t be comfortable due to the small size.
It has two triggers, one from the bow and one from the edge. This makes it very versatile. You’ll just need to practice your accuracy if you play on it, since it can be difficult to hit the two different triggers.
This pad is very small, yet very stable. It’s going to feel secure wherever you place it. The offset nature is a little weird, but it’s not noticeable if you firmly tighten the cymbal.
It has a metal lining underbelly that gives it a heavy feeling, making you feel the high quality as you play.
The CY-5 is pretty affordable, making it an easy add-on to any electronic kit. If you’re used to bigger cymbals on your kit, then it won’t be the best option.
The Roland Cy-12C is a crash cymbal pad with optimized weight balance and sensitivity. This dual trigger pad has become the industry standard for crash cymbal.
It has a natural swinging motion that adds extra realism to your kit, making the transition from acoustic to electronic more bearable.
It’s extremely sensitive and accurate. The edge sensitivity on hits is spot on and the bell is very responsive. This pad also chokes very well, meaning you’ve got a great product if you love choking your cymbals.
The CY-12C has a completely rubber surface, making it look more like a cymbal than the pads that only have a small rubber section on the top to hit.
The 12” size makes it pretty versatile when it comes to placement. You could fit it anywhere in a setup with ease. It could also be used as a ride cymbal or china.
It is a bit pricey, but has guaranteed high quality.
3. Roland VH-11
The Roland VH-11 is one of the best hi-hat cymbal pads that money can buy. It’s used in all of Roland’s top quality products and is available to be purchased separately.
It consists of a floating cymbal pad on top of a fixed lower base. These two parts connect to a normal hi-hat stand, giving you the feel of an acoustic hi-hat. One of the biggest downsides of most electronic kits is that most of them don’t use hi-hat stands, making this pad a really good upgrade.
It’s seriously responsive. The dual triggers will detect the softest dynamics and express hard and loud playing.
The rubber is quite hard, making the pad feel like a metal hi-hat. This is definitely what you want, but it can take some getting used to if you’ve played on electronic kits for long. We’ve all kind of gotten used to playing on softer rubber pads.
There’s a clicking sound that comes from the trigger sensor when the hi-hat is fully open or closed. You have to hit the hi-hat in a way that drowns that out. It’s a bit irritating, but once learn how to avoid it, it isn’t an issue anymore.
4. Pintech TC14
The Pintech TC14 is a very inexpensive cymbal pad option. It isn’t the highest quality product out there, but it has a single trigger and a 14” diameter, making it a solid option for beginners or anyone looking for a cheap cymbal pad.
It can be used as a hi-hat, crash or ride, meaning you could buy a few of these for a full cymbal setup.
It’s made of a flexible polymer that allows you to hit very hard without worrying about damaging the pad. It lasts surprisingly long for something so inexpensive.
The pad itself is quiet, meaning you won’t be bothering any neighbors with it. The actual electronics don’t allow for dynamic playing. It will produce one sound no matter how hard or soft you hit.
The edges of the pad tend to peel off over time, but that can be fixed with some tape or glue.
This pad is definitely not for any advanced player or someone who is experienced with electronic kits. It’s lacking a lot. However, it’s a pretty sweet deal for how little it costs.
15” is huge for an electronic cymbal pad. That’s how big the Roland CY-15R is. It’s designed to be a ride cymbal, but you could use it as a crash as well.
It has 3 strike zones, meaning you can play different sounds from the edge, the bow and the bell. This makes the pad versatile and feel like a genuine cymbal. The high responsiveness helps with that as well.
The 15” make the pad very comfortable to play. It has just enough bow space to play without worrying about hitting the edge or bell.
When playing the pad, it has a heavy ride cymbal feeling that allows for quick and intricate stick work.
The one downside about this pad is that there can be problems with the bell trigger. There are quite a few clips on YouTube that explain how to fix it, but a product shouldn’t be coming to you with problems.
Why Get a Cymbal Pad?
As said before, some electronic kits don’t come with the greatest cymbal pads. They could be too small or only have one zone, meaning a bigger pad with more zones will make the world of difference.
You could also just buy extra cymbal pads to increase the size of your kit. Who doesn’t want more cymbals? Some electronic drum kits, especially in the lower price range, only come with one crash and a ride cymbal.
Another option would be to add cymbals to a hybrid kit, mixing electronics and acoustics. Most drummers will use drum pads for their hybrid kit, but a cymbal pad would feel better to hit if you’re triggering actual cymbal sounds.
Technology is constantly improving when it comes to electronic kits. You could have an e-kit that is quite old, but purchase new cymbal pads to keep up with the times.
I’ve bought new cymbal and drum pads in the past and it made the biggest difference in how the kit felt to play. Cymbal pads are a great investment!