V-Drums: How To Add Samples To Your Kit

Get the most out of your V-drums with new sounds, layering and sampling possibilities. If you want to open up your playing to new styles, this is the best way to do it!

Cian Hodge

Cian Hodge

V-drums are great for a few reasons – the main one being that you have so many different drum sounds at your fingertips. It’s a simple process to jab in a new drum tone and dive straight into playing.

For the more experimental players out there, drum modules offer broad parameters you can change to achieve unique sounds.

There are a few ways you can go about adding samples to your setup:

  • Upgrade or buy a new sound module
  • Upload pre-made to your module via USB or use MIDI
  • Create samples yourself
  • Use a percussion pad
  • Use triggers – best for acoustic kits

Drum module USB

Download Samples

The easiest and least expensive way to get new sounds out of the hardware you already have is to download samples, store on a USB and plug it into the module. Load up the .wav files, assign to drums and cymbals and away you go. The vast majority, if not all modules have USB slots so it’s a viable way to get new sounds, whatever you own.

There are loads of websites you can get free or very cheap samples if you don’t fancy creating them yourself. If you’re happy with your setup but want to experiment with what other people have made, go for this option.

Drum module

Upgrade V-Drums Sound Module

Get a more advanced module with different in-built sounds and effects. If you love your V-drums but feel like the module is limiting you, get a brand new one.

Roland, for example, produce a number of modules in various price brackets, preloaded with gigabytes-worth of content. As you go up in price, the more sounds they have stored and the deeper the parameter functionality increases. Entry level modules won’t have the same scope, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great, original-sounding sample.

Professional level modules such as the TD-50 are all-encompassing when it comes to sound creation. You can change everything from the size of a cymbal or drum to the imaginary placement of a mic on the kick drum. Or the ability to alter two different sounds produced when hitting the head of the drum or the rim, or the panning placement of each drum. Basically, your options are limitless.

All of your selections can be handled in the minutest of details with the likes of Roland, 2Box or Yamaha modules.

Alesis percussion pad

Percussion Pads

If you’re after even more control over sampling, DAW connectivity and sample selection, percussion pads are the answer. These make it extremely easy to make new samples and implement them into a live setup. Percussion pads are perfect for uploading samples and playing the sounds through the pads on the hardware. This frees up your kit for other sounds, be they acoustic or electric.

You hit the rubber pads with your sticks just as you would your drum kit. You can adjust all the settings through the software or by MIDI controller. The most ideal situation is to use a percussion pad for different or weird effects you’ve recorded. For example, say you want to play the sound of your cupboard closing, or something you said; hit the pad and it’ll play. You can make your setup extremely unique with this addition.

Brands like Alesis and Roland allow you to connect the pads with DAWs to start and stop tracks on the fly or augment a kit in detail using pedal inputs for kick and hi-hats. Check out our head to head article between the Alesis Strike MultiPad and Roland SPD-SX.

Drum triggers

Drum Triggers

You might have an acoustic drum kit but want to open up your tonal options. Triggers are the best way to go, especially in this circumstance. They clip onto the rim of your drums and detect where and when you hit.

These connect to a module and produce the sound you’ve chosen when projected through an amp or PA system. You get the feel of your acoustic kit with the variation of an electronic kit. Live drummers from all musical styles like to use triggers to add more expressive sounds to the kit, like electronic beats or even craz non-drum effects. Metal players will use triggers to tighten up the sound and make it punchy.

If you enjoyed this read, check out more of our Learn articles!

Featured Gear

Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a copywriter for the Andertons web team. He shares his birthday with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and believes he will one day reach the same level of stardom. Cian is a big prog/modern metal fan so naturally loves Bare Knuckle pickups and headless or pointy guitars.

Responses & Questions

Leave a Reply