My thoughts on the ATV drum set and module.
A couple of weeks ago I splashed out and bought the expanded version of this kit. After several weeks of looking and trying new kits for my teaching studio and my own practising I decided on this kit and have no regrets so far. The reason I went with this one is I’m just not a fan of the Roland drum module sounds and I think they’re overpriced, $12000 for the new TD50! No way. The Yamaha kits are good but look like electronic drums and the sounds sound over produced and unrealistic to me. The Alesis kits just don’t feel like high end quality.
The kit took me a couple of hours to unpack and set up, there’s a lot of packaging! Set up is pretty easy, I updated the firmware by the included SD card and set up the triggers to my playing style by the trigger setup wizard which is very straightforward. You can also save triggers settings so I have a soft player settings for the little guys I teach and it just takes a few seconds and a restart to change them.
The kit looks impressive and plays beautifully and is very responsive, especially the cymbals which are like a breath of fresh air after previous kits I’ve had. You can play the cymbals all the way around the surface. The optical hi hat is good too but not as good as the rest of the kit in my view. It is also a little noisy as the bottom cymbal is hard plastic, I can even hear the sound with isolation headphones on. I wish they’d kept silicon rubber for the bottom pad. Having said that I still think it compares well with the other hi end V drum hi hats but feels just slightly below par compared to the rest of the kit. The side rim is a great idea and works flawlessly generating a pitch matched sound with your snare choice.
The module is fantastic, one of things I hate with most drum modules is all the crappy gimmicky sounds which are fun for 10 minutes and then you never play again. My last kit, the Pearl E-Pro I ran through VST software because the module sounds were so bad. The sounds included with the DM5 are superb and rich and natural with no added effects, just how I like drums to sound, the cymbal sounds have beautiful long sustain. You can download more samples from the sound store, some free and some paid. I’ve got a great kit sound going on wth the free samples. I don’t think you’ll find any need to use VST software with this module.
The module is very easy to use, intuitive and clearly laid out, the screen is old school but I don’t mind it, it looks classy too in aluminium and with minimal buttons. The module doesn’t have individual audio outputs but you can send individual midi outs to record seperate midi tracks along with left/right audio outputs. I discovered this output is a true left right output and the left side does not balance for mono as in many other modules so if you want to send to a mono speaker you will need 2 lines out into a stereo splitter which could have been made clearer in the documentation I think.
The customer service from ATV is also superb, they’re very quick to respond, friendly and helpful. This kit actually feels like a real instrument and I’d highly recommend it to anybody looking for a close to acoustic drums experience with electronics.
I’ve had a few people contact me and ask me what I thought after having had the drums for a while so thought I’d post a quick update.
I have no regrets buying this kit, I did do a slight modification on the hi hats and put some felt draft proof strips to soften the acoustic noise of the rubber hats which worked really well. I had a problem with one of the zones of the crash cymbal not working and it was replaced within a couple of days by ATV without any issues. Other than that the kit has held up well to being played several hours a day by myself and my students. So if you’re still weighing up these drums against the Roland well I’m still glad I went with the ATV. I got mine from Big Music in Crows Nest Sydney and I think there is another company in Melbourne selling them.