Are Electronic Drums Good for Recording?

Want a simple way to record drums for your next project? Find out how in our guide on using an electronic drum kit and VST drum software for recording

Are electronic drums good for recording, or are acoustic drums better? Electronic drums may well be the better option for recording real drum tracks that sound great, especially if you’re on a budget or don’t have access to a studio. Read on for our guide on how to record with an electronic drum kit.

Are electronic drums better for recording than acoustic drums?

Electronic drums can be a better choice than acoustic drums for recording due to the much simpler set-up and less equipment and technical know-how to get a great drum sound. The secret to recording great drums with electronic drums is to use a VST.

Can you record with electronic drums? Pros & Cons


  • Quick & simple set-up: Just plug your eDrums into your PC or Mac, load your DAW and VST drum library plugin, and record
  • Real drum sounds: VST drum libraries use real drum recordings, and as a result, are indistinguishable from real recorded drums to all but the most attuned ears
  • Simple to edit: Because eDrums & VST tracks in your DAW are based on MIDI, you can easily edit passages to correct mistakes or change instrument sounds after recording
  • Change your entire drum kit: Want to change your Kick from a 20-inch to a 24-inch but already laid down your track? You can do this with VST drum software
  • Edit EQ, effects and other plugins: Just like real drums, you can EQ your drum channels to suit your mix on higher-end drum software like Superior Drummer 3
  • Edit pitch/tuning: More advanced and high-end drum libraries like Superior Drummer 3 allow you to edit the tuning of drums and pitch of cymbals directly within the software.


  • No mixing on cheaper VSTs: Some of the lower-end VST drum libraries cater more for songwriters or beginners, and rely on preset drum sounds rather than allowing for full editing. Ensure the VST you buy is suitable for your needs!
  • You’re limited to the included drums and cymbals: Most drum libraries come with a set of included drums and cymbals, while some can be expanded with add-on packs. But even then, you are limited to the selection of instruments on offer
  • Inability to replicate your real drum kit: Unless you own the exact set of drums sampled in your chosen VST, you’re unlikely to be able to exactly replicate the drums and cymbals you own

How to use eDrums and a VST for recording

A VST is a virtual instrument, and there are several drum VSTs available (also known as drum libraries) such as EZdrummer, Superior Drummer, Steven Slate Drums, and Get Good Drums.

To record with a VST, you need a piece of software called a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as Garageband, Logic Pro, Reaper, or Pro Tools. The VST instrument is then used as a plugin with the DAW.

By connecting your eDrums to your PC or mac using a USB or MIDI interface, you can use your eDrums to ‘trigger’ the VST software. This plays back real recordings of drum and cymbal hits that match the timing and dynamics of what you’re actually playing.

When triggering a VST, you can hear your drumming in real-time, but also lay down your track in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Because VSTs use MIDI, you’ll be able to edit your drumming after recording, for example, if you make a mistake, or decide you want to play a certain part on a different cymbal or drum.

You can even record sections of the song in different takes, for example recording the verse and chorus in separate sections. You can even loop your best take of each section so that your recording is flawless.

You can read more about using VSTs with your electronic drums in our guide, or browse our favourite drum modules to use with a VST. If you use a Mac, find out how to connect your eDrums to Garageband. And finally, learn more about recording with EZdrummer 3.

Why is recording with eDrums and a VST better than recording acoustic drums?

The key benefit of recording with electronic drums over acoustic is that it’s much cheaper, quicker and simpler to achieve a good drum sound.

The major downside of recording acoustic drums is the amount of gear you need and having access to a studio, or at the very least, a space with good acoustics.

Not only do you need a set of drum microphones and an audio interface with enough inputs, but you’d also need to have the knowledge of how to set them up on your kit, have the heads tuned perfectly how you want them, and ensure you get a perfect take in your recording session.

And to top it all off, if you get either the room acoustics or mic set up wrong and only realise once you’ve recorded your drum tracks, you’d have to do it all again.

As a result, it is much simpler and easier to bypass all this by letting someone else do it, which is exactly what’s happening when you use VST drum software. The companies behind VSTs such as Toontrack or Get Good Drums are experts at recording pro-quality drum sounds.

Not only that, but drum libraries also tend to record some of the most prestigious and iconic drums out there – think the famous Ludwig Black Beauty and SupraPhonic snares, top-of-the-range drum shells tuned to perfection, and even vintage 1960s Zildjian cymbals.

When recording the drum samples for their software, these companies use their recording expertise, or even bring in famous producers, to help record the best drum samples out there. These then get triggered by your eDrums (or even programmed manually via a MIDI editor), so in effect, you are playing these high-end drums and cymbals on your own recording.

There’s no contest – VST drum software is significantly quicker, easier, and cheaper to get awesome-sounding drums on your next recording, almost to the point where if you’re not an expert sound engineer, it’s not worth recording an acoustic kit these days.

It’s for that reason that many commercial recordings in fact use triggered drums via software instead of real drums. Ultimately, a band or act and the studios and the producers themselves are businesses, and they need to be able to produce great music efficiently – VST drum software helps to make this possible.

Quick and easy drum recordings

A great benefit of electronic drums is that there is virtually no set-up needed, as you’ll most likely already have a decent drum sound dialled in via your VST or even the onboard sounds.

This is ideal if you need a quick recording, for example, a rough version of a new song idea, or if you just want to record a basic drum cover. Find out more in our guide on how to record a drum cover with electronic drums.


Is recording with eDrums a good idea?

Recording with eDrums and VST software is a very cost-effective and flexible option. We can recommend this set-up for any musician on a budget over recording an acoustic drum kit, as it offers much greater flexibility and means you can spend more of your time on recording, mixing and editing your music, vs actually recording- yet get great results!

Featured image by Michael Weibel

By Seb Atkinson

Seb has been a drummer since 2004 and an eDrummer since 2008. He founded eDrumHub to provide information on electronic drums for other drummers who can't justify an acoustic drum kit for practice at home.