Can I Listen to Music while Playing Electronic Drums?

Learn how to connect your smartphone, PC/Mac, or tablet to electronic drums and listen to music while playing.

Electronic drums have become increasingly popular among drummers, both amateur and professional, due to their compact size and versatility. One common question that arises among electronic drum players is whether they can listen to music while playing. The answer is yes, you can listen to music while playing electronic drums, and there are several ways to achieve this.

How to connect electronic drums to a smartphone

One of the easiest ways to connect your smartphone to electronic drums is through the auxiliary (aux) in jack. To do this, you will need a 3.5mm audio cable. Simply plug one end of the cable into the headphone jack of your smartphone and the other end into the aux-in jack on your electronic drum module. This will allow you to play your music through the electronic drum module’s speakers or headphones.

Another way to connect your smartphone to electronic drums is through Bluetooth. Many modern electronic drum kits on the market include Bluetooth audio playback, which allows you to connect your smartphone wirelessly to the drum module. To do this, turn on Bluetooth on both your smartphone and electronic drum module, and pair the two devices. Once connected, you can play music through the drum module’s speakers or headphones.

Some electronic drum kits on the market that include Bluetooth audio playback are the Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit, Roland TD-17KVX, Roland TD-07KV, and Yamaha DTX452K.

Remember that Bluetooth on eDrums can only be used for playing along to music from an audio device, it can’t be used to playback the drum audio via bluetooth headphones.

Related: Which are the best Roland V-Drum Kits?

How to connect electronic drums to a PC or Mac

Connecting your PC or Mac to electronic drums is possible either through the aux-in jack or via USB. To connect via aux, follow the same steps as connecting a smartphone by using the headphone or line-out ports on your PC or Mac, and connecting this to the aux-in on your drum module. On your computer, you may need to select the correct audio output if it does not switch automatically.

Connecting via USB usually offers a wider range of features. Drum modules with USB audio typically act as an audio interface, effectively replacing the sound card of your PC or Mac. Not only can you route all the audio from your computer to the headphone and master output on your drum module, you can also convert your drumming into MIDI signals and import that into the computer to trigger VST drum software, and route that audio back to your drums to replace the built-in module sounds. This is a great way to make your eDrums sound more real.

Check out our guide for full instructions for connecting electronic drums to a computer. Or if you’re a Mac user, read about how to use your eDrums with Garageband

How to connect an eDrum kit to an iPad or tablet

It’s also possible to connect eDrums to an iPad or other brand of tablet. As before, the headphone port of your tablet can be used together with the aux-in on your eDrums.

If you have an iPad, you can also connect your drums via USB and access some of the same benefits as using your eDrums with a computer. Usually this is limited to capturing the MIDI from your drums and triggering apps on your iPad such as Garageband.

If your iPad is not one of the latest models with USB-C, you will need a Lighting to USB adaptor, also known as a camera connection kit. This allows you to convert a standard USB port to Lighting. Some adaptors also include a pass-through lighting port, so you can still power your device while playing.

However, be aware that there are fewer options for triggering VST drum software on the iPad compared to Mac or PC, and customisation options are typically limited. For example, I was able to trigger the built-in drum kit on Garageband, but was unable to trigger the hi hat correctly using a Roland TD-11.

An iPad or tablet offers other benefits though, such as being able to display sheet music while you play using either of the following apps:

For the best experience, you may want to mount your iPad to your drum rack or on a drum or cymbal stand. iPad mounts for mic stands work well with drum hardware and can be cheaper than drum-specific iPad mounts. Browse the range at or

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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.