When we first heard about the idea of playing the drum kit without the drums, we were ecstatic! For the most part, we love technology, and when it merges with drums, you can only imagine our excitement. Aerodrums Air Drumming Percussion Instrument won our hearts from first knowledge.
That you are reading this only indicates that you are excited about it too. Perhaps as much as we are since you are looking to buy it.
You have come to the right place. We are going to tell you all you need to know about this “not a drum kit”. By the time you are done reading, not only will you be knowledgeable about the air drumming kit, you will be able to decide if you should get one.
How Does The Aerodrums Air Drumming Percussion Instrument Work?
Before we go into the workings of this cool device, we would like to let you in on what you get when you buy it…
- A pair of specially designed drumsticks with reflector heads.
- A pair of reflector foot pieces
- An Aerodrums lamp (The Aerodrumss kit is designed to work with light reflection, hence, the lamp).
- A pair of sunglasses. No, they are not designers, they are made of cardboard. You won’t even need to wear them to play. Their purpose is to protect your eyes if you find the light from the lamp distracting.
- A product key to activate the software. You will have to go to a website to download the software using your product key.
- A PlayStation Eye camera. Kindly note that users in the US will have to purchase the camera separately. Other parts of the world get the camera along with the package.
The drumsticks have funny looking balls as heads. These heads reflect the light coming from the lamp which the software interprets and then sends as signals to you sound output device (We will talk more about the software later).
The drumsticks look just like the regular ones asides the reflector heads. You will be using them just the same way you use the real ones to beat drums. The only difference here is that you won’t be beating anything but air.
This is where the camera comes in. As you move the drumsticks just like you would when playing real drums, the camera captures the differences in the reflection of light. The camera, connected to a computer, sends it to the software.
As we mentioned earlier, you will be pointed to a website where you will have to download the software to your computer. You can use the software on a Windows PC or a Mac.
There are minimum requirements for the type of computer you can use the software on. For Windows, you can use it on a computer that runs Windows Vista all the way up to Windows 10. The processor should have a processor of at least Intel Core 2 Duo working at 2GHz.
For Apple’s Mac, the system must be running a Mac OS X 10.6 and above. In case you don’t know if your computer is compatible, if it was made from 2010, it should suffice.
Also, know that the graphics card on your computer should be compatible with Open GL 2.0. You don’t need to bother about that too. If your system was made from 2010, it will do just fine.
Now let’s continue. You only have drumsticks but there are no drums. We know, it can be a bit tricky knowing if you are hitting the snare drum or the small tom. The software has your back on that front too.
How The Software Works
Now that you have the software on your system, you will have to launch it like any other app when you want to use it. There is nothing complicated about it, you just need to read the manual and connect two USB ports and you are good to go.
Once you launch the software, go into the setup and it will tell you all you need to do to get started. The Aerodrums software will tell you where to sit. If there are any reflective surfaces behind you, you will have to take them off or cover them up.
This is because the whole set up works off the back of the reflection of its own light. So, if there are too many interfering reflections, the camera will not be accurate.
This is the reason the Aerodrums kit will not work well outdoors unless it is dark.
Once you have completed your set up, you will see a representation of the drums on the screen. There will be colored dots on the screen too that indicate the position of the drumsticks.
This is like a visual monitor that shows which drums or cymbals you hit. It might take a bit of getting used to. But once you get a hang of it, it is fun the rest of the way.
Before you ask, there is a pair of reflectors that you will wear on your leg (those have indicators on the screen too). As you can guess, these represent the pedals for the bass drum and the hi-hat.
If you were wondering how you will get to hear what you play, don’t wonder anymore. We have gotten to the part where we tell you about that.
You have different options for hearing the beats you play. You can leave the setup as default and let the sounds come from your computer’s speakers.
A second option is to connect high-quality headphones to the computer. This allows you to hear the beats closely and clearly without disturbing anyone.
Thirdly, if there are no neighbors to disturb or maybe they even enjoy you play, you can connect to an amplifier. As you know, this option is the go-to if you want to raise the roof. If you are going to perform with the Aerodrums Air drumming Percussion Instrument, this is the option you need.
How About The Sound Quality?
A straightforward answer is that it sounds as good as playing a real kit. Honestly, the sound output of drums is pretty much subjective. Some people have different ears for different beats. The bottom line: it sounds great!
The quality of the sound will now depend on the quality of the speakers you use. Gergo Borlai said that he has played a drum solo to an audience of 4000 people using the Aerodrums. If you were skeptical about the sound, we believe this should ease your worry.
How Can You Play?
You can play the Aerodrums right about the same way you play a regular kit. There are 7 kit configuration setup preset in the software but you can set up your own based on personal preferences. The Aerodrums even allows room for left-handed or right-handed drummers.
The Aerodrums has about 32 sounds on it. However, if those are not enough, you can combine it with recording software to trigger any sound you want.
In that vein, this is a great way to record your drum sequences without having to lug full drum kits around.
Since you can set up your kit configuration as you want, you can always use the Aerodrums to practice without having to disturb your neighbors or housemates.
It also seamlessly matches your movements with the sounds the instruments produce. That said; you just have to make sure that you don’t position the “instruments” too close together. If not you might get the sound of a hi-hat instead of a cross snare for example.
A lot of people have asked it playing the Aerodrums feel just like a real kit. The honest answer is no. The reason being that you don’t even have any surface you are hitting here. So, for instance, you won’t feel the stick rebound like when playing real drums.
This is not a negative thing at all because it just means that playing the Aerodrums is different. Grab your drumsticks and play a sequence while hitting the air. That’s basically how it feels. However, every other thing remains the same with what you’re used to.
The Aerodrums work with virtual reality goggles. This lets you see the drums right in front of you which adds a totally new dimension to the experience.
Also see: Ludwig Junior 5 Piece Drum Set Review
Pros Of The Aerodrums Air Drumming Percussion Instrument
- It is an affordable and fun alternative to practice playing drums.
- With the Aerodrums, you can play as often as you want and whenever you want without disturbing anyone.
- This kit picks details so well it recognizes rim shots.
- The sound output is just like a real drum kit.
- It does not take any space. The entire kit fits into a bag even with the laptop in.
- You don’t have to pay for recordings anymore, you can record your drums in MIDI with this kit.
Cons Of The Aerodrums Air Drumming Percussion Instrument
- It does not work well in bright environments.
- It does not have as many sound options as an electronic drum kit.
We’ve played our part. We have told you all you need to know about the Aerodrums. It is now your turn to decide if you want it or not.
If you’re looking to get your first drum kit, you might want to consider this as a less expensive alternative. This is because it might take you through the rookie phase so you can start off with a semi-pro drum kit. You will get a lot of time to save up for that.
Even if you still want to get a real kit, the Aerodrums can still do great as a practice back up. If you’ve decide to go for this virtual kit, now is a good time to place an order. Don’t forget to have fun.