Yamaha DD65 Review: A Good Choice If You Are On A Budget
Yamaha’s DD-65 digital drum kit is a tabletop model that is priced to sell and includes a bunch of cool features to make for a fun playing experience. Most Yamaha products are manufactured with a certain level of quality, so we were eager to delve into the finer aspects of this kit and see if this stereotype rings true. Read on to find out all about this portable kit.
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At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts
Designed for anyone to play, we think this kit is best suited for beginners, kids, or amateur musicians that aren’t proficient on a traditional drum kit, but still want to have something they can create basic beats on. Its made to be placed on any flat surface, meaning you can play it virtually anywhere in the home, and Yamaha has included plenty of kit sounds and functional flexibility in it. Those that want to use it as a recording tool can do that, and those that want to use it for simply messing around on with friends can do that too. We think for the price tag it is offered at, you will really enjoy what Yamaha has created in the DD-65.
What’s In The Box
For such a small unit, there is a lot of features included in the box. Weighing just shy of 10 lbs., it stands 24 x 16 x 7 inches and can be used on any tabletop that will fit it, although a lot of people invest in a snare stand (or something similar) so they aren’t restricted to where they can play it.
Housed in a plastic chassis, there are 8 rubber pads that correspond to all the pertinent components of a drum kit – snare, toms, and cymbals. Also included are 2-floor pedals: 1 to control your hi-hats open/close function, and the other to trigger the unit’s kick drum. Both are relatively quiet and work well but can be upgraded if you desire higher quality foot triggers.
The rubber pads have good response time but due to the nature of their design, the smaller surface area can make it difficult to pull off any complex maneuvers. Sticking to basic beats will be your friend with this kit.
PRO-TIP: Investing in some rubber practice tips for your drum sticks will help to provide nice bounce-back when striking the pads. It will also deaden the sound, and protect the unit if you miss the pads and smack the plastic housing.
The on-board computer system adds some excellent functionality to this unit. With the ability to create up to 3 custom kits from 250+ sounds, it also has 128 presets of various kit styles you can choose from, and two 5W amps drive dual 8cm speakers for easy monitoring. A 3-setting sensitivity selector helps to dial in pad response time, and a bass boost function gives you a more well-rounded sound.
The unit also has an internal drive that can be loaded with MIDI songs for playing along with, or you can plug in your device via auxiliary to jam with your favorite tracks. Additional features include reverb and master EQ settings you can mess around with, 100 preset songs, as well as a recording and playback function. Rounding out the connections on the back of the unit are MIDI in/out, a 1/4” output for headphones, and it operates on 6 “C” batteries or the Yamaha PA-150 power supply, both of which must be purchased separately.
How Does It Stand Out?
While it comes with a lot of different kit styles already loaded into the hard drive, you also have the ability to swap things around or build entire kits from scratch. This comes in handy for those that want to remove a piece here and add a piece there. It also suits those that want to Frankenstein together a hybrid kit that plays various sounds. Additionally, left-handed players will welcome this assignability so they can reverse the kit to their liking. The pads can even be played with your hands if you want to throw some bongos into the mix!
Portability To Take Anywhere
Due to its small size, you really can take it anywhere you want. It fits easily on any tabletop, but works even better with a small stand (snare stands work well), as you aren’t limited to location this way. Snare stands are ideal due to being portable, as they collapse easily while still offering you flexibility and a lot of adjustabilities. The DD-65’s 24 x 16 x 7-inch dimensions also make it easy to store in a closet, or under a bed, while its 10 lbs. lightweight design means anyone can carry it to where they need it to go.
Moving On Up
While the unit comes with 2-foot pedals to control the hi-hats and kick drum, some users have expressed concern that they aren’t of the highest quality. Yamaha allows you to upgrade these pedals to their high-quality options that work on a similar trigger system. As they float freely, you can set them up anywhere that feels comfortable, and they also give you a noiseless performance so you don’t disturb those around you. The upgraded model for the hats is the HH-65, and the KU100 beaterless model is the pedal you will want to use for the kick.
Our Final Thoughts
We have a few issues with this model from Yamaha. First, unless you buy the premium pack, the DD-65 does not come with a power supply. It does operate on 6 “C” batteries, but obviously, a power supply is the better long-term option. Yamaha does offer it as a separate purchase (look for the PA-150 power supply), but it would’ve been nice if even the basic unit included this.
Users have also reported that due to the smaller pad sizes, it can be hard to pull off any drumming that is more complex than a basic beat.
Having said that, it is a pretty fun unit to play on and provides a lot of flexibility with the included sounds, as well as the recording function it affords amateur musicians. Well-priced, and upgradable, it is definitely a good choice if you are on a budget but looking for something to add to your musical arsenal.
If this electronic drum set is not what you were looking for, check out our Best Electronic Drum Set post.