Yamaha has long held a substantial presence in the competitive and rapidly evolving electronic drumset market by offering a full range of products that encompass everything from entry-level options to high-end setups. In early 2016, the company announced an expansion of its upper-range DTX700 e-drum series with two additions—the DTX720K and DTX760K. According to Yamaha, the configurations build upon the company’s DTX700 drum module by including the larger, more natural three-zone pads that are normally reserved for the company’s flagship DTX900 series, while offering more sound customization options. We were sent the DTX760 model to check out.

What’s in the Box?

The DTX760K comes with a 12″ XP120SD snare pad, two 10″ XP100T tom pads, a 12″ XP120T floor tom pad, a 10″ KP100 kick pad, a 13″ RHH135 hi-hat, two 13″ PCY135 crashes, and a 15″ PCY155 ride cymbal. As mentioned above, each XP drum pad has three zones: the main drumhead and two rim zones. The rim zones were usually assigned rimclick and rimshot sounds by default. The drum pads also come with a control knob that can be assigned to adjust parameters such as tuning, muffling, or snare sensitivity. The cymbals had three zones as well—bow, edge, and bell—and each cymbal’s sustain could be choked by grabbing the underside of the pad.

The hardware included an HS740A chain-linked hi-hat stand, an SS-662 single-braced snare stand, a lightweight RS700 drum rack, and Yamaha’s standard booms and hexagonal tom arms to mount the drum and cymbal pads. Specialized washers and mounts are included for the cymbal pads. The kit also comes with a modified hi-hat clutch and stand base to mount the pad onto either the included stand or any other model.

The DTX700 module comes with a mount for the rack and trigger cables to connect the pads. After unboxing, the only gear needed to get up and running is a throne, a bass drum pedal, sticks, and headphones or an amplification setup.

The Module

The DTX700 module includes 1,268 acoustic and electronic drum and percussion samples spread over fifty preset kits. While every kit is fully customizable, there are ten spots available for users’ own configurations. Acoustic samples are taken from Yamaha’s lines of maple, birch, oak, beech, and other signature drumsets, and there’s a slew of modern- and vintage-styled acoustic, electronic, and percussion kits. Players can also upload their own samples into the module using a USB flash drive (not included). The size of each individual voice is customizable, and adjusting the dimensions felt like adding new pieces to the kit as opposed to simply changing the tuning.

Navigating the module’s interface can feel slightly less than intuitive at first, but after spending time with the controls and reading through the manual, adjustments became quick and easy. Yamaha also offers a free smartphone app that can be used externally to quickly switch between kits and adjust parameters such as instrument voice, tuning, muffling, tempo, and time signature.

The module comes with ninety-three play-along songs and a fun—if humbling—graphic metronome function that tests rhythmic accuracy. There’s an Aux In connection to play along with external audio sources. The kit also came with Steinberg’s Cubase AI music production software, so you can record audio and MIDI straight into your computer or use the kit as a VST controller to expand the module’s voices almost limitlessly via USB (cable not included).

How’s It Feel?

If Yamaha was shooting for a more natural feel for the DTX700 series, the company nailed it. Snare rimshots felt great and responded with close to the same physical crack that could be expected from an acoustic drum. And with the real estate of the larger pads, misfires were rare when switching between drumhead strokes, rimclicks, rimshots, or cymbal bow and bell strikes. The KP100 bass drum pad had roughly the same response and give of an acoustic kick, and the large playing surface allows plenty of room to accommodate a double pedal.

Most impressive, however, was the kit’s fluid dynamic range and sensitivity. There was a smooth flow from quiet ghost strokes to hard rimshots throughout each voice. The module also offers nine sensitivity options to fine-tune the dynamic range of the pads even further.

The hi-hat required the most adjustment. I felt like there needed to be more space between the hi-hat pad and the stand base than I typically use on acoustic hi-hats in order to trigger splashes accurately or to play wide-open notes. Once the hi-hat controller was dialed in, splashes and openings performed smoothly, and executing fast Tony Williams–style foot patterns sounded tight and crisp.

At an MSRP of $3,499.99, the DTX760K provides a natural feel, versatile options, and plenty of Yamaha’s signature sounds without the heftier price tag of the company’s flagship DTX900 series electronic drums. While no electronic drumset perfectly matches the response or feel of an acoustic kit, Yamaha is certainly making strides in the right direction.

Willie Rose