If you are just starting out with electronic drums, it is important to think about the features you need in a drum module.
Do you need a simple and easy-to-use drum module for home practice?
Do you need an advanced drum module for live performance and studio work?
In this article, we'll answer these questions by comparing the features of ATV's popular drum modules - the xD3, and the aD5. Let's dive in!
The xD3 sound module is packaged with ATV's EXS Series electronic drums. This high-resolution module is simple to use and has essential practice tools to support the developing drummer.
Stereo, 2 x 1/4" TS
Audio Mix Inputs:
Stereo, 1/8" TRS
USB, 5-Pin DIN
Sound Store Expansion:
By kit. 13 additional kits plus access to EXS Kit Creation Tool*
*Accessible via the ATV Sound Store, the EXS Kit Creation Tool can be used to create custom kits from a great instrument selection of classic drums and cymbals. Find out more about the xD3 module.
The aD5 is an elegantly-designed high-resolution drum module that reproduces the realistic sound of classic acoustic drums and cymbals.
Stereo, 2 x 1/4" TS
Audio Mix Input:
Stereo, 1/8" TRS
Sound Store Expansion:
By instrument. Free and paid instruments are available.
Find out more about the aD5 module.
Let's start our comparison by looking at the features offered by each module.
xD3: A general drum module that's ideal for home practice
The xD3 sound module enables drummers of all levels to fully express their dynamics and groove. In addition to great-sounding acoustic kits, the xD3 includes practice tools such as a metronome and a 'Visualizer' for checking your dynamics and timing - as shown in this video:
The xD3 module is pre-loaded with a selection of 20 beautifully-produced practice songs. You can also play your own audio files from the SD card. On the SONG screen, you can turn on the metronome and set MARKERS so you can practice and loop certain sections of the song. The built-in RECORDER enables you to record your song and solo performances.
aD5: A sophisticated module designed for professional applications
With the design of the aD5, ATV focused on three areas that are essential to delivering a natural feeling experience of acoustic drums on an electronic drum set.
1. Fast & Sensitive Triggering
2. Superior Sound Quality
3. 3rd Party Pad Compatibility
The aD5 features cutting-edge sensing technology, fast response, and pure audio-class output quality to meet the exacting standards required for studio productions and live performances. Performing with the aD5, the player can experience new levels of creative freedom stimulated by sound — the broad dynamics of a kick drum, the subtleties of a snare, and the natural resonance of a cymbal - all the sonic details are there to inspire you.
For all e-drummers, setting up the module's trigger response to match the playing style is important to achieve a feeling of dynamic drumming and expressive performance.
xD3: Quick and Easy Trigger Setup
With the xD3's trigger setup, we focused on making it as easy to quickly dial in your settings.
The Trigger Setup screen has all the necessary settings in one place. After setting the correct Pad Model, you adjust the Sensitivity setting for that pad (+ or -) while playing. In the top right of the screen is a Shot Meter that shows the dynamic response (pp to ff). This useful visual reference helps you to adjust the pad's trigger sensitivity so that your strongest hits are corresponding to ff dynamics. This menu screen has other easy settings for adjusting the balance of the snare pad's head-rim shots and the open-close point of the hi-hat. Total Pad Response is another useful setting that changes the sensitivity of all the pads. For most players, this value will be set to NORMAL, but increasing it can help younger players and beginners to achieve the full dynamic range - a feature that is convenient for drum teachers and students.
aD5: Trigger Wizard + Full Customization of Trigger Settings
The aD5 is designed to accurately translate the full dynamic range and groove of any drummer into a realistic sound and natural-feeling response. The module has a unique Trigger Wizard utility to guide drummers through the process of adjusting the dynamic trigger response of each pad.
After completing the Trigger Wizard process, you can dive deeper and take full control of adjustments to zone Sensitivity, Curve, and Threshold - settings that determine every aspect of a pad's triggering response. Through these fine adjustments, the drummer can fully customize the aD5's triggering response to suit their complete playing style.
From the soft tones of pianissimo to the intense emotional highs of fortissimo - the aD5 meticulously reproduces the tone and dynamics of acoustic drums and cymbals. Learn more about this unique module on the aD5 page.
Sound is key to supporting the drummer's freedom of expression - so they can fully experience the dynamic range of a kick drum, the subtle timbres of a snare, and the natural colored resonances of each cymbal. Watch ATV artist Katsuhiko Endo demonstrate these realistic sound qualities of the aD5 with a dynamically expressive and exciting performance!
xD3: Play and Create EXS Kits
With the EXS Series xD3 module, we wanted drummers to experience great-sounding kits right out of the box. The xD3 module is preloaded with 5 EXS kits, and after registering your product on the ATV Sound Store, users can download another 13 additional kits.
Try our new ATV Sound Tour application to directly experience playing all the different EXS kits using some great patterns recorded by Katsuhiko Endo:
On the Sound Store, users can also access the EXS Kit Creation Tool and build their own custom kit from our collection of high-quality drums, cymbals, and percussion sounds.
aD5: Create Your Sound
Every aD5 instrument is designed to reproduce the authentic sonic character of the original. All material is recorded in stereo at high resolution to capture every detail of the source instrument's resonance and spatial presence.
On the ATV Sound Store, you will find a carefully curated collection of drums, cymbals, and percussion - the very best of modern and vintage instruments that ATV records in the best studios using boutique custom equipment.
The aD5 module is designed with creative freedom in mind. In the module, you combine and assign to pads the factory-installed instruments and instruments downloaded from the ATV Sound Store. The possibilities are endless, and you can custom-build a kit that is perfect for any musical performance situation and genre of music.
The aD5's instrument editing features also make it possible to create new instruments from the available tones. As this video example shows, you can make a hybrid crash instrument that has two different sounds assigned to the edge and bow.
With the xD3 and aD5, ATV has two high-quality module options that will meet the needs of drummers across all levels of skill and experience. While the modules have different features, they both reflect ATV's core design philosophy and focus on fast-triggering, simple operation, and great sound. If you would like to know more about the EXS Series xD3 module or the aD5, please check the product pages on our website, or contact us with your questions. You can also find ATV dealers worldwide by checking our Dealers page.