Yamaha DTX450K Review
The DTX450K electronic drum set is a member of Yamaha’s entry-level DTX400 series. In the DTX400, series there are currently two kits to choose from. There is the DTX400K and the more expensive DTX450K. Both kits have many features which make them ideally suited to home practicing. The DTX400K has a low-noise beaterless bass drum controller which is one such feature. On this page we will discuss the second drum set, the DTX450K, which features a bass drum pad over the aforementioned beaterless controller pedal, along with a more responsive snare drum.
Who Should Buy the Yamaha DTX450K?
This kit is an ideal beginner kit and can even go so far as to function well as a practice aid for seasoned players. The kit is a typical electronic kit configuration with five drums and three cymbals.
The sounds on this kit’s DTX400 drum module are good but not on a professional level. They are suited to home practicing and band rehearsal but probably fall short when it comes to live performing. There just isn’t the nuance and expression required to put the DTX400 module in this category. But, you will have enough sounds to play along with the built-in songs or your favorite albums using the Aux in port, while having a lot of fun in the process.
The sounds range from acoustic kits to electronic kits to percussion. Beginners will find playing on this kit will give them an expectation of what a real acoustic kit is all about. Experienced drummers will find that the sounds take some of the boredom out of playing on a practice pad. Both levels of players will find the onboard drumming tutorial feature a helpful addition. Yamaha have included several innovative exercises that are designed to improve your timing, skill and accuracy on the drums, and that will appeal to everyone.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
Like the Yamaha DTX400K, the DTX450K is a five-piece drum kit with rubber pads and cymbals. The pads themselves are make of a gum-rubber type of material that is both deadening to noise and springy in rebound. Playing on these pads feels a lot like playing on a regular practice pad but with the addition of a rim. This rim is soft, like the pad surface and feels good to play on. Unfortunately, for most drum pads on this kit, there is no sound triggering when you play the rim.
The only drum on the DTX450K with rim triggering is the TP70S snare pad. This drum is three-zoned and 7.5 inches in diameter. You can produce more sounds from this pad with the extra triggering. Rimshot and rim clicks are all playable with the TP70S which makes the DTX450K a bit more fun to play than the lesser DTX400K model.
There are no such rim features on the tom pads which only respond when you strike the drumhead. For many this will prove quite acceptable as the toms are generally not played as often as the snare drum. The response of the tom pads when struck is solid and gives a good stick rebound.
Along with the improved three-zone snare, another upgrade this kit has over the DTX400K is the addition of a bass drum pad, or kick tower. This pad is made from a combination of plastic, metal and rubber. The pad sits upright so as to perform like a real acoustic bass drum. There is a mountable slot at the base of the tower which can be used to connect up a bass drum pedal. This pad is quite small, but big enough to accommodate either a single or double bass drum pedal. With the DTX450K, Yamaha have even included one of their own single pedals, which is a nice bonus.
The three cymbal pads that come with the DTX450K are each 10 inches in diameter. They are mounted on cymbal arms which are positioned on the supplied drum rack. This rack holds practically everything, including the drum pads and the module. The only components that are not directly mounted onto the rack are the hi-hat foot controller and the bass drum tower.
The hi-hat can be positioned just over the snare and beside the module. This allows the user to easily reach and make adjustments on the module interface. The hi-hat pad itself is a similar rubber type material which covers only one half of the cymbal face. The triggering on all cymbal pads is quite basic and there are no multi-zoned triggering capabilities or chokable features here.
The cymbals are all mounted in the same way and have the same stick response. They don’t resemble a real cymbal in many ways but are relatively quiet and playable. You can tighten the hi-hat so that it doesn’t flap about, which is recommended. The crash and ride can be set to be a bit looser so as to allow them a bit of movement. Trigger-wise, the crash and ride are not the most subtle, but acceptable for a kit in this price range. The hi-hat has three position modes, open, closed and half-open, that you can switch between using the foot pedal controller.
The pedal lacks the positional sensors that come with better models of electronic drums. The three positions, open, closed and half-open, are good enough for a beginner to get their co-ordination down but might be frustrating to experienced acoustic kit players.
The controller pedal itself needs to be positioned on an appropriate flooring such as carpet or matting. It can be prone to slippage on wood and tiled floors so make sure you bear this in mind. One benefit of the freestanding design of this pedal is that because it doesn’t require a stand, it produces less noise in the room when playing.
In total there are 169 sounds onboard the DTX400 drum module. You can hear all these sounds by flicking through the 10 drum kits that have been assembled. Each kit is given a title to represent its style. Many of the kits on this module have been created using Yamaha’s access to their own vast acoustic range of drum sets.
There are kits of a wide range of types, from acoustic to electronic and percussion. You can mix and match these kits by playing along with the 10 demo songs that feature onboard the DTX400 module. The quality of drum sample sound is similar to that of other kits in its price category. Most drummers won’t be crazy about every sample on the module but there are bound to be a few drum sounds that will prove to be favorites.
The DTX400 drum module has drum samples, demo songs and a few extras too. There is a built-in metronome that you can use while practicing to keep you in time. Like the metronome, the built-in songs can be adjusted in tempo for added variety.
Some of the drum coaching modes on the DTX400 module will be a welcome addition to many players. There is a ‘Groove Check’ function that will monitor your playing along to a metronome or any one of the demo songs. This mode gives instant feedback on your timing and how you are playing in relation to the beat. Play too fast or too slow, and you’ll be able to tell by the buttons lighting up on the module face. The DTX400 module will even speak to you and give words of encouragement, and Yamaha tell us that this is the only module to have the ability to do so.
The DTX400 also has the ability to connect to your desktop computer or laptop. This is an extremely useful feature, especially for home recording enthusiasts. You can send your playing performances to your computer DAW by way of either audio or MIDI. The DTX400 module has a USB connection for connecting to your computer.
Also on the module are outputs for monitoring your sound. You can simply plug your headphones into the module to play in silence without disturbing anyone. Alternatively you can hook the DTX400 up to a P.A. system or powered monitor for more volume at practice sessions or live gigs.
If you are a fan of playing along with your favorite albums or backing tracks then the DTX400 has good news for you. There is a stereo jack input which can be used to plug in your MP3 player, iPod or laptop.
To get a better idea of the DTX450K in action, watch this video:
There are two advantages to this kit over the Yamaha DTX400K. The snare is a three-zone pad with better triggering and more sound possibilities. If you value the snare as an important component of any drum kit, then you should consider this kit over the DTX400K. Another improvement is the addition of the bass drum pad tower which lets you hook up your favorite single or double pedal. Previously, with the DTX400K, you were limited to a beaterless single pedal. While it was, and still is, possible to make the hi-hat pedal function as a second bass drum, there is no substitute for real quality-built drum hardware. In this case Yamaha have included one of their own models of single pedal as part of the deal.
With a kit like this you have to consider the price and question whether you can get much more by spending a little more. For an entry-level electronic drum set the DTX450K isn’t exactly cheap. You can pick up an entry-level Alesis for about half that.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
For another $300 or $400 or so you can get the Alesis Crimson II drum set. This is a fully mesh kit which feels better to play on than the DTX450K’s pads. There are also a lot more sounds onboard the Alesis module.
If you can’t stretch to Yamaha DTX450K’s price range, you can look at the Roland TD-1K. This is a compact and portable electronic drum set that’s a bit cheaper in price. The TD-1K has similar pads and hardware but a smaller drum rack. This makes for easy setting up and folding away and also makes the TD-1K more portable than the DTX450K.
The TD-1K also has more drum kits and more demo songs than the Yamaha DTX450K. There are a couple of onboard drum coaching functions that are similar in nature to the ones on the DTX400 module.
One downside to the TD-1K is that it ships with a beaterless bass drum pedal, but on the other hand, if you want a snare mesh head you can upgrade to the TD-1KV which is only slightly more expensive.
The Bottom Line
The DTX450K is a nice and solid entry-level kit by Yamaha but perhaps a little on the expensive side. In today’s market, electronic drum sets are becoming less and less expensive to produce. The digital nature of these instruments means that they are constantly being outdated by newer models. A top of the range electronic drum set will hold its value longer than a cheaper entry-level set but neither will hold their value like a top-end acoustic set. While woods age and mature well, electrical components age and go out of fashion.
As a practice aid, the DTX450K handles well and will get many drummers out of a hole. It’s quiet enough to play indoors in a house-sharing situation or an apartment block. For beginners, the DTX450K has all you will need to get started, including a drum throne, bass drum pedal and even a pair of drumsticks.
All things considered it might still be worth looking into some of the other kits on offer by other electronic drum manufacturers before making your decision.