Yamaha DTX720K Review
The Yamaha DTX700 series is a range of electronic drums that is aimed at the mid to high-level consumer. There are two kits to choose from in the DTX700 series, the DTX720K and the DTX760K. There are a few notable differences between these kits. In this article we will focus on the less expensive of the two, the Yamaha DTX720K, and see how it compares to other kits in its price bracket.
Who Should Buy the Yamaha DTX720K?
This is a quality electronic drum set with many top end features that are associated with professional standard kits. The DTX720K can function as a beginner kit but is better suited to experienced players and professionals. It has qualities that make it a step above entry-level kits and might be wasted on someone who is just starting out on the instrument.
The DTX700 drum module that comes with this kit has a few improvements on Yamaha’s earlier DTX502 module. With this unit you have full control over your kit volumes with individual faders for drums and cymbals. These faders control the hi-hat, bass drum, snare, toms and the cymbals. There’s also a volume control for the click too. These features make the DTX720K ideally suited to gigging professional drummers. The controls are comfortably within arm’s reach so you can adjust volumes as you play or in between songs.
The DTX700 is a powerful drum module that can be connected to any home studio setup for use with DAWs. The module can send your performances as MIDI to Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton or any other major music software out there today. You can also use the DTX720K in conjunction with virtual instruments such as BFD or EZ Drummer, which vastly increases your amount of sounds and kits.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
This is a five-piece drum set with three cymbals. The pads themselves are textured cellular silicone (TCS) on the snare and toms. The bass drum is a KP100 mesh pad, which is equally as comfortable to play on and has very low noise production.
You can connect either a single or double bass pedal to the KP100 as it has a large playing surface. It will accommodate even the most bulky double pedals on the market. The pad feels solid to play on and is very quiet. It’s far more heavy-duty than the bass drum pad that is available with the DTX502 series of kits. You won’t find any wobble or lateral movement at all.
Another high-end feature of the DTX720K is the inclusion of a stand-mountable hi-hat. The RHH135 is a hi-hat pad that looks and functions just like a real hi-hat. You can mount this pad on any standard hi-hat stand and it fits any normal clutch. Yamaha have included the HS740A hi-hat stand as well so that will save further spending.
This hi-hat is very responsive and has a nice range of positional-based sample triggering. You can play open, closed or anywhere in between for a variety of hi-hat sounds. The pads even respond to downward foot pressure so that you can actually hear the sample pitch rising very slightly. Playing on the edge and top of the hi-hat pad produces different sounds, a feature that brings this electronic hi-hat closer to its acoustic counterparts and makes playing the DTX720K a more enjoyable experience.
You can produce a nice combination of hi-hat sounds with this new and improved pad and it feels good to play on. It’s made from a rubber-type material that is soft and cushioning, while at the same time allowing for multiple bounces with the drumstick. The pad is even so sensitive that it will respond to foot splashes accordingly.
The snare on the DTX720K is an XP80. It is a silicone drum pad with three-zones of trigger response. It’s 8 inches in diameter and therefore bigger than the other tom pads. You can get a variety of sounds from this drum depending on where you play and how hard you strike.
The three zones on the drum mean that you can play the drum head, the rim and also lay your hand down to play a rim click, or a cross stick. Rim clicks are performed by placing the entire stick over the drum so that it is in contact with the rim in two positions. You can also assign this to play any other sound sample that you might want to utilize in your kit setup.
The XP80 silicone head has a nice bounce to it and is very quiet to play on. This is a huge benefit when looking to practice in a busy household or apartment block. The three pads that make up the toms are also silicone in construction but they are slightly smaller than the snare. These XP70’s are 7 inches in diameter and perform very well when hooked up to the DTX700 module.
You can get more sounds out of these tom pads by playing on the rims. This can be useful if you’re playing a song with many background percussion sounds. For example, you could assign the main tom head to play a natural acoustic tom sound and have the rim assigned to play a cowbell or woodblock. This means you don’t need to carry around as many drums as you might otherwise have to with a traditional acoustic set.
The cymbal pads on the DTX720K are limited to hi-hat, crash and ride. If you want more, you can expand or take a look at the DTX760K drum kit, which has an extra crash. Each pad is a PCY135, which is a very natural responding pad by Yamaha.
These cymbals rest nicely on the Yamaha hardware stands and have a natural swing when struck. They have three-zone triggering so you can get a range of different sounds from each. The PCY135 is a chokable cymbal pad so you can perform staccato mutes during or at the end of songs. It also has a nice feature which Yamaha call pre-choking. This is when you use one hand to mute the cymbal before you play on it. The end result is just like if you were playing so on a real acoustic cymbal and makes for an authentic dull response.
The whole drum kit, including the pads and module, rests upon Yamaha’s RS502 drum rack. This rack is solid and flexible. Taking the rack apart is extremely easy and it only takes a few minutes to set up. Each part of the rack is designed to fit into a medium sized hardware case for easy transportation.
Positioning the snare on the DTX720K is made a breeze by the flexible design of the drum mounting. The ball joint allows you to set the snare at practically any angle and tightens firmly so as to stay in place throughout the performance. Unfortunately, this ball joint mount is not available for the other three toms.
The drum samples on the DTX700 module have been selected from Yamaha’s impressive and extensive acoustic range of drum kits. There are 1396 sounds on the module and room for you to store your own. You can import samples by way of a USB stick into the back of the DTX700 module.
The built-in sounds are of a high quality and work well with the multi-zone drums and cymbals. You can make adjustments to each drum individually and store your own new custom kits. There is space for 10 user kit configurations while the number of on board kits supplied by Yamaha is 50.
The DTX700 drum module has a sequencer built-in, which can be used with the DTX720K pads. Starting and stopping sequences can be done by assigning this control to any pad of your choice. You can use a tom pad to start a song sequence which is extremely useful in live gig situations. In this case the drummer can be the one in control of starting and stopping band sequences, which makes it easier to get the whole band in time together.
The module also comes with several coach functions. These different modes are designed to challenge you to improve you skills on the kit. ‘Groove Check’ and ‘Rhythm Gate are both novel ways of improving your timing in a fun way. You can spend many hours here with the DTX700 module and keep track of your progress to ensure you are improving.
You can hook up the DTX700 to any computer, PC or Mac, and it will function as a MIDI controller for your DAW. MIDI is sent through the USB cable and installation is smooth and quick. You have a stereo jack input for plugging in your MP3 player for playalongs. You can set the volume of the input so that it matches your drum level on your headphones. And in addition to having a headphone output, the DTX700 module also has a separate output for connecting to band P.A. systems.
Take a listen to the drum sounds on the DTX700 module:
The DTX720K is a great kit with comfort in mind. The silicone snare and toms mean better playability than the rubber heads on the DTX502 series. The bass drum is also much improved with a solid real feel to the head. This kit is one of the quietest in its range, which is a big benefit to practicing drummers everywhere.
The DTX700 module has some nice features but it could certainly do with an increase in memory. Yamaha have included a memory capacity of 64MB with this module but that’s still an extremely small amount given the state of the art. For a kit in this price range, it seems a bit of an oversight to have gone small on this feature. With more memory the user will have more options to import sounds and song files and save time having to repeatedly delete files to make room for more.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
Roland’s TD-11KV is an all mesh drum set with a similar five-piece configuration. The TD-11KV is the bigger brother of the TD-11K and is a lot less expensive than the DTX720K. It has many of the same features as the DTX720K including full DAW capabilities and USB connectivity.
If you have a bit more to spend, you might want to look at the Roland TD-25KV. It’s a similar size kit to the DTX720K but comes with an extra crash cymbal pad. The mesh heads on the TD-25KV are of a high quality and the TD-25 module has some really cool features, such as the ability to load in your own drum samples.
Alesis offer the Crimson II, which is their mid-range kit. It has a fully mesh setup, including mesh on the bass drum and over 670 sounds onboard. The Alesis Strike Pro is also worth a look as it’s their flagship model. It features life-size drums (a 14 inch snare) and more pads than the DTX720K. With the Strike Pro you get an extra floor tom as well as two extra crash cymbals making it a strong competitor to the DTX720K.
The Bottom Line
Yamaha have produced a tidy and playable kit with the DTX720K but it’s not going to revolutionize drumming just yet. It has all you’ll need in a drum kit to start drumming, including a hi-hat stand and a bass pedal. The sounds are of a high quality in comparison to other kits in this range and the kit is solid and durable. If you like to record drum tracks at home or in the studio, the compatibility of the DTX700 module will make your life easy too.
This kit may be a bit overpriced considering what other brands are offering, particularly Alesis. Yamaha will argue that you are paying for superior, authentic Yamaha drum sounds and maximum playability.