Yamaha DTX400 Series

Yamaha’s newest DTX 400 series of digital drum kits is easy on the wallet and packs quite a punch! They all features the best sounds from Yamaha’s flagship DTX models and features a new interactive drum-training system. It comes in 3 configuration, as the DTX400, DTX430 and the DTX450. These kits are a lightweight, compact affair and arrives in a single box.

Hopes of a high-end drum kit for a low-end price were certainly met. The single-zone pads allow for good, expressive playing and the cymbals really shine through in this kit. Personally, I would be inclined to go for the DTX430 or DTX450 for the dedicated kick drum.

The sound presets are absolutely outstanding and certainly belie the price tag. The Maple Custom has a fantastic, deep, woody sound. Switching to the Oak custom, the kick drum becomes brighter and a fantastic mid-range overtone is introduced to the snare, which increases the harder you hit the drum. The Jazz kit has a tight, open sound and a full, dark ride cymbal.

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All the DTX400 kits are similar in configuration, each comprising five drums, with two cymbals and a hi-hat. The differences between kits are small but quite significant, with the TD430K getting an upgraded kick drum and hi-hat controller and the DTX450K additionally benefiting from a three-zone snare pad. All the kits feature the same TD400 brain module.

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Training is a big part of Yamaha’s electronic drum range, and the DTX400 series is strong in this area, offering 10 training functions including Groove Check, Rhythm Gate, Tempo Up/Down, Change, Part Mute and Fast Blast. Each covers a different skill, enabling you to work on aspects of your rhythm and timing, and also learn new patterns. Depending on the training session, you can set the difficulty level and speed. When you’re finished, the DTX400 evaluates your performance and displays a score using the number buttons (1-10). The module also includes ‘Voice Guidance’, which announces exactly how you’ve done, from ‘Try Again’ through to ‘Fantastic’!

To further enhance the training aspect of the DTX400, Yamaha have released an two iPhone and iPad apps. DTX400 Drum Lessons provides video tutorials on basic techniques such as holding the sticks correctly and playing the hi-hat, through to useful visual examples of the built-in demo songs and training sessions, with several camera angles of each one being played by a real drummer. The Song Beats app allows you to download any Yamaha MIDI file from their store and see a visual representation of the drum part played, with each drum glowing as it is hit, very much like the Rock Band game. These are great add-ons, particularly for beginners,

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The DTX-APPS add a new dimension to the instrument and make it fun and easy for anyone to customize their kit. When connected to an iPhone, iPad or iPodTouch via USB the DTX400 is supported by a series of interactive APPS that allow the user to edit custom kits, import new MIDI songs, and to visually learn the beats of new MIDI songs. If you do not have any iOS device you can still import songs using a Windows PC and use them along with the built-in groove tools. No other electronic drum set in its class has as many free support apps as the Yamaha DTX400.