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When you want a solid, midrange electronic drum set that will last you a good, long time, one brand to look at is Yamaha and their DTX502 series.
I’ll cover all three of their current 502 models in this review – the DTX522K, DTX532K, and DTX562K – because they are so similar to each other.
If you’re in a hurry and want to take a quick peek at each of these kits at Amazon, just click (tap) a link in the list immediately below.
If you want to learn more about the details and differences from one set to the next, just keep on reading. You can click (tap) a link in the box below to skip ahead to a particular section of the review.
Before you get into the individual models themselves, you might want to watch this video overview of the DTX502 series from Yamaha. Brief mention is made of features brought down to this series from Yamaha’s more expensive lines. You also get to hear several minutes of some of the kits you get in the sound module.
Here’s the Setup for the DTX522K Set
The pieces of the DTX522K include the following.
- Module: DTX502
- Snare: XP80
- Toms 1 & 2: TP70
- Floor Tom: TP70
- Bass Drum: KP65
- Hi-Hat: PCY100 + HH65
- Crash Cymbal: PCY100
- Ride Cymbal: PCY135
The snare is Yamaha’s special DTX-PAD which reportedly is made of silicone and is super quiet. Some say that it generates even less noise than mesh heads on other sets. This is a 3 zone pad on which you can play both open and closed rimshots in addition to the usual main head area.
The hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbals are all 3 zone items, so you get different sounds from the rim and bell than from the bow section of each.
The cymbals are chokeable all the way around the rim. A feature currently unique to DTX is that you can choke a cymbal before striking it. I have the feeling that other makers don’t implement this feature because drummers don’t use it often enough to make it worthwhile.
These pieces are programmed so that you can get natural cymbal swells (gradual increases in volume) and smoother drumrolls than on other kits in a similar price range. Normally these features are only available on high end sets.
Notice that the hi-hat is mounted on the rack of the DTX522K, like it is in many other kits. This will change as we move up the DTX502 line.
One customer takes issue with this setup.
“Do yourself a favor and purchase the Yamaha DTX532K Electronic Drum Set not this. Imagine for a moment playing a set with a “high hat” but without a hi hat stand. It is totally illogical to the way we play.“
I don’t see that the lack of a separate stand makes that much difference in how you play the hi-hat. Whether or not there is a stand, you still strike the cymbal and use a foot pedal to generate open and closed sounds.
Even though you may see one in some pictures, the kick pedal in all three of these models is sold separately.
The DTX502 sound module has a USB port that lets you connect to a computer. This can give you control over VSTi software and lets you use your own custom sound files (wav format).
The module has room for you to expand by adding up to 4 additional pads or triggers.
Programmed into the sound module are drum training functions that help you improve your drumming skills during practice. You can even have the system give you a score, so you can compare how you did from one session to the next.
One user who likes this kit in general had this small complaint.
“The ONLY thing I’ve found to be a little frustrating is that sometimes the cymbals have issues determining whether you are playing the bow or bell of the cymbal, and muting is not always 100% accurate.”
This could be a problem that is present in one specific DTX522K set and not in another though. Quality control can be difficult with these electronics.
How Is the DTX532K Different from the DTX522K?
The main difference between these two kits is in the hi-hat. Here is Yamaha’s own description of this piece.
“The hi-hat system of the DTX532K features a dual-zone trigger pad (for edge and bow sounds) that mounts to the included Yamaha hi-hat stand for realistic pedal action and versatile positioning. Moreover, the hi-hat can express various styles of play such as open/close position, closed pedal and foot splash. You can even play tip and edge voices for adding subtle nuances to the beat!”
As noted above though, Yamaha had said that the hi-hat was 3 zone like the other cymbals. I have not been able to determine which is the accurate statement. The hi-hat is apparently at least 2 zone and maybe 3. For most drummers this may be a minor point anyway.
The DTX532K uses the same DTX502 sound module, which includes 691 high-quality sounds and has all the features mentioned above.
Again, there is no kick pedal included. This is common among sets in this price range. Many drummers prefer to choose their own pedal, apart from the kit itself.
One owner who is very pleased with his purchase has this to say about the Yamaha DTX532K.
“This is a great set and a major step up from the lower end sets.”
If you decide to get one of these for yourself, I think you will agree.
DTX-PADs All Around
The chief upgrade here is that you get DTX-PADs on all the drum heads, not just on the snare. If you really are concerned about ambient noise created by your drumsticks, you should seriously consider getting the DTX562K. You neighbors (or family) may never know you’re practicing.
The floor tom has also be upgraded from a TP70 to an XP70. I can’t tell you exactly what the difference is, but I think it’s safe to assume that the XP70 is a higher quality head.
Creating a Hybrid Set
According to Yamaha, the DTX502 sound module – the brains of the system – is perfect for use in a “hybrid” kit that mixes electronics with any acoustic drum hardware you may already own.
Playing a hybrid kit will likely take some getting used to with some of the sounds coming from a speaker and others coming directly from the drum or cymbal itself.
What’s the Verdict on the Yamaha DTX502 Series?
It seems it’s hard to go wrong with any of the three models in the DTX502 series. All are solidly built and should serve you well in virtually any venue for a long time.
You’ll probably choose your model based on the type of music you play the most, which can determine which differences from one set to the other are the most important to you.
Cost can be another determining factor. If you can’t quite afford the one, you’ll simply have to opt for another. Either that or wait a bit until you’ve saved up a little more cash. (I know you want one right now, and it’s really hard to wait, but they’ll still be here tomorrow.)
When you reach “capacity” based on your drumming skills, you can expand the kit so you can expand and improve as a drummer. This is a feature you shouldn’t take lightly, especially if (as I just mentioned) you can’t quite afford all the pieces you really want just now.
However, if you think this Yamaha series doesn’t have the right kit for you, check out the others described in this overview article. There are both more and less expensive sets from Yamaha available.