What advantages of a pad controller over regular keyboard?

Hi there, Am considering buying my first Pad controller for occasional drum parts in my recordings. Plan to learn to finger drum through course here!

Some people online make the argument that a regular piano keyboard is better for finger drumming… Speed… sensitivity… Number of keys etc

How would people here counter this? Why exactly should I buy a pad controller?

I’m certainly keen… Just interested to know if anyone has compared the two methods and what you like about pad controllers and why they are so strongly recommended versus just using synth keys. Thanks for any thoughts.

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I have both a keyboard and a pad controller (Maschine Mikro MK3). I started out on the keyboard finger drumming and it definitely can work. But when I switched to the pads I preferred the much shorter ‘travel’ that your finger has to do when triggering pads vs keys. Also, it’s easier to control sensitivity with pads vs a keyboard.



I agree with Maroonblazer. I think the percussiveness of hitting a flat pad just makes things a little more drum like and therefore more intuitive.

It’s hard to get away from pressing down instead of tapping / hitting when using a piano-oriented approach. With the pads I regularly practice on my lap, or I tap on the table, the steering wheel of my car or something like that and all of that translates well to the pad controller. I don’t think it will translate to a piano right away… the physicality seems different.


Thanks guys…I found an old Reddit post that made a case for a regular keyboard over Pads…

But other articles tend to indicate the same as what you’ve written…drum pads are just more drum like!

I’m looking at the Maschine Mikro Mk3 as per recommendations from ‘The Quest for Groove!’

I’ve found whenever I record a song…trying to get the parts to match with pre made drum parts doesn’t often work that well…or match the feel…

…I’m really not interested in the electronic style loop music genre…but just adding drumming to more regular rock/pop/modern church type songs would be great…

But I figure I should be able to use the drum pad as just a useful basic beats tool too…

Thanks for your thoughts on the keys versus pads question!

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My guess is that in a basic way, both methods will work. The thing is that I obviously went all the way on the pads, have been improving for over 7 years now and I haven’t really played the keyboard that much, let alone keyboard drums. All I know is that the pads method works, but a true comparison isn’t possiblwe since that would take me first playing keyboard drums for 7 years and then letting you know what my findings are :slight_smile:

Thanks Robert…I think I’ll go your path too…and will make use of the lessons on the site here…will pick up Addictive Drums in the current sale too while I’m at it…

Sounds like the 4 x 4 grid is the way to go as well…am looking at a new keyboard at some stage…but I’m guessing there is probably an advantage to a dedicated controller. Thank you!

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Just joined the message board and this covers my first question :grinning:. I already own a Korg MicroKEY Air 25 and have EZdrummer 3. I’ve had a go using the MicroKEY and I could get a basic grove going with left had middle on kick and index on snare, then used right hand for the ride.

You definitely have a fair bit of travel and although it was velocity sensitive, playing with a light touch wasn’t that easy due to the amount of travel.

The “Air” version of the keyboard is handy though as you can use with iPad with pretty low latency.

I’d like to try a pad controller as well to feel the difference. I like the idea that Rob mentioned about the incidental practice where you just tap whatever you have near you and can see how that would only really work with pads. The first time I tried to play slap bass I would often practice getting my thumb to bounce off the table whilst I ate breakfast or was on a phone call.

Nice to see this old thread make a come back!
I did end up buying the Maschine Mikro mk3… and certainly learned the basic technique as shown here on the quest for groove. It’s been great for the purpose I had in mind… a way of adding percussion to the development of backing tracks etc. Have been very happy with the pad controller… and also the skills learned here with a handful of lessons. The pad controller does everything I need it to… and is one of those purchases I don’t think I’ll need to worry about again for years to come. Drumming isn’t my main focus… but really glad to have learned the fundamentals here through this site and Robert and the quest for groove! Thanks so much for the great tips.


That’s some great feedback. I’m not really sure how far I’d go with finger drumming. It might just be to help with backing tracks for guitar and bass, but it could also become another hobby.