There are two main models of Rock Band drums on the market now: EL and QM. (There’s an emerging third type, SL, which is identical to the QM except for the serial number). The EL and QM drums are quite different internally, and have different performance characteristics, too. You’ll want to know which kind you have. Here’s how to tell.
Look on the bottom of the drum heads for the serial number. The terms EL, QM, and SL refer to letters in the serial numbers.
If the serial number is stamped on the connecting arms underneath, you have an EL.
If the serial number is stamped directly in the middle underneath, you have a QM.
If the rubber feet under the drum heads stick out, then you have an EL. Mine says model # 822148, P/N 822148-303.
If the rubber feet under the drum heads are recessed, then you have a QM. Mine says model # 822149, P/N 822149-301.
Opening up the EL set is very easy, just give it a strong tug. Here’s what the internals of an EL set look like:
Opening up the QM set is a little trickier, as the rubber feet snap very firmly into the base. You’ll have to pull much harder, so be careful. Also, the rubber feet tend to pull out of their holders when you do this. Don’t worry, you can screw them back in with a small philips head screwdriver, there is no damage! I’ve done it quite a few times. Here’s what the internals of a QM drum set look like:
As you can see the QM and EL drumsets are quite different internally! It is my opinion that the QM are the newer and better (version 2.0) revision of the drums. The QM seems more logically laid out and more thoughtfully designed than the EL, which looks haphazard.
In general, the community consensus is that Rock Band drums tend to have the following performance characteristics based on what “family” they are from:
- QM/SL drumsets are more sensitive (can register soft hits), and less variable in overall performance. Can sometimes be too sensitive, however, resulting in double hits or nearby drum heads incorrectly registering a neighboring hit.
- EL drumsets are less sensitive (sometimes misses soft hits or will fail to register rapid/edge hits), and more variable in overall performance.
These are just guidelines, not rules. It is possible to get good or bad versions of any drumset, regardless of its “family”. However, if you have a QM or SL drumset, I do highly recommend performing the drum quieting mod.
Good luck and happy drumming!