Michael C. Stone: How I Use E-drums

Michael C. Stone recently added an Efnote 5 kit to his arsenal.

I work in and around Southern California as a performing/recording drummer with multiple acts, most notably Ron Blair of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fame, the Chris Torres Band, Atomic Groove, and the Drabs.

I’ve also performed and/or recorded with Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Stevie Salas (George Clinton, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger), Jim Keltner (Studio Legend), Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Average White Band), Luis Maldonado (Train, Foreigner), Hattie Webb (Leonard Cohen, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) and many more.

In 2017, I appeared on Carl King’s Grand Architects of the Universe, an album that features some of the most accomplished drummers in the world, including Virgil Donati, Thomas Lang, Marco Minnemann, Morgan Agren, Dave Elitch and Travis Orbin! You can hear me on track 12: The Twenty-Faced Cosmic Mystery of the Cosmos.

All of the drummers involved performed their parts from their home studios to send back to King, and given the wide variance of equipment set-ups, he used the Superior Drummer VST in Cubase for note-replacement in order to “homogenize” the drum sounds, making all of the performances sound as though they were done in the same studio. This would not have been possible without VST technology.

I live-stream to Twitch at least three times per week.

The Efnote 5 allows practice and live-streaming for as many hours in the day as I can find: typically three to four hours per day. It is extremely versatile, allowing the ability to dramatically change my sound to fit multiple genres, quickly and easily. My Twitch followers were sceptical when I mentioned buying this kit; I had been streaming for some time using my Sonor acoustic kit with multiple snares and cymbals and a nice variety of great microphones. The general consensus was that “E-kits just don’t sound as good as this”. But since I started broadcasting with e-drums, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and many fellow drum-streamers have expressed regrets that they hadn’t held out for the Efnote instead of what they ended up using (Roland, Alesis, etc.).

I’m still blown away by how they look and feel so much like acoustic drums. There are no awkward transitionary adjustments to make when I have an acoustic gig, and my chops and stamina have improved dramatically since I got the Efnote 5 due to time of use, alone!

The combination of this kit, a Wavedrum and a Yamaha EAD10 is like a musical spaceship!

I look forward trying this combination on a live performance.

E-drums have afforded me a versatility that would be difficult to achieve with only acoustic instruments. I have a huge collection of drums, cymbals, percussion and all sorts of noisemakers, but the use and transport of all sorts of percussive objects can be problematic, and often stage space doesn’t allow for real acoustic noisemakers in addition to the drum set. This makes the Korg Wavedrum an absolute must-have for the kit with my dance band, Atomic Groove, as I am often asked to handle the percussion parts (timbales, conga drums, hand claps, etc.) in addition to the main drum parts, and on some songs, I need that ‘80s tom sound, or even the sounds of shotgun blasts or thunder and lightning!

My Yamaha EAD10 has been an invaluable addition to my equipment set, too. I use it for extra percussion sounds along with my Efnote 5, and as my in-ear monitor on stage. It affords me comfort, familiarity and control no matter what venue I’m playing at or which band it’s for.

I also use it for amplifying my Odery Cafe Kit at lower-volume gigs, and that along with my Korg Wavedrum makes for an incredibly compact and versatile setup. It fattens up that tiny kick drum, and makes the whole kit sound like whatever I want it to!

Michael’s gear

Efnote 5 drums

Korg Wavedrum

Yamaha EAD10 with Yamaha single-zone pads

iPhone, iPad Mini for loops, synths and metronome

Presonus StudioLive AR16 mixing console/interface

Behringer mixer for stage monitoring

iMac and MacBook Pro for recording/streaming


Ehrlund, Shure, Audix, MXL Microphones

Black Magic ATEM Mini video switch