Choosing an electronic drum kit: The Roland V-Drums Range Explained

Choosing an electronic drum kit: The Roland V-Drums Range Explained

This article will help you choose an electronic V-Drums kit to suit you.

With the V-Drums range of kits, your biggest obstacle in choosing an electronic drum kit is also one of the range’s biggest advantages—variety.

As advantageous as variety is, it’s also responsible for one of the most frequently asked questions regarding the V-Drums range.

Which electronic kit is best for me?

Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Australia

Welcome back to the drums!

Are you a lapsed drummer who misses playing? Or maybe someone who has always wanted to play drums but didn’t know where to start?

Maybe you’re a frustrated bass player who wants to have some fun laying down your own drum tracks. Because really, why should drummers have all the fun?

Have you never played a musical instrument at all?

Experience the joys that can only come from replicating that awesome drum part from one of your favourite songs. Everybody’s got one of their own most loved drum pieces and you can play yours too.

For example—and for those that know the song—who hasn’t wished they could play that epic drumming moment in Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight?!
https://youtu.be/TnzFRV1LwIo

Perhaps you already play the drums but wish you could expand on your kit’s tonal range and/or options?

Sure, you can add capabilities to your existing kit using the Roland TM-2 as Michael Schack does. But, just maybe, you’re ready to go next level with a full electronic V-Drums kit.

Which electronic kit to choose from?

If you already have an acoustic kit, you won’t believe how much more time you will spend playing and developing your playing skills on an electronic drum kit. The compact size and adaptability will mean you’ll use it in ways you never imagined.

Regardless of your level of experience, or what you’re trying to get out of your current drumming experience, the Roland V-Drums range offers the best solution when choosing an electronic drum kit. All you need to do is work out which kit is the right one for you.

So, what are the differences between normal electronic kits and the V-Drums range of kits? Let’s get started!

With twelve kits available, It might seem like there are so many different electronic kit models. Actually, there are just four model numbers. Each model number has three different ready to go configurations.

It’s important to note that all V-Drums kits are able to be setup for left-handers too.

The following four kit numbers make up the current V-Drums electronic kit range: TD1, TD17, TD25, TD50.

Let’s break each of these electronic V-Drums kits down and go through their strengths.

*TD-1K

*TD-1DMK

*TD-1KPX2

ROLAND TD-1K

Roland TD-1K V-Drums Kit

The TD-1K is an all-in-one kit meaning you just need to add a stool and sticks to start playing.

It features tried and tested rubber pads with excellent trigger responsiveness and durability.

The crash, hi-hat and ride cymbal pads respond and move like acoustic cymbals. You can also ‘choke’ the cymbals to mute the sound just like with acoustic cymbals.

Included with the TD-1K are silent kick and hi-hat pedals. There is also a stable and adjustable stand.

All V-Drums can be set up for left and right-handers so simply choose a kit.

The module includes a recording mode for capturing your ideas and performances.

Sounds wise, there are 25 versatile sounding kits built-in. Each kit has adjustable volume and a metronome with well thought out practice modes.

Standard mini-jack connections output to speakers or headphones. A mix-input allows direct connection to portable music players or other musical instruments for fun jam sessions.

The built-in USB port allows the TD-1 to be used with recording. It also allow you to load drum tuition software such as Melodics for V-Drums. No special drivers needed.

ROLAND TD-1DMK

Roland TD-1DMK V-Drums Kit

The TD-1DMK is an all-in-one kit! This means you just need to add a stool and sticks to start playing.

Featuring all mesh heads on the toms and snare, the TD-1DMK is a step up from conventional electronic kits.

Mesh heads allow you to adjust the tension to suit the required rebound.

Because it’s a head stretched on a drum, it gives the most realistic and interactive feel just like its acoustic cousin.

Unlike other electronic kits, V-Drums hi-hats offer dynamic playing. This includes open through to half-closed and fully closed for the best expression.

The crash and ride cymbal respond like acoustic cymbals. You can also ‘choke’ the cymbals to mute the sound just like with acoustic cymbals.

The TD-1K includes silent kick and hi-hat pedals and a stable and adjustable stand.

The module includes a recording mode for capturing your ideas and performances.

25 versatile sounding kits are built-in with adjustable volume. There’s also a metronome with well thought out practice modes.

There are standard mini-jack connections for output for speakers or headphones as well as a mix-input for direct connection to portable music players.

The built-in USB port allows the TD-1 to be connected with recording and drum tuition software such as Melodics for V-Drums.

ROLAND TD-1KPX2

Roland TD-1KPX2 V-Drums Kit

This amazingly tiny fold-up, all mesh head kit can be packed into the optional carry bag. Take it wherever you go away making it a great rehearsal or practice kit too.

The included rack with the TD-1KPX2 features an integrated double kick trigger pad. You can use conventional double mechanical kick pedals such as the Roland RKP-10D.

The rack can be adjusted to suit both kids and adults.  Just like all of the V-Drums kits, it’s easy to set up for left-handers too.

Replaceable mesh pads are velocity-sensitive and tunable. They offer the same feel as Roland’s pro series pads.

V-Drums pads are designed for years of trouble-free playing.

Roland TD-1KPX2 electronic kit folded in lounge room
Roland TD-1KPX2 V-Drums electronic kit folded in the lounge room

Easy to navigate, the TD-1 module has tried and tested favourite V-Drums sounds to suit a wide range of playing styles. Like the other TD-1 series kits, there are practice routines and recording built-in.

USB allows MIDI connection for use with recording and drum tuition software such as Melodics for V-Drums.

You can also find a headphone/line output, mix-in for connection to amplifiers. This is perfect for rocking out with friends or playing along to your favourite music.

ROLAND TD-17 Series V-Drums

Designed around a larger foldable and easy to transport rack, the three model TD-17 series is very popular with beginners choosing an electronic kit. Lapsed drummers and anyone returning to the drums are attracted to how easy they are to use.

Experienced drummers love the ability record and work out parts at home without needing to hire studio space.

The three TD-17 V-Drums kits are:

*TD-17KL

*TD-17KV

*TD-17KVX

Let’s look at the differences between the three models here.

TD-17KVX

Roland TD-17KVX electronic V-Drums kit
Roland TD-17KVX electronic V-Drums with VH-10 hihat, PDX-12 snare and mesh tom heads

Topping the range is the TD-17KVX. With its stand-mountable VH-10 hi-hat, dual crashes and 12″ PDX-12 mesh snare pad.

“The TD-17KVX is the inspiring powerhouse kit you’ll play all day.”

TD-17KL

Roland TD-17KL electronic V-Drums kit
The Roland TD-17KL electronic V-Drums kit with mesh snare and rubber toms

If you want to stop saving and start drumming today, the TD-17K-L comes with durable rubber toms and PDX-8 mesh snare. There’s also the great sounding TD-17 sound module at its heart, just like the top kit.

TD-17KV

The TD-17KV goes mesh all the way with upgraded cymbals too.

With all three TD-17 kits, metal fans love that the stable KD-10 kick trigger pad can be used with their favourite double kick pedal for near-silent double kick practice. The extra trigger inputs on the module allow expansion with additional triggers down the line.

Roland TD-17KV V-Drums electronic kit
Roland TD-17KV V-Drums kit with all mesh heads

The TD-17 module has a huge range of sounds from acoustic to electronic. You can even build your own kit patches. For example, It’s simple to tune, muffle and add reverb to your new kit patch with just a few simple tweaks.

For creating your own sounds is your personal style, import your own user WAV sounds from anywhere. This allows you to layer samples with the internal sounds for endless sound possibilities into the future.

The built-in SD Card slot allows you to save your kits to share with friends or load more which you can download online.

WAV and MP3 files can be played directly via SD Card too, for the ultimate fun practice session.

Practical Features

USB and *Bluetooth allow you to connect your kit to your computer and mobile devices. Then you can stream audio directly from media services such as YouTube and FaceBook quickly and easily. The built-in phone tray is a super convenient place to dock your device.

It’s time to crank it up and jam with friends! There’s even a ‘mix-in’ for connecting keyboards and guitar pedalboards too.

Connect the stereo line outputs directly to P.As and speaker systems such as the PM-100 and PM-200 series personal drum amplifiers for everyone to hear.

*Bluetooth available on KV and KVX models only

ROLAND TD-27 Series Kits

 

If you are after great playing expression, sounds and build quality, look no further. The TD-27KV stands out from all other electronic kits in this price range.

TD-27KV

Roland TD-27KV V-Drums
Roland TD-27KV V-Drums kit. Snare stand, Hi-hat stand and kick pedal not included.

For a mid-range V-Drums kit, the TD-27KV now features the same PD-140-DS digital snare and CY-18-DR digital ride from the TD-50 series. The VH-10 hi-hat controller is standard with it’s thin and responsive feel.

Two, time-proven crashes, wider MDS-Standard rack and PDX-100 toms are included for a well-balanced, everyday performance kit at home or on stage.  

Want double kick? V-Drums are designed for double kick pedals so simply connect any double pedal and play. You could even add a second separate kick trigger for two, independent, tunable kick drums. 

The slick TD-27 sound module makes it simple to choose from any of the 720+ sounds.

Roland TD-27 V-Drums Sound Module

The heart of the VAD-503/506 and TD-27KV is the TD-27 module.

For the best triggering available anywhere, connect a digital snare and ride.

Roland’s digital triggers allow greater dynamics and responsiveness than conventional analog trigger systems.

With an enormous sound library of over 720 sounds, recreate your favourite sounds and explore new musical avenues inside the module. 

Add more sounds with the user sample import capabilities. 16 and 24bit WAV samples can be loaded via SD Card and triggered from any trigger zone freely. 

A great fun feature is the Bluetooth audio/MIDI streaming. Use this feature to record yourself playing along to any audio playback from your phone. Save the WAV audio to SD Card for sharing or import into the module to trigger from pads.  

The availability of user-created TD-27 kit patches is expanding all the time. You can easily load more via SD Card to create your own favourite kit list.

If you’ve ever experienced the challenge of recording acoustic drums, recording with V-Drums is simple.

Recording of your drum grooves can be done instantly inside the module. Capture WAV files of your playing straight to SD Card stick or connect the kit to your favourite Mac/PC program for professional quality recording with all software recording programs or DAWS. 28 channels of stereo audio along with MIDI are available simultaneously via a single USB cable!

Learn about how to record the TD-27 here!

TD-50 Series V-Drums

The standout flagship, proudly electronic kit carries on the V-Drums tradition started with the TD-10 V-Drums in 1997.

Read about the history of V-Drums here.

With absolute attention to detail in sound, playability and features, nothing compares to the TD-50 series.

The Three TD-50 series V-Drums kits are:

*TD-50K

Roland TD-5
Roland TD-50K V-Drums kit

*TD-50KV

Roland TD-50KV V-Drums Kit
Roland TD-50KV V-Drums Kit

*TD-50KVX

Roland TD-50KVX V-Drums
Roland TD-50KVX V-Drums

Three models of the TD-50 are the KVX, KV and K. All kits feature the TD-50DP pack with revolutionary new digital triggers and the stunning TD-50 sound module.

Roland TD-50DP package
Roland TD-50DP pack

The included 14” PD-140DS digital snare is connected via USB. It has the same size, weight so looks like a conventional acoustic snare. Playing wise, the instant touch responsiveness and rebound are thanks to the trigger system and 3-layer mesh head for the most impressive experience ever from a trigger.

Simply laying a stick across the head and rim instantly produces a cross-stick sound without any special modes required.

Also part of the core TD-50DP pack is the CY-18DR. This 18” digital ride cymbal also features a USB connection and weight and look of an acoustic cymbal without the noise.

Play V-Drums like you would acoustic drums

The remarkable touch responsiveness of the electrostatic surface allows techniques like bell, bow and edge playing.

Finger touch muting kills overtones and hand touch or grab muting silences the cymbal instantly. This is just like with an acoustic cymbal. See the detailed guide on V-Drums playing techniques here.

All TD-50K, TD-50KV, and TD-50KVX models have custom made racks with quick release fittings, memory locks and ball swivel joints that can take all you can throw at them.

As far as the triggers go, the TD-50 trigger pads feature everything learned from decades of V-Drums development. They feature low noise, ingenious mounting and vibration isolation systems and swappable shell covers.

Full-sized drums and cymbals on an electronic kit?

If you like your drums large, the KVX model introduces a 22″ acoustic kick. This comes with an integrated KDA-22 trigger system for the best looking and feeling kick trigger.

The largest size pads all feature customizable wraps for changing the look of your kit easily without glue.

There’s an oversized chrome rack with larger cymbals, and top-of-the-line VH-13 hi-hats for the widest dynamic range of any trigger hi-hat.

KD-220 kick drum
The Roland KD-220 kick drum

There’s also a KV model with the same components and features as the KVX but with a smaller footprint.

The supplied 14” KD-140 kick trigger offers the best kick drum feel on the market. Heavy duty build quality and a wide pedal mount are the norm for extreme playing and compatibility with all popular pedals.

TD-50 V-Drums Sound Module

Roland TD-50 Module top electronic kit module
Roland TD-50 electronic kit module

Feature-rich, the TD-50 module is in a class of its own with a full range of professional touches.

Main and individual balanced outputs, routable click, audio recording with standard MIDI file (SMF) and audio export and full sound editing control as standard.

If you like to tweak audio, the diverse range of classic acoustic and electronic onboard sounds are mere starting points for creating any sound you can dream up.

The extended V-editing possibilities are almost limitless.

Create your own sounds

Apart from drum and cymbal size, you can adjust the kick SUB mic amount, type and sustain, add sizzles to cymbals. Change the cymbal thickness and stick attack/ping amount and even sound colour.

You can assign a cowbell or any sound layer on any drum. This includes the hi-hat and you can even move microphone position to perfect your sound. The transient controls let you shape the attack and release on every single strike for a world first in drums.

User sample load is now standard for importing your own WAV samples. You can use this for layering-up with the internal sounds to create the ultimate kit sound.

Sounds can be tweaked and edited in the module and assigned to any trigger surface. There are 60 sound trigger zones per kit patch!

With the TD-50, kit switching is instant with no loading time, which is critical for live performance.

You can then share your new creation with others via the high capacity SD Card slot on the side.

Roland TD-50 Module side electronic kit
Roland TD-50 module showing USB and SD Card slot electronic kit

The electronic kit for the performer

There are small and big MIX-IN ports in the front and back for integration with phones and media players.

SD Card allows synchronized click and backing tracks to stream instantly with no loading time.

Roland TD-50 Module
TD-50 module

Separate volume controls for click and backing tracks and even small and large headphones outputs are on the front. This is great, you’ll never have to search for an adapter again!

The SONG playback engine also allows recording of MIDI and audio with extremely quick and easy SMF and WAV audio export.

This is ideal for capturing ideas and especially useful for recording a soundcheck performance. Finally, the drummer can listen out the front with the audience.

Extensive overhead, ambience and reverb controls are also available. These can all of be easily controlled from a single fader.

With stage performers in mind, many functions have their own dedicated knob or button for quick access mid-performance in low-light.

Additionally, you can assign triggers and foot-switches to change kits, turn the reverb on and off, along with other common functions.

TD-50 Ins and Outs

Round the back, 10 balanced audio outputs let you record multi-track into audio interfaces for separate control of sounds in the mix.

On stage, connect the kit to a stage box to give the front of house engineer maximum control for the perfect blend with the rest of the band.

Roland TD-50 Module
Roland TD-50 module

12 in, 4 out, multi-channel USB for PC/MAC connection for 96Khz, 24bit recording is standard. There are 1 digital and 5 analog expansion ports for more triggers as your kit grows.

See the complete guide to the TD-50 here

Choosing an electronic kit conclusion

So as you’ve discovered, every Roland V-Drums kit comes with its own advantages and features designed to suit many drummers.

The secret to choosing the right electronic kit for you is knowing where you’re at in your drumming journey. It’s also important to know what features are the most vital to your future development as a drummer.

If you are pushed for space, one of the smaller kits like the TD-1KTD-1DMK or TD-1KPX2 could be ideal. Maybe you want to learn to play double kick and build your own kit patches, the TD-17K-L or above would be perfect.

If you are returning to drumming after a hiatus, the TD-25 series could be just the ticket?

Is drumming is your obsession? The TD-50 could quite possibly make your life complete.

Regardless of which kit you choose, it’s important to know that all V-Drums kits offer you the same essential thing.

They allow you to choose your favourite sounds, develop your skills and enjoy yourself playing along to your music at any volume you like.

Perhaps the most difficult question you’ll be asking yourself now is “What song will I learn first?”

Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design Series

If full-sized acoustic drums are your thing, the Roland acoustic design drums are for you!

Winner of best in show at the NAMM music show in L.A in January 2020, the VAD series strikes a chord with drum lovers of all styles and backgrounds.

 To focus efforts on the acoustic kit experience, this new line was created independently of the conventional TD-series kits. On free standing hardware for the first time, the VAD series kits look and feel closer to acoustic drums than ever before. Consider them house-trained acoustic drums.

With three new models, completely new triggers were designed to match the acoustic design philosophy to give the ultimate look and feel for each kit.

 The top model acoustic design kit VAD-506 gives the player the acoustic kit experience and look with all the low noise and technical benefits of an electronic kit. 

Tom sizes are 10″, 12″ with a 14″ floor tom. Each tom is designed from the start for the best triggering for its size. The wooden shells are designed for maximum damping giving the best triggering and lowest mechanical noise fit for any bedroom. The triggering system is uniquely matched to the size too with a three trigger system and rim trigger for the 12″ tom and floor tom. The floor tom has the same 3-ply mesh head as the PD-140-DS snare head which gives low noise, more realistic rebound and optimum trigger response.

Brand new to the Roland cymbal range are the included CY-14C-T 14″ thin and for the first time 16″ thin crash in the form of the CY-16R-T. The new thin 14″ for example is 40% lighter than previously with wider sweet-spot and faster response. These new dual-trigger, bow/edge triggers are mute chokable and have a buttery, responsive feel and natural swinging motion.

The kick is the KD-200 with 20″x16″ shell with integrated floating trigger for the same performance as the top level KD-220 trigger from the top TD-50KVX kit.

 

Coming from the TD-50 series, the PD-140-DS snare and CY-18-DR ride integrate the digital triggering and size and feel of conventional acoustic instruments.

A Roland TD-27 module is loaded with an incredible array of acoustic sounds all of which can be modified and manipulated using the onboard V-editing and effects for studio quality final mixes.

Our most popular VH-10 hi-hat trigger comes standard along with three boom stands with clamps so just add a 4 piece accessory pack to get drumming!

See the Roland accessory packs available here 

The 4 piece version of the VAD-506 has the same key elements as its bigger brother but with 10″ and 14″ toms and CY-14CT 14″ thin crash to save space and make it even more affordable. 

The VAD-306 gives you the essence of an acoustic kit small enough to fit anywhere without compromising the look. 

This 5 piece compact kit comes with the three combo cymbal/tom stands, two crashes and a ride.

VH-10 comes with the kit and mounts on a conventional stand for the best look and feel. 

There’s a brand new KD-180-L-BK 18″ kick designed to allow placement against a wall where space saving is required. From the audience’s view, it looks the real deal and feels great for the drummer.

Mounting on a traditional snare stand, the new PDA-120-LS-BK snare features a dual mesh 12″ pad and dual  triggering with accurate triggering.  Two 10″ toms and a 12″ floor tom are in the pack too. With the included TD-17 module, assign different sounds to the head and the rim of each drum for great musical possibilities and Bluetooth streaming and recording are useful tools to help you get better faster.

 

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Roland TD-50KVX V-Drums kit

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THIS TD-50 CUSTOM PATCHES

Created by Roland V-Drums specialist Simon Ayton, these patches were designed using the internal factory sounds and many of the techniques covered in the TD-50 guide. Enjoy exploring the possibilities!