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?!
Perhaps you already play the drums but wish you could expand on your kit’s tonal range and/or options?
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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:
Let’s look at the differences between the three models here.
“The TD-17KVX is the inspiring powerhouse kit you’ll play all day.”
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.
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.
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.
If creating your own sounds is your style, you can even import your own user WAV samples. This allows you to layer 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.
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.
*Bluetooth available on KV and KVX models only
ROLAND TD-25 Series Kits
If you are after great playing expression, sounds and build quality, look no further. The TD-25 series stand out from all other electronic kits in this price range.
The Three TD-25 series V-Drums kits are:
Just like the pros prefer, all three KVX, KV and K versions feature mesh pads. They also come with a VH-11 hi-hat for mounting on your own conventional hi-hat stand. The larger rack allows room to grow and includes high-quality components built to last. Choosing an electronic kit doesn’t mean sacrificing your playing choices.
See the kit details below.
The KVX is the pinnacle of the TD-25 series. It features an all-birch 18″ KD-180 kick with integrated trigger system and stand mountable 12″ PD-128S-BC black chrome trigger snare. The pads are 10″ PDX-100 and there are two crashes and a three-way ride.
The KV version also features dual crash cymbals. All kits feature the same sound engine with the world-class TD-30 sound engine at its heart. Impressively, they include ‘sweep’ sensing which even allows playing with brushes.
Want double kick? V-Drums are designed for double kick pedals so simply connect and play.
Players instantly recognize and appreciate the nuances possible with the TD-30 derived SuperNATURAL sound engine. Positional awareness and “anti-machine gunning” are standard features for the most rewarding playing experience.
Every hit on the snare and ride cymbal generates a unique sound. This is just like on an acoustic instrument which makes all the difference to a musician.
The slick TD-25 sound module makes it simple to choose sounds. They grouped by genre and many kits are only a single push of the large silver knob away.
EQ and kit editing features have dedicated knobs for fast changes and allow custom kit creation.
The availability of user-created TD-25 kit patches is expanding all the time. You can easily load more via USB stick 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. Capture WAV files of your playing straight to USB stick or connect the kit to your favourite Mac/PC program for professional quality recording with all setups. You can do this everywhere from home recording setups to professional recording studios.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-1K, TD-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?”
Handy Lookup V-Drums Range Comparison Chart