Performing Live with V-Drums and Electronic Percussion

Performing live with V-Drums

“As us drummers know, we don’t always have the easiest gig!”

Sounds engineers, bandmates and even audience members offer plenty of input. This can be anything from telling us to control our volume levels, reduce our kits or broadening our sonic horizons to attract interesting, regular work.

Heeding this advice can bring its own issues. It might mean leaving our beloved and reliable old double kick drum setup at home, or down-sizing to a Cajon for certain gigs.

However, restrictions don’t need to equal sacrifice of personal satisfaction. Even on a small rig, by introducing electronics into your setup, your options drastically increase.

Reducing volume or down-sizing your kit doesn’t need to come at the expense of a watered down playing experience for you or the audience either. There are many ways in which exploring alternative options can breathe new life into your playing and open you up to new musical possibilities.

V-Drums and electronic percussion allow you to play at a controllable volume with the same intensity that you, your fellow band members and the audience enjoy. They also provide some added benefits, both sonically and from a gratifying playing perspective.

Once you are venue friendly and musically adaptable, you might even land some new gigs that would have never previously come to you!

Here are some of the areas where V-Drums can really help you, your playing style and where you perform.

Contributed by Simon Ayton for the Roland Australia Blog

Space Saving V-Drums

V-Drums pack a lot of sound possibilities into a very small space.

Depending on the model you choose, any pad or trigger can have almost any sound imaginable assigned to it. You no longer need to lug that set of congas or those 10 different cymbals to the gig for extra sounds only used in one song.

On kits such as the TD-17, you can even assign a hi-hat sound to a tom rim and control it from your existing hi-hat foot controller. No additional add-ons are required.

See the complete guide to the TD-17 for how to do this here

Go-to Drummers Gadgets

The HPD-20 Hand-Sonic for example, features hundreds of typical percussion, drum sounds, and loops. You can import your own WAV files and connect a kick trigger to personalize your sound and performance possibilities.

The incredibly popular SPD-SX sampling pad allows you to trigger samples from pads, footswitches and connected triggers. It has become the essential drummer’s item. The SPD-SX is easy to position anywhere around your kit and can handle your backing tracks, clicks and sampled sounds all at the same time.

The SPD:ONE series is designed for on the go drummers that need instantly playable samples with minimum setup time.

The RT-MicS is ideal If you just want to add a sound to your snare and mic it up at the same time.

Check out more options for expanding your setup here.

Hybrid Drum

V-Drums Setup and pack down time

Fold your kit up and go!

For once as a drummer, you can actually be the last to arrive and first to leave. Simply fold the pads and cymbals inwards and carry the entire kit to the car. A five piece kit can even fit into the back seat.

At the gig, you simply fold-out and connect the left and right outs to the sound system and you’re ready to play. There’s no tuning and time-consuming microphone setup to sit through any more.


Monitoring Your V-Drums

With headphones and main outputs right on the module, you’re easily able to integrate click or backing tracks. You can also keep the balance of the cymbals and drums while maintaining a comfortable stage volume throughout the set.


The front of house audio engineer will have your drums in full stereo or multi-channel at the sound desk. Fill out the stage sound using conventional fold-back speaker wedges, or use in-ear monitoring for no stage volume.

With no microphones on the drums, there are no feedback or sound bleed issues. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding the ideal placement of the noisy guitar or bass amps!

Check out the Roland PM series drum amplifiers here. 

Soundcheck Your V-Drums

Use the built-in sound demos included with the V-Drums or easily record your very own sound-check best representing your playing. Now you have a good excuse for not letting the singer on your drums!

Simply press play on the module and you can listen to your drum performance out the front, just like the audience.

For the first time, you will be able to hear how your drums will sound as an audience member. Tweak any of the module parameters such as volume, tuning, muffling and or effects like reverb to your heart’s content – all without playing a note. The sound engineer will be happy and the other band members could even play along. This will allow you to hear the whole band play, which can really assist you in honing your sound.

When done with the sound-check, simply save the module settings to a USB stick for the next time you play at the venue.

Gigging and recording with V-Drums

Playing the show.

With V-Drums, it’s possible to setup shortcuts to your favourite kits. This means you can simply press a single button or just hit a pad to choose any kit. Setting up kits in order of your set list as a ‘chain’ makes the gig a breeze. You can also continue to make changes to kits or the set order as you go. Different chains of kits can be setup depending on the band, music or even the venue.

See all about setting up kit chains here.

Recording the show.

A major advantage of V-Drums is the ease with which you can record them. Connect using the left and right outputs for stereo, or use the direct outs for a multi-track studio sounding recording of your performance. Needless to say, no noise, microphone bleed or the phasing issues that can often occur with multiple microphone setups will be present.

See how easy it is to record V-Drums here.

Maintaining V-Drums

Rubber pads and mesh heads mean no more broken sticks and head replacement. Sticks and acoustic drum heads are very costly so using V-Drums is the first way to reduce your ongoing expenses.

The quiet design of V-Drums rewards your wallet by enormously extending the maintenance life of crucial components. You are no longer hitting hard plastic or metal surfaces that cause so much damage.

The sound you hear from V-Drums is unaffected by the tension of the drum heads. As such, the rebound of the drum is adjustable to suit your preferred feel, separate from the sound itself. And of course, V-Drums never go out of tune, even on stage under hot lights!

Mesh Head

Outlined in this article are some of the reasons drummers use V-Drums. If you have an electronic kit or are contemplating using one onstage, hopefully, we’ve shed some extra light on how V-Drums can work for you. The sound control, portability and playability options of V-Drums are great reasons for you to try them out if you’re new to electronic drums. The included links will also provide you with more detailed information.

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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!