Roland Percussion History

Percussion History

Take a stroll through the history of Roland Drum and Percussion from its beginnings with the original Octapad through to the modern day V-Drums, sample pads and more.




*Roland Founded founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972



Phil Collions
Phil Collins with the Octapad PAD-8
PAD-8 Octapad 

The original Octapad percussion pad that kick-started the ‘PAD’ range.

This eight-pad trigger unit let users assign MIDI notes to the pads and trigger sounds from any MIDI equipped sampler, synthesiser or drum machine. This had quite an impact for drummers allowing new sounds and techniques to be developed. For Phil Collins, no jacket was required but the Octapad certainly was.

DDR-30DDR-30 Digital Drums 

Percussion sound module designed to pair with PD-10 and PD-20 pads to form the “Alpha Drum” system, the precursor to V-Drums.

The DDR-30 was a six-part module featuring 48 high quality PCM sampled sounds. Each of the 6 voices had 8 sound choices per voice for kick, snare and 4 tom with the sounds modified and stored in internal memory. The external MIDI port allowed triggering from instruments like the Octapad or from a keyboard or MIDI sequencer.

Alpha Drum
PD-10 and PD-20PD-10 & PD-20 Trigger pads

The PD-10 and -20 featured triangular shaped trigger pads with mounts for attachment to conventional drum stand hardware. The pads were also available in silver making a striking, futuristic look that attracted much attention. The pads had the similar hard, smooth playing surface as the Octapad. The PD-10 kick trigger featured a centre trigger zone to improve the response and feel of the beater strike.




Falling under the BOSS banner normally reserved for guitar effects products, the Dr.PAD was a palm-sized trigger pad with a range of percussion sounds from clap to cowbell. Its small size made it ideal for a desktop or integrated into a stage setup.




PD-21, PD-31 Pads 

The PD-31 so named for its 3-triggers plus 1 design. This unique trigger pad crammed 4 trigger zones onto one pad each ‘zone’ was accessible via 4 rear mounted 1/4″ jacks.


Trigger-to-MIDI module made for drummers needing more trigger inputs.

Jon Farriss of INXS was one of the many famous users pairing it up to with a range of triggers, sound modules and samplers to create a hybrid acoustic/electronic kit.



PAD-80PAD-80 Octapad II

The second generation of the Octapad with 64 patch locations, 3-note per pad layering and patch chaining functions. There was a memory card slot for storing and exporting setups and multiple trigger inputs for expansion with pads to create a kit.



PAD-5 Handypad

Affordable, battery powered portable trigger pad with five touch sensitive pads, built-in sounds, preset rhythms and MIDI out.


R-8MR-8M Total Percussion Sound Module

Featuring sounds from the Roland R8 Human Rhythm drum machine from 1989, this module could form the basis of an electronic kit; or trigger a sequencer or MIDI source. Multiple card slots allowed sound expansion with additional sounds from the existing R8 card library.

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SPD-8 Percussion Pad

MIDI controller with built-in sounds. No longer was the Octapad just a trigger unit. The internal sound engine made it more like a mobile V-Drums kit.


PD-7 and PD-9*Round Trigger Pads Introduced

PD-7 & PD-9 Pads

With the familiar drum shape and sleek design, the new PD series pads allowed easer placement, larger playing surface and improved triggering sensitivity at lower velocities.

FD-7FD-7 Hi-hat Controller Pedal

Adjustable and realistic feeling controller for connection to the HHC input of the module for open through closed hi-hat playing.



TD-7 Percussion Sound Module

Compact Percussion Sound Module combining 512 16-bit sounds, 256 waveforms, 32 user-editable patches, onboard effects and a built-in sequencer.

Mounted on the drum rack or stand, the TD-7 could form the hub of a compact drum kit setup.

KD-7KD-7 Kick Trigger Unit

Horizontal mounted compact kick trigger including ‘hooked’ beater KDB-7. The “Mix-in” input allowed chaining of multiple triggers as used to great effect by Thomas Lang among others.

The KD-7 connected to almost any trigger module and operated with standard mechanical kick drum pedals.




SPD-11 Total Percussion Pad

Updated percussion pad with more sounds and built-in effects processor.


KD-5 Kick Trigger

Modified version of the KD-7 horizontal kick trigger with output control but minus polarity switch and carpet spikes.



TD-5 Percussion Sound Module

Pro Percussion sound module with 210 instruments and 32 user editable patches, eight trigger inputs, on-board effects.


Mesh Head*Mesh head-1997

Whilst visiting a DIY carpentry and gardening goods store, mechanical designer, Mr. Yoshino became inspired by a trampoline and the joint development with REMO percussion created the mesh drum-head. The patented dual-ply, 45-degree mesh design allows a similar response and feel to a skin stretched over a drum, along with accurate trigger response, low mechanical noise and excellent durability.

*Composite object sound modelling- COSM

The Revolutionary new technology first developed for the V-Guitar comes to V-Drums where the actual performance aspects are considered along with the design of the sound engine for a much more realistic playing and sounding experience.

*Birth of V-Drums

Now a complete, integrated drum kit. V-Drums would become the electric guitar for drummers allowing quiet practice and unlimited sonic possibilities. No tuning needed and simplified recording with a single MIDI lead would revolutionise the idea of the drum kit.


TD-10 Percussion Sound Module

Flagship V-Drums now feature COSM modelling technology. 600 sounds, 50 kits and 50 melody instruments. Positional pad sensing for nuance changes in sound depending on strike position, front panel fader controls, 12 trigger inputs and built-in 8-track sequencer.

PD-100/120 Trigger Pad

10″ and 12″ mesh trigger pads with head and rim triggering.

RM-2 Rhythm Coach

The RM-2 Rhythm Coach sound module is programmed with unique rhythm training exercises designed to develop a student’s timing, speed and stamina. When combined with the RP-2 V-Practice Pad, the RM-2’s automatic feedback lets students and teachers monitor progress with measurable results.



SPD-20SPD-20 Total Percussion Pad

Percussion pad with 700 sounds, 99 patches, effects and 14-voice polyphony.

A favourite of the Indian music scene where many drummers ride their bikes to gigs with their SPD-20 as their portable kit. The SPD-20 remains one of the most successful percussion products on the Indian market where devotees even have their own listing in the musician classifieds as ‘PAD’ players.

KD-120 V-Kick Trigger Pad

12″ kick trigger with mesh head.



TD-8 Percussion Sound Module

V-Drums with COSM sound modelling. 1286 sounds and 64 user editable kits, V-Editing, built-in sequencer with 800 patterns.

KD-80 V-Kick Trigger Pad

8″ kick trigger with mesh head.

PD-80 Trigger Pad

8″ mesh trigger pad with head & rim triggering and solid metal construction.

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TDW-1 Wave & System Expansion Board

Sound expansion board for the TD-10. 14MB of additional waveform memory for 360 new sounds, 50 new kit patches, improved sensitivity and dynamics, new group settings for fader control of sounds.


HPD-15 HandSonic

Unique hand percussion instrument drawing directly from V-Drums technology with ribbon controllers, external footswitch and dual trigger input.

Integrated D-Beam controller allowed the player to trigger and control sounds with a wave of the hand. 600 sounds and 15 pressure sensitive pads along with 99 preset patterns and 99 programmable patches allowed users to create their own custom percussion layouts.

There was a 4-track, real-time sequencer built-in along with an extensive reverb and multi-effects engine.


*V-Cymbals introduced



Extensive research went into design the best possible trigger cymbal. Previously, drummers used either their own acoustic cymbals or drum pads as cymbal triggers making for a less than ideal playing scenario.

With the launch of the CY and VH series V-Cymbals, drummers could finally experience the familiar feel and movement of their acoustic cymbal cousin but with near silence. V-Cymbals mounted on standard cymbal stands and featured edge and bow triggers while the rubber coating provided the excellent rebound important for advanced playing.

A unique, v-shaped stopper eliminated unwanted rotation of the cymbal trigger but still allowed it to swing freely like an acoustic cymbal.

TD-6TD-6 Percussion Sound Module

The new mid-range V-Drums module with 1024 drum and percussion sounds packed with features including 99 kit patches, 262 backing sounds and a 6-part sequencer with 150 preset songs and 100 user song locations. The new module also provided EQ and ambience effects along with 64-voice polyphony.

FD-6FD-6 Hi-hat Controller Pedal

Simplified, non-adjustable version of the FD-7.



TMC-6TMC-6 Trigger-MIDI converter

Six input trigger-to-MIDI module. Three-way triggering for bell, bow & edge on V-Cymbals CY15R and CY12R/C. HH controller and MIDI out for triggering external sound modules or recording into a MIDI capable computer sequencer.


RMP-1 Rhythm Coach

Combining the RM-2 coach module and RP-2 pad, the desk or stand mountable RMP-1 with its tuneable mesh head allowed quiet rudimentary practice with the in-built rhythm monitor.



SPD-SSPD-S Sampling Pad

With an ever expanding legion of fans, the percussion pad with stereo audio inputs for sampling at 16bit 44.1Khz and external trigger inputs quickly became the de-facto drummer’s little helper worldwide.

16MB of non-volatile memory made for 12 minutes of stereo sampling on ‘Long’ mode and there was a CompactFlash Card slot for sample export/import. Eight-voice polyphony and a built-in multi-EFX processor made the SPDS an instrument everyone wanted to integrate into their setup.



RT Series Triggers

Acoustic triggers designed for simple, non-permanent attachment to bass drum (RT-7K), snare (RT-5S) and toms (RT-3T). RT triggers allow triggering of sounds from drum modules and samplers via their trigger standard trigger inputs.



Allowing conventional mounting on a hi-hat stand, the V-Hi-hat completed the V-Drums experience allowing the familiar range of motion and weight of acoustic metal cymbals without the noise. Hi-hats could now trigger any sound imaginable.


TD-20TD-20 Percussion Sound Module

The new flagship V-Drums with an almost exhausting range of features including 15 trigger inputs, HH and 3-way ride control, positional sensitivity, sweep sensing for using brushes, V-Editing for adjusting microphone size & position, shell depth, muffling, head type, beater and stick types and shell type.

More than just a drum sound module, the TD-20 featured a 6-part sound engine with bass, piano, guitar and many other sounds. Combined with the in-built pattern sequencer, the user could program and trigger complex patterns and step sequences from any trigger input of the kit.

The TD20 kit with the VH-12 dual pad V-Hi-Hat provides an extremely realistic playing response.

KD-8KD-8 Kick Trigger Pad

Foldable and compact, upright for use with single and double pedals.



TD-3 Percussion Sound Module

A great starting point V-Drums sound module with 114 sounds, 32 user editable kits, Rhythm coaching function, MIDI out and 9 trigger inputs.



TD-6V Percussion Sound Module

The second generation of the TD-6 with 1024 sounds, 262 backing instruments, all new kit patches and 170 preset songs.



TD-12TD-12 V-Stage Percussion Sound Module

V-Drums kit with 560 COSM sounds derived from the TD-20 with 262 backing instruments and 50 drum kit patches.

“V-Editing” modified drum sounds and a 20,000 MIDI note sequencer was on-board. As per the TD-20, preset or user patterns assign to any trigger for start and stop, or step playing, for new performances possibilities.

The TD-12 shipped with the new VH-11 Hi-Hat compatible with all V-Drums products.

RMP-3RMP-3 Rhythm Coach

A stand-mountable, electronic practice pad with built-in sounds, metronome and coaching functions and adjustable tension mesh head for quietness and feel.

kD-85KD-85 Kick Trigger Pad

Updated version of KD-80 in black or white.

PD-85PD-85 V-Pad

8″ Dual trigger (Head & Rim) with mesh head.


RMP-5RMP-5 Rhythm Coach

Upgraded stand-mountable, electronic practice pad with more built-in sounds than the RMP-3, metronome and coaching functions. Adjustable tension mesh head also added for quietness and feel.

An external dual trigger input allowed setup as a basic practice and performance kit using any standard piezo triggers.



HPD-10HPD-10 Handsonic

The little brother of the HPD-20, this was a hand percussion instrument with 400 instruments and 64 percussion kits. There was a D-Beam Controller, 10 touch responsive pads and backlit LCD screen. Coaching functions and Multi-Effects were also built-in.


A new generation of acoustic triggers Kick (RT-10K), Tom (RT-10T) and dual trigger Snare (RT-10S) versions for head and rim triggering from standard acoustic drums.

The streamlined design casing used durable ABS resin and featured adjustable trigger contact pressure.



HD-1HD-1 V-Drums Lite

With silent beater-less pedals, MIX-IN Jack, MIDI Out and award winning all-in-one design, the HD-1 opened the world of drumming to those who’d never considered it before due to the normal cost, space requirements and potential noise problems associated with conventional acoustic drums.




TD-9 V-Stage

Mid-range V-Drums module with 500+ sounds, ‘Scope’ visual coaching function, MIDI performance recording, USB host port for patch storage and WAV file playing. (MP3 via V2 update)


RMP-12RMP-12 Rhythm Coach

12″ dual trigger marching drum designed to fit to standard marching harnesses and allow low volume, portable practice. The RMP-12 featured a ¼” audio output and a range of sounds from traditional marching snares and toms to electronic percussion.

The RMP-12 featured a unique velocity-to-pitch function allowing simulation of tuned percussion and pitch-bent timpani swells.


TDW-20TDW-20 Expansion Board for TD-20

A user installable expansion board for the TD-20 with 300 new sounds, new ambience types, enhanced V-Editing including snare buzz, mic-size parameter and new kit resonance control allowing the toms to resonate in sympathy with the kick creating a natural ‘bleed’ effect. Included 2.51 O.S update added support for Flash memory cards above 512MB.



TD-4TD-4 Percussion Sound Module

The V-Drums module for everyone with 125 sounds, 25 kits, coaching functions and MIDI out. Sounds could be tuned and muffled.

In COACH mode, the integrated screen showed the player’s timing accuracy in relation to BPM for visual representation of “too fast” or “too slow”. Internal recording of the performance was also possible for sound-checking and personal development.


DT-HD-1 Drum Tutor

Interactive MIDI drum lesson software for PC designed to take a complete beginner from their first lesson to an intermediate level.



TD-20X V-Pro Percussion Sound Module
An expanded version of the TD-20 with in-built TDW-20 expansion board and module colour change.

KD-140KD-140 V-Kick

The top-of-the-line kick trigger featuring 14″ mesh head, swappable drum wrap and heavy duty shell design for a solid, acoustic-like kick feel.

PD-125XSPD-125XS V-Pad

A top-of-the-line trigger pad featuring 12″ mesh head, swappable drum wrap and heavy duty shell design for a solid, acoustic-like feel and look. The unique basket and isolation mounting system ensured accurate and reliable triggering and complete reliability.

TD-20X KitTD-20X V-Pro Series

The complete TD-20KX kit with silver cymbals, KD-140 kick trigger, new generation MDS-25X rack and top-of-the-line deeper pads with swappable drum wraps.

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SPD-30SPD-30 Octapad

Latest evolution of the percussion pad with large LCD screen, three-track real-time sequencer and 670 sounds with many editing features including reverse. Hi-hat control and 4 splittable external trigger inputs allowed triggering from 8 pads, cymbals or acoustic triggers. Conventional and USB MIDI along with a USB host port for memory storage.

Big Kit

The easy expandability and cross-compatibility of V-Drums components has lead to some incredible setups by passionate hobbyists and pros alike including this monster for Austrian drummer Thomas Lang. (Kit designed and built by Roland U.S employees Drew Armentrout and Mike Snyder in 2010).

Thomas Lang’s mega 15-piece, dual TD-20X module kit. Featuring SPD-30, 10 foot triggers combing KD-7 and KD-140, 2 VH-12 hi-hats, CY-14CSV & CY-15RSV cymbals…and lots and lots of pedals.


KD-9*KD-9 Cloth Feel Kick Pad Introduced

Shipped as standard with TD-9KX2, TD-15 and TD-11 series kits, the KD-9’s new cloth/rubber hybrid playing surface brought with it improved feel as well as lower contact volume. Re-designed support system and its wider trigger sweet-spot improved off-centre sensitivity for double kick pedals.


SPD-SXSPD-SX Sampling Pad

Following on from the hugely successful SPD-S, the SPD-SX upped the memory by a factor of 125 times and added many new features.

The second generation of the sampling pad offered USB storage and 2GB of internal memory for three and a half hours of stereo sampling at 44.1khz 16bit. Waveform editing on screen and numerous DSP functions allowed sound creation and audio manipulation without the need for a computer.

Three EFX processors and routable click for performance made the SPD-SX the drummer’s best friend on stage and in the studio while conventional MIDI and the additional SUB outputs made it easy to integrate into studio and live setups.

USB Audio/Midi support for digital transfer of sound and data via standard drivers and supplied Wave Manager software rounded out a very capable instrument.

Michael Schack
Michael Schack with Netsky Live and the SPD-SX.


Updated TD-9 operating system version with 30 new sounds including jazz style mutable kick drum and MP-3 audio player support.


SuperNATURAL*SuperNatural Sound Engine introduced

The next major step since COSM, SuperNatural upped the feel and sound to the next level providing anti-machine gunning, natural cymbal swells and deeper interaction between the sounds and the player.

* USB Computer Port
Instruments connected directly to computers and iOS handheld devices via USB port allow bi-directional digital Audio/MIDI transfer without additional hardware.


DT-1 Drum Tutor
Updated software for MAC/PC allowing interactive drum lessons via conventional or USB MIDI.

HD-3HD-3 V-Drums Lite

New generation of the HD-1 with even quieter cloth-feel heads, updated sounds and USB MIDI.


TD-30 V-Pro Drum Sound Module
Flagship V-Drums kit with over 1000 sounds, positional sensitivity, 6 part SuperNATURAL sound engine, USB ports for both storage and MIDI/AUDIO. Extensive MIDI note recording/sequencing. WAV player for audio backing tracks along with legacy support for loading TD-20 kit patches.



TD-11 V-Stage Drum Sound Module

Streamlined V-Drums module with SuperNATURAL sound engine featuring 190 sounds, USB MIDI/AUDIO, USB storage port, MP3 compatibility and coaching functions to practice technique.

TD-15TD-15 V-Stage Drum Sound Module

Mid-range V-Drums with SuperNATURAL sound engine. 500 sounds, 100 kits, USB for MIDI/AUDIO and storage, quick edit buttons, routable click, independent headphone volume control.



TD-4KP V-Compact Kit

Fold-up V-Drums kit with 125 sounds, 25 kits, pole mounted kick trigger for conventional mechanical kick pedal attachment. Optional carry bag for transportation.



BT-1 Bar Trigger

Half-moon shaped trigger designed for attachment to drum rims or conventional styled cowbell holder and allow triggering of samples and sounds from any trigger input equipped instrument. Unique dual trigger sensor arrangement design eliminates accidental false-triggering from adjacent drums.


HPD-20HPD-20 Handsonic 

Latest evolution of the successful hand percussion instrument. Thirteen pads with positional awareness and new sound set featuring SuperNatural technology for advanced expression and responsiveness. USB and WAV import support for user patch creation integrating samples/loops. Also equipped with an external trigger in and integrated D Beam controller.




TM-2 Trigger Module
Compact sample trigger module with two dual trigger inputs and SD memory card slot for loading and exporting 44.1kHz, 16 bit WAV samples with MIDI In and Out.


NE-1 and NE-10NE-1 & NE-10 Noise Eeaters

Damping system for acoustic or V-Drums for vibration-free performance. Although mesh pads, cloth feel kick triggers and rubber coated cymbals reduce strike noise considerably, mechanical vibration through floors can still be an issue for many high-rise apartment dwellers in major cities.

The Noise-eaters allow the instrument to “float” which de-couples the vibration from the floor allowing almost complete isolation from mechanically transmitted noise.


TD-1 V-Drums

Affordable V-Drums kit with beater-less pedals, MIX-IN for media player connection, USB MIDI for MAC/PC/iOS performance recording. Metronome and coaching functions built-in.

KT-10KT-10 Kick Trigger Pedal
Low noise, beaterless kick trigger with natural action and excellent trigger response. The KT-10 connects to any Roland percussion module with a trigger input and features both adjustable hammer action and spring tension.



RT-30 SeriesRT-30 Acoustic Drum Trigger

Evolution of the RT series acoustic triggers that began with the RT-3.

The RT-30 series featured a new design to fit more rim types including the new inner flange style hoops. Automatic adjustment of trigger pressure simplifies attachment. Integrated anti-false triggering design similar to that found in the BT-1 bar trigger eliminates triggering errors from vibrations. Single-head (RT-30H), dual head-rim (RT-30HR) and kick (RT-30K) versions.


TD-25 Drum Sound Module

Mid-range V-Drums kit featuring SuperNATURAL technology with “Behavior Modeling” inherited from the flagship TD-30. On the side are two USB ports for Audio/MIDI and storage and for the first time in a V-Drums kit, audio recording with WAV file export.


MH-2 SeriesMH-2 Series PowerPly Mesh Heads 

For the first time, Roland’s unique mesh head made available in standard drum sizes for converting any acoustic kit for hybrid capability for practice or performance.

Unlike other single ply mesh heads, PowerPly dual-ply heads are not only quiet but allow accurate and reliable triggering with a drum module in combination with RT series acoustic triggers on toms, snares and kicks.



EC-10EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon 

Roland’s first hybrid acoustic & electronic instrument, the electronic layered Cajon or ‘ELCajon’.

The battery powered EC-10 features a built-in sound module and speaker system allowing a range of electronic sounds to be blended with the natural acoustic sound for new sonic and playing possibilities.

A line out allows connection to larger speaker systems for concert performance sound reinforcement.


FD-9FD-9 Hi-hat controller pedal 

A new generation hi-hat controller designed to feel like a conventional pedal with near silent operation.

The FD-9 connects to the HHC connector on any V-Drums module for practice or live performance.


KT-9KT-9 Kick Trigger Pedal 

Economical and lightweight version of the beater-less KT-10 kick trigger with 85% less noise than a conventional kick pedal and trigger pad combination.

The KT-9 allows quick and easy mobile kick triggering with any V-Drums module.



TD-50TD-50 V-Drums Module

Top-of-the-line V-Drums module with all new hi-resolution sounds, digital triggering engine, balanced outputs, Prismatic sound modelling, multi-channel USB audio and 24bit user sample import via SD card.

CY-18DRCY-18DR V-Cymbal Ride

18″ digital ride cymbal with touch sensitivity, natural rebound and swinging motion.

PD-140DSPD-140DS V-Pad

14″ steel digital snare trigger pad with 3-ply mesh head, swappable shell wrap and touch sensitivity for automatic cross-stick sensing.

KD-A22KD-A22 Kick Drum Converter

Kick trigger adapter designed to fit to any 22″ acoustic kick drum shell, providing the most natural and responsive triggering possible and realistic acoustic look for stage and studio.

EC-10MEC-10M ELCajon Mic Processor

Cajon microphone trigger system.

Connect the included clip-on microphone to allow amplification and triggering from any Cajon with internal PCM sounds, trigger pads and looper.

TD-1KPXTD-1KPX V-Drums Portable

Roland’s first compact, foldable, all-mesh V-Drums kit for near silent practice anywhere.

The TD-1KPX features 25 built-in kits with visual coaching function.

A USB port allows for direct connection to computers and iOS devices while the kit includes the new, silent FD-9 hi-hat controller pedal.

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Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Corporation Australia

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