The Roland TD-Series of Electronic Drum Kits (or V-Drums) is one of the best and most popular options for drummers who want to go the digital route, rather than playing an acoustic kit. However, with quite a few options available, it might be hard to choose which model is right for you! This guide will explain what's the difference between the different TD models, and hopefully help you to choose one that's right for your needs!
BEST V-DRUMS FOR PROS: ROLAND TD-30KV
The Roland TD-30KV is the Top-of--the-Range, flagship model from Roland, and was designed to be the ultimate electronic drum-kit for the professional, live performer. SuperNATURAL technology gives it more realistic sound and feel, and the metallic finish makes sure it looks striking on stage, besides being touring-rough!
There are two other slightly different versions of this drum kit, also available: the TD-30K is a more stripped-down version, for the professional recording artist. It has the same authentic feel and sound, but doesn't have the shiny metallic visual, and also only has one floor tom, rather than two. Other differences include more compact stand and pads for easy transport and places where space is a factor (the TD-30KV, in comparison, features pads and cymbals with increased sensitivity for a more natural and accurate response.)
The TD-30K Special Edition kit (TD-30KSE) sits directly between the TD-30K and TD-30KV kits, with a price point between the two and combining the best of the TD-30K and TD-30KV kits by using components from both.
BEST V-DRUMS FOR BEGINNERS: ROLAND TD-1K
Sitting at the other end of the spectrum, the Roland TD-1K is the most compact and affordable of the V-Drums series. Ideal for everyone that wants to enjoy drums at home, the TD-1K offers a wide selection of expressive drum kits for playing any musical style, plus fun onboard training and recording functions for building your skills and checking your progress.
Compared to the much more expensive TD-30K, the TD-1K features 15 drum kit sounds, instead of 100 like the TD-30K!
The TD-1K has, however, the advantage of being super-compact, and, more than any acoustic drum kit or bigger electronic drums, it's perfect to keep at home. You'll also notice it has a beater-less kick pedal, instead of having a kick drum pad like the more expensive models.
Finally, it doesn't incorporate the SuperNATURAL technology. Maybe it doesn't seem as impressive compared to the other fully featured Roland kits, but... this is far from the truth! As you can see on this demo, this little, affordable drum-kit actually sounds great:
There's also another, slightly upgraded version available, the Roland TD-1KV.
What’s the difference between a TD-1K and TD-1KV?
The difference is all in the mesh-pad; the TD-1K model uses a rubber snare pad, the TD-1KV uses a mesh snare pad:
Feel and response of the snare drum are important for accurate drumming technique. The mesh head is closer in feel and response to an acoustic drum head than rubber or silicone pads. That’s why Roland developed the mesh head with REMO, the world’s leading drum head manufacturer.
The mesh is also quieter than a rubber pad, can be tension-adjusted to suit the player’s preference (just like an acoustic drum head) and the PDX-8 mesh snare pad even produces two separate sounds; one from the drum head, another from the rim (also like an acoustic drum does).
BEST FOR THE DRUMMER ON THE GO: ROLAND TD-4KP
Well, this is easy, because the TD-4KP is unique in Roland's TD range: this is the only of their drum kits with a foldable design, making it very easy to transport:
Due to its size and price, you could think of it as a good beginners kit as well, but this is primarily aimed at more experienced drummers who need a digital drum kit that's easier to transport - a good option for drummers who already have a full-size acoustic kit but who don't want to take it to a casual practice, for instance.
You could also choose the TD-4KP with Bag, for even more convenience. This is a compact kit with a BIG sound, and the only one you could even take with you on public transport, if you had to! As this demo shows, no corners were cut when it comes to sound quality:
BEST V-DRUMS FOR EVERYDAY GIGGING DRUMMERS: TD-11K and TD-15K
These two drum kits come in two different versions each. The TD-11 comes either with rubber mesh pads or with the better, dual-trigger V-Pads in the TD-11KV version. The TD-15K uses all-mesh PDX-Series V-Pads and dedicated V-Cymbals, while the TD-15KV adds the VH-11 V-Hi-Hat, fitted to an acoustic hi-hat stand for truly natural performance.
All of them are suitable for gigging drummers who can't afford the more professional, high-end TD-30 models:
If you can stretch your budget a bit, then of course the TD-15KV will be the best option for a gigging drummer, as it has the best specs out of the four (TD-11K, TD-11KV, TD-15K and TD-15KV).
But, all the "TD this, TD that" might get a bit confusing! So here's a simple way to look at it, bearing in mind that all these models are great and won't disappoint any semi-pro or working musician on a budget:
TD-11K: the most affordable. 196 instruments, 50 Kits (25 Kits/25 User kits)
TD-11KV: same sounds as above, but better pads for a more natural feel.
Sound possibilities with the TD-11 and TD-15 modules
You’d never play a drum kit straight out of the box, and accordingly, both the TD-11 and TD-15 offer infinite scope for tweaking, with players free to tailor parameters from pitch and decay to snare tension, swap in a virtual maple snare or set the virtual room ambience anywhere between bathroom and stadium. On this front, the TD-15 raises the spec sheet over the TD-11 with a Quick Edit feature for on-the-fly adjustment, alongside deeper tone-shaping offered by the onboard FX engine (allowing compression, distortion and more).
Perfect your drum playing
Doubling as your own live-in drum tutor, both the TD-11 and TD-15 include the Coach exercise programme for building chops and polishing skills, plus the Quick Rec/Quick Play feature that allows instant recording, playback and self-assessment. And when the band aren’t around, you can play along with a range of professionally recorded backing songs, using the USB port for data backup and playback of your favourite MP3/WAV files. Here, the TD-15 offers more onboard songs, and also features an Illumination Ring on the module, syncing with the click for a visual element while playing live, or responding dynamically to the attack of your beats.
By Ivan Silva