Entry level excellence
There is no shortage of drum kits available for beginners – from the full size, full noise ‘shells and skins’ of an acoustic drum kit to the space saving, low noise convenience of electronic drum kits. Choosing the right kit is usually a compromise between quality and price, particularly when you’re starting out. You’re perhaps nervous at spending out hugely on a new hobby, but know that if you buy something and it falls apart you’ll likely give up.
So when Roland introduces two kits for the entry-level drummer starting at £399, you know they’re coming with the same quality, history and technical excellence as everything else which bears that famous name.
Roland are calling the TD-1 series a “V-Drums Quality kit for Practice, Learning, and Fun.” Essentially, they have taken the technologies, playability, durability and strong sound quality from their flagship V-Drums brand of electronic drums and made them available in an entry-level price kit.
Although the kit is designed with the beginner in mind, the filtered-down technologies make it a great practice kit for accomplished drummers who perhaps need a second kit for home or the studio. The TD-1K has been meticulously designed to be compact, which minimises the amount of floorspace required and lends it a degree of portability. Interestingly, Roland has also demonstrated its commitment to supporting young learners by producing the only electronic kit in this price bracket that can be height adjusted. This means children as young as three can learn to play the drums, without the associated noise and space required by an acoustic or larger electronic kit.
One of the biggest problems for drummers (and their parents or loved ones!) is the noise issue. Even electronic drums make noise; depending on the brand and the price, some are almost as noisy as acoustic drums. The ‘thud, thud, thud’ of the pedals through the floorboards is one of the main issues. To combat this, the TD-1 uses a beater-less kick pedal while the pads and cymbals (especially the ultra-quiet mesh-pad of the TD-1KV) are noticeably quieter than the pads of lower-priced kits. The other key benefit of the TD-1 series is that it is fully upgradable; it’s designed for expansion and growth through additional cymbals and pads as the player’s technical ability progresses.
The TD-1 series consists of two models; the TD-1K (£399) which uses a rubber pad for a snare drum, and the TD-1KV (£479) which uses Roland’s acclaimed mesh-pad snare drum for the snare. Other than the snare drum pad, both kits are identical.
Compact and simple to use
Roland have designed the TD-1 module to be specifically easy to use. Those new to drumming can rest easy in the knowledge that these are simple to set up and straightforward to use without need for a computer degree, or even the product manual. It’s compact so it’s ideal for use in the home, but still faithfully captures the playing feel of a full drum set.
15 expressive drum kits
Roland’s sound quality is well known. All of the electronic drum sounds in the TD-1 start out as real audio samples of acoustic drums and cymbals but, using clever layering technology, each drum or cymbal reacts and changes dynamically as it’s played. This means the TD-1 kits sound almost identical to the real thing. Every drummer needs to learn to use accurate drumming techniques; from hi-hat splashes, to cymbal chokes and dynamic snare drum rolls. All 15 kits within the TD-1K and TD-1KV models allow the player to learn, practice and ultimately perfect these techniques.
Songs to play along with
Usually a feature found in Roland’s higher priced V-Drums kits, the TD-1 has 15 play-along songs, meaning the drummer can practice with real music, from rock, pop, metal and even jazz (if you’re brave.) Of course, timing is the key to a good drumming, so the in-built metronome (sometimes called a click) can be added to the song to help the drummer stay in time, or can be turned off if you are feeling up for the challenge.
In-built drum coach
Learning and improving outside of drum lessons is key to becoming a strong drummer. The TD-1 has 10 ‘coach’ functions built into the TD-1, offering a variety of challenges and exercises to help hone your skills. These include ‘time check’ and ‘quiet count’ – exercises which test a drummer’s timing skill. Scores are counted each time for accuracy, so it’s easy to track improvement.
Sturdy, newly-designed drum stand
It can be extremely off-putting when the drum kit moves around whilst being played. The TD-1 stand uses a different design to the traditional ‘rack’ of other electronic drum kits, giving it a smaller footprint but also increased sturdiness at the same time. Roland’s usual attention to details shows in the clamps and adjustability, meaning it stays put when being played, but can be adjusted so the playing position is comfortable and realistic.
Upgradable and expandable
Instruments cost good money, there’s no getting away from that, but we all want to spend once and spend wisely. Roland know this and know that as a drummer’s ability increases, so too does the number of pads they want to hit. Many drummers will also eventually want to use an acoustic bass drum pedal for accurate playing technique and feel. The TD-1 kick pad can be upgraded to Roland’s KD-9 model, meaning the drummer can use their own bass drum pedal of choice with the kit. If noise is still a concern, the KT-10 kick trigger pad offers real acoustic pedal feel and technique but is 75% quieter. Meanwhile the optional OP-TD1C cymbal can be added to the kit to give a second crash cymbal.
The TD-1 has an in-built USB MIDI connection which means it can be connected to a computer or iPad/iPhone (using Apple’s camera connection kit). This allows it to be used with Roland’s free app V-Drums Friend Jam, an app containing even more play-along songs that allows drummers around the world to compete against one another for bragging rights over the highest score. This also allows connection to recording software like Garageband, or VST plugins like EZ Drummer, meaning you can incorporate it into your computer-based studio in no time at all.