This beginners kit by Roland gives first-time electronic drum players a good entry point into the market. Back in ‘the day’ buying an electric kit was not cheap, with no quality low-end options available, but times have changed and now there are a whole host of manufacturers trying to compete for the best budget electronic drum set. With this kit, Roland have launched themselves into the budget conscious market and staked their claim. Whilst you should not expect the features and response of the more expensive kits, so long as you have realistic expectations this set will serve you well.
Spec and Features:
|Pads and Stands|
|Module and Features|
So let’s start with the good. The dual-zoned triggering mesh snare head which allows for head and rim shots is an upgrade from the less expensive TD-1K model. This mesh head makes the snare wonderfully responsive and unlike rubber pads, there is a layer under the surface of the mesh that moves resulting in an authentic lifelike feel. It is well worth the extra money. All 3 cymbals are also dual triggered and ‘chokeable’. Opening and closing the hi-hat works fairly well even if it takes time adjusting to the pedal. Often the downfall of electric drum sets, even the higher end ones, is the hi-hat, so Roland have done well here. Overall the cymbals are pretty decent.
The beaterless hi-hat and bass pedals are not attached to the frame or fix to the stand which means not only are they silent, but you are also free to position them to your liking and upgrade them when you want. Many people buying an e-kit for the first time would assume that as a standard it is silent, but that is not the case, the bass pedal creates a thud that travels downwards, so having a beaterless pedal is a great way around that. From previous experience, we know that footswitches instead of a pad for the bass drum can be problematic and unrealistic especially for beginners who will pick up bad habits and techniques, but this isn’t the case as the TD-1s. They handle fast double strokes accurately. The frame is surprisingly sturdy yet lightweight and well laid out, although setting it up and adjusting it is a bit trickier than the higher end models so may leave you a little frustrated by the end.
Now to the not so good, the toms. They are not bad, but they are not as responsive as the more expensive kits, especially those with mesh pads. At this price, though you can’t have everything and so whilst the rubber tom pads may not have the feel of a real set, they are still decent. They are also only single-zoned so you won’t have the nuances of dual or tri-zone. This should not damage your playing style so long as you utilize coaching functions and switch of the brain every now and then. If you can have lessons on an acoustic that will greatly help your technique too.
The brain is intuitive and has a large button to switch between modes and it is simple to go up and down to select what you want. It is positioned in the center which is perfectly accessible, even if higher end kits have it to one side. There are training and coaching programmes built into the module such as time check, Quiet Count (where the metronome disappears but you keep count), Tempo Check and Stroke Balance all of which will score you on your accuracy and technique which will ensure that you don’t pick up bad habits early on! As well as this there is a metronome and recording function. The which we didn’t have too high hopes for actually sound quite good
The onboard pre-loaded sounds are average. You get a solid set of basic sounds that are not high definition or top end, but at this price, you can’t expect that. Most importantly there are enough sounds to give you versatility and it is better than a lot of other kits at this price. The USB port is functional and simple to use so you can eventually pay for a new library of sounds and put them on with ease.
This is a solid starter kit and a wonderful practice tool. This kit is not designed in any way to be an e-gigging kit or studio recording kit, but it is made with beginners in mind and this is reflected by the onboard coaching programmes which are pretty comprehensive. With enough sounds for a learner to try out a few styles, and enough response so that you don’t feel like you might as well be hitting your sticks against the kitchen table, this complete kit is great value for money and at only $100 over being in the $500 category, it beats all those in that bracket hands down.