Roland is the powerhouse brand in the electronic drum kit industry. They produce some of the highest-quality drum kits you’ll find, and you’ll see their products being used on stages all over the world.
This highly regarded reputation comes from years of innovation and development of their products. Every year, Roland seems to be releasing new and improved kits that push the boundaries of electronic drumming.
I’m going to give you a closer look into what makes Roland such a good company. There are a few aspects of their kits that are mostly superior to competing brands. I’ll also give you a few examples of their popular kits so that you can see what they offer.
The Roland Brand
The Roland Corporation was started in 1972 by a man named Ikutaro Kakehashi. He resigned as the head of the company and a few other people have been running the company since.
Since the company started, Roland has been one of the most innovative forces in the electronic music space. They’ve produced so many electronic instruments and sounds that have become iconic in the music industry.
When thinking of drums, in particular, Roland created the TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. These machines had drum samples that are still commonly used in most modern styles of music today.
This rich history is what supports all the innovation that goes into their modern products. The Roland name has become synonymous with electronic drumming. While Roland kits aren’t the only type of electronic kits you’ll find, they’re undoubtedly the most popular.
One of the most unique things about Roland electronic drums is that most of the sounds are created from scratch, instead of being used from recorded samples. They use expertly recorded drums as references but then work around with their sound technology to create a truly customizable sample.
Having a sound sample that has been created just for the module allows you more control from the user with the sound. While other electronic drum kit brands have samples that sound like acoustic drums, Roland has samples that sound like Roland. That sets them apart, in my mind.
You get more control over these samples in the higher-end kits. It gets to a point where you can completely change them to sound how you like.
Drum modules act as the brains of electronic drum kits, and Roland drum modules seem to be massive brains. Most of Roland’s innovations are packed into the modules. Even in the lower-priced models, they have extensive features that will keep you entertained, occupied, and educated.
Things like rhythm trainers, coaching functions, sound editing tools, backing tracks, and recording tools are all present in most of Roland’s drum modules.
I know a few drummers who have other brand electronic drum pads but have bought a Roland module to connect the pads to. This is a testament to how they work well with just about anything.
Roland kits also have a reputation for being highly durable. It’s always a bit scary buying electronic products as you don’t know how fast technology will advance until the product becomes obsolete.
While the older products from Roland don’t have any of the new innovative features, their structural integrity always seems to remain intact. The modules continue working for years while the drum pads always feel great, no matter how old they are.
Since the durability of Roland kits is great, their resale value is excellent as well. Unfortunately, Roland kits are very expensive. You’re not going to find a new one that costs under $500.
However, it’s very easy to sell a Roland kit. You may even be able to sell it for almost the same price that you bought it for a few years ago. That’s one of the best reasons to get one. You can easily sell your current kit if you’re looking to upgrade.
You may also be able to find a decent secondhand one if you’re looking to buy. The durability of them will give you confidence that a secondhand one will be a good option. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Roland invented the mesh head. Since then, most electronic drum companies have adapted to the technology and produced mesh heads of their own. I feel that Roland kits have the best mesh heads on the market.
They feel the most natural to play on compared to mesh heads from competing brands. They are more expensive because of this, though. You’ll hear me referring to the price of Roland kits quite often in this article. It’s their one big downfall for a lot of potential buyers.
However, the mesh heads are well worth the price you pay for them.
Picking a Roland Kit
Now that you have an understanding of how Roland kits work and why they’re so loved and trusted, I’m going to give you a brief rundown of some of the most popular Roland products. Roland has produced hundreds of kits over the years.
Many of them have come and been taken off the product line at some point. The kits I’m about to talk about are all the most modern versions in their respective product ranges. Let’s jump in!
Roland Kits Under $1000
The Roland TD-1K is one of Roland’s current entry-level drum sets. It’s a fairly minimal set, having 4 rubber pads for drums and 3 rubber pads for cymbals.
The selling point of this kit is how compact it is. It’s so small and light that you could easily pick it up and move it around a room whenever you need to. It’s the perfect kit for a child to set up in their bedroom for practicing and then pack down when they need the space.
The module has a simple design with a few pro-quality features. Firstly, you get 15 high-quality preset drum kit sounds. They cover a variety of styles, so you have plenty of options. Apart from that, there are a few handy features such as several play-along tracks and a rhythm coach function.
The module is the strong point of the kit. The pads, on the other hand, are clear entry-level drum pads. They don’t feel too great to play on, but they’re perfect for a beginner drummer who is quite young. Also, the drum pedal is a trigger pad. It’s not ideal if you want to practice using a proper bass drum pedal.
If you’re an older beginner, I suggest you consider getting a slightly better Roland kit or one of the mesh pad kits from Alesis.
- One of the cheapest kits from Roland
- Extremely light
- Great for young beginners
- Rubber drum pads aren’t the best, especially when compared to competing kits in the price range
The Roland TD-1DMK is an upgraded version of the previous kit. However, this kit has a full set of mesh pads along with higher-quality cymbal pads. This is one of my favorite drum kits from Roland as it’s the most affordable Roland set that has all the physical design features that Roland kits are known for.
This version of the TD-1 Series uses a proper bass drum pedal. The bass drum pad is mounted onto one of the stands that hold the kit up. It’s large enough to house a double bass drum if you’re someone who loves using one of those. It may look quite flimsy, but the pad is surprisingly sturdy.
The drum module is the same as the one on the TD-1K. So, you’re paying extra purely for the hardware features. It’s well worth it, in my opinion. This is especially true if you’re looking for the most affordable high-quality electronic kit you can find that has mesh pads.
It’s not the most ideal kit to use in live settings, though. It’s much better suited as a practice kit.
- Roland’s most affordable kit with mesh pads
- Surprisingly sturdy bass drum pad that can take a double pedal
- High value for money
- Not an ideal gigging kit
Roland Kits Under $2000
I feel as though now is a good time to tell you that all Roland kits share hardware features. As the kits get more expensive, certain parts get swapped out for better ones. That trend continues with the Roland TD-17KV. Whatever I don’t mention here is because the kit has those same features as the kit before.
The two biggest new features on the TD-17KV are the module and the drum pads. The TD-17 drum module is a huge upgrade from the previous ones. It uses the same technology as the famous TD-50 module, ensuring that it’s packed with high-quality settings to be utilized.
You get 50 preset drum kits along with over 300 sounds to create your own kits with. You also get a strong processing engine that lets you tweak things like tuning, muffling, mic placements, EQ, and reverb. Add to that the Bluetooth capabilities and you have yourself an incredible drum module.
The kit uses the PDX-12 snare pad and the KD-10 kick drum pad. The snare pad is a 12” pad with two trigger zones, allowing you to play rim clicks and rim shots. It’s quite sensitive and I found it to react very well to dynamic drumming.
The KD-10 is a sturdy kick tower. It has a smooth, yet malleable playing surface that makes it feel very similar to an acoustic bass drumhead. One small gripe I have with the kick tower is that the pad is quite loud. Since electronic drums often get used for quiet practicing, the loud pad can sometimes be a bit of a worry.
- TD-17 module is fairly powerful
- Sturdy kick drum tower and large snare pad are great
- Suitable for gigging
- Kick drum pad is fairly loud
Roland Kits Under $3000
The Roland VAD306 is the first kit on this list that isn’t a part of the V-Drums line from Roland. The VAD series is a line of electronic drums that are mixed with acoustic drum shells. The purpose of these kits is to have a visually stunning acoustic kit with all the benefits of an electronic one.
All the drum pads and shells need to be mounted on proper acoustic drum kit hardware, giving you a large and sturdy electronic drum kit.
The VAD306 comes equipped with the TD-17 drum module. So, you get all the sound benefits of the previous Roland kit that we looked at.
The acoustic drum shells on this particular VAD kit are quite shallow, but they’re bigger than any of the pads on the V-Drums kits. This is an excellent kit to consider if you want something a bit more visually appealing than the TD-17KV.
Another upgrade comes in the cymbals. They’re a bit larger, with the ride cymbal being the largest. It’s great to have a larger ride cymbal that makes the kit feel similar to playing an acoustic kit. Most electronic drum sets that cost less don’t offer this.
The downside of this kit is that you need to purchase the hardware separately. If you already have hardware, you’ll be able to set the kit up. If you don’t, you’ll need to find a good hardware pack!
- Acoustic shells with electronic pads
- Resembles an acoustic kit
- Many drummers prefer the VAD kits to the V-Drums kits
- Hardware needs to be purchased separately
The Roland TD-27KV is Roland’s flagship mid-range drum kit. You can feel a definite difference when playing this kit compared to the previous V-Drums kits. Backed by the TD-27 drum module, this is a professional kit that feels high-quality in every aspect.
My favorite feature is the PD-140DS snare drum pad. It’s a thick 14” snare pad that feels as much like an acoustic snare as I think electronic pads can with current technology. It has 8 sensors, allowing you to play it in different ways to get all the dynamics you can think of.
Another standout feature is the CY-18DR ride cymbal pad. Similar to the snare pad, it’s a larger pad that has multiple sensors to produce different sounds. You can get all the nuances that you’d expect from an acoustic ride cymbal. This particular pad is 18”.
The TD-27 module is highly extensive. It uses Roland’s Prismatic Sound Modeling technology to allow you maximum control over all the sounds. While the module comes packed with preset kits, you have complete freedom to make your own.
One thing that I’ve seen a few drummers struggle with is the steep learning curve of the drum module. As the onboard technology gets more advanced, it becomes a bit harder to navigate everything. While you can learn how to use a TD-1 module in a few minutes, the TD-27 module may take a few weeks to get a good hold of.
- PD-140DS snare pad is amazing
- CY-18DR ride pad is also incredible
- TD-27 module is highly extensive in all its features
- TD-27 module takes a while to learn to use
Top-Quality Roland Kits
The Roland TD-50KV2 is the current top-dog kit in the Roland V-Drums line. The difference between this kit and the TD-27KV is a few added toms, a full-sized bass drum, an updated pair of hi-hat pads, and the famous TD-50 drum module.
The VH-14D is the hi-hat pad that was introduced with the TD-50 kit. This is one of the first electronic hi-hat pads that also has a bottom pad, similar to standard hi-hats. This pad is incredibly sensitive, allowing you to play the softest notes. They’ll all be articulated very clearly.
The full-sized acoustic bass drum gives the kit a striking visual appearance. In terms of feel, it feels very similar to play compared to the kick pad on the TD-27.
The TD-50X drum module is the real star of the show here, though. It’s the best drum module in the world at the moment. I could write a whole article about it and everything it offers.
But just know that there’s nothing else quite like it from other electronic drum brands. In terms of sound quality, customization options, sample capabilities, and user potential, nothing can beat it. Similar to the TD-27 module, it’s going to take a long time to learn.
Overall, this is the best classic electronic kit that money can buy. It’s incredibly expensive, so you’ll need to start saving if you plan on getting it!
- TD-50X is the best drum module in the world
- Full-sized bass drum
- VH-14D hi-hat pad is incredible
- Very expensive
The Roland VAD706 was the kit that Roland introduced in 2021. I like to think of it as the final evolution of the VAD series. I’m not too sure where they could take it from here as this kit offers everything you could possibly want or need from an electronic drum set.
While the VAD306 had half shells on all the toms, this kit has full shells that make it look like a standard 5-piece acoustic drum set from the front. On top of that, it has all the upgraded pads from the TD-50KV2. It also uses the TD-50X drum module.
This means that this kit and the TD-50KV2 are essentially the same. They just have aesthetic differences. If you’re okay with spending more money and want something that looks like an acoustic kit, this would be the option for you.
My favorite thing about the VAD706 is the fact that you can choose between 4 different finishes for the shells. I love how diverse this is compared to the black and grey pads that all other Roland kits have.
Since this is Roland’s top kit, it’s also the most expensive one. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive electronic kits on the market, no matter which brand you’re looking at.
- Full-sized acoustic shells
- Different finish options
- Fantastic kit to use for live gigs
- One of the most expensive electronic kits in the world
Answer: It’s definitely Roland. While acoustic drum brand choice is very subjective when it comes to which ones are the best, it’s a bit more black and white with electronic drums.
The leading electronic drum brands on the market are Roland, Alesis, and Yamaha. Alesis is a fantastic brand that makes more affordable electronic drums. If you’re on a budget, Alesis kits are a better option.
Yamaha, on the other hand, makes high-quality electronic drum kits. They use silicone pads instead of mesh, providing a unique playing surface that a few drummers prefer. They also record their samples using Yamaha’s extensive range of acoustic drum kits.
At the end of the day, Roland has the most products on offer, makes the most sales, and has innovated the most over the years.
Answer: The sound quality of all the drums is what puts Roland kits on top. Even the cheapest Roland drum kit has excellent sounding samples.
Roland also has the best mesh heads out of all the electronic drum brands. On top of that, they have an incredibly high resale value. You can sell a Roland drum set for a relatively high price compared to electronic drum sets from other brands.
These are just a few blanket aspects that make Roland drum kits good. Each individual Roland set has unique features that set it apart from the competitor products.
Answer: The production costs of Roland kits is quite high. There are so many components that make up a Roland kit. Each component has an extensive design process that goes into it, requiring multiple resources.
Roland makes the kits and then they need to make a profit on the sales. The music stores that stock the kits also need to make a profit, so the prices get raised even further to cater to everyone.
The end product is an expensive electronic drum set. If you’re wanting some cheaper electronic drum kit options, you should look to Alesis. They have some great kits that cost less than $500.
One of my favorite affordable electronic kits that I recommend to all my students is the Alesis Nitro Mesh.
Answer: It depends on the environment you’re in. The most ideal thing to have would be an acoustic drum kit. If noise isn’t an issue and you have a large playing space, acoustic drums are the way to go. They’re commonly seen as the real thing when it comes to drumming.
Electronic drum kits are a great option for anyone who can’t make a loud noise or is short on space. You can plug headphones into an electronic kit and play late into the night.
If you want to work hard at becoming a great drummer, you should have both. An acoustic kit will be used to play gigs with and for practice during the day. The electronic drum kit can be used to practice at night. Electronic drum kits are also much easier to record with.
Answer: Hybrid drumming is when electronic components are integrated into an acoustic setup. You can mix acoustic and electronic drums to create a versatile rig that will allow you to play almost anything.
Acoustic drums can’t produce sounds such as handclaps and synths. So, adding a few electronic pads is the best way to introduce those sounds.
One of the most common ways that drummers incorporate hybrid drumming is by using electronic drum pads with their acoustic sets. They usually place the pad to the left or right of the drum set and then connect it to an amplifier.
Hopefully, you’ve seen from these product recommendations that most Roland kits are fairly similar. Once you know exactly what every kit offers, it’s easy to choose which one will be best suited for you.
I really appreciate how consistent Roland is with their drum kit designs. They know that what they have works, so they keep those designs all through the higher-quality kits, tweaking things here and there to make the drums better.
Learn about what Roland offers, establish your budget, and then choose a kit. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a thrilling process!
We have a few other articles on electronic drums on the site that you can check out here: