When you think of electronic drums, Roland is most likely the first name that springs to mind. Well-known for its impressive build quality, innovative design and arguably the finest drum sounds on the market, the best Roland electronic drum sets are intended to stand the test of time, and to be played hard.
Whether you’re just starting out and looking for a great starter set on which to learn songs and practice your rudiments, or a pro drummer needing a powerful, expressive and customisable e-kit for demoing, recording or playing live, Roland makes an electronic drum set for you. Features such as Bluetooth, USB audio/MIDI built-in, and coaching/training functions combined with realistic-sounding preset kits and next-level trigger technology, it’s just a case of narrowing-down the stuff you’ll need.
To read our expert buying advice, check out our buying advice at the bottom of the page. If you'd rather get straight to our product choices, keep scrolling.
Best Roland electronic drum sets: MusicRadar's Choice
At the budget end of the scale, the Roland TD-02KV is the best Roland electronic drum set on the market. It’s simple, easy to use, and features a killer mesh head on the snare drum - making transitioning to and from an acoustic kit feel easy and natural. Onboard, there are 16 preset kits full of high-quality drum sounds, allowing you to nail the tone for virtually any style of playing, plus there's the option to introduce Bluetooth connectivity to the module with an additional dongle. Granted, it’s a little more expensive than other budget kits on the market, but Roland doesn't do anything half-heartedly.
In the higher echelons of Roland’s range, our recommendation is the TD-27KV. Borrowing the ‘Prismatic Sound Modelling’ technology from the flagship TD-50 range, the feel and sound of this e-kit goes virtually unmatched. PSM is applied to super high-fidelity samples to bring them to life, so instead of a basic drum sound, you’ve got access to a huge sonic palette that will help take your playing to the next level.
Best Roland electronic drum sets: Product guide
Roland's latest addition to the V-Drums family is a hugely compelling offering if you're just getting started. It features a Roland dual-ply mesh head on the snare, neat and responsive bass drum and hi-hat controller pedals, and studio-quality sounds that are some of the best we’ve heard at this price point.
The TD-02 module also has Bluetooth capability for jamming to your music collection, although you will need an adapter which comes at an additional cost.
There are more affordable electronic drum set options out there, just as there are kits with more sounds and features, however the TD-02KV represents a cohesive package that you’ll want to sit down at months (and hopefully years) after you’ve bought it. Add to this some comprehensive coaching functions for developing players and it’s clear that Roland has considered who, how and where this kit is designed for.
Read the full Roland TD-02KV review
Roland’s TD-07 is a response to those who don’t mind spending a little more for something that will stand the test of time. Although a fairly simple setup, features such as dual zone cymbals and industry-leading mesh heads encourage a natural playing style that is easily transferable from an e-kit to an acoustic drum set. A full mesh setup also helps to bring the volume down to ‘midnight drum practice’ levels.
The TD-07 module is sleek and minimal, with a focus on connectivity and ease-of-use. Loaded with 143 sounds, 50 kits and countless effects - including an overhead mic simulator and room ambience - you'll never get stuck looking for the right tone to suit your playing. The TD-07’s pièce de résistance however, has to be its Bluetooth connectivity. Drumming along with your favourite tracks is unbeatable, and it couldn’t be easier with the TD-07.
Our only criticism is that the pads are a little smaller than we’d like, and took us a while to get used to. That being said, one man's loss is another man’s gain - as this makes the TD-07 perfect for practicing in your room or any smaller space. The smaller pads also help to boost your playing accuracy, making transferring skills from an e-kit to an acoustic kit a painless experience.
Read the full Roland TD-07KV review
Roland’s TD-17 is available in multiple configurations, and while the first-gen KVX model has been superseded by the KVX2, there are (for now) still some out there, and with clearance deals likely it still has a lot going for it. It includes all-mesh pads (including a newly-designed PDX-12 snare pad with raised rim for a more acoustic feel) and the awesome one-piece VH-10 hi-hats which mount to a conventional stand.
The quality of sounds on the TD-17 module is striking and Roland’s processing gives players plenty of tweak-ability to the base sounds. Selecting a voice and making tonal changes is scarily intuitive. It’s all laid out and labelled clearly along with dedicated switches for common functions such as tuning, muffling, ambience, EQ and volume levels. When it comes to loading samples into the TD-17 module the process is undeniably easy. 16-bit, stereo or mono, you can throw wav samples onto an SD card and load them into the TD-17’s pool of 100 user sound slots. From this point, you assign it in the same way as any other sound, by hitting the pad and then scrolling through.
The jewel in the TD-17KVX’s crown is the ability to effortlessly pair a smart device via Bluetooth and jam along with Spotify. The outlay is a big investment, but the level of sound quality, features and playability sets a new benchmark for those looking for V-Drums they won't outgrow in a hurry.
Read the full Roland TD-17KVX review
Replacing the previous top-line TD-17 kit, this most recent addition to the TD-17 line-up has all the same plus-points as before (all-mesh heads, acoustic-style hi-hats, Bluetooth, USB audio and more), but it brings some of Roland’s latest innovations to a new configuration.
The TD-17 module has been upgraded with new kits, sounds and effects, and the cymbals have been upgraded from the previous TD-17KVX’s to Roland’s latest ’T’ models, which stands for ‘thin’. So now, we get two CY-12T crashes, plus a larger, 14” CY-14-RT three-zone ride.
If you already own a TD-17 kit, the cymbals alone might not be enough to make you upgrade, especially as the module software is coming for all TD-17 users before the end of 2022. But for new buyers who want the latest version, Roland has just made the already-brilliant TD-17KVX even better.
The TD-27KV2 is the second-generation flagship TD-27 V-Drums kit. With the same PD-140DS and CY-18DR digital pads as before, this incarnation also includes the VH-14D digital hi-hats, meaning that all of the TD-27’s digital trigger inputs are now accounted for, straight out of the box.
As well as the hi-hats, the crash cymbals have had an overhaul too and the TD-27KVX2 comes with Roland’s latest CY-12C-T, and CY-14C-T ‘thin’ cymbals. Throw-in the TD-27 module updates which sees some of its most popular presets given a remaster, 39 all-new samples for you to blend into your own kits, plus updated parameter control and effects, and the TD-27KVX2 makes a compelling argument to choose Roland’s second-in-command series.
The arrival of the TD-50X module brought with it some impressive upgrades, not least over 500 additional instruments, support for the VH-14D digital hi-hats (the finest electronic ’hats we’ve played), and a whole load of additional editing functionality.
The TD-50KV2 is the more compact of the two TD-50X-powered V-Drums kits from Roland (the VAD flagship VAD706 also uses the module), and as such you get shallower, and fewer, tom pads with three PDX-100 pads across the rack. The bass drum is also swapped for the reassuringly sturdy, mesh-equipped KD-140-BC too. But the key components - the TD-50X module, the digital snare, ride and hi-hats are all here, and they’re joined by Roland’s latest and biggest crash cymbals - the CY-14C-T & CY-16C-T - to boot.
While you could opt for the more expensive KV2 version, we think the K2 hits the sweet spot of features and affordability without feeling like you’re compromising.
Roland’s VAD (V-Drums Acoustic Design) electronic kits are pure works of art. We’d expect nothing less from a Roland flagship, which takes cues from companies such as Pearl, Alesis and ATV by housing electronic pads in full drum shells.
Featuring digital hi-hat, ride and snare pads, the 706 offers the kind of playability and natural feeling that Roland has made its name upon. As the most important elements of any drum kit, with these digital iterations you can expect to experience some impressively nuanced, detailed and great sounding drum tones - all powered by the formidable TD-50X module.
Amongst the myriad sound-editing options, building a ‘signature’ sound has never been more thorough - with tuning and muffling adjustments available at the push of a button, as well as drumhead types, cymbal diameter, cymbal thickness, shell sizes and shell depths all up for customisation. This massive library of drum sounds was developed and recorded alongside top drummers and recording engineers, meaning the tonal recall of this e drum kit is remarkable.
Of course with Roland, it’s not all about the sounds and playability. It’s got to be aesthetically pleasing - and we think the VAD706 definitely steps up to the plate. Drum shells adorned with Gloss Natural, Gloss Ebony, Pearl White or Gloss Cherry prove you’ll always turn heads, whether in the studio or on stage. Yeah, it’s pricey - but as a flagship model, we feel like that’s kind of the whole point. This isn’t an example of great value for money, but an example of what the future of electronic drums looks like.
Read the full Roland VAD706 review
Best Roland electronic drum sets: Buying advice
How to choose the best Roland electronic drum set for you
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When searching for a new electronic drum set you will find multiple brands vying for your attention, with Roland, Yamaha and Alesis sitting at the top of the tree in terms of the product ranges, innovations and features on offer.
If your Google searches read something along the lines of ‘Roland vs Yamaha electronic drum set’, then let us enlighten you - starting with this guide to the best Roland electronic drum sets.
Everything you need to know about Roland V-Drums
Roland is a leader in the electronic drum market for many reasons. It’s been at it for a very long time, with the first V-Drum line launched in 1997. Since then, Roland has continued to evolve its designs with new innovations offered at the top tier often eventually trickling down to Roland’s more entry-level kits. It’s this research and development that isn’t always there when it comes to more affordable and generic brands. So while the price of a Roland kit may appear higher than some of the competition, you’re getting the benefit of proper product design and testing at all price points, from arguably the most trusted name in the game.
Roland’s kit designs are semi-modular, meaning that you’ll find some pads shared across its different series. This not only makes adding additional pads and cymbals easy, but should also inspire some confidence that you’re getting pads that were designed for its higher-level kits on some of the more affordable options too.
One of Roland’s biggest innovations has been its mesh heads. Roland wrote the book on using mesh drum heads rather than rubber pads - to the point where it still holds the patent on its dual-ply heads to this day.
The concept is similar to an acoustic drum head - it’s tension-able, gives a similar feel when played and can be replaced if it gets damaged. However, the tiny holes created by the mesh also mean that noise levels in the room are decreased, so a mesh head-equipped electronic drum set is going to make you more popular (or at least less unpopular) with the people you live with!
Other common choices you’ll be faced with when buying a Roland electronic drum set include the hi-hat and bass drum pads. When it comes to hi-hats, entry-level kits will include a fixed cymbal pad such as the CY-5, and a separate foot controller.
These are designed to keep the kit to a compact size, but if you’d prefer a more realistic hi-hat solution, then opting for a kit with Roland’s acoustic stand-mounted hi-hat pads (VH-10, VH-13 or the VH-14D) is a good idea from the outset. These allow for more authentic playability and you’re less likely to want to upgrade as quickly. That said, if your module is compatible with Roland’s more advanced hi-hat triggers and your kit came with a CY-5/foot controller combo, you can always incorporate the cymbal into your kit as a splash cymbal when you do upgrade.
There are a few bass drum options, starting with the frame-mounted rubber pad included with TD-02 setups, to the most-often seen KD-10 tower. This features a cloth-covered playing surface, backed by layers of foam to give a bass drum-like feel and comes with kits in the TD-07, TD-17 and TD-27 range. In the TD-50 range you’ll find the mesh-headed PD-140 along with the wooden-shelled KD-180.
Roland configurations explained
Roland’s kit series are fairly easy to follow - the higher the number, the higher up the pecking order you are. However as ranges come and go, the numbers do change. Currently, the TD-50 is the flagship, and the kits beneath that are mostly all based around the number 7 (TD-07, TD-17, TD-27).
The ranges are usually named after the module they include, but within each range comes a few options on the configurations (denoted by the K, KV, KVX etc. in the model name).
The exact number of configuration options varies between ranges, but it’s worth getting to grips with what’s available in the series you’re considering so that you end up with the best kit for you.
A TD-07DMK, for example, is the most affordable TD-07 kit available. It comes with a static bass drum pad, separate hi-hat pad and controller, and a ride and crash cymbal. Meanwhile, the TD-07KVX includes an upgraded PDX-12 snare drum pad, stand-mounted VH-10 hi-hat, and a KD-10 bass drum tower.
Roland continues to innovate with frequent upgrades to its line-up. Most recently, its TD-50X module has become the cornerstone of all TD-50 kits, and it has launched and expanded its VAD series kits in the last couple of years.
These setups are based around acoustic drum shells, and while they don’t make any more acoustic noise than a mesh pad, they do massively enhance the feel of being sat at a real kit.
The VAD line comprises 7, 5, 3 and 1 series kits. At the top we have the 706, which is a five-piece kit including a TD-50 module, VH-14D digital hi-hats, PD-140DS digital snare and the CY-18 digital ride cymbal.
The next tier down is the 5 series, which includes the newly-released VAD 507 (five-piece) and 504 (four-piece). These kits use the TD-27 module, which is compatible with Roland’s digital pads, all three of which are included with both setups.
At the mid and lower-points of the VAD range are the VAD 307 and 103 kits, which use the TD-17 and TD-07 modules respectively. Both feature Roland’s cut-down acoustic shells which still give you the acoustic kit feel, but in a space-saving format.
How we choose the best Roland electronic drum sets
Here at MusicRadar, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing, creating and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything music gear related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.
When choosing what we believe to be the best Roland electronic drum sets available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.
First and foremost, we are musicians, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best Roland electronic drum sets on the market right now.
Find out more about how we test music gear and services at MusicRadar.
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