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-1DMK is the best Roland electronic drum set on the market. It’s simple, easy to use, and features all-mesh heads - making transitioning to and from an acoustic kit feel easy and natural. Onboard, there are 15 preset kits full of high-quality drum sounds, allowing you to nail the tone for virtually any style of playing. 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
This electronic drum set packs an 8" dual-zone mesh snare pad, three 6" single-zone mesh tom pads, three choke-able 10" dual-zone cymbal pads (hi-hat, ride and crash), a hi-hat controller pedal and a bass drum pad. The compact four-post rack is built around a narrow H-shaped central section and houses an in-built rubber bass drum trigger pad that’s wide enough to accommodate a double pedal.
The TD-1 module has been around for a while but is packed with practice aids, some challenging coaching functions, plus quality backing tracks. Despite missing some bells and whistles, the module’s simplicity makes it incredibly user friendly, so it’s particularly well suited to beginner or younger drummers. The 15 kit presets on-board are varied in style and provide a usable selection of sounds that cater for many styles of music.
The two-ply mesh heads respond well and the dynamic range afforded by the module is commendable - from a gentle, open bass note through to the hard attacking slap of a bass drum head. The dual-zone snare also allows rim-shots for further expression. The dual-zone cymbals help in broadening the tonal horizons and maximising options within this compact setup.
Read the full Roland TD-1DMK 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
- Looking for a beginner e-kit? Read the full Alesis Turbo Mesh review
What makes this set-up different from the rest is the unique rack design which allows it to fold down to around half its playable size - small enough to stash in a cupboard/corner of the bedroom or, for a gig or rehearsals in between passengers on the back seat in a small car.
Playing the kit for only a short while, the compact footprint and pad positioning feels surprisingly natural to play and the four mesh-headed tom and snare pads feel great. The TD-1KPX2 also features a wider kick pad to accommodate single or double bass pedals.
The partnered module comes with 15 pre-programmed kits. The interface is fairly basic but, as a result, is also incredibly intuitive. The kits comprise a mixture of live and recording sets, electronic sounds and a choice of percussion. There are a range of 15 onboard songs to play along with and the module provides a mix-in jack to input your favourite audio source and jam with.
Aside from the compact design and mesh pads, one of the best features is the module's 10 coaching features, designed to help you improve everything from tempo to technique.
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-27KV has also recently had its crown usurped by the new TD-27KV2, but if you’re willing to make a few concessions on the up-to-date version, you’ll be able to make a saving while stocks last. The biggest difference between this original version and the latest is that the V1 kit includes Roland VH-10 hi-hats rather than the more expensive VH-14D models. Likewise, the crash cymbals are the previous generation ‘non-thin’ CY-12C and CY-13R models.
It’s comfortably positioned within Roland’s mid-range - but it’s far from ordinary. At its heart is the powerful TD-27 module, which not only contains endless (and amazing) drum tones, but also takes cues from the TD-50 series in the form of Prismatic Sound Modelling and PureAcoustic Ambience Technology - all designed to help your drums sound bigger, fatter and more alive.
Hardware-wise, the TD-27KV is as solid as they come. With fatter drum pads, a heavy-duty reinforced rack and independent hi-hat and snare stands, the TD-27KV is virtually bomb-proof - allowing you to lose yourself in your playing without worry. This hardware setup also provides huge scope to tweak your setup to your exact preference, so getting comfy or accurately replicating your acoustic kit is simple.
Roland’s ace-up-the-sleeve however, has to be their digital PD-140DS snare pad and CY-18DR ride cymbal pads. Usually reserved for the TD-50 range, this is the first time we’ve seen them included with a more affordable e-kit. Both come equipped with Roland’s digital sensor technology, meaning ‘hot spots’ and mis-triggers are eliminated - resulting in a vastly improved playing experience.
Read the full Roland TD-27KV review
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.
Best Roland electronic drum sets: Buying advice
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
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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-1 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.
New Roland VAD and TD-50 kits
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.
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