Exclusive first-look video: Roland TD-25KV electronic drum kit

MUSIKMESSE 2015: Roland have today announced the launch of a new V-Drums electronic drum kit series, the TD-25, boasting a brand new module with real audio recording. Last month we took delivery of the first kit in the country. Check out our video to see a hands-on demo of the electronic drum set's key sounds and features.

The TD-25 electronic drum set takes up the middle position of Roland's drum offering, replacing the TD-15. There are two variations: the TD-25K (kick pad, snare pad, three tom pads, hi-hats, crash and ride) and the TD-25KV that adds a second crash cymbal and better/larger tom pads into the mix.

We're familiar with the VH-11 hi-hats that mount to an acoustic hi-hat stand, the KD-9 kick pad and the PDX-100 mesh snare pad. The TD-25 K also rocks the PDX-6 6" tom pads and PDX-8 8" floor tom pad, whilst the TD-25KV is upgraded to include PD-85 8" tom pads and PDX-100 10" floor tom pad, plus the aforementioned extra crash. The rack is the same MDS-9V as was seen on the TD-15. Prices are £1,595/€2,199 (TD-25K), £2,145/€2,969 (TD-25KV) and £879/€1,209 for the module on its own.

It's the brand new module where the most distinctive changes have been made. It's an all-new, modern design and interface, streamlined to make the user experience easier and more intuitive. On board is the flagship TD-30 sound engine that improves dynamic range, meaning the nuance of subtler stickings, ghost notes and quieter playing are properly recreated. The engine also opens up positional sensing on the snare and ride.

In the past, modules from Roland and others have offered tens, if not hundreds of kit options, with a high percentage of them unusable in the real world. The TD-25 delivers just 18 kits (plus 18 user kits). They have been carefully selected to offer realistic, practical sounds. You can, of course, create your own custom kits, but our first experience with these sounds is that you're good to go right out of the box.

Selecting a kit is simple. They are grouped into six categories by genre. Turn the dial to the genre you want, then press to scroll through the three available kits within that genre.

Sound editing is possible directly from the controls on the front of the module, rather than diving into a confusing labyrinth of on-screen menus. Push the 'snare' button, or tap the snare pad with your stick to start editing. Adjust the size and type of snare, tuning, muffling and instrument volume. Tap the 'kick' button or hit the kick pad to do the same for bass drum and so on... Editing on the fly has never felt so easy. Front-mounted tone controls also allow you to adjust the bass, treble, master volume and backing track volume, and if you want to go deeper there are 21 multi effects - like reverb, filter, modulation - but these aren't so accessible.

Another key feature is the ability to record audio. The module doesn't record MIDI, rather the actual audio you play. This offers many possibilities, especially for drummers in bands. Imagine your guitarist sends you a guitar track he's just recorded. Write your part, record yourself playing along, export the stereo drum track to USB and email it back to him. The audio can then be imported into a DAW for further editing and mixing. It's a great way to record demos without the need to book expensive studio time.

This stripped back approach to electronic drums is definitely the way forward. Rather than piling up on useless functions, Roland has carefully selected sounds and features, thinking about the needs of real-world drummers. These are the type of players that don't have the time or inclination to read extensive manuals, just want to get on with playing and, in this case, recording. Roland also tells us they will issue regular software updates to ensure the kit has optimum functionality and remains current.

Could this be the first affordable electronic kit that becomes a practical tool beyond quiet bedroom practice?


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