The new TD-1KV
Today marks the launch of two brand new electronic drum sets from Roland. The TD-1K and TD-1KV represent two compact and uniquely-designed kits aimed at budget or space conscious drummers, beginners and students. You can read full details in the official press release.
We were sent the TD-1KV model before today's announcement and spent some time getting to know the kit. Here are our initial thoughts. Don't forget to watch our video at the end of the gallery, too.
What's in the box?
Everything you need to build this kit comes in one, reasonably small and lightweight box with Roland's usual tidy, jigsaw puzzle packaging keeping the contents in place.
Inside are four drum pads - either a PDX-8 mesh or rubber snare pad, depending on which model you choose - three cymbal pads, hi-hat and kick drum foot pedals, the module and all relevant cabling, then the composite parts of the rack itself. You also get a detailed manual and a drum key to help build it.
If you've had any experience at all of setting up this type of kit before, then you will have no problems getting the TD-1 up and running without much trouble. From opening the box it took us less than 40 minutes before we were ready to play.
When moving the kit into position it's remarkable how light the kit is.
You may recognise the rubber tom pads from Roland's TD-4KP kit, launched a couple of years back. These single-zone pads feature a pretty responsive playing surface. It's certainly playable, and we never felt out of control when running round the toms.
The TD-1K model ships with all rubber pads (including snare) and will set you back £449. If you opt for the TD-1KV with mesh snare you'll be looking at £555, but you can always get the cheaper model and upgrade the snare at a later date.
These are recommended retail prices, so you will no doubt find them cheaper in your local drum store.
The crash and ride cymbal pads offer some neat features, including bow/edge sounds and support for cymbal chokes. They are relatively thin and not entirely secure, so won't take too much of a beating, but they serve the purpose well and didn't miss a beat during our time with the kit. The hi-hat pad is secured in place, meaning you have a sturdy surface on which to keep time.
The mesh snare
Considering you will spend a lot of your time playing the snare, you want it to feel right, and the PDX-8 mesh pad that came with our kit was a welcome addition. We'd highly recommend going for the TD-1KV model, or upgrading the pad as soon as you can.
The dual trigger pad widens your palette of sounds and helps introduce more dynamics into your playing.
The rack of any electronic drum kit can make the difference between a planted, solid and playable kit, or a roaming, wobbly and distasterous product. This is something that befalls a lot of budget level kits.
Not so here. The rack is simple and strong and features a unique tripod-style base. Not only does it make it easier to rig up without the need for extra legs, supports and myriad clamps, but it also leaves space for your hi-hat and bass drum pedals, and makes the overall footprint nice and small. Perfect to squirrel away in a corner.
Tom, cymbal and hi-hat pads are then mounted on two hoizontal bars, the module on top of the one vertical tube and the snare pad to a separate clamp. All very simple.
The isn't much in the way of adjustment, but the rack is constructed in such a way that, unless you favour Keith Carlock-style toms slanting away from you, you should be able to achieve a pretty natural setup.
Bass drum and hi-hat are controlled by auxiliary, all-in-one pedals. We've not been fans of pedals with in-built triggers on lower end kits as they're usually miles away from delivering any sort of natural feel, but these pedals offer a slick action, decent response and rebound and give you the ability to knock out some pretty speedy licks on demand.
If you really don't get on with the bass drum pedal, however, you can swap it out for a KD-9 kick trigger pad and your own pedal, or the new KT-10 trigger pedal.
The module and sounds
There's a new module for the TD-1 that mounts in the centre of the kit at the top of the rack's vertical tube.
It's a relatively basic, button-operated affair, offering a 15-kit range that you're probably familiar with by now. They don't sound brilliant, but they're perfectly usable for the kind of practice sessions these kits are designed for.
Other functions include a metronome and training tools, and there are also some on-board backing tracks to jam along with. Of course, if these aren't your cup of tea, there's a stereo output on the left side of the module to connect up to another audio device for jamming with your favourite tracks. There's also a headphone socket and an option for USB-MIDI.
One recommendation would be to invest in headphones with a long cable. Because of the positioning of the module, we had trouble with our headphone cable getting in the way.
All pads are connected to the module via a single cable harness, meaning set-up is clean and quick. It's worth noting that the cable harness offers drummers an additional cable which can be used to add an extra cymbal pad should you wish to expand your setup at a later date.
Overall, this is another great product from Roland. The kit is reasonably priced, offers a unique and usable design and feels proper. For drummers looking for a compact practice kit to keep their hand in between rehearsals, this would be a great choice.
For a closer look at the kit, to hear some sounds and see it in action, check out our video below.