The new TM-2 Roland
We've just taken delivery of a brand new TM-2 Trigger Module from Roland. The new box of tricks, designed to allow any drummer to easily turn their humble acoustic set into a hybrid machine was launched at NAMM in January, but it's still not quite available to buy.
Here's a sneak peek at what's in the box ahead of its official on sale date and before our full review appears in the May edition of Rhythm.
The TM-2 unboxed
Roland tells us the retail price will be a reasonable £195 (although we've seen certain retailers offering a pre-order price of an even better £169). For that money you get the unit itself, a mains cable, a mounting plate for attaching to a hi-hat stand, rack or other stand using a multi-clamp, and a manual.
What isn't included are any pads or triggers to hook up to it. Many drummers will already own an e-kit and have pads readily available, or simply opt to invest in Roland's RT-10 triggers (other triggers are available). Of course, if you already own an e-kit and a decent module you may think a product like this is redundant, but the simplicity, size and uncluttered approach make it well worth your consideration if you want to incorporate electronics into your rig.
The TM-2 up close
The unit itself is extremely compact compared with standard modules, measuring just 132mmx126mmx52mm. This means it will nestle neatly amongst your set-up and spring to life when it's needed, but stay out of the way when it's not.
The controls themselves are familiar Roland fare, but simplified to make them easy to find on a dark stage or when changing settings mid-song. We're yet to navigate the menu system thoroughly but will report on this in our full review.
Just like a standard module, on board you'll find 162 sounds and an effects processor that gives you access to 11 effects such as reverb, flanger and more.
On the left side of TM-2's body are MIDI in/outs for triggering sounds in external sound modules, capturing MIDI data in music software and playing the TM-2 from other devices.
What's out back?
On the back you’ll find two all-important dual-trigger inputs for connecting your pads or triggers, a pair of outputs to send your sound to a PA (¼" jacks), plus a headphone output (mini-jack).
SD card slot
Hiding on the front left corner of the module is a small slot that allows you to input your own sounds from an SD card and assign them to a pad or trigger. Want to mix a quirky sound effect you've created with your bass drum? No problem. Want to import an entire loop or backing track for your epic one man show, drum clinic or gig? Go for it!
Batteries not included...
Pushing the portability factor, the TM-2 will also run off four AA batteries if needs be. Roland claims that will give you four hours of usage. We look forward to putting that to the test.
Overall, on paper this is a very impressive device that will allow more people to access the hybrid world with minimal outlay and without over-complicating their lives. Roland are definitely moving in the right direction to getting more people using electronics in the live arena and we'll be interested to see where they take the TM-2 next. Will we see a TM-4 at some point?
For an exclusive, full review of the Roland TM-2 pickup the May 2014 issue of Rhythm, on sale 8 April.