Roland TD-02KV review

This compact and affordable kit proves that ‘budget’ doesn’t exclude you from the big-name brands

  • £429
  • €469
  • $599.99
Roland TD-02KV on a white background
(Image: © Roland)

MusicRadar Verdict

The TD-02 represents a step up from more generic electronic drum sets with plenty of usable features. It feels and sounds great and while you’ll pay more than some brands, you’ll receive a solid and reliable platform that will take you from beginner to intermediate.


  • +

    Great sounds

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Sturdy frame

  • +

    Responsive playing


  • -

    Bluetooth and three-zone ride pads are additional upgrades

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Roland TD-02KV review: What is it?

If you’re a new drummer looking to buy an electronic kit, chances are that you’ve already come across three of the biggest names in the game already. Roland is one, and its V-Drums electronic drum sets have been the go-to for decades. But, while Roland has a reputation for delivering pro-level gear, its sets are generally higher-end, with a higher price point when compared to some of the wider market.

With that said, Roland has always offered sets to cater for every budget, and the TD-02 series is its latest entry-level electronic drum kit - simplified electronic sets with all of the essential features, and none of the surplus. There are two configurations available, the first is the TD-02K, and the second is the TD-02KV, which we have been sent for this review.

Both use the same TD-02 drum module, and both feature four drum pads and three CY-5 cymbal pads (crash, ride and hi-hats). On the floor, there are a pair of Roland foot controllers (an FD-1 for the hi-hat pedal, KT-1 for the bass drum). So what’s the difference? Well, the TD-02KV’s snare pad has been upgraded to a mesh-head PDX-8. 

That’s an important addition, as it unlocks the ability to play on a surface that replicates an acoustic drum head. It also means that unlike the rubber-surfaced PD-4 snare pad (the same as the toms on both configurations), you can change the mesh head’s tension. Finally, the mesh-head snare drum pad adds the ability to play head, rim and cross-stick sounds, bringing it even closer in feel and response to that of a regular drum.

As well as the snare pad upgrade, the TD-02KV comes with a different stand for mounting everything off. Where the TD-02K has the MDS-MINI, the TD-02KV is based around the MDS-LITE, which features four posts rather than three, allowing for wider and higher placement of the drum and cymbal pads.

Roland TD-02KV review: Performance & verdict

Overhead view of Roland TD-02KV kit on a rug

(Image credit: Stuart Williams)

Our kit arrived in one box, and took about 30-45 minutes to put together. Everything fits together neatly, and in a way that’s intuitive with the frame posts forming a logical ‘two-halves’ design. The toms attach using spacey-looking curved pipework while the snare attaches to the same metal L-rod clamp found on Roland’s more expensive kits. 

The cymbal pads - all of which are two-zone, with choke functionality - are pressed into their holders without the need for fasteners (except for the hi-hat which requires a thumbscrew retainer to keep it stationary), and the compact module perches firmly on the frame via an angle-adjustable holder.

Cable-wise, everything connects to the module via a single connector, with individual jack plugs for each drum. Everything is labelled clearly and Roland provides plenty of clips to keep things tidy and remove any potential stress to the cables.

Also try

Best electronic drum sets: Alesis Nitro Mesh

(Image credit: Alesis)

Alesis Nitro Mesh
Currently our favourite all-mesh e-kit at the beginner end of the spectrum. This is an incredible value package that will start you off on the right foot.

Roland TD-07DMK
Roland’s cheapest all-mesh setup is simply fantastic. It’ll cost you more than the TD-02KV, but that extra outlay gets you a module with customizable sounds and Bluetooth, plus a proper kick pad and pedal.

Once the kit is set up in its rough form, it’s time to start placing things more accurately, and if by the time you get to this stage you haven’t worked it out, you’ll realise that the included drum key is an essential tool of TD-02 ownership. That’s because nearly every adjustment is made this way, rather than with thumb-bolts. At first it seems a little tedious, but we found that once everything was positioned comfortably, the stand and fixings required very little further adjustment; holding up even under some fairly heavy hitting. That’s a tick on the sheet, given that hardware is often the first pressure point on budget e-kits.

The real fun with any electronic set though, is in the module. While it’s fair to say the TD-02 is a stripped-back brain, it’s by design. After all, this is an electronic kit aimed at beginners. So, gone are the acronyms and deep-dive editing functions, instead we get 16 preset kits, a metronome, four Coach modes and USB connectivity as standard. It’s an ‘efficient’ range of features that are clearly aimed at giving you the things you’ll need immediately, and enough to stop you outgrowing the module too quickly, but without bombarding you with too much jargon or too many options straight away.

The operation is easy, you press the big ‘drum kit’ button and then scroll through the kits using the cursor up/down arrows. The sound offering is largely based around different flavours of acoustic drum kits, with two electronic kits plus a percussion set for you to explore too. There’s no editing of the sounds as such, the kits are pre-arranged and you can’t mix and match different drums between the presets. Once again, the aim here is to stop you from wandering down a rabbit hole of ‘trying stuff’ and instead focus on the important bit: playing the drums

Roland TD-02K and TD-02KV V-Drums electronic drum sets

(Image credit: Roland)

It’s worth noting though, that while Roland sometimes comes under fire in the sound department compared to increasingly-affordable software solutions (and it would be very easy to scrimp on a budget kit aimed at beginners), this is pound-for-pound one of our favourite Roland sound sets at any price point in recent times.

Individually, there’s depth, body and weight to the drum sounds, and plenty of variation across the kits. It feels like Roland has put in a lot of time to give newcomers an easy way into exploring different types of drum sounds, all the while keeping it rooted in a place that’s going to keep the attention on playing.

It’s most noticeable when selecting a kit to jam along to some music with. Roland included the optional Boss BT-Dual Bluetooth adaptor which is an additional purchase - one that we’d recommend making as it’s easy to use and makes playing along with your chosen streaming service a doddle, as well as giving you wireless MIDI for hooking up to a computer cable-free (the USB port offers cabled MIDI). If you don’t want to do that, though, you can still plug your phone, tablet, laptop or any other device with a headphone socket (remember those?) into the Mix In mini jack on the module.

Shuffling between genres on our phone and kits on the module, we never needed to scroll far to find a drum sound that blended well with the style we were playing, which makes the whole experience more authentic all round.

Roland TD-02K and TD-02KV V-Drums electronic drum sets

(Image credit: Roland)

Roland’s Coach modes are often overlooked, particularly on higher-end kits. But here they’re a valuable inclusion regardless of your level of ability. Each mode is presented as a fun challenge - there’s Time Check (which tracks your timing accuracy against a metronome), Quiet Count (which cycles the metronome on and off while you play to help develop your internal clock), Auto Up/Down (automatically speeding up and slowing down while you play) and Change Up (cycling through different note values over a number of bars).

Will they teach you to play the drums? No, nor do they claim to (check out the included free Melodix lessons for that). But they will make playing to a metronome infinitely more fun, in a way that’s measurable. The gamification element is slightly addictive, and before you know it you’ve turned a 10-minute ‘chore’ into 30 minutes of improvement without realising.

Overall, the feel of the TD-02KV is one of quality. The mesh snare is worth paying the extra for (TD-02K owners can also do this as an aftermarket upgrade), and while an all-mesh kit is always likely to be more desirable, the rubber tom pads are responsive to play, and forgiving on the hands. We did notice that the rack toms tend to send their vibrations back through the stand (which is preferable to them travelling back into the drumstick and into your joints). So if you live above another household or are playing the kit upstairs, Roland’s vibration-absorbing Noise Eater products are worth considering.

The KT-1 bass drum pedal is a nice surprise in that regard too. The beater-less design means that you won’t create anywhere near as much noise from a dull thump travelling through the floorboards. Beater-less, pedal-based bass drum solutions are often sniffed at by those who haven’t tried them, and while we can’t claim that the KT-1 feels like hitting a 22-inch bowel-loosener, we can confirm that there’s a lot of response on hand (or rather, foot). We were able to play complex patterns without the pedal stuttering or missing, so it’s a decent compromise between noise-generation and playability.

Roland TD-02KV review: Conclusion

Roland TD-02K and TD-02KV V-Drums electronic drum sets

(Image credit: Roland)

There’s a lot going for the TD-02KV, and our time with the kit was a reminder that not all budget kits are created equal. Yes, there are more affordable 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. You get rock-solid physical performance from the hardware, a fresh, contemporary sound set, useful functionality with connectivity and the Coach modes, and Roland has considered who, how and where this kit is designed for. It’s well thought-out and just as well executed.   

Roland TD-02KV review: Hands-on demos

Roland overview


DrumTec - Hear every preset

Roland TD-02KV review: Specification

  • Pads: 1x PDX-8 mesh snare pad, 3x PD-4 tom pads, 3x CY-5 cymbal pads
  • Pedals: 1x FD-1 (hi-hat) 1x KT-1 (bass drum)
  • Module: Roland TD-02
  • Kits: 16, preset
  • Coach modes: Four
  • Connectivity: 1x pad cable loom, headphone output, mix input, USB, Bluetooth (via Boss BT-Dual adapter, sold separately) 
  • Stand: MDS-LITE
  • Contact: Roland
Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.