What is it?
If recent times have given us one realisation as drummers, it’s that it really doesn’t take long for us to miss our kits. With many of us experiencing extended time away from being able to play acoustic drum sets at home, attentions have turned to what many have known for a long time as a viable alternative: the electronic drum set.
This doesn’t just apply to those who already play either. As global lockdowns have left many with more time at home in the last 12 months, there’s been a huge uptake in musical instrument-learning, including drums.
Of course, it takes more than a few months to research and develop an electronic drum kit, so we dare say that Roland’s latest V-Drums addition is a product of fortunate timing combined with miserable circumstances rather than a slickly engineered marketing opportunity.
Regardless, the TD-07KV is - on paper - the perfect solution to those in need of a quiet, comparatively affordable electronic set to play on: whether that’s those starting out, migrating from acoustic to electronic drums, or looking to upgrade their e-kit without shelling-out for top-of-the-line V-Drums.
A quick look at the kit leaves very few holes to be picked in its spec. While ‘affordable’ electronic kits often come with some decision-forcing compromises such as workarounds for the bass drum pad, snare-only mesh heads, or flimsy hardware, Roland has made sure our Cynical Red Pen keeps its cap on for now.
Roland dual-ply mesh heads all-round? Yes. A ‘proper’ vertical bass drum pad that’s played by a traditional pedal? Yes. Dual-zone, chokeable cymbals? Yes!
But that’s not all, because Roland has also released a brand new module with the same name to complete the TD-07KV setup.
The TD-07 brain is equipped with 143 different sounds, arranged into over 20 preset kits, with slots for up to 50 stored setups in total. The sounds give a decent cross section of acoustic, traditional percussion and electronics for us to experiment with, following Roland’s recent ethos of providing usable sounds above thousands of novelty noises.
But where the TD-07 module really turns heads is with its simple, yet extremely convenient functionality with Bluetooth for connecting your phone into the module wirelessly, and USB for transmitting audio and MIDI straight into your computer.
The kit also puts a fairly weighty focus on learning. There’s the on-board coaching modes that we’ve seen in various Roland kits before to help develop timing and dynamics, but more exciting to beginners and improving drummers will be the 40 free online lessons from Melodics that come with the kit. These work interactively from a desktop computer so you’re able to play along, record and assess your progress, plus they’re yours to keep forever.
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Performance and verdict
It’s been a few years since Roland offered a configuration of this level, at this price point. Likewise, it has never offered it with the additional Bluetooth and USB functionality. As a skeleton, the kit reminds us of our own TD-4KV from a few years ago.
It’s compact, making it easy to set up, even in cramped spaces. The slim nature of the PDX-8 and PDX-6 pads mean that height restrictions are basically eliminated by the pads themselves, so achieving comfortable placement is easy. Unlike our TD-4, the module is in-keeping with Roland’s most recent designs, and sits neatly out of the way a-top the vertical stand post. This makes changing settings on the module clutter-free while keeping everything easily within reach.
The pads connect to the module via a loom cable, leaving the TD-07 brain looking sharply minimal with just the DB-25 connector for the pads, headphone socket, aux-in and USB connections.
One of the biggest concerns with drums of any kind is noise. Acoustic drums in an apartment are pretty much a no-no, but electronic sets are far from silent. The sound you hear from the module is of course, entirely contained within headphones. It’s the airborne noise and impact vibrations that still escape the room. One of the biggest remedies for this is mesh heads, and Roland has long been the king of this jungle, and the noise levels here are noticeably quieter than you’ll experience with rubber pads.
In addition to the noise benefits, the heads are tension-able, and for our money, mesh is still the closest-feeling surface to an acoustic drum.
This is continued with the TD-07’s full implementation of mesh across the snare and toms, meaning that the techniques that you’re learning or used to playing on your acoustic kit can be transferred pretty faithfully, and you can control rebound by tightening or loosening each pad to replicate the response of each drum (tighter for a snare, looser for a floor tom, etc.).
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The cymbal pads are responsive too, and while our first concession comes from the fact that they are two-zone bow/edge (no bell zone for the ride), you can still achieve a bell sound through your playing dynamics. There’s an extra jack on the loom too, allowing for expansion with an additional CY-8 pad, or - if you want that third zone - it can be used with Roland’s bell-equipped CY-13R pad.
Likewise, the hi-hat is a fixed CY-5 pad and separate hi-hat control pedal. This combination is familiar across a number of V-Drums kits, and works just as we’re used to: it’s perfectly suited to the task and gives you half-open sounds too. However if you’d prefer to play your hats on an acoustic-style stand, these can also be upgraded to the VH-10 or VH-11 hi-hats further down the line.
Sound-wise, Roland has made sure that all the common bases are covered straight out of the box. While the sounds might not have you upgrading on their own, these are captured with a decent amount of realism. There’s a generous amount of editing options too with tuning, dampening, ambience and 30 different effects on-board.
The eDrum Workshop
- Pads: 1x PDX-8 (snare) 3x PDX-6 (toms), 1x KD-10 (bass drum), CY-5 (hi-hat) 2x CY-8
- Sounds: 143
- Kits: 50
- Effects: Pad EQ, overhead mic simulator, room ambience, 30x multi effects
- Connections: DB-25 cable loom, headphone/output, USB aux input
- Contact: Roland