Roland’s entry-level TD-1 module is offered alongside a selection of hardware configurations.
Starting with the basic TD-1K and TD-1KV models (as previously reviewed here), then moving up to the portable TD-1KPX2, which includes all mesh pads. The new TD-1DMK boasts a similar spec list to the KPX2 but comes in at a much more wallet-friendly price.
The TD-1DMK comprises an 8" dual-zone mesh snare pad, three 6" single-zone mesh tom pads, three choke-able 10" dual-zone cymbal pads (hi-hat, ride and crash), a hi-hat controller pedal and a bass drum pad. The compact four-post rack is built around a narrow H-shaped central section, which attaches to horizontal bars that in turn accommodate vertical outer legs. This new design allows for an in-built rubber bass drum trigger pad, which is attached to the right-hand upright pole of the H-frame.
The pad is wide enough to accommodate two bass drum beaters - welcome news for double pedal players. Any bass drum pedal can be connected via the adjustable steel mounting plate. The frame is relatively straight forward to set up, although positioning the rack toms is slightly limited as a result of the tom mounting brackets attaching to the top of the posts, rather than mounting to the horizontal bar. Ultimately, though, we find a comfortable setup which is adaptable for drummers of all shapes and sizes.
The straight cymbal arms are painted black, which affords them a sleek and integrated look, blending in well with the black frame. Each arm uses a ball-joint mechanism that makes small angle adjustments an absolute doddle. The cymbal pads themselves play surprisingly well considering their small size and have a decent layer of rubber that makes for a natural rebound.
The TD-1 module is very basic in nature; but despite missing some bells and whistles, this simplicity does make it incredibly user friendly and easy to navigate, so it’s particularly well suited to beginners or younger drummers. The small unit conveniently mounts to the top of the far left leg and can be tilted back and forth for easier access. The module’s user interface breaks down into four menus (drums, tempo, coach and song), which are toggled via a single select button.
Fifteen kit presets can be found under the drums menu and explored using the large plus and minus buttons. In terms of connectivity, the TD-1 has just one output, which is the headphones mini-jack, plus an aux-in and USB MIDI. The kit comes with a cable-loom for connecting all the supplied pads, plus the option for bringing in one extra crash.
The 15 kit presets are varied in style and provide a usable selection of sounds that cater for many styles of music. From heavy rock to pop, funk, jazz, drum and bass and reggae, there is also a particularly addictive percussion kit that makes for a lot of fun. Effects levels, such as reverb and compression are pre-configured individually for each kit and cannot be user-edited, making some kits noticeably drier than others. Our personal favourites are the reverb-soaked rock kits; the toms in particular sound incredible.
Generally, the samples are of a high standard but noticeably shorter than that of Roland’s other models - hardly surprising considering the much lower pricepoint. You won’t find any instrument editing ability at all on the TD-1, so what you see is what you get - there are no custom kits or even volume control for each element of the kit.
The two-ply mesh heads respond well and the dynamic range afforded by the module is commendable - from a gentle, open bass note through to the hard attacking slap of a bass drum head, or a quiet grace note on the snare up to a cracking back beat. The dual-zone snare also allows rim-shots for further expression. The dual-zone cymbals help in broadening the tonal horizons and maximising options within this compact setup. The ride bell is played by accenting the bow; this takes a little getting used to in terms of accuracy.
Geared specifically toward the beginner market, the TD-1 module is packed with practice aids and features some excellent coaching functions, in addition to backing tracks and the in-built metronome. The 15 backing loops vary in style and make for some enjoyable time at the kit, regardless of your ability level. These tracks are not MIDI based like most e-kits we’ve tried, which means a much higher quality. This does however mean that tempos are fixed.
Ten coaching modes include a Time Check that highlights if you are behind or ahead of the beat, Tempo Check, which brings the click up and down in volume depending on your timing and Stroke Balance that measures the velocity of each hand. There’s also a practice timer and a recording mode. All of these are extremely useful training tools and not as easy as one might expect!