Roland VMH-D1 headphones review: What is it?
One of the main draws to electronic drums is the ability to practise quietly; maximising time spent on the kit whilst minimising the chance of disgruntled neighbours or family members. With an often considerable financial outlay on the kit itself, how much do we stop to consider our headphone selection and whether our chosen pair can give us the best from our e-drums?
This is where Roland has stepped in with its new VMH-D1 headphones. They have been created in collaboration with V-Moda, a Los Angeles based company founded in 2004 which specialises in over-ear headphones designed for DJs, live performance and music production. Since Roland’s acquisition of V-Moda in 2019, we’d wager that these will be the first in a potentially long line of V-Moda/Roland products.
The VMH-D1 over-ear headphones are specifically designed to offer a faithful representation of Roland V-Drums and other e-kits alike. There are a number of drummer-friendly features which have been considered such as an extra long cable which should help avoid the usual snagging on flailing arms or legs. There’s also an intriguing cable restraint device which is designed to ensure that the cable runs down the drummer’s back and stays out of the way. Many players will know the struggle of a headphone cable that just won’t stay where it’s supposed to.
Also in the box is a shorter cable for use away from the kit, a handy spring-loaded clip for hanging the headphones from a stand or cymbal arm when not in use, a soft carry pouch plus the usual mini-jack to 1/4” adaptor.
Roland VMH-D1 headphones review: Performance & verdict
The inclusion of two cable options is a welcome addition, with the long three metre cable offering plenty of slack for on the kit, while the shorter one and a half metre cable is more suited for using devices away from the kit without trailing excess cable around. Both use gold connectors and feature a non-quite-right-angle (more like 45 degrees) on the end that plugs into the bottom of the left headphone cup. This helps to point the cable either forward or backwards rather than straight down at the shoulder. The longer cable uses a standard black sleeve while the shorter on is a braided style (also black). Having the option to switch out cables is not only a bonus for transportation (including of course wearing them around your neck to look cool) but also means they can easily be replaced should they get lost or broken.
The headphones themselves are sleek in design, featuring mostly black components except for a couple of white accents and V-Moda’s signature hexagonal faceplates, which in this instance are bright white and adorned with Roland’s ‘V-Drums’ logo in black. These ‘shields’ can be easily removed and replaced by loosening the six Allen screws which is good news if customising is your game. There are tons of colour prints or custom laser engraving options available on the V-Moda website although this might not be a viable option for those outside of the USA. The good news however is that plain colour shields are available on Amazon starting at just £10.
The synthetic leather headband and ear-cups use a deep memory foam which makes the headphones extremely comfortable. These are both also moisture resistant which is good news when putting in the hours and working up a sweat at the kit. The Roland VMH-D1 are also relatively lightweight (at 285g) and remain comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
The 50mm dual-diaphragm speaker drivers pack a decent punch and live up to Roland’s claim of a faithful drum kit representation. The frequency response is 5 to 40,000Hz which is enough to handle the crisp punch of a bass drum or the deep rumble of a floor tom. This translates right up to the cymbals which sound clear and bright at the higher end of the frequency spectrum.
We must say though, when compared directly to a different set of drummer-specific headphones, the bass was less defined on the Roland cans and they were also noticeably quieter. When testing the VMH-D1 with a bass-rich track though, there was still some ear-flapping going on at higher volumes.
In addition, the closed back design gives enough isolation that the pad strike sound is greatly reduced if not completely gone depending on how loud the headphones are turned up. In terms of isolation vs comfort, it’s a good balance.
Roland VMH-D1 headphones review: Hands-on demos
Roland VMH-D1 headphones review: Specification
- Type: Over-ear circumaural
- Speaker driver: 50mm dual-diaphragm
- Sensitivity: 100dB+/-3dB at 1kHz
- Frequency response: 5 - 40,000Hz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Cable length: 3m/10ft & 1.5m/5ft
- Included accessories: Cable restraint, headphone hanger, carrying pouch, 1/4-inch adaptor, 3m/10ft cable, 1.5m/5ft cable
- Product size: 150 x 85 x 200mm
- Product net weight: 285g +/-5g
- Contact: Roland