This is a review of the Roland V-Stage electronic drum set I own, but it will also give you a general sense of how all Roland electronic drums are like.
You can see my setup in the picture above. (Click on the image to enlarge.) The V-Stage kit comes with five 8″ diameter mesh drum pads. The snare mesh pad is dual trigger and can detect hits to its rim. The rest of the drum pads are single trigger. The bass pad comes mounted on a special floor stand, and has some central reinforcements on the back side of the mesh head that enables it to take a beating from single or double bass batters.
In the picture above you can see the snare mesh pad up close. The mesh pad technology is one of the greatest things about the Roland drums. Roland pioneered this technology and holds several patents relating to it. The mesh head consists of crisscrossing nylon fibers and is strained on a hoop with lugs, just like an acoustic drum head. The great advantage of the mesh is that it feels like a real drum when hit with a stick, but is relatively very quiet. Changing the tension of the lugs changes the feel of the pad, yet doesn’t change the electronically generated sound. Although rubber pad electronic kits are still fun, the mesh makes a huge difference. It’s therefore a good thing that all but the lowest model of Roland electronic drums feature at least a snare mesh.
The V-Stage’s snare pad is also capable of detecting where along its radius it is hit and altering the sound accordingly. This function depends on even tension among its five lugs. The lugs are adjusted with a simple drum key, but the TD-8 sound module can assist with the “tuning”. The other mesh pads don’t require an evenly distributed tension.
The image above shows the hi-hat pad. As you can see, the hi-hat is not a mesh pad, but then again, a real hi-hat doesn’t have a drum head, so the rubber is perfectly sufficient. The hi-hat controller pedal is connected directly to the sound module and simulates the opening, closing, and different tensions of a real hi-hat pedal quite well, although not perfectly.
Next is the cymbal pad. The V-Stage includes two identical cymbals. One functions as a crash and the other as a ride. These Rolland cymbals have three triggers, with the two extra ones at the bell (center of the cymbal) and the edge. The TD-8 sound module is only capable of accepting dual trigger cymbals so you’ll have to choose which extra trigger you want. The logical thing to do is take the bell trigger for the ride and edge trigger for the crash. Both cymbals also offer a “choke” function that detects when you grab the cymbal to stop the sound.
This is the Roland TD-8 sound module. The sound module is the brain of every electronic drum kit. You can see wires from all the pads connecting in the back. In addition to pad inputs, you can also connect speakers, headphones, MIDI, and sound through. The sound through lets you connect an external music source which then mixes with the drum sound. This is very useful for playing along with a song. You can connect a CD player directly to the sound module and hear it through the drum’s headphones together with your drumming. The TD-8 also includes a built in metronome, which is great for practice.
The module’s arsenal includes 1023 sounds, 700 preset patterns, and 64 different preset drum kits. Aside from drums, the sounds include backing instruments such as guitars and pianos, and plenty of bizarre stuff such as human scat voices. This sound module has plenty of features to keep you having fun for a while. One of the great things about practicing with electronic drums is that if you’re bored of practicing a certain beat or rudiment, but want to keep going, you can just change the kit and make things sound completely different.