What’s So Special about the digital pads in the new TD-50 Series V-Drums?

Why do pro drummers want a piece of the latest TD-50 series V-Drums? It’s easy to understand once you experience the new Roland TD-50 digital pads.

We could give you a whole list of reasons why this flagship set is the must-play kit of modern times.

Let’s focus on the PD-140DS and CY-18DR Roland TD-50 digital pads.

If you’ve seen the demo videos by Kai Hahto, you’ll know how good they sound.

Now, discover why these pads represent the biggest leap for triggering technology in 30 years.

Contributed by Roland UK

Do they have anything in common with Roland’s existing pads?

“If we’re talking cold, hard tech, the PD-140DS and CY-18DR are streets ahead, featuring five times as many piezo-electric sensors…”

At first glance, the PD-140DS snare and CY-18DR ride share the vibe of existing V-Pads and V-Cymbals.

However, the new PD-140DS snare features three-ply mesh head – all other V-Drums mesh heads are two ply.

Only three-plies heads allow natural-rebound feel and natural resistance under the stick.

Roland PD-140DS Digital Snare
Roland PD-140DS Digital Snare

The PD-140DS snare drum’s familiar 14” dimension means it fits easily into your kit on a standard acoustic snare stand.

The CY-18DR ride, meanwhile, comes in at 18” with a more pronounced bell, giving plenty of acoustic-style swing on the stand. The big departure though, is what’s happening below the surface.

Roland CY-18DR Digital Ride
Roland CY-18DR Digital Ride

What’s so special about the onboard technology?

An electronic pad or cymbal is only as good as its sensors and triggers, as these are the elements that capture your playing; how hard you hit, where you hit and the time between each hit, before relaying the data to the sound module.

If we’re talking cold, hard tech, the latest PD-140DS and CY-18DR are streets ahead. These triggers feature five times as many piezo-electric sensors than other pads.

This new design affords much more accurate sensing and removal of the ‘hot spots’ that can make lesser electronic drum kits inconsistent and frustrating.

These pads are multi-sensing too – they not only have piezo electric sensors but also have electro-static sensor. This is similar technology as used on the touch-screen of your smart phone.

All this innovation results in snare and ride that behave exactly like their acoustic counterparts; natural muting by touching the bow of the ride and seamless, automatic cross-stick detection on the snare.

Can you use these new pads with other V-Drums modules?

“The pads’ astonishingly accurate positional and velocity sensing becomes obvious as soon as you throw some dynamic techniques at them…”

Unfortunately not – the digital trigger inputs and the proprietary technology that provides the expression and playability is unique to the TD-50 module.

Given that they’re sensing the minutiae of your stick-work, these new pads are obviously sending some pretty complex data down the line to the sound module.

The TD-50 is the most advanced module out there driven by new Prismatic Sound Engine. Loaded with more processing power than ever before, every last detail of your technique comes through loud and clear.

It’s easy to connect the pads too via the module’s USB-based digital trigger inputs which automatically adapt to the trigger.

But how does all that tech actually benefit me as a drummer?

The short answer to that is: grab your sticks!

The new Roland TD-50 digital pads’ astonishingly accurate positional and velocity sensing becomes obvious as soon as you throw some dynamic techniques at them.

On the PD-140DS snare, try a few rolls, rim shots, brush scrapes and cross-stick techniques (just place your hand on the head to play in this style).

See how conventional drumming techniques can be used on the PD-140DS

On the CY-18DR ride, throw in a bow shot, edge shot and bell shot, or even choke the cymbal with a single touch.

These pads genuinely let you use the same techniques as you would on acoustic drums. What you play is what you hear.

See how conventional drumming techniques can be used on the CY-18DR


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Created by Roland V-Drums specialist Simon Ayton, these patches were designed using the internal factory sounds and many of the techniques covered in the TD-50 guide. Enjoy exploring the possibilities!