Hypothetically, let’s say you’re a planet-straddling, snakeskin-booted, Ray-Banned rock god who wants it all and wants it now. Choosing your Roland V-Drums kit is a no-brainer. It’s got to be a gleaming Roland V-Pro Series TD-30: the holy grail of electronic kits, delivering infinite tone, playing like a dream and easily assembled by your tech while you watch from the Wembley soundboard.
But now let’s say you’re a deadly serious semi-pro, or a working musician with one anxious eye on the budget. You’ve paid your dues, pounded the circuit and graduated through a slew of old-school wood-and-skin drumkits that just weren’t capturing the sound in your head. You want a kit that won’t end up mothballed in the attic, lets you channel everyone from Bonham to Cobham, offers forensic tone-tweaking, hones your chops, and hops seamlessly between jams, gigs, recording and practise sessions.
If that sounds like you, friend, then pull up a drum stool. We can’t all be rock icons, but the Roland V-Drums range doesn’t do elitism, and in 2013, the razor-edge technology of the flagship TD-30 filters into two lower price points, in the form of the V-Tour Series TD-15 and V-Compact Series TD-11. Here’s a rundown to help you decide which one to get onto your riser.
What’s the difference between models?
The TD-11 is available in two variants. First up is the more economical TD-11K, featuring 8” rubber tom pads, a dual-trigger mesh V-Pad snare and CY-8 dual-trigger cymbals with choke capability.
The TD-11KV raises that spec with all dual-trigger mesh-head V-Pads, alongside two dedicated V-Cymbals in the crash and ride positions.
Likewise, the TD-15 also has two incarnations, with the TD-15K using all-mesh PDX-Series V-Pads and dedicated V-Cymbals, while the TD-15KV adds the VH-11 V-Hi-Hat, fitted to an acoustic hi-hat stand for truly natural performance. (Hi-hat stand is not supplied).
Across the board, new sensing technology powered by Roland’s SuperNATURAL ‘Behaviour Modelling’, means the TD-15 and TD-11 play like ‘real’ drumkits, not like science projects.
Check out our guide to V-Drums SuperNATURAL technology and how it works.
TD-11 vs TD-15 Module
While both the TD-11 and TD-15 modules may share looks and similar features, the TD-15 has few aces up its sleeve;
- More instruments and kits
- Built-in FX processor
- Kit Chain function
- Quick Edit function
- Illumination Ring with click sync
- More inputs for additional pads/triggers
|Number of instruments||196||500|
|Number of kits||50 (25 Kits/25 User kits)||100 (50 Kits/50 User kits)|
|Kit chain function||No||Yes|
|Instrument Editing Parameters||Head Tuning, Muffling, Snare Buzz, Snare Strainer, Tone Colour, Volume, Pan||Head Tuning, Muffling, Snare Buzz, Snare Strainer, Tone Colour, Volume, Pan|
|Quick edit feature (Tuning, Muffling, Snare strainer)||No||Yes|
|Ambience and Effects||Ambience (10 types), 4-band equaliser||Ambience (10 types), 4-band equaliser|
|On board ‘FX’ engine||No||Yes (10 multi-FX such as compression, saturator, distortion and more)|
|Song player with internal songs||Yes (38 installed + 14 on supplied CD room)||Yes (38 installed + 23 on CD)|
|Internal click (metronome)||Yes||Yes|
|Route click track through headphones only?||No||Yes|
|Internal coach and timing check||Yes (Time Check, Quiet Count and Warm Up’s)||Yes (Time Check, Quiet Count and Warm Up’s)|
|Quick Record function||Yes||Yes|
|USB Memory back up?||Yes||Yes|
|USB Song player (.wav/.mp3 files)||Yes (.wav/.mp3 files)||Yes (.wav/.mp3 files)|
|USB Wireless Connectivity||Yes||Yes|
|USB Audio recording||Yes (Stereo L/R)||Yes (Stereo L/R)|
|Number of Auxiliary Trigger Inputs||1||2|
|Auxiliary ‘Mix In’ Input||Yes (3.5mm Jack)||Yes (3.5mm Jack)|
|Illumination Ring with click sync||No||Yes|
Is the TD-11 or TD-15 the right kit for me?
The TD-11 is amongst the most affordable kits in the V-Drums range, while the TD-15 justifies its higher price point with a fistful of additional features for the gigging drummer – but both kits share a common concept and many of the same killer features. Powered by the game-changing SuperNATURAL technology unveiled by Roland in 2012, the TD-11 and TD-15 are a playground for tone junkies, with a drum sound module (aka ‘brain’) that offers a library of expressive sounds and kit models, simulating the tone, touch and dynamics of history’s greatest drums in minute detail.
Sound possibilities with the TD-11 and TD-15 modules
You’d never play a drumkit straight out of the box, and accordingly, both the TD-11 and TD-15 offer infinite scope for tweaking, with players free to tailor parameters from pitch and decay to snare tension, swap in a virtual maple snare or set the virtual room ambience anywhere between bathroom and stadium. On this front, the TD-15 raises the spec sheet over the TD-11 with a Quick Edit feature for on-the-fly adjustment, alongside deeper tone-shaping offered by the onboard FX engine (allowing compression, saturator, distortion and more).
Perfect your drum playing
Doubling as your own live-in drum tutor, both the TD-11 and TD-15 include the Coach exercise programme for building chops and polishing skills, plus the Quick Rec/Quick Play feature that allows instant recording, playback and self-assessment. And when the band aren’t around, you can play along with a range of professionally recorded backing songs, using the USB port for data backup and playback of your favourite MP3/WAV files. Here, the TD-15 offers more onboard songs, and also features an Illumination Ring on the module, syncing with the click for a visual element while playing live, or responding dynamically to the attack of your beats.
Bolstered by the V-Tour Series TD-15 and V-Compact Series TD-11, the V-Drums range has something for everyone. Decide on your needs, consider your budget – then hit your local dealer and give ’em some stick.
Choosing an electronic drum kit: The Roland V-Drums Range Explained