Roland V-Drums Overview and Review: The Best Electronic Drums Available?

Roland TD-25K kit
Roland TD-25K kit

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

If you’re in the market for a really, really good set of electronic drums, you simply must check out the kits that Roland offers. Many drummers consider these to be the best electronic drum kits available today, especially if the set includes mesh drum heads.

But I’m getting ahead of myself just a little.

What I’m going to do in this article is introduce you to the 6 basic kits that Roland manufactures today. You may see older kits still available online or in a store, but these are the models that Roland touts on their website as of this writing.

If you’re in a hurry and want to check the pricing and availability of each at Amazon, you can click the links below. All these kits (except the TD-4KP Portable) also have a “V” model that generally means an upgrade to mesh drums. Features, quality, and price all go up as you go down the list.

If you want to skip ahead to a specific model or section of this article, you can click on a link in the box below.

The Roland TD-1K: A Good Place to Start

Roland TD-1K
Roland TD-1K

At the bottom of the line is the Roland TD-1K. It is definitely a starter kit, but don’t take that to mean it is a low quality kit. Roland doesn’t make low quality products.

As you can see in the picture above, the rack that the pieces of the TD-1K are mounted on looks a little like a tree. This keeps everything quite compact which is good if you’re short on space.

You get 7 inch drum heads for the snare and 3 toms. Note that there is no pad or tower for the kick drum. You get a kick drum pedal that does all the work.

The other pedal is for the hi-hat which is one of the 3 cymbals, along with the crash cymbal and ride cymbal at the top of the frame.

As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the sets that you can upgrade the snare to a mesh head. The model is then called the TD-1KV. (You just add a “V” to the end of the non-mesh kit when looking for the mesh version.)

You can read my full review of the TD-1K in this article.

The Roland TD-4KP: When Portability Matters a Lot

Roland TD-4kP
Roland TD-4kP

The frame of the Roland TD-4KP (See my full review of the TD-4KP here.) doesn’t look like the TD-1K tree, but it doesn’t look like what you would call a standard rack either.

There’s a very good reason for this.

The “P” in “TD-4KP” stands for “Portable”. This rack is meant to be folded up rather easily so you can stow it in the optional carrying bag and take it with you to a gig without all the hassles that a larger kit can cause.

This arrangement also has the effect of giving the TD-4KP a smaller footprint that most kits. It’s not quite as small as the TD-1K, but it’s close.

The drums are a little larger than those in the TD-1K, measuring 7.5 inches in diameter. This is the one set for which there is no “V” mesh version. That said, you can upgrade the snare to the PDX-6 or PDX-8 mesh head on your own.

Already at this price point, Roland assumes that you either already have or will want to get a kick drum pedal of your own choosing. No kick pedal is included in the basic kit. This is not unusual for quality kits made for experienced drummers.

If you are not an experienced drummer, Roland has you covered here. They have an optional accessory package that includes the kick pedal, a pair of drumsticks, and even a throne to sit on.

The crash and ride cymbals in this set measure 10 inches across. The crash cymbal is chokeable.

The Roland TD-11K: A Big Step Up in Features

Roland TD-11K
Roland TD-11K

Even without the “V” in the model name, you get a snare with a mesh head in the Roland TD-11K. When you do add the “V”, you get mesh on all 4 drums, snare, the two rack toms, and the floor tom.

The snare drum is larger, at 10 inches in diameter, than the 8.5 inch toms. You can play rim shots with this PDX-8 snare.

The 10 inch hi-hat has a natural swing movement. It’s not rigidly attached to the frame as most hi-hats are. It also has separate trigger areas for the bow and the edge. In the TD-11KV model, the crash and ride cymbals have triggers for the bow, edge, and bell.

Even though the frame is shaped more like a standard rack, Roland still considers this a compact setup. They call it V-Compact. (I’m not sure why. Perhaps simply to go along with their V-Drums.)

You may see this kit called the TD-11K-S by some vendors. As far as I can tell, this is simply their own naming of the basic TD-11K and not a separate model.

As of this writing, another kit, the TD-15K (and the TD-15KV, both in the V-Tour series) is also visible on the Roland website, but you have to dig for it. It is not currently available at Amazon, though this may have changed by the time you read this. You can check for the TD-15K here.

The Roland TD-25K: A Marvelous Mid-Range Kit

Roland says that the sound engine (in the sound module) of the TD-25K is based on the one in their “flagship” TD-30K kit. I think this statement (found in several places on the Roland site) was made before they came out with their top of the line TD-50K set. (By the time you read this, Roland may have changed these qualifications.)

In any case, Roland wants you to realize that, in the TD-25K, you’re getting more than you bargained for – at least, in theory.

The TD-25K already includes all mesh heads for the drums. The snare is a 10 inch PDX-100. The rack toms are 6.5 inch PDX-6 heads, and the floor tom is a PDX-8, which measures 8 inches across.

The hi-hat gets needs own stand, but you’ll have to get one separately. This is supposed to make it feel even more like one from an acoustic set. You can more easily place it where you like this way.

The crash and ride cymbals have the natural swinging motion here too (just like the hi-hat already did in the TD-11K). The cymbals are getting quite large at this stage. The crash is 12 inches, and the ride cymbal is 13. Only the crash is noted as having choke capability. The ride has edge, bow, and bell trigger zones.

The TD-25KV model adds a second crash cymbal and has larger toms.

The Roland TD-30K: Once at the Top, Still Excellent

Roland TD-30K
Roland TD-30K

As mentioned above, the TD-30K was once (and still is?) considered the flagship model of the Roland electronic drum kits.

It’s easy to see why.

You get a 12 inch snare drum and 10 inch toms – 4 toms all together in the TD-30KV version. There is a 12 inch kick pad but, of course, still no kick pedal.

The snare and the hi-hat are to be mounted on their own stands. You have to provide these, but at this level, that normally isn’t a problem for a drummer.

I believe the crash cymbal measures 14 inches and the ride 15 inches because they are called the CY-14C-MG and CY-15R-MG respectively.

The sound module has all kinds of nifty features, as you might expect.

See full reviews of the 30K and 50K in this article.

The Roland TD-50K: The New Flagship

Roland TD-50K
Roland TD-50K

Roland now calls the TD-50K their “new flagship” kit. Everything keeps getting bigger and better.

You get a 14 inch mesh snare drum and 3 PDX-100 toms. In the TD-50KV, the toms are upgraded.

For the cymbals, you get an 11 inch hi-hat, 12 inch crash, 13 inch ride (or crash), and a huge 18 inch digital ride. The hi-hat, crash, and smaller ride cymbals appear to be larger in the TD-50KV. (I base all these measurements on the numbers in the actual names of these pieces.)

It seems that you do get a kick pedal in both the TD-50K and TD-50KV (upgraded). This is really strange considering that almost all of Roland’s cheaper kits do not include this pedal. In addition, you get a stand for the snare drum. I guess that Roland figures you deserve a few extras for the price.

Conclusions about the Roland Electronic Drum Sets

It sounds cliche, but you really can’t go wrong with a set of Roland electronic drums. Roland does not skimp or cut corners even on the simplest kit in their line. They just keep adding on as you move up.

The vast majority of owners and users give all these kits, even the TD-1K, a high rating. Most of the negative comments come from unrealistic expectations, such as expecting a kick pedal when one is not included in the list of parts. To be fair, even Roland usually includes this pedal in their pictures which can be misleading, despite printed disclaimers to the contrary.

So pick your price point or features you need and select the kit that comes closest to that. I think you’ll be pleased with what you find.

You can see all these model at Amazon now.

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Gary Sonnenberg
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