Since their introduction, electronic drum kits have either been expensive and out of reach for the average drummer, or cheap toys at the other end of the spectrum. What was originally created as an alternative to buying a loud acoustic drum kit ended up being inaccessible to the average developing drummer. If you wanted to have a truly high-quality electronic drum kit, you would often have to spend more money than you would for a normal acoustic kit!
These days, many manufacturers have made it their goal to create electronic drum kits that are actually affordable and accessible to the general public. Roland is a company that has done this well, providing a variety of different electronic drum kits that more than get the job done while not breaking the bank.
As a popular electronic drum kit, the Roland TD-1KV claims to have both the features and quality of a professional electronic kit and a beginner-friendly price point. It’s hard to get all of that in the same package. Does the TD-1KV live up to the hype?
What Comes in the Box
If you order the Roland TD-1KV it is going to come in a big box with lots of little boxes inside. Here is what you should have when you unbox everything:
- Drum rack
- Kick/bass drum
- Three tom drums
- Two cymbals
- Drum Module
- Kick pedal
- Hi-hat pedal
- Three pairs of drum sticks
You may have noticed one glaring omission from this list: a seat, otherwise known as a drum throne. If this is your first drum kit you may be surprised. However, this is very common. Most drum sets do not come with a drum throne. I don’t think this is a bad thing. You are going to spend a lot of time in that seat practicing. It’s best to get one that fits your behind well. Go pick one out that you like and is comfortable.
So, how does the kit itself hold up? Pretty well! We like how responsive the toms are and they give plenty of shape to the sounds. A common issue with electric drum kits is that they don’t actually make you feel like your actions correspond to the sounds you hear, but this is not the case with the TD-1KV. You can feel a bounce when you hit the pad and it feels pretty close to an acoustic head.
However, one of the most impressive things about this kit is the mesh snare drum. This is the part of the kit that is shockingly realistic, giving you the same type of rebound and feel that you would expect from, well, an acoustic snare drum. The surrounding frame for the snare also feels very similar to acoustic snare stands!
If you’re someone who requires an incredibly detailed interface on the drum module, you might be disappointed with this kit. The module is great and more than does what it needs to do, but it has less features than more advanced models. There may be no EQ on it that you can adjust, but we didn’t have trouble doing that on our own in the digital audio workspace (DAW) we were using the kit with.
How Easy Is the TD-1KV to Assemble?
When setting up this kit, you’ll really appreciate how seamless the experience is. The instructions are easy to understand, the kit itself doesn’t require any additional tools and the assembly only took us 30 minutes. As far as electronic kits go, you really can’t ask for any better than that!
As you start to put the kit together, you’ll realize that it does not take up much space. This is something that we really appreciate about this kit, as it allows you to play intensely without having to worry about the surrounding space.
A negative aspect of the kit’s design is that the frame itself isn’t very flexible. If you prefer to customize the layout of your electronic kit, this might not be the kit for you. If you’re willing to adjust your playing to the specific layout, though, then you will love how natural this kit feels!
One of the biggest issues with many electronic kits is that they are not able to handle excessive or aggressive playing. If you want to have a kit that is truly durable, it’s more likely that you have to purchase a premium product. This is not the case with the TD-1KV, as it really does feel durable. However, you must put it together well for it to actually be durable. The first time we put the kit together, it was not tight enough, but that was because we didn’t assemble it properly. Since we corrected our error, the TD-1KV became one of the most durable electronic drum kits we’ve ever used!
The Drum Module
The main module comes with 15 pre-installed kits. This is a large variety for a product of its price range and we love how different each kit is. For example, the hip hop kit allows you to put a truly modern spin on your playing style while the traditional rock and pop kits are suitable for more traditional playing styles. The sound quality of each kit is also stellar and is just as good as some of the more expensive Roland electronic drum kits.
However, possibly the best aspect of this kit’s module is the practice functions. The module can be used in conjunction with a metronome so you can play along to a specific beat. This is a wonderful addition that is incredibly helpful for drummers looking to practice certain phrases. In the event that you want to be coached on a specific passage, you can use the “Coach” feature to be guided through a given song. Because this model is mainly aimed at beginners who want their first electronic drum kit, these are great features that we really appreciate.
As far as the drum module goes, the kit itself is not very customizable. You’re very much stuck with the features included in it and there are no options to import your own custom drum kit presets. However, a determined player could easily connect their kit to their DAW of choice and begin messing with it through there. It’s worth noting, though, that this kit does not function like a MIDI controller, so you can’t use it to play custom drum sounds you have already loaded into your DAW.
The Roland TD-1KV excels at being a kit for beginner drummers who want the experience of playing a professional kit without having to spend a lot of money to do so. If you go in with those expectations, you will be more than pleased with the product. This is not the kit for professional musicians who want to have a drum kit to use as a MIDI controller.
- Great for beginners
- Comes with a good variety of drums and cymbals
- Helpful practice functions
- Drum pads feel very realistic
- Snare drum is superb
- Comes with 15 pre-installed kits
- Very durable design
- Easy to assemble
- Affordable price
- Does not work as a MIDI controller
- Not very customizable
- Doesn’t come with a drum throne
Our Overall Impression of the Roland TD-1KV
When we opened the box, we did not really know what to expect. Before we used the TD-1KV, we only knew Roland for their incredibly expensive and luxurious products—could it even be possible to have a high-quality product that was also cheap?
As you can glean from our review, the answer is yes. The Roland TD-1KV is an incredibly good electronic drum kit for beginners that does more than simply get the job done. If you get this kit while you learn how to play drums, you will likely have it around for a while, as it is very durable. If you are more interested in a kit that will function as a MIDI controller or come with more preset sounds, you might have an issue, but everyone else will be truly satisfied.
Some consumers might have a problem with the fact that not all of the drums have mesh heads, but we don’t think that is an issue with this product. One of the things we appreciate so much about electronic drum kits is that they don’t have to sound like real drum kits and can represent a wide variety of different instruments. This is why we don’t mind that not every aspect of the kit is 100% realistic when compared to an acoustic kit. When playing techno music that relies more on artificial 808 sounds than acoustic drums, it makes more sense hit a plastic pad. What we think is actually important is the associated rebound with each pad, something that the TD-1KV does very well.
The Roland TD-1KV is also an ideal kit for quiet practice sessions, with the pads making virtually no noise! The drums also don’t change position due to hard playing, so feel free to smash those cymbals as much as you’d like!