Roland TD-25K Review
As the name might suggest, Roland’s TD-25K is a step up from their TD-11 and TD-15 series drum sets in both build and performance. The TD-25K is equipped with sounds that are derived from the highly acclaimed TD-30 module, so it’s a giant leap in quality here.
It also features many high-end improvements to the overall drum set, including better drum pads, an upgrade on the hi-hat and a newly designed MDS-9V drum rack. In this article we will discuss some of the finer points of the TD-25K and see if it warrants the hefty price tag.
Who Should Buy the Roland TD-25K?
Drummers who want a kit that will last them a generation or more will be interested in this drum set. The fact that you can load your own samples onto the module means that you will be able to update this kit year after year. It’s also expandable, meaning that if in time you need more playing options, you can purchase more and better drum pads.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
With the TD-25K Roland offer a fully mesh drum kit with superior playability. Gone are any signs of the rubber pads of earlier models and in their pace sit three types of mesh drum heads. The snare, which is a PDX-100, is the stand-out player of all the drum pads. This is a 10 inch drum with dual-zone response.
The playing area on the PDX-100 is much bigger than the 10 inch model that comes as standard with the TD-11KV. There is no bulky plastic inner ring that was characteristic of the PDX-8. This plastic area effectively reduced the playing area of this 10-inch drum by 2 inches. You won’t have that issue here with the TD-25K.
The response from the PDX-100 is much closer to a real drum head too. The larger playing area means you can trigger a variety of different samples with the subtlety of your playing. You get a much more satisfying rimshot from this drum too as you are not as confined for space.
Rim clicks are much easier to perform on the PDX-100 with the extra room for the stick to rest. With Roland’s lesser models, rim clicks are usually played with the entire stick laying over both rims. With the PDX-100, you can rest the stick instead on the drum head surface while you play the rim click. This is far more representative of a genuine acoustic snare drum.
This new snare is quite possibly the best value for money V-Drum snare that Roland produce. It’s even fully functional with the superior TD-30 drum module. It’s light and compact, and there is little waste when it comes to space. It also looks far more professional than the smaller PDX-8 and PDX-6 series of drum pads.
Moving onto the toms we have a combination of two different sized pads. The front two toms of this five-piece drum set consist of two PDX-6 drum pads. The PDX-6 is an 8 inch drum with dual-zone mesh heads. The playing area on these drums is approximately 6 inches, which is a lot smaller than the surface on the PDX-100 snare.
Many will be fine with this smaller drum for the likes of toms as they are not commonly played as often as the snare is. You still get the rim triggering here so you can assign different sounds to each drum for extra musical options. The response of the rims is quite hard with a bit of spring. You’ll need to be careful here that you don’t hit the inner plastic area on the drum face. This can lead to an annoying and unwanted clicking sound.
On the floor tom, we have a PDX-8 drum head. This is a 10 inch drum head with dual-zone technology and a mesh head. It’s effectively the bigger brother of the PDX-6 drum pad and performs in the same manner. It’s a nice touch for Roland to include a larger size drum for the floor tom as this helps to recreate the feel of a real acoustic drum kit.
The TD-25K comes with a KD-9 bass drum pad which is the same model as is supplied with the TD-11K and TD-11KV. The KD-9 is a standalone bass drum pad which is not connected to the main drum rack at all. It stands upright and is sturdy, yet not too heavy. The material on the pad itself is cloth-like in feel and is perfect for replicating that bass drum head response.
There is no bass pedal supplied with the TD-25K as standard but, on the plus side, the KD-9 pad itself is fully compatible with practically all makes of double bass drum pedal out there. The noise generated from this pad is minimal and there is little movement. It’s solid enough for heavy double bass playing but make sure you position it on a suitable surface.
Hi-hats on electronic drum sets have long been below par and unrealistic. It’s good to see that on the TD-25K, Roland have made vast improvements here. The kit comes one VH-11 hi-hat pad which is vastly different to the CY-5 that is standard with the TD-11 series.
Whereas the CY-5 is designed to be static in nature, the VH-11 moves like an actual hi-hat. It connects to clutch for placing on a physical hi-hat stand. There is no hi-hat stand supplied by Roland so you will have to use one of your own here. The overall effect means the kit feels better to play and gives you an improved sense of balance which is closer to playing on a real kit.
The way the trigger functions on the VH-11 is due to sensors on the underside of the cymbal pad. The pad can sense whether the hi-hat is fully closed, fully open or anywhere in between. The feel of the pad is rubbery, very like a traditional practice pad, and there is very little noise produced from sticking.
The VH-11 works well in a variety of situations from tight hi-hat reggae grooves to loose and washy rock beats. There is an impressive range of hi-hat sounds when playing anywhere in between fully open and closed. Roland have designed the cymbal and clutch mechanism to mimic a real hi-hat and clutch both in feel, sound and movement. The presence of an actual hi-hat stand means that hi-hat chokes feel more real and you can keep time more easily with your foot, like you might do on an acoustic set. You can also splash the hi-hat for added musicality.
The crash that comes with the TD-25K is a CY-12. This is a dual-zone 12-inch cymbal pad with 360 playability. It will also respond to the touches like cymbal mutes by choking the sound sample immediately. The pad is a step up from Roland’s CY-8 cymbal pad which was notably smaller in size.
The CY-13R is a three-zone ride cymbal which is slightly larger than the crash, at 13 inches in diameter. Like the CY-12, this cymbal responds to cymbal chokes/mutes but has more triggering on the playing surface. The bell of this ride cymbal pad can be played and separately assigned its own sample too. Playing closer to the bell produces a standard ride ping effect, while playing closer to the edge of the cymbal pad gives a less controlled crash effect. It’s a very playable cymbal and works well for any style from light nuanced jazz patterns to loud and consistent metal beats.
The TD-25 drum module is an impressive looking piece electronics with its shiny, glass-like finish. This may or may not be a hindrance to you depending on where you are playing. It’s not hard to foresee live playing situations where the shiny surface may lead to unwanted stage light reflections, making it hard to see both the display and the controls.
The design of the module is clean and has some notable new features to make life easier. The large dial in the center of the module is used for selecting anything from kits to song tempos and is also pushable. You can therefore easily navigate through folders of drum kits and sounds without much hassle.
There are 10 knobs on the TD-25 and each controls the more important features of the module. Some of these are: tempo, song select, instrument, tuning, muffling as well as overall level.
Tempo is pretty self-explanatory and refers to the built-in metronome settings. Song select lets you quickly access your play-along tracks. Instrument is where you choose which drum kit sounds you will use.
Muffling allows you to control the drum sustain and things like the amount of snare buzz.
Tuning is a very useful feature for changing up the sounds on any give drum set. You can pitch up or down, much like you would with a drum key on an acoustic drum set.
There are also controls for bass and treble which allows you to instantly alter your overall sound without having to navigate through awkward menus.
The hardware on the TD-25 is robust and each drum sits securely on the MDS-9V rack. With more adaptable stands, the cymbals can be moved and placed in more positions than on the TD-11K. The drum module sits nicely just over the hi-hat cymbal for ease of access. The PDX-100 snare is mounted to the rack too, just like all the toms. If you prefer a freestanding snare and snare stand, you might want to look at the higher-end TD-30K or TD-50K model kits, also by Roland. An alternative is the DTX-760K by Yamaha which is a fully mesh drum kit with free-floating snare and snare stand.
With 200 top quality drum sounds, the TD-25 module is a far superior module to the TD-11. Roland tell us that the sounds on the TD-25 are derived from the roundly-lauded TD-30 drum module. There are 18 kits in total with the ability to store your own custom ones too.
Kits on the TD-25 range from the standard, rock, metal and funk to electro, jazz and percussion. The PDX-100 snare is particularly responsive to the module and you can audibly hear the difference in sensitivity from the accompanying PDX-8 and PDX-6 toms.
As well as being able to muffle and tune the kits on the TD-25 module, you can also add a variety of effects to individual samples. There are 21 multi-effects in total including different reverb types for that realistic live arena sound. There’s also a handy equalizer which allows you to tailor your sound and tweak it to your preference.
Looking at the connections on the module we have 2 mono jack master outputs which can be sent to a mixing console as a stereo feed. Then there’s a standard stereo jack headphone output for use as a monitoring aid.
Input-wise you can plug your own audio feed into the stereo jack provided for an easy play-along experience. There’s also room for two extra pads on the module so you can upgrade the amount of toms or cymbals you already have.
Like in the TD-11 module,8 there is a MIDI out connection, a USB for PC and Mac connectivity and also a USB for loading your own sounds onto the TD-25 module. This can be anything from full songs to individual drum sound samples for creating new and custom kits.
Check out this video on how to load your own sounds onto the TD-25 module:
The TD-25K is great value compared to TD-11KV. It is not a whole lot more than the TD-11KV and has many superior features. The mesh snare drum head is a pleasure to play and works well with the impressive TD-25 module or sounds. The upgrade of the hi-hat is also a major plus.
It would have been nice of Roland to go fully mesh with this kit. The bass drum that comes as standard is the same as the one supplied with the TD-11K. It’s still a respectable pedal to play on but it feels like a mesh head here would complement the PDX-100 snare and the VH-11 hi-hat.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
The main contender to this kit is Yamaha’s DTX760K. The DTX760K is a fully mesh drum set, including mesh on the bass drum and a free standing snare and snare stand. It has over 6 times as many sounds and comes with a hi-hat stand and bass drum pedal. The DTX760K is a top-end electronic kit but you will end up paying almost twice as much for the privilege.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the TD-25K is a huge advancement from Roland’s TD-11 series and not a huge leap in cost. This will be music to the ears of many consumers. For experienced players, I would recommend it over the TD-11KV as the jump in quality is worth the extra spend.