Roland TD-25KV Review
The TD-25KV is the older brother of the original TD-25K by Roland. It’s professional level electronic drum set with many top-end features you would only associate with the better kits.
It comes with the highly rated TD-25 module and a newly designed rack compared with the standard TD-25K. Along with the improved drum rack, there are also a few important upgrades to the tom pads, as well as more cymbal pads.
The newer TD-25KV is approximately 25% more expensive than the TD-25K. Let’s examine what Roland are offering for the hike in price.
Who Should Buy the Roland TD-25K?
Professional or semi-professional drummers will get a lot of use out of this kit. It’s gig-worthy and built to sustain the road. It’s also a fantastic practice kit, with a design that keeps outside noise to a minimum. If you’re new to drums, this kit will probably be wasted on you. You’d be better off saving some money and purchasing something like the TD-1K or the TD-4KP, which also have some nice beginner tutorials. That said, Roland electronic drum sets tend to hold their value when it comes to resale.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
This is a five-piece drum kit with four cymbal pads. That’s a snare, bass drum, three toms, hi-hat, ride and two crash cymbals in total. This is one more CY-12 crash cymbal than on the regular TD-25K. It’s a dual-zone cymbal pad that measures 12 inches in diameter. It plays with the genuine characteristics of a real crash and is also chokable, meaning you can perform cymbal mutes with ease. This extra crash cymbal comes with a flexible stand.
In addition to the two CY-12’s provided, there’s also a larger CY-13R ride cymbal pad. This is actually a three-zone cymbal and has all and more of the features of the CY-12. It’s a small bit larger than the crashes, coming in at 13 inches. The extra zones on this cymbal mean that the bell of the pad can be played for even more realism. You can assign any sample sound of your choosing to this ride pad and trigger it by playing on the inner dome.
In many inferior ride pad iterations such as on the TD-1K kit, the only way to trigger a bell sound was to play with extra force. This was not an ideal solution to the problem and means it is impossible to play the bell with any subtlety or at lower volumes. This is no longer an issue with the far superior CY-13R pad.
The hi-hat on the TD-25KV consists of a VH-11 controller, which is fully stand mountable using a clutch. The VH-11 is the same hi-hat that you get with a TD-25K and is a notable improvement over the FD-8 that comes with the TD-11 series of kits.
The main selling point of the VH-11 is its ability to function like a real, moving hi-hat cymbal. It’s essentially two parts – a top cymbal and a base plate. When connected to the TD-25 drum module, the VH-11 sensors can tell how far apart the plate is from the cymbal pad. This allows the module to assign appropriate sample sounds to represent the hi-hat state.
You will have to supply your own hi-hat stand in order to use the VH-11 properly. Other kits on the market, such as Yamaha’s DTX760K, come with stands supplied, but Roland have chosen to forego the addition here.
Playing on a real hi-hat stand as opposed to a free-floating pedal has its advantages. There is a stronger sense of connectivity and balance when playing intricate patterns between hands and feet. Playing fast hi-hat barks feels far more satisfying than on an immobile pad like the FD-8.
The VH-11 unit can sense how loose or tightly you are pressing on the hi-hat and alter the sound source accordingly. There is a wide range of degrees between the fully open and completely closed position. The hi-hat performs well when played solely with the foot too. A nice feature is that the VH-11 is capable of hi-hat ‘splashing’.
The bass drum pad is the same KD-9 pad that comes with both the TD-25K and the TD-11KV. It’s a standalone unit with a moderately sized beater pad. The KD-9 is double bass compatible and sturdy enough to withstand heavy playing. The noise generated from this pad is remarkably low and this is due to the cloth-like material that it’s made with. On either side of the unit there are two spikes that help with keeping the KD-9 from moving about.
The snare is a PDX-100 mesh head and the same one as on the TD-25K. It’s an ultra-responsive drum pad with a large 10-inch diameter. There is a much better feel to the PDX-100 than both the PDX-8 and PDX-6. The rim feels nicer to play on there is a marked improvement in the stick response.
There are some changes to the tom pads on the TD-25KV compared to the toms supplied with the TD-25K. Most notably, the two PDX-6 front tom pads have been upgraded to PD-85 mesh heads. The difference here is a bigger playing surface and increased dynamic response. The new PD-85 is a similar design to the PDX-100, which adorns the snare. The main difference between the two is the size of the drums themselves – the new tom pads are 8 inches in diameter.
On the floor tom, you get a substantial upgrade to the PDX-100. This is exactly the same pad as the snare,, which means a huge jump in quality from the PDX-8. Being the same size and build as the snare makes for comfortable playing all round. It feels closer to a standard fusion size setup where you might have an equal sized snare and floor tom.
The drum rack that comes with the TD-25KV is an improvement too. You get the newer MDS-9SC as opposed to the MDS-9V that comes with the TD-25K. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the two racks, really. The main difference is that the newer MDS-9SC comes with curved piping, which allows for more ergonomic positioning of the toms.
The TD-25KV comes with the same drum module as on the TD-25K and has some impressive features. Already built into the unit are 18 preset drum kits, comprising of 200 sounds in total. The TD-25 is on a similar level with the TD-30 module and contains some high-end sound samples from world-class recording studios around the world.
Navigating through the drum kits on the TD-25 is made all the easier with the large circular dial that Roland have placed in the center of the interface. Selecting any of the 18 drum kits, or your own custom kits, is a matter of scrolling through folders of rock, funk, metal etc.
The PDX-100 and PD-85 drum pads are ideally suited to get the best from the TD-25 drum module. The extra sensitivity of these pads is immediately apparent when playing through each drum set bank.
On top of regular acoustic modeled drum kits, you also get the usual array of extra sounds and auxiliary instruments such as percussion and electronic dance kits. The module is also USB compatible, meaning you can load your own samples onto the unit and create your own custom kits.
Each sound can be altered to your preference using effects, muffling and tuning. There are 21 effects onboard the TD-25 and you can use these to enhance your sound. Add reverb to a snare or the whole kit for a bigger sound.
Muffling allows you to control the decay of each drum. Snare buzz can be eliminated or added to neighboring toms for a more realistic live sound. Tuning works by pitching each drum or cymbal up and down for more tonal options. A really nice feature of the TD-25 is that it allows ‘group’ tuning so that you can tune multiple drums, such as toms, up or down in pitch together and relatively.
Examine the TD-25KV in more detail here:
One of the first things you notice about the TD-25 drum module is the impressive 64 x 128 pixel LCD display. This is a pleasant display to read from, whatever the lighting. The module is within arm’s reach and can be positioned just over the hi-hat for ease of use.
There are a number of inputs and outputs on the back of the module for connectivity. You get a MIDI out which can be used in conjunction with a Mac or PC to create MIDI drum tracks. There are two USB ports, one for loading Wav or MP3 songs and samples onto the unit, and other for hooking up the TD-25 module to your computer for use with a digital audio workstation (DAW). There’s a handy headphone out for monitoring and also two mono jack outputs for use with a P.A. system. The stereo jack input allows you to send your own audio through the TD-25 drum brain which can be useful for play-along situations.
Along with the audio ins and outs, there is space for another tom or cymbal pad on the module. An obvious choice for expanding here would be another tom. There is plenty of space still left on the MDS-9SC drum rack to accommodate another pad. You could either position it up front with the two PD-85 pads or down to one side with the larger PDX-100 floor tom.
There’s no doubt that the upgraded high quality mesh tom heads are a big step up from the regular TD-25K ones. The playing area is larger and there is no annoying inner plastic rim that is a feature of both the PDX-8 and PDX-6 pads. The TD-25KV also comes with another crash cymbal compared to the TD-25K, which would likely be an investment anyway down the line.
The two front PD-85 tom pads on the TD-25KV of a superior quality than anything on the lesser models, but at only 8 inches, they are a little on the small side. Yamaha’s DTX-760K which is a similar level kit has 10 inch toms. Also a mesh upgrade in the bass drum here would round the kit off nicely.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
If you have more to spend, you might be interested in Roland’s TD-30K and Yamaha’s DTX760K. Both kits also offer larger drum sizes, mesh bass drum heads and over 1000 built-in drum sounds. If you can stretch your budget, take a look at both of these worthy competitors.
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.