Roland TD-50KV Review
The TD-50KV is Roland’s flagship electronic drum set and offers the latest in technological advancements along with superior playability. The Roland TD-50KV drum set differs from the TD-50K in a number of ways that mainly include better components such as pads and cymbals. This drum kit is over 50% more expensive than the TD-50K. In this review we’ll compare and contrast the features that make the TD-50KV such an elite drum set.
Who Should Buy the Roland TD-50KV?
The TD-50KV is the Roland’s flagship electronic drum kit and so it features design improvements and the latest and most advanced technology. It’s the type of drum kit that will suit professional touring drummers and some recording studio producers. The ease at which you can switch sounds and the quality of the sounds themselves mean that this kit is a perfect asset for the modern drummer who needs an array of different sound textures. If you need a kit that can go from full-on rock on minute to EDM the next, then this drum set is tailor-made for you.
Drums, Pads and Other Hardware
This is a five-piece drum set with four cymbal pads making up the hi-hat, ride and two crash cymbals. The snare is the same snare that comes with the TD-50K and is Roland’s best yet. It’s a PD-140-DS, which is a 14 inch fully mesh drum that looks and operates like a real acoustic drum. This drum is free-floating and can be used along with a conventional snare stand for easy positioning.
The drum itself responds remarkably well with the TD-50 module and has more triggers than any drum previously. The rim has been improved drastically. It’s now possible to get a huge range of different rimshot sounds from very shallow to low and deep, depending on where you strike the drum. The PD-140-DS can also tell the difference between a regular stroke and a buzz roll and seamlessly switch between the two.
The toms on the TD-50KV are a marked improvement from the TD-50K. We have one PD-108-BC which is a 10 inch super-sensitive drum in the same category as the PD-140-DS snare. This drum has the same super-real rim and head response which allows for a multitude of different drum sounds. Playing rolls on these new pads is stunningly realistic as Roland have improved the triggering to alternate between similar samples. This eliminates the overly consistent, machine gun-like sound triggering that you normally associate with electronic drums.
Along with the smaller PD-108-BC there are two PD-128-BC tom pads which function as floor toms. They are bigger in diameter at 12 inches and typically positioned to the left or the right of the snare, depending on your setup. Again these drums are the best tom pads that Roland has to offer and have both a superior feel and great triggering response.
The TD-50KV comes with the VH-13 hi-hat which is the older brother of the VH-11 hi-hat that the TD-50K kit includes. The VH-13 is an exceptional piece of technology, offering never before levels of realism. The VH-13 is fully stand mountable and has better sensors than on the earlier model.
Playing this pad is extremely comfortable and it moves and feels more like a real hi-hat than anything before. The sensors have been improved so as to allow a greater range of expression.
The hi-hat is, along with the ride cymbal, one of the most expressive and versatile instruments on a drum kit, so it’s welcome news that Roland have made it their focus to upgrade here. The hi-hat functions well and sounds great in any position from tightly closed to fully open.
Along with the better toms and the better hi-hat, the TD-50KV has one more over the TD-50K in that it also comes with bigger crash cymbals. The CY-14C and CY-15R are two inches bigger than the two crashes that come with the TD-50K.
Response is impressive with both crashes, including extra sensitivity and playing more like real cymbals. It’s possible to create genuine sounding cymbal swells with these pads hooked up to the TD-50 module, something that was never convincingly achieved in the past. The CY-15R also has an added cymbal bell response, as it was designed to function as a ride cymbal pad.
The bass drum has also been upgraded to a KD-140-BC. This is a bigger drum than the KD-120-BK that comes with the TD-50K. It’s heavier and feels more like an actual bass drum than any other Roland model. There are two large and sturdy legs on either side of the drum which both keep it in place and upright. You can adjust the length and angle of each leg for extra support. The pad stays in place when played, even with heavy double bass playing.
This drum set comes with the highly lauded TD-50 drum module. This module is the same one that comes with the TD-50K. Where the module comes into its own however is with the ultra-sensitive drum pads. The multi-zone triggering on both drum and cymbals allows the TD-50 to pick and choose the best and most appropriate sound sample for every occasion.
The TD-50KV comes with optimum control and connectivity. On the face of the TD-50 module there are large faders to control the level of each drum. There’s also a host of different control knobs for changing effects on your sound. The TD-50 hooks up to any computer through both USB and MIDI and can even capture your performance track by track for editing later.
Here’s an in-depth look at the TD-50KV:
The main pro of the TD-50KV is that you get the best of both worlds with superior sounds and maximum playability. Each pad is tailor-made to be used in conjunction with the TD-50 module which leads to unparalleled expression on this drum set.
There is no real con to this drum set apart from the restricting price tag. Not many people have ten grand lying around to splurge on a top of the line drum kit but there’s no doubt that the TD-50KV will have its suitors.
Other Kits You Might Consider Instead
Roland’s TD-30KV is a worthy competitor and has a number of similar traits to the TD-50KV. It’s not much cheaper in price than this kit but is worth checking out. The TD-30 module is a highly regarded unit but does not have some of the cutting edge sounds that come with the TD-50.
The Bottom Line
As a drum kit, the TD-50KV takes all the best elements of electronic drums and combines them to produce a kit of real beauty.