Roland TD-1K Review: Feels Like An Acoustic Drum
Roland’s TD-1K is more expensive than most entry-level kits, but this is a company that has consistently delivered great products in the electronic instrument market for years.
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The big question to be answered today: Just how good is the TD-1K and is the price tag warranted?
This article takes an in-depth look at what makes this kit tick and aims to give you a comprehensive picture of what it can offer you.
At a Glance – Our Initial Thoughts
We think the TD-1K not only has excellent sound reproduction, but it is one of the most realistic feeling e-drums in the entry-level range. With pre-loaded kits to choose from, it sounds great straight out of the box and provides a very intuitive playing experience. The natural and accurate sounds really impressed us, and it feels very close to the real thing when you are playing it.
Roland has also loaded up on the features with this model, while simultaneously toning down the overall sound output so you won’t disturb those around you. Anyone who lives with a drummer can testify to the importance of this!
There is also great flexibility in the TD-1K. Not only is special attention paid to how it sounds and looks, but also on the overall quality of the instrument, and you can even upgrade certain aspects of the kit for a custom design.
What’s In The Box?
The TD-1K comes with silicone pads in your basic 8-piece configuration. This includes a snare, 3 toms, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, and hi-hats. Both the hi-hats as well as the kick drum are controlled with trigger pedals that pick up foot nuances for precision playing. This helps diminish kit noise while providing comfortable placement for your feet at the same time.
The pads, cymbals, and module (aka drum brain) are all attached to an adjustable frame that is strong enough for the hardest of hitters. The frame can be height adjusted to accommodate small and large drummers, and the pads can also be adjusted for perfect angles.
The drum brain is easy to operate and allows for you to cycle through the various kits (it has 15 to choose from), or use in practice mode.
The TD-1K can also be hooked up to your computer via USB cable for recording purposes. The module does allow for recording short clips as well, but hooking it up to a computer will unleash its full potential for demoing full songs with your band.
Also included on the brain is a headphone port you can use to hook the kit up to an amp/speaker system, and a 1/8” input that allows you to plug in your MP3 player (phone/tablet), so you can play along with your favorite songs.
Realistic & Intuitive Response
Electronic drums can never replace an acoustic kit, but the TD-1K comes close. No matter your style, there is something for everyone here, with 15 different kits (from rock to jazz to hip hop) that you can choose from. The sounds are of high quality and do an excellent job replicating what you would hear playing a real kit. Natural sustain rings through nicely, and you can even pull off more precision moves such as cymbal chokes and rim shots. The cymbals are also multi-zone depending on if you strike the bell, bow, or edge.
The pads also afford you a very intuitive response time. Hit them soft, and it will sound soft. Hit them hard, and it will sound like you are hitting them harder and louder. A very cool feature that a lot of entry-level kits are usually hit or miss with (no pun intended), but Roland gets right.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing can be a chore at times, but Roland tries to make it as fun for you as it possibly can.
Using the module in practice mode, you can play along to the 15 songs that are provided for you or use the V-Drums tutor for learning notation while brushing up on your technique.
A customizable metronome is also included, with multiple sounds and rhythm patterns you can choose from to keep yourself in time.
Of course, there is always the choice of connecting your phone or tablet and playing along with your favorite songs, which is usually the most fun way to practice your chops. If you have any practice apps on your device, you can use these with the TD-1K as well.
Home Studio Use
A lot of musicians want the ability to record their music, and Roland gives you some good flexibility in this area.
The drum module can allow for short clips to be recorded and played back, but the real power lies in its MIDI and USB connectivity. This allows you to record your playing straight into a computer. This can be used for tracking your growth as a drummer, recording a cool groove you came up with or tracking full demos with your friends/band.
Upgrade To A Quieter Experience
As flexible as this kit already is, Roland allows you to upgrade certain portions of it.
While the trigger kick drum that it comes with is ideal for minimizing noise output, some players prefer the feel of a beater. With that in mind, you can upgrade the kick drum trigger to Roland’s KD-9, or KD-10 beater/pad. Both of these models use a beater with a cushioned pad for low noise levels, can be used with a double bass configuration, and provide a more natural feel that drummers are accustomed to.
You can also add another cymbal into the mix with Roland’s OP-TD1C model, which provides the same bow and edge response time as the TD-1K’s other 10 inch cymbals.
If you really want to quiet down the kit, Roland also makes mesh pads that you can add in to any of the spots on the kit. The PDX-6, PDX-8, and PDX-100 are all compatible upgrades in 6, 8, and 10-inch sizes, respectively.
Our Final Thoughts
If there are any improvements to be made, it would be that the pads have limited positioning. Yes they can be angled, and the entire frame moves up and down, but a little more maneuverability would be nice for that perfect positioning for your setup. Also, as with most e-kits, the TD-1K does not come with a drum throne, so keep that in mind when you are shopping.
Having said that, this is one of, if not the best entry-level electronic drum kits on the market. Roland has made a kit that is not only fun to play but also sounds great, functions well, and provides excellent all-around value
If this electronic drum set is not what you were looking for, check out our Best Electronic Drum Set post.