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TD-50 versus TD-30 Analysis

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  • TD-50 versus TD-30 Analysis

    I just finished a detailed analysis of the TD-50, comparing it to the TD-30. For those who want to know the exact differences, here is a list of what I discovered:

    Forward Steps: TD-50 Improvements Over The TD-30
    For acoustic drum set instruments, machine gunning seems considerably reduced. It's not perfect and there are still elements of machine gunning here and there, but it's a huge improvement over the TD-30.

    For acoustic drum set instruments, the TD-50 is considerably more believable than the TD-30.

    Position Area parameter added. Positional sensing is no longer only an on/off setting. For each pad, how sensing occurs across the head can be adjusted.

    SD card slot added.

    Each sequencer pattern provides the sequencer's entire 40,000 capacity and patterns are now stored on SD card.

    Pitch Sweep and Decay parameters added.

    Dynamic Enhancer parameter added.

    Muffling parameter has been expanded with more options.

    Bass drum Low Level and Low Decay parameters added.

    Snare drum Overtone parameter added.

    Snare drum Strainer parameter has many more levels for Loose, Medium, and Tight.

    Snare Wire Type parameter added.

    Snare Wire Level parameter added.

    Hihat Thickness parameter added.

    Hihat Muffling parameter added.

    Crash Thickness parameter added.

    Crash Muffling parameter added.

    Ride Thickness parameter added.

    Ride Muffling parameter added.

    Ride Ping Color and Ping Level parameters added.

    Transient Envelope for each instrument (Time, Attack, Release, Gain) added.

    Sub Instrument for dual sound layering (On/Off, Sub Inst, Layer Type, Fade Point, Sub Volume) added.

    Three Multi-effects per kit instead of the TD-30's one. Limitation: Each pad can have only one Multi-effects processor assigned. Thus, for each pad, you can choose from one of three Multi-effects processors, but you cannot assign a chain of Multi-effects processors.

    Master Compressor is now dual band.

    User Sample function added. Limitation: Only two layers per zone.

    Click Quiet Count function added.

    Mixer Pad Maximum Volume parameter added. "Maximum volume of each pad. This lets you decrease the volume of the strongest hits while preserving their nuances. You can limit the volume while preserving the nuances of the strongest hits. This is available only for pads that support digital connection and for input from the MIDI In connector." Limitation: This parameter seemed to have great potential for combating hotspots. However, as noted, it only applies to the new digital pads.

    USB audio multichannel in/out support added. 10 Channels out. 4 Channels in.

    Slider routing parameter added. Provides separate headphone versus master and direct out mixes.

    Mic Element Overhead parameter added.

    Mic Element Room parameter added.

    Mic Width (spread of overhead mic and room mic) parameter added.

    Direct Out Attenuation parameter added. Provides preset attenuation settings of the direct outs independent of the main mix, to prevent distortion in direct out receiving devices when the main mix is high.

    Digital snare support added, featuring significantly reduced hot spots and greater playability when using Roland's new, 14 inch, digital snare pad.

    Digital ride support added, featuring greater playability when using Roland's new, 18 inch, digital ride pad.

    XLR balanced line stereo Master Output jacks added.

    TRS direct outputs all upgraded to balanced line.



    Backward Steps: TD-30 Features Removed From TD-50 and/or Lacking Enhancement
    Prismatic sound modeling = euphemism for "same architecture with updates". Although many parameters have been added and removed, none-the-less, the TD-50 features a sound engine and V-Edit system that is very similar to past V-Drum systems. It's particularly disappointing to see that, as in previous Roland flagship modules, the TD-50 is limited by lack of sample layers.

    USB Type A port removed. The second, USB Type B port for interfacing to a computer remains, but with the Type A port gone, it's no longer possible to connect USB data sticks and USB hard drives.

    Brush sweeps still only detected on snare drum. No sweeps on toms, cymbals, or any other pads.

    Brush instruments are very limited: 1 snare and snare rim, 1 rack tom (12 inches), 1 floor tom (14 inches)

    TD-20, TD-20X, and TD-30 presets cannot be loaded into the TD-50. This is likely due to the changes in instrument library, V-Edit parameters, sequencer, and other parameters and features.

    Percussion Sets removed, limiting the number of instruments that can be triggered externally through MIDI and removing the ability to expand the number of trigger inputs available through MIDI.

    Snare Shell Material (Brass, Steel, Wood) removed.

    Mic Element Size parameter removed.

    Extremely limited number of acoustic drum sounds. I counted: bass drums (7), snare drums (5), tom sets (4), hats (2), rides (2), and cymbals (various crash, stack, and effect cymbals). Ride cymbal selection is particularly disappointing; just one medium complex ride and one ping ride.

    The TD-50 focuses on fewer sounds that are of higher quality. However, it continues Roland's high ratio of junk sounds. Out of over 400 instruments, around 50 to 100 are drum kit fundamentals, and a large portion of these are crash and effect cymbals. Many of the remaining 300 sounds are specialized and unlikely to be used.

    Sequencer now only records one pattern internally and that pattern is lost when powering off. Must save patterns to an SD card to retain them.

    Sequencer recording is considerably dumbed down. No quantizing. No time signatures and bar lines. No overdub. Etc.

    Sequencer editing is entirely gone. No copying sections. No inserting sections. No deleting sections. No merging sections and patterns. No time signature changes. Etc. The lack of overdubbing and editing in the sequencer is a critical loss for learning and teaching. No more entering and overdubbing parts one limb at a time to examine and build coordinated independence skills.

    Pad patterns (Pad Pattern) and their assignments are completely gone. For those stepping outside acoustic drums and into the creative possibilities of electronic drums, this is a big loss. In the TD-30 and previous Roland flagship modules, pad patterns allow assigning MIDI data to pads. Thus, you can assign a note or chord, any number of stacked sounds, sequences of notes, sequences of chords, or any stream of MIDI data. Now that pad patterns are gone, a huge amount of flexibility is lost.

    Head types are still limited to Clear, Coated, and Pinstripe. This isn't a loss, but it's a disappointment. For example, there is no modeling for single layer versus dual layer heads. Similarly, there is no modeling for calf-skin style heads (like Fiberskyn) and vintage style heads.

    Top and bottom head modeling (dual head modeling) is still missing. Again, not a loss, but most definitely a disappointment.

    Level sliders for Aux1 through Aux4 have been removed. There is now only a single, global slider for all auxiliary inputs. This is a problem when using auxiliary inputs for disparate instruments, like extra snares, bass drums, hats, rides, etc. You cannot grab a slider to adjust, say, your second bass drum without affecting the other auxiliary instruments.

    Now that the TD-50 has both volatile and non-volatile memory, the "no need to save; just turn it off when done" simplicity is gone.

    Still only supports a single three-way ride cymbal. This one utterly astounds me! I had to jury-rig a second, three-way ride cymbal on the TD-30. This hasn't changed with the TD-50. If you want more than one ride, it's still necessary to jury-rig ride cymbal pads and cymbal bells.

    Still not sonically comparable to modern sample libraries. For example, VST drum libraries and Pearl's upcoming Mimic Pro blow the TD-50 away.

    Still has hotspots with analog, center-mounted-piezo pads, which are the majority of pads one will use with the TD-50.

    Still only supports cross-stick on the snare input (digital or analog). No cross-stick support on any other inputs.

    Each digital input (snare, ride, etc.) disables its associated analog input, so you don't gain analog inputs when using the digital inputs. Similarly, once an instrument has been assigned digitally (such as a snare or ride), it cannot be assigned to a second digital input. This means you cannot have two digital rides, two digital snares, etc.

    Roland digital pads are proprietary and can only be used with the TD-50.

    Roland digital pads are not as user maintainable as previous pads. If the embedded controller and/or other special aspects of the pad fail, these parts are not available from third party suppliers. This is in contrast to the standardized analog pads, which are easy for users to maintain and repair with third party parts.

    S/P DIF Digital Output Jack removed.

    Last edited by TangTheHump; 01-22-17, 10:38 PM.

  • #2
    Good work Tang. Very helpful.
    . digitalDrummer
    Review index

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    • #3
      Little correction: There is 7 bass drum with all remarks, there is 2 hihats not 4, the E are for HIHAT edge, same as the ride edge\ bow\bell it's the same instruments, only difference zone sound.

      -The sequencer are now sampling audio mostly, the 40,000 is for the limit and SMF files export and wav exports
      Last edited by Chris K; 12-20-16, 06:38 PM.

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      • #4
        TangTheHump Thanks so much for taking the time to document all this!
        TD30 | PD-128S, PD-128, (2) PD-108, PD-120 | KD-120 | (2) CY15R, (2) CY14C, CY13R, CY12C, VH11 | MDS-25 rack | DW3000 double bass pedal | DW3000 HH stand | roc-n-soc nitro throne | Audio Technica ATH-M40x

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        • #5
          Chris K,

          I added your corrections to the list. Thanks!

          About the sequencer. Are you sure it only converts to MIDI on file output? Meaning, it does not record MIDI? I can't really see how you'd get detailed MIDI from sampled audio, but perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean. And indeed, how can the TD-50 output sequences as individual instruments (bass drum, snare drum, hats, tom 1, tom 2, tom 3, ride, etc.) over MIDI if it doesn't record sequences as MIDI? Are you saying the TD-50 does not do this? That would be another considerable loss for recording applications. I'd far rather have the MIDI data than 10 tracks of USB digital audio. The MIDI data, of course, is for feeding computer sequencers where advanced editing is available and the results can be sent to VST drum libraries. The TD-50 cannot do this from its sequencer?

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          • #6
            allanjohn and Desmond,

            Thank you for the feedback and you are both most welcome. :-)



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            • #7
              Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post
              Chris K,

              I added your corrections to the list. Thanks!
              About the sequencer. Are you sure it only converts to MIDI on file output? Meaning, it does not record MIDI? I can't really see how you'd get detailed MIDI from sampled audio, but perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean. And indeed, how can the TD-50 output sequences as individual instruments (bass drum, snare drum, hats, tom 1, tom 2, tom 3, ride, etc.) over MIDI if it doesn't record sequences as MIDI? Are you saying the TD-50 does not do this? That would be another considerable loss for recording applications. I'd far rather have the MIDI data than 10 tracks of USB digital audio. The MIDI data, of course, is for feeding computer sequencers where advanced editing is available and the results can be sent to VST drum libraries. The TD-50 cannot do this from its sequencer?
              What I means, the traditional sequencer with Roland are now more audio track style. In Td-50 there is 4 track, record your drums along to the backing track and export them separately as wav files for mixing on Mac/PC, also the backing track in TD-50 you can play a click track synced with the backing track files and if you name the wav click 'songname_click' it's automatically routed just to the headphones.

              About the real time recording, If you record and play the 1 track performance and plug it via midi, external sound source will play track, but it is easier to play the exported SMF midi files format to your DAW. In Td-50 record the drum performance in the temporary memory and only real time recording to 40,000 notes max, no separate track. The temporary memory drum performance can be copied to an SD card before it get erased after the units is off, or exported as an audio file (WAV) or SMF (midi files) to SD card. It is not like previous TD Flagship module, with separate track and General MIDI Sound with internal memory and all fundamental sequencers functions. This is similar to TD-15, realtime recording and can export to wav files and smf, without any sequencer function.
              Last edited by Chris K; 12-21-16, 01:39 PM.

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              • #8
                This is really useful, not only for the customers in the Roland cycle but people outside this scope as well.

                It's a great insight into what features make it the benchmark of Roland's latest and greatest drum module, as well as the pitfalls - opportunities that competitors could potentially tackle.

                Straight to the point Tang, well done!
                ♦ Diamond Drums 4pc in Di-Noc carbon ♦ MegaDRUM + Roland UA-1010 / cymbals / KT-10 (x2) ♦ Tama / Gibraltar hardware ♦ JBL LSR3 Series 2.1 Monitoring
                Community Drum Module Document
                PA Specifications (wip)

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                • #9
                  Nice comparison. One correction is that the individual analog outputs are actually balanced (which is why they are TRS). It is the pair of 1/4" master outs that are unbalanced (and you have the alternative XLR master outs if you want balanced master outs).

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                  • #10
                    ... well, that's my TD-50 order cancelled.
                    *** Never buy a module without MIDI IN ***
                    Yamaha & Roland modules. DTX,TM-2, EC-10m, SP-404. Multi12. TrapKat. ControlPads. Octapad, SamplePad, Wavedrum. Handsonic. Dynacord RhythmStick. MPC. Paiste 2002/Signatures. Cajons. Djembes. Darbuka. Windsynth. MIDI Bass. Tenori-on. Zoom ARQ. Synths. Ukes.

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                    • #11
                      Nice comparison.
                      Last edited by jtrego; 12-21-16, 11:45 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post
                        No brush instruments / sounds.

                        Brush sweeps still only detected on snare drum. No sweeps on toms, cymbals, or any other pads.

                        No brush support currently. Brush switch and parameters are available, but not working.

                        TD-20, TD-20X, and TD-30 presets cannot be loaded into the TD-50. This is likely due to the changes in instrument library, V-Edit parameters, sequencer, and other parameters and features.

                        Very nice comparison, much appreciated.

                        Michael Schack has responded to these above mentioned topics and you can find his answers here:
                        https://www.vdrums.com/forum/general...64#post1144964

                        Cheers,

                        Roland TD-50KV / SPD-SX / Superior Drummer 3

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by electrodrummer View Post
                          ... well, that's my TD-50 order cancelled.
                          Curious as to which of the "omissions" listed above led you to this conclusion. In other words are all of them a "deal killer" or just certain things.

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                          • #14
                            In practice,the 50 sounds a lot better than the 30. The ride is excellent and there are a lot more variables to shape the sound. The snare wire adjustments are amazing and the transient designer can really make the snare and kick pop.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TangTheHump View Post
                              Top and bottom head modeling (dual head modeling) is still missing. Again, not a loss, but most definitely a disappointment.
                              This is basically the pitch sweep (adjustable pitch bend) feature in Td-50 doing this for instrument.

                              -Real acoustic drum Higher bottom head tension create pitch bend up-down longer sustain
                              -Equal head create more equal and bit more shocked sound
                              -Looser bottom head create pitch bend down-up
                              Last edited by Chris K; 12-22-16, 02:27 AM.

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