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Roland vs. The Rest!

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  • Roland vs. The Rest!

    Hi, all!

    I love my acoustic kit but, as The Wife is working from home and will be for quite some time, it's probably time to transition back to an electronic kit so I can, you know, play!

    I had two TD-7 kits back in the mid 90's when they came out and had them strung together for one mondo-Peartish kit. I know the kits, pads especially, have come a long way since then.

    Now, I know this is a Roland-centric site but looking for honest opinions here from those who have had experience with both Roland mesh head kits and Alesis, Yamaha and the rest of the mesh head kits.

    Besides the quality of the samples, I'm mostly concerned with the sensitivity of the triggers. I recall being able to adjust the sensitivity of the triggers on the TD-7 and imagine that's still a thing on the Roland kits. How does the sensitivity of the mesh Roland hardware compare to others? Durability? Ability to use a Roland brain/module with an Alesis, etc. kit?

    Lay it on me!

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I suggest that in addition to the feedback you get here that you check out "65 Drums" on YouTube. Justin runs a good channel and reviews all things eDrum with lots of good info. I've been running Roland gear for years and it still surprises me as to how many of the older modules pads you find on eBay in working order.

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    • #3
      This is definitely not a Roland centric site. Ok quite a few have Roland kits for various reasons but many have 2box, ATV, Pearl, Alesis, Yamaha, edrumin, megadrum etc.

      The Roland do make good trigger units but the triggering is no better than my ddrum4 I used to use. They also have positional sensing which works well with SD3 (the ddrum4 had ps) . I haven’t tried other modules although I did have a Alesis io which although it had a lot of editable parameters the triggering was poor compared to the ddrum4 I was using it with at the time. Midi Latency of the Roland modules is good and I know other modules especially the Alesis are reported to have high latency.

      I can only talk about Roland mesh durability and my pads are probably around 25 years old and still working fine.
      Roland TD30 module on TD20 kit SD3 with various kits. Pearl Masters Kit, Yamaha 9000RC original natural wood finish. Cymbals from Zildgian Pasite and Sabian. Loads of percussion bits. Cubase and Wavelab always current versions.

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      • #4
        roland for hardware, everybody else for module sounds
        Alesis STRIKE, PD-85 rack toms, PD-105BK floor tom, Mapex snare with ISM-6, PDP MX 22" kick with ISM, iron cobra 900 double pedal, hart e-cymbal2, CY-5 as splash, CY-8, CY-12R, L80 hi-hat with cheap-o trigger with goedrum hi hat controller. EZdrummer2+EZX/Addictive Drums 2 VSTs.

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        • #5
          BradysDad,

          In the world of electronic drums, a huge amount has changed since the TD-7 of the 1990's. However, thirty years later, now in 2021, were someone to ask "are electronic drums viable", my answer is the same as it was in 1990: "The technology is interesting and it's evolving, but it still has a long way to go; it's not there yet."

          Roland V-Drum hardware (i.e. mesh drums, rubber cymbals, modules, racks, etc.) is very reliable. Unfortunately, it's also often prohibitively expensive. Believable acoustic drum sounds continue to elude V-Drum modules, even the most current flagships. To get more believable sounds, there are a number of options, including 2Box modules, the Pearl Mimic Pro module, and triggering VSTi software on a computer. The ATV aD5 and xD3 modules, and Yamaha DTX-Pro module are also options for sounds, but these aren't quite in the same sonic league as the other options I mentioned.

          The biggest change from Roland is the addition of acoustic sizes. Sort of. There are two kits that offer acoustic sizes: VAD 503 (four piece) and VAD 506 (five piece). Finally, Roland is offering proper drum sizes. However, the high prices of these kits make them unavailable to many drummers and certain standard sizes are still missing, such as a 14 inch snare drum that is analog compatible and a 16 inch floor tom. Another important change, VAD kits do not have hot spots in the center of the drums. The trade-off for no hot spots is no positional sensing. The (relatively) new digital snare included with these kits does provide positional sensing, though, so it's actually the toms and floor toms that lose positional sensing.

          Alesis? No. Just no. I realize this is a blanket statement, but in the e-drum world Alesis continues to focus on low price at the expense of performance, quality, and reliability.

          Yamaha? I'm not sure what to say about Yamaha because they have been largely dormant for the last two (Or is it three?) generations of electronic drums. Last year, Yamaha discontinued almost all of their long-standing kits. Near year end, Yamaha released a new low end offering, the DTX6 series and DTX-Pro module. That's all we know about Yamaha thus far. As of the end of Winter NAMM 2021, no announcements for mid level and flagship level products have been made, and it's not clear what Yamaha's approach is moving forward.

          You asked about trigger sensitivity and combining pads and modules from different manufacturers.

          In my experience, trigger sensitivity isn't really a big issue and wasn't back in 1990, either. The piezo trigger elements still in use today are plenty capable of detecting soft ghost notes. The real issue is how the module or sound generator interprets these signals, and that's where sensitivity and expressiveness issues remain. For example, it's still true that, in general, electronic drums are totally unaware of playing implements. So, if you strike an acoustic snare drum with five different implements (hands, sticks, brushes, rutes, and mallets), you get five totally different sound palettes. With e-drums, no matter what you strike them with, you get the same sound palette. Sure, with electronic drums, you can change the samples, but that's not the same expressiveness as having the sound change in response to different playing implements and playing techniques.

          Combining pads and modules from different manufacturers. There are some third party modules that feature universal trigger support (later 2Box modules with the Universal Trigger Interface and Pearl Mimic Pro both come to mind). With the exception of Roland's newer digital pads, these modules support pretty much every pad on the market today. However, this is not a standard feature adopted by all electronic drum manufacturers. Most notably, the Big Two (Roland and Yamaha) continue to do their own thing and don't offer universal trigger support. Newer hi-hat technologies tend to be semi proprietary if not totally proprietary, often supported only by the module(s) they are designed for. Essentially, with every pad you buy or have, you need to check how well that pad is supported by a given module. Some modules may offer very limited or partial support while other modules may offer full support. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

          Are you starting to see why I wrote: "The technology is interesting and it's evolving, but it still has a long way to go; it's not there yet." :-)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by winterson View Post
            roland for hardware, everybody else for module sounds
            I agree. . .

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            • #7
              Originally posted by winterson View Post
              roland for hardware, everybody else for module sounds
              Agree on Roland for hi hats. Nobody else compares IMO.

              For cymbals I think Roland is the best, ATV a close 2nd. Then there’s everything else.
              I think the functionality of both Roland and ATV are close, but Roland has an edge in my book bc of their longevity. They’ve proven to last a really long time, and the resale value is pretty good when you want to upgrade.

              For snare and toms, I think there are plenty of solid options, including DIY. Nothing special about Roland pads these days (except for the digital snare, but that works on limited Roland modules only)
              Pearl Mimic Pro, A2E Tama Superstar, Jobeky side triggers on the snare and 8” Tom, Jobeky AI triggers on the rest, VH-13 Hi-Hat, ATV 18” Ride, 2x Roland CY-14C Crashes, Roland CY-13R/C Splash, Roland CY-15R China, 2x Roland BT-1 for Side Stick and Cowbell, Sony MDR-7506

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              • #8
                I agree. I know there are a lot of guys here and on other forums with serious tech ability and the right Head for DYI projects . For you few, there are ways of hacking proprietary systems to make cymbal and head triggers work. I am not one of you guys. Thank god, slowly but surely, more companies are designing head and cymbal triggers to work with other module. I have a new Drumit 5 mk2 and will be giving my old a to e Jman triggered kit to my son l. With that kit will go my old 2 box Drumit 5 32 gig. Conv. Module . So now I dont have my buddy Jman (RIP) to buy triggers from so I have been looking at triggering options. Pleased to report there are a lot OF E CYMBALS NOW COMPATIBLE WITH 2 BOX, NAMELY, ROLAND, ATV, JOBEKY, DIAMOND, PINTECH METAL LOW VOLUMES 3 ZONES WITH CHOKE, PINTECH VISULITE( ACRYLIC), GOEDRUM, AND I THINK FIELD DRUMS, LEMON SO FOR A GUY LIKE ME , THERE ARE PLUG AND PLAY SOLUTIONS. HALLELUHA. ONLY PROBLEM IS NOW I HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES!
                Last edited by Jeffo; 02-18-21, 06:08 PM.

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                • #9
                  Got to spend an uninterrupted hour with a Alesis Pro Strike SE kit and a Roland 27 kit. Couldn't get the Alesis kit to have the trigger sensitivity I wanted on the ride and hat but the sensitivity on the Roland kit was acceptable once tweaked. Problem is - I like the Alesis' look, module and sounds much better than Roland's smaller and more expensive kit.

                  Going to go back tomorrow and see if I can do some switching around to find out if the lack of sensitivity on the Alesis kit is the module or the triggers but I'm suspecting the latter. May end up getting the Roland cymbals and hat to go with the Alesis kit overall, if that's even technically possible.

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                  • #10
                    Buy the Roland kit with Roland cymbals without the module and buy the Strike module! But Check with Alesis.com about compatibility with Roland pads and cymbals or from RELIABLE SOURCES here about it. Reliable means users that actually have tested their compatibility, not Alesis haters, lol

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jeffo View Post
                      Buy the Roland kit with Roland cymbals without the module and buy the Strike module! But Check with Alesis.com about compatibility with Roland pads and cymbals or from RELIABLE SOURCES here about it. Reliable means users that actually have tested their compatibility, not Alesis haters, lol
                      Roland drum rims don't trigger at all on the Strike. Cymbals might work.

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                      • #12
                        I would myself buy a 2box drumit 3 or the new 2boc drumit 5 . Dfinitrluly vomoatible with roland cymbals and pads , ability to import multi layer samples and much better stock sounds. Like Charlie Sheen said with his hair standing straight up in the air, WINNING!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jeffo View Post
                          Dfinitrluly vomoatible
                          Of all the ways to describe 2box, this is definitely one of them.

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                          • #14
                            Lol, Half time. I tried to edit my miss typed words but for some reason it wont let me. Anyway, you get the idea!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Peter Warren View Post

                              Roland drum rims don't trigger at all on the Strike. Cymbals might work.
                              i know you keep saying this but my roland pd-85, pd-105, and pd-125 rim zones all trigger without any issue on my strike module.

                              it's true that the rim zone does not work on my ISM-6 setup for roland style but i could modify it to make it work, i just haven't bothered. is your experience perhaps with a side mounted roland trigger?

                              cymbal wise i am using roland cy-5, cy-8, cy-12r, with all zones and choke working. also using hart e-cymbal (1 zone with choke), yamaha pcy-155 (dual zone with choke), and pcy-130 (single zone, no choke but that's because it's a single zone cymbal)
                              Alesis STRIKE, PD-85 rack toms, PD-105BK floor tom, Mapex snare with ISM-6, PDP MX 22" kick with ISM, iron cobra 900 double pedal, hart e-cymbal2, CY-5 as splash, CY-8, CY-12R, L80 hi-hat with cheap-o trigger with goedrum hi hat controller. EZdrummer2+EZX/Addictive Drums 2 VSTs.

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