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Upgrading the TD-3SW, within budget...

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  • Upgrading the TD-3SW, within budget...

    I'm in need of advice for my first electronic practice kit, and so I appeal to the troves of expertise and experience that have enriched these boards. You guys are among Google's finest results!

    Only two things need to be known: I'm a practicing drummer enamored with the post-bop jazz greats, and my ideal budget is $1500-ish. The latter is subject to reasoned change.. >_< That said, I have an idea of what I need: minimal equipment that best replicates the sound and feel of my 4-piece acoustic jazz kit.

    So, in the interest of my budget, let the baseline be Roland's TD-3SW kit. Here's my question: in your esteemed opinions, which components should I upgrade on this $1000 kit for a minimal but worthy jazz practice experience?

    First concern: the budget. Can anyone confirm that buying the factory packages is the cheapest way to get that first kit? I ask because I would love to pick and choose from the get go, but the overall cost of the same individual components sky rockets over a factory packaged kit with module.

    Second concern: the sound. The TD-3 module is getting quite dated, I know, but is its sound and capabilities good enough for a no-frills jazz practice setup? Or are some features and sounds in the TD-6 or -9 worth adjusting my budget for? The number of inputs should not be a concern.

    And the last but not least concern, the feel. I've listed below the upgrade candidates (about $300 a piece) in the order of importance to me. Which upgrades do you guys think are the most substantive?
    • Mesh headed PDX-8 for the snare, good enough for awhile? Or is it no comparison versus the PD-105?
    • Since the ride is of utmost importance to me, I ought to pick up the CY-15R right? Is it really that much better than the CY-12R?
    • For the kick pad, can anyone offer any insight into the merits of mesh over rubber? If it means a much more sensitive acoustic-like response, I might consider annihilating my budget and go with mesh. (the KD-85 perhaps? gulp.. )
    • And out of curiosity, how capable is the FD-8 controller in replicating that mid 60's Tony Williams hi-hat splash? Or is that relegated to the VH-12? Ugh I can't think of a more hip sound..


    Please, enrich me by approving, criticizing or altogether readjusting my plan! All perspectives are welcomed and desired. Many thanks.

  • #2
    Firstly, welcome aboard

    I have not had a lot to do with the TD3 module but I am heavily influenced by the jazz greats and love anything from the be-bop era to now. I have my doubts as to whether you'd get what you want sound wise from a TD3 though.

    If you can find a second hand TD12 module, you'd be much happier.
    IMO, the PD105 is a MUCH better choice than a PDX8 (I have owned a PDX8 and currently have a PD105 and the difference is night and day).
    I am more than happy with my CY12 as a ride but you may prefer the CY15.
    My FD8 / CY5 hat setup works fine for me and I get the foot chink and splash reliably from it. There's a fair bit on this forum about people who've had problems with the FD8 on a TD3 though.

    Here's a short clip of me playing my kit with brushes to give you an idea of a jazz feel on the TD12. Be gentle, I am by no means an experienced drummer!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5YmRg0WPH0

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a TD-6.

      The PDX-8 is pretty good. My only complaint is that the screws are on the inside of the rim and just get in the way. But other than that it feels nice.

      KD-8 is good too. Doesn't really feel much like a real bass drum, but it works very well.

      The FD-8. I don't like it much at all. I guess I just need to get used to it, but it feels so much different than a accoustic HH pedal to me. It's tight, and the board feels too long.

      As far as the sound goes, it sounds pretty good. However, getting a splash-open sound is very tricky. Maybe I need to play with settings?

      But none of this means I don't like my kit. I guess I was just focusing on the flaws for you. But for a practice kit, it sounds great and is easy to edit. I absolutely love my kit. I didn't get to play yesterday and I'm a little sad about that.
      TD-6V Module, 3 PD-8s (soon to be 4), 2 CY-8s (soon to be 3), 1 CY-5, KD-8 with double Left footed Pearl Eliminators, FD-8 HH control.

      Comment


      • #4
        If I were you, I'd seriously consider piecing together a kit from new and second hand. If you only want a 4 piece jazz kit, you'd be far better off picking separate pads than buying a pre-packaged kit. Honestly, you'd probably be best with a TD-12 (if you can afford it) with a VH-11, a CY-15R and a PD-105. The rest you'd probably get away with lower end stuff like a CY-8 crash, KD-8 kick trigger and some older PD80(r) pads for a tom and floor.

        Also, an older MDS-3C would be plenty to mount that all on, or even a motley collection of cymbal stands if the budget is that tight.

        Thats the way I would go if I were in your situation. My TD-6 is fine for pretty much everything, except proper jazz playing, even with a VH-11 and a CY-15R. For a start I don't get the same 3-way triggered ride as I would with a TD-12, or as detailed hihat model.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow, what an awesome board. Good lookin' out yo, thanks. But as expected, your responses begs as many questions as they answered.

          General questions first:
          1. Seems like the TD-12 is highly recommended for my cause. I'm all for yummy expensive upgrades, but tell me: other than the reported hi-hat splash problem, do the dynamic sensitivity and range of the sound suffer in the TD-3 versus the TD-12? Or even versus the TD-6 or -9? Obviously there is a huge number gap in the choice of sounds, but honestly I would be content with just one or two kits that sound nice. One thread I read in particular suggests that even a TD-6 would be beyond my needs (http://www.vdrums.com/forum/archive/...?t-27533.html), and even suggests the sounds on the TD-3 are NICER! Is that possible?

          2. Ok, about the KD-8 kick pad: can you easily achieve different dynamics with it a la Elvin Jones? Or do I really have to upgrade to the KD-85 mesh to get it?


          ige87:
          1. Well counseled, I also think a piecemeal approach would be best and agree with your upgrade recommendations. However, two things stand in my way:
          2. I'm wary of buying used pads since, after all, these parts are meant to be whacked into oblivion. From your experience, are there any parts that you would definitely get brand new rather than used?
          3. It seems to me that the best deal for getting the "lower end stuff" is to go the pre-packaged route, especially if I decide to go with the TD-3. If everything is brand new, and with the cost of the TD-3SW at $880 (BPM), adding the CY-15R and PD-105 puts the final price around $1480. I can swallow that but I wonder.. how much would you be willing to pay for all that gear?


          EyeOne:
          Nice commentary on your TD-6 kit. Regarding the FD-8 issues you've been having, these threads may shed some light:
          http://www.vdrums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=308882
          http://vdrums.com/forum/showthread.p...&highlight=TD3

          SuperPuss:
          1. Very very useful perspective, especially coming from a fellow jazz journeyman. I tried out a friend's PDX-8 and it felt ok (these electronic kits are godsend to those living in cubicle-sized Hong Kong apartments..), but something tells me that's going to be the first component that I upgrade.
          2. Regarding your comment suggesting I may not get "what I want sound wise from a TD-3", can you be more specific?
          3. As for the hi-hat splash issue.. you're right, it does appear to be TD3-specific. Ugh that alone can force me up the module ladder.. nooooo!!! I'm just the type of guy who will get suckered a couple hundred bills for ONE feature..... well, looks like I'll have to head to a store and hopefully try it out for myself.
          4. Thanks for the youtube link, but I'll have to escape my office firewall before I can check it out..

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, general questions:
            1. Sound quality is a very subjective thing. The best thing for you to do is go somewhere and try out the modules. The sounds on the TD-3 are of a newer generation than those on the TD-6, with the 3's being derived from the TD-20 and the 6's being derived from the TD-10. However, I personally prefer the sound of my TD-6 to the TD-3 a friend owns.

            2. The KD-8 is possibly a little less dynamic than the KD-85, but I cant say for sure as I've not tried them side by side on the same module. Again, this is something you'd need to try for yourself. Some actually prefer the KD-8 to the 85, Michael Render being a prime example. Personally, I have no idea! The dynamic range is more to do with the module than the pads, and how it responds to the trigger signals.

            'My' questions:
            2. Mesh heads and trigger cones can be replaced. TBH, there's things are darn sturdy, it'd take a lot of abuse to actually break them. Think about how the demo kits in shops get treated, and how long they are usually on the floor before they get replaced. If I were in your situation, I'd probably buy a new module at the very least, or look for ex demo stuff. MY CY-15R was used for a few hours at a trade show before being sent for clearance and I can see no adverse effects. If you buy ex demo stuff, you still get full waranty cover. I certainly wouldn't worry about going second hand for a rack/set of stands as long as you know its ok before you buy it.

            3. How much would I be willing to pay? Erm, it dpends how much I want it. Put it this way, if I know I can get it cheaper somehow, I'll do it, but I see no reason to miss out being miserly. Be aware that with the TD-3, you won't get proper 3 way triggering without a lot of fiddling. You will get it with the TD-6 with some clever setting up, and you will get it plug and play with a TD-12.

            Oh, and I know this wasn't one of 'my' questions, but the TD-6 suffers the splash level problem as well as the TD-3. Also, I'm really not a fan of the PDX-8.

            Comment


            • #7
              Phew.. very thoughtful reply. Hey bud, it's appreciated!

              So I just spent an hour in Guitar Center, playing everything within and without my budget. Man was that instructive and hella fun! I think that I cannot resist the TD-9. The slick look aside, I just can't accept the new features I'm missing out on if I chose a lesser module.

              But that was a very interesting fact you brought up, that the TD-3 sound patches are of the TD-20 lineage; it did sound quite nice though I'm no judge. Might you happen to know if the TD-9 sounds are an extension of the TD-10 or -20?

              I spent some quality time on both the KD-8 and -85. I'd have to say that the KD-8 suffices, or is it more accurate to say that the TD-9 module did its job admirably! The dynamics were responsive enough to emulate Elvin's accents.

              By the way, no matter what I tried, I could not get a hi-hat splash out of the TD-3. However, it rang out effortlessly on the TD-9, and boy did I fall in love with it right away.

              This is it baby, I'm busting the budget: going with a TD-9S + CY-15R. Ima pick that ish up tomorrow then lock myself up ^_^ See you guys next year heh

              Thank you all again for the useful input.

              (And thanks SuperPuss, I dug your video. Man the TD-12 sounds great! I hope the TD-9 can stack up..)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by forkburn View Post
                .......
                SuperPuss:
                1. Very very useful perspective, especially coming from a fellow jazz journeyman. I tried out a friend's PDX-8 and it felt ok (these electronic kits are godsend to those living in cubicle-sized Hong Kong apartments..), but something tells me that's going to be the first component that I upgrade.
                1. No doubt. That and the ride were first for me. The PD105 really is a mile better IMO, especially on a TD12 module with it's capabilities nuance wise.
                2. Regarding your comment suggesting I may not get "what I want sound wise from a TD-3", can you be more specific?
                The two main areas I would highlight would be subtleties and texture. You'll get far more in the way of accuracy with nuances using a TD12, particularly on snare and ride. A well tweaked jazz kit on the TD12 can give great results with positional sensing and interval control particularly on the snare and ride, making ghost notes, rolls, swells, brushes etc, MUCH more playable and responsive.
                The few times I have played on a TD3 or TD6 after becoming used to my TD12 I just couldn't get the dynamics and subtleties. For rock drumming, it would be less of an issue but for jazz, it is night and day.
                In order to make sure it wasn't monitoring effecting my perception, I used my AKG K240 headphones on the TD3 and 6 demo kits I played and had access to a PD105 in store.
              • As for the hi-hat splash issue.. you're right, it does appear to be TD3-specific. Ugh that alone can force me up the module ladder.. nooooo!!! I'm just the type of guy who will get suckered a couple hundred bills for ONE feature..... well, looks like I'll have to head to a store and hopefully try it out for myself.
              • Thanks for the youtube link, but I'll have to escape my office firewall before I can check it out..
              On my TD12, I can actually make the foot splash too easy to trigger!! There's a ton of adjustment to get it just right
              Foot 'chink' sounds are also totally reliable on my setup.

              Sorry to inflict my case of GAS on you but I really do agree with ige about getting second had bits and a second hand TD12 module. As he mentions, any parts that are prone to wear on the pads are easily replaced and (relatively speaking) not expensive. Besides, the Roland mesh heads really are extremely rugged.
              I think you'd be much happier with the subtleties and response you'll get from the TD12 as a jazz drummer. It isn't perfect but it will be a lot closer than the TD3 or TD6.
              At the end of the day, see if you can try these different modules out with the right configuration for yourself. Make sure you use the same headphones on each module and make sure you use something decent so you can get an accurate and honest comparison.
              If you were located in Australia, I'd invite you over to have a play on my kit.

              Oh, and lastly, the VEX kits would be a wise investment. Have a chat to Alan (amonline) about his jazz kit recommendations.
              I have a couple of jazz kits in my TD12 downloads (see my signature) too and will be creating more in the next few weeks. The kit you will hear when you get access to my Youtube clip in my first reply to you is my jazz brush kit which is a part of my kit downloads.

              Comment


              • #9
                Ugh you don't know the latest, SuperPuss. I've fallen for the TD-9 and can't get a grip on what's really best for me.

                Yeah yo, I can definitely tell from your video that the TD-12 is super sensitive and nuanced.. was really digging that. And I truly share your belief that the TD-12 will provide a superior jazz playing experience. Unfortunately it's just way beyond what I SHOULD spend (just can't get myself to say COULD), especially considering I have a gorgeous acoustic pro jazz kit from the Modern Drum Shop in New York City. At the most, as a practice supplement, the TD-9S should fill the role admirably.

                I have a feeling I'm gonna eat my words much sooner than I think. It's a good thing I don't live in Australia, otherwise I'd fall for your kit and lose my savings in a heartbeat. Love is fickle isn't it -_-

                And lastly, thanks for turning me on to the VEX kits, I'm definitely going to investigate. I'm praying they have something faithful to that 60's jazz sound.. I'm gonna totally flip out if they do!

                Thanks for all your thoughtful insights yo ^_^ Your karma is greatly increased!

                Comment


                • #10
                  FB, you're going to hate me for this but have a listen to this VEX demo from the Studio kits 2 pack
                  http://www.vexpressionsltd.com/stu2_kit_mod_jazz.mp3
                  ...which is from this page
                  http://www.vexpressionsltd.com/studio_kits.html

                  I still think if you look around, you'll find everything you want in the TD12 category second hand to fit close to your budget

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by forkburn View Post
                    Phew.. very thoughtful reply. Hey bud, it's appreciated!

                    But that was a very interesting fact you brought up, that the TD-3 sound patches are of the TD-20 lineage; it did sound quite nice though I'm no judge. Might you happen to know if the TD-9 sounds are an extension of the TD-10 or -20?

                    By the way, no matter what I tried, I could not get a hi-hat splash out of the TD-3. However, it rang out effortlessly on the TD-9, and boy did I fall in love with it right away.

                    This is it baby, I'm busting the budget: going with a TD-9S + CY-15R. Ima pick that ish up tomorrow then lock myself up ^_^ See you guys next year heh
                    Not a problem mate! The TD-9's sounds are partially taken from the TD-20 and also include some from the forthcoming generation, probably to be unleashed fully by the TD-20 expansion card.

                    I was pretty sure you'd find the TD-3 a bit limited for jazz playing, especially in the foot splash area.

                    COngrats on the new kit. SP is probably right about the price compared to piecing up a TD-12, but who are we to argue! If thats what you want, go for it! I supose that buying it as a kit, you'll have 2 crashes too when you add the CY-15R, which I find usefull. When i play jazz, I find I have to have a ride and 2 crashes, or a crash and 2 rides......

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by forkburn View Post
                      Ugh you don't know the latest, SuperPuss. I've fallen for the TD-9 and can't get a grip on what's really best for me.

                      Yeah yo, I can definitely tell from your video that the TD-12 is super sensitive and nuanced.. was really digging that. And I truly share your belief that the TD-12 will provide a superior jazz playing experience. Unfortunately it's just way beyond what I SHOULD spend (just can't get myself to say COULD), especially considering I have a gorgeous acoustic pro jazz kit from the Modern Drum Shop in New York City. At the most, as a practice supplement, the TD-9S should fill the role admirably.

                      I have a feeling I'm gonna eat my words much sooner than I think. It's a good thing I don't live in Australia, otherwise I'd fall for your kit and lose my savings in a heartbeat. Love is fickle isn't it -_-

                      And lastly, thanks for turning me on to the VEX kits, I'm definitely going to investigate. I'm praying they have something faithful to that 60's jazz sound.. I'm gonna totally flip out if they do!

                      Thanks for all your thoughtful insights yo ^_^ Your karma is greatly increased!
                      I can't say exactly what is best for jazz as I'm a metal player, but on the VEX thing, do know that there is no VEX for the TD-3...you will have to upgrade your module.

                      You asked about hi-hat sensitivity and you already know how a TD-3 handles it...well, the TD-6V is really not much better. It is an ok module, but I didn't realize how different things could be until I got my TD-12. Pretty much all the nuances you'd want in a hi-hat are there. I can't say enough good things about it. I have no idea how it compares to a TD-9 though.

                      As to your pad upgrades, are you dead set on Roland or have you considered Hart? The Hart ride is absolutely brilliant.
                      Hawk snare, toms, and bass; Hart ECII crashes & ride; VH-10 Hihat; Iron Cobra double-bass.
                      "I never play the same thing twice...sometimes because I simply can't remember it." - John Paul Jones

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Ugh you guys are killing me! But with good reason: to own the TD-12 kit for the price of a TD-9S is a possibility I can't ignore. I just did a bit of investigating and am starting to hear what you're saying.

                        The little boy in me is starting to give way to a vision of something greater: I think I will resist the TD-9.. uuuuuuuugh

                        I hold you two responsible for this, so at the least you have to point me to a few internet hotspots where I can start surveying this stuff ^_~

                        And also, if I may be so bold, can you guys share with me your vision of this TD-12 budget? Unlike me, you guys seem to have a real clear mental picture of one. If you will, why not start by auditing and tearing apart the one I've started?

                        (prices are for NEW equipment, except for the TD-12 which I will price at $900; everything is in USD)
                        CY-8 ----- $85
                        CY-15R ----- $300
                        KD-8 ----- $115
                        PD-8 ----- $85
                        PD-8 ----- $85
                        PD-105 ----- $300
                        FD-8 ----- $115
                        CY-5 ----- $85
                        TD-12 ----- $900
                        MDS-3 ----- $180

                        Altogether, this comes to $2150. Doubtless you two will have a field day cutting corners on these prices.. and I would be honored by the exercise!

                        You guys are right: I was about to drop $1900 on a new TD-9S kit + CY-15R. I now see the light of possibility..

                        Thank you ^_^

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          And there are several reliable and trustworthy sellers of used gear out there on eBay that would be just like buying from a store. And they can beat the new prices buy a good margin.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Great stuff forkburn and I'm happy to accept part responsibility for your decision
                            You might want to look into the Yamaha PCY series cymbals for your ride too. They are apparently very nice response wise and will work as a 3 way ride with a small mod on Roland modules for considerably less money.
                            I have not done this myself (I found out AFTER I purchased my CY12) but there's plenty of info about that here on the forum.

                            Also, don't be afraid to go for used pads on things like the PD8's (very durable) and the rack. You should be able to find a good deal on a second had PD105 too and they really are extremely durable. I would probably go for new parts on the cymbals and the foot controller though because they can be prone to wear.
                            Check jj's signature above and the classifieds section here. There's a member feedback thread in the classifieds section too.

                            Comment

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