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Taylor

Taylor
March 26, 2013

Roland TD-4KP Portable V-Drums Review


When you ask drummers, “Which brand has the best electronic drum kit?”, the typical answer is Roland. However Roland V-Drums are rather expensive even if you are getting what you are paying for in terms of build quality, performance, and overall fidelity. Roland has delivered a kit that is not only affordable, but also makes portability a staple feature on the new Roland TD-4KP V-Drums Portable electronic drum kit. Following in the footsteps of previous models within the TD-4K line, the TD-4KP retails for under $1000 with all the quality you can expect from a Roland V-Drum kit. Included in the kit are the TD-4 drum module, eight pads total (kick, snare, toms x3, hi-hat, crash and ride cymbals), the FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller, and drum rack for mounting your drum and cymbal pads. Not included are a drum throne and kick pedal but you can purchase the Roland DAP-3X V-Drums Accessory Package which comes with a kick pedal, throne, and drum sticks.

Fold up the TD-4KP and take it anywhere.

Fold up the TD-4KP and take it anywhere.

The appeal of something like the TD-4KP is its ability to be collapsed into a small and portable piece of gear. It folds into a nice square shape and can be carried with 1 arm or over the shoulder in a gig bag. This makes it not only a great practice tool at home, but also for bringing to rehearsals or the stage with great ease and just a few minutes of setup time. Lets go over some of the other features and a general hardware review of the Roland TD-4KP.

TD-4 Module

Roland TD-4 Drum Module

Roland TD-4 Drum Module

The first thing to mention about the TD-4 module is the I/O. You have 1/4 inch stereo out, two headphone connections for 1/8 and 1/4 inch headphone connections, MIDI out, as well as your connection for a power supply and the drum pads. While the I/O may not be as robust as other kits out there, you have everything you need for practicing, performing, and recording. The TD-4 module has a very small footprint and weighing right around 1.1 lbs.

The module comes loaded with 125 sounds and 25 kit presets so you have plenty of options for sounds. The standout feature here is the tuning and muffling buttons which allow you to customize the sound of each drum on a particular kit. This can be great for stage performances in different rooms that may lack a natural reverb or a room that has too much and requires you to muffle or choke your drums.

The included metronome and coach mode are great features for beginners or those looking to warm up their chops before a gig or practice. There are 5 different skill building exercises that help you build your speed, stamina, and accuracy. One feature we really liked was the auto-volume adjustment on the metronome. When you are playing in time the volume of the metronome dissipates, and when you start to get off time the click will turn back up to keep you back on the meter. This is a really great tool for the drummer that has trouble keeping a steady beat and can work great in a full band practice scenario to keep the entire band on a steady meter.

Lastly the quick record feature allows you to get an idea of how you’re performing. You can also hear what you played back with a metronome to see how on or off time you are during particular sections. The recorder allows for around 9,000 notes which I am guessing is 9,000 notes of internal MIDI. This seems like plenty of space when all you need is a quick reference of your playing. Others may find this limiting but with a MIDI out you can always record more into your computer if you want to reference an entire track or performance.

The TD-4 Module is a solid module for this type of kit but there were some features that we found limiting. The absence of a hub to connect auxiliary drums means you will be stuck with the pads you got. The trigger input connector is proprietary to the TD-4KP and you would have to hunt around for another trigger input connector if you wanted to expand the kit. Not a total deal breaker, but drummers looking to buy a kit they can expand on down the road may need to look elsewhere.

Another limitation is that there is no ability to load VEX or other third party drum kits onto the TD-4, which means you can’t import custom made drum kits into the module. There is also no USB save option so you will have to enter in all your custom kit sounds manually. This type of customization is typical on higher end Roland drum modules. It would have been nice to see this feature included on the TD-4, but we understand why it was omitted. What the TD-4 lacks in features, it makes up for in affordability and portability.

Drum Pads

The drum pads are rubber resting on plastic surfaces. They feel good but not typical V-Drum or comparable mesh head good. They certainly respond well to ghost notes and rolls and seem to be well constructed and rather sturdy. They were holding up well to even the most aggressive of strike but did have the feeling that too much harsh abuse would cause them to crack and break.

While this is a portable kit, the tendency for some might be one of carelessness in how it gets transported, which could cause some cracking or breaking on the pads. This is of course indicative of improper storage and transport but it should be noted that a big fall or hard crash could mean the end of a pad on the TD-4KP.

Most of you are always asking about the volume of the pads when struck as you may be practicing or jamming in an apartment or bedroom and don’t want to disturb those around you. The pads do have a fairly audible sound but it decays rather quickly because all the pads are so thin. It would be deceiving to say they make little to no noise but this is typically contingent upon on how hard of a hitter you are. When you are doing your Neil Peart mega drum fill, those around you are likely going to hear every hit. If you are playing with more reservation, you will find that the pads on the TD-4KP make just as much (or as little) sound as any other electronic drum kit.

The Verdict

The Roland TD-4KP is perfectly suited for the beginner drummer or even for the giging pro who needs a simple and affordable solution for recording, performance, or practice. The things we like are the portability, affordability, and the features included on the TD-4 drum module. The things we would have liked to see are an easier ability to expand on the TD-4KP and the ability to load drum kits into the module. Despite these minor limitations, the Roland TD-4KP is definitely a kit to consider when looking at quality electronic drum kits at a great price.

Leave any comments or questions you have about the Roland TD-4KP, or any other Roland products, in the comments section below.

To purchase the Roland TD-4KP for the best price visit our website. 

SLAM!!

Transcript

Hey everybody my name is Trevor Root. I’m here on behalf of Roland here at UniqueSquared to talk to you about the new TD-4KP collapsable, portable drum kit. I’m really excited to talk to you about it. It has some great features. Obviously the new rack design. It collapses down without taking off any of the pads. You can put it into a tiny little square and pick it up with one hand and take it to your gig. Really cool.
The next thing is our TD-4 brain module. It has very expressive sounds in here. You have tuning and muffling to edit your kit. You have our world renown rhythm coach feature. You also have recording capability. MIDI in and out. So some great features there. But the most important, it sounds great. So check out Studio Kit, patch number eleven, sounds good. You can choke all the cymbals. You can play extremely fast and it picks up all the nuances of your playing still. 
Let’s check out a few more sounds, how about like a techno kit. Kit number nineteen. Very cool stuff. And always the famous Roland 808 drum kit. 
Obviously sounds great, it’s packed in, very compact, great features. One more thing. We got a promotion going on. Starting in April if you purchase this kit, you get a free power supply that runs 10 hours of battery life. So that’s a great added value. If you have any more questions about this kit, you want to find out more information, just go to UniqueSquared.com.