Roland V-Drums

Roland V-Drums

V-Drum is a trademarked umbrella term for a variety of electronic drums, drum brain modules, and related electronic percussion products. The Roland V-Drum System is a line of such products. V-Drum products are manufactured and trademarked by Roland Corporation.

The primary V-Drum products offered by Roland are complete electronic drum kits. These vary in price and complexity, ranging from a few hundred dollars to approximately US$6,000 for the flagship V-Drum kit. Components of the V-Drum kits, such as additional triggers and "drum brains", are also sold individually to augment an existing kit. Components can be greatly diversified depending on the combination.

Like most electronic drum brains, V-Drum drum brains are MIDI-capable. This enables the player to use a V-Drum kit to control not only the kit itself, but other MIDI-capable instruments, such as digital samplers. MIDI also allows V-Drum kits to be controlled by other MIDI-capable instruments. V-Drums, like most electronic drum kits, can be played through an amplifier, connected directly to a recording device, or used exclusively through headphones, thus removing ambient noise.

The Roland V-Drum System

Each V-Drum kit is composed of the following:
*Triggers, which serve as an artificial substitute for drums, cymbals, and other percussion items traditionally found in an acoustic drum kit.
*A drum brain, the central processing unit to which all triggers connect. The drum brain takes electronic signals from the triggers during play, and uses built-in sounds and a variety of other electronic-only technologies to: recreate the sound of authentic drums, recreate or synthesize percussion instruments of all types, and to signal other MIDI-capable gear to perform various electronic tasks.

High-end V-Drum kits

Some of the more advanced and expensive V-Drum kits include:
*The more advanced drum brains (TD-9, TD-10, TD-12, TD-20)
*Mesh heads in many or all of the included drum triggers
*V-Cymbals that are weighted and balanced to feel and respond like real cymbals
*A more realistic, two-piece hi-hat trigger (Compatible with TD-9, TD-12 and TD-20 only)

Less expensive V-Drum kits

The less-expensive Roland V-Drum kits favor:
*Less capable drum brains, such as the HD-1, TD-3, TD-5, and TD-6
*Rubber triggers instead of mesh ones. Some kits in this segment provide a compromise by offering one mesh drum for the snare.
*Simple V-Cymbals which do not feel like real cymbals

Trigger types

V-Drum trigger devices are of three major types: mesh-head, rubber pad, and cymbal. The newest and most realistic drum triggers are the mesh-head type. The simpler, more generic type is the rubber-coated pad. In the case of Roland-branded electronic cymbals, the brand name V-Cymbals is used. There are several models of V-Cymbals; some are designed to emulate the physical properties of authentic acoustic cymbals of various types (e.g.: hi-hat, crash, ride). Less expensive V-Cymbals provide a simpler and less realistic method of replacing actual cymbals.


Roland V-Drum mesh-head triggers resemble authentic acoustic drums in both appearance and feel. The striking surface is a two-layer taut woven mesh of fibers fitted with several electronic sensors. This allows the mesh-head trigger to respond to the play of a drumstick in a manner that feels more like real drums than their earlier rubber predecessors. Roland developers have stated that the design of the mesh-head V-drum was inspired in part by a small toy trampoline.

In 1997, Roland developed and patented an updated version of mesh-head drum triggers. This newly developed mesh-head trigger became the birth and the cornerstone of the V-Drum line of products. As such, the name "V-Drums" sometimes refers specifically to Roland's mesh-head based drum triggers. The company began marketing their newly developed mesh-head triggers under the "V-Drums" name in 1998, in conjunction with the TD-10 drum module. [ [ V-Drums History: How Roland Became the Biggest Drum Company in the World] , Roland Insider Magazine]

Roland V-Drums of the mesh-head type integrate a playable rim which has its own electronic sensors (and corresponding sounds) to add to realism while playing. Many drummers who formerly eschewed electronic drums because of their lack of authentic feel have adopted V-Drums and other mesh-head drum products due to the recent advances of mesh-head technology.Fact|date=May 2007

Mesh-head triggers have the added benefit that air flows through the mesh during play. Mesh-head V-Drums, when played, are virtually silent to those not wearing connected listening equipment, such as headphones.

Mesh-head triggers, even more so than their earlier rubber-based counterparts, have created an expanded market for electronic drum kits: individuals whose living environments prohibit the high noise volume of traditional acoustic drum kits can use these kits with headphones, or wired directly into a recording device. In this application, electronic drum kits, especially mesh-head based ones, make little or no unwanted ambient noise.Fact|date=May 2007Mesh heads used in V-Drum kits today are made by the American drumhead company Remo.

Roland drum brains

Roland drum brains range in features and price from the top-of-the-line TD-20 to the TD-12, TD-10, TD-9, TD-8, TD-7, TD-6, TD-5, TD-3 and HD-1 (although the HD-1 brain is not sold separately, as it connects proprietary with a 25-pin parallel connector to the HD-1 frame and pads). Higher model numbers denote more advanced and/or newer models, while lower numbers are used for less expensive ones. When included with a V-Drum kit, the TD-20, TD-12, TD-10 and TD-9 take advantage of the more advanced mesh-head triggers for snare, bass drum, and toms. The TD-8, TD-7 and TD-5 are out of production.

Electronic hi-hats

The most recent Roland drum brains, the TD-20, TD-12 and TD-9, have the new ability to accept input from a newly designed, more-authentic V-Cymbal hi-hat. This new hi-hat V-Cymbal consists of two opposing pieces, designed to be mounted on a conventional hi-hat stand. (The TD-10 requires the TDW-1 expansion card to support the more advanced two-piece hi-hat, and not all features are supported.) More primitive kits utilize less authentic hi-hat technology; these kits use a single rubber-coated V-Cymbal trigger in combination with a variable resistor-based foot pedal, which replicates the "sound" of a hi-hat but does not emulate the feel and scope of expressiveness of acoustic hi-hats or their more recent V-Cymbal counterparts.

Artists who use Roland V-Drums

*Travis Barker
*Michael Bellusci
*Gregg Bissonette
*Jimmy Brown of UB40
*Omar Hakim
*Thomas Lang
*Adrian Young of No Doubt
*Stephen Morris of New Order
*Neil Peart of Rush
*Forrest Robinson
*Dave Mackintosh
*Jason Bittner
*Adrian Belew of King Crimson
*Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson
*Joe Barnett
*Michael Schack
*Joe Kaiser
*Rafa of Aurthohin


External links

* [ Roland V-Drums Official Portal]
* [, Site for exchanging V-drums kit sounds]
* [ History of V-Drums]
* [ One of best sources of used V-drum information and products]
* [ The Mondor] , an advanced V-Drum concept kit by Michael Render

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