Hands-On Review:Roland TD-12S Electronic Drum Set

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Roland TD-12S Electronic Drum Set

First-class sound and feel for drummers on a budget

By Tom Freeman


Roland released their totally redesigned TD-20S electronic drum set in 2003. Modern Drummer magazine called it "simply the best electronic kit ever available." Their new TD-12S set includes the essentials of the TD-20S in a less costly, slimmed-down format. This kit includes the new TD-12 COSM-modeling drum module, deep V-Editing power, natural-feeling mesh pads around the kit, a larger snare pad, and a new easy-setup stand. Drummers on a budget who want to play the best in electronic percussion will no doubt be making a V-line for these V-drums.


Musician's Friend - Roland TD-12S V-Stage Electronic Drum Set A forest of sounds
The TD-12 module uses the same sound-generating technology as the TD-20, with hundreds of expressive instruments and play-along sequences. The large icon-based LED makes navigation easy, and multiple buttons, controls, and mix sliders give you total control of the sounds. Life on the road isn't easy—the chassis is built road-tough to handle touring. COSM modeling gives the sound convincing realism and unparalleled flexibility. The acoustic sampled kits range from classic vintage wood to high-end contemporary. The sound, combined with the feel of the newly refined pads, gives you a vivid sensation of playing a "real" set.


The TD-12 gives you a vast palette of sounds, with the sonic power of an army of percussionists. In addition to the various vintage and contemporary acoustic sets, there's an extensive set of Latin and world percussion sounds, as well as a great selection of electronic and special effect tones perfect for jungle, hip-hop, trance, and other cutting-edge genres. A number of play-along sequences help you hone your chops. A dozen trigger inputs and four audio outputs are provided along with MIDI I/O.


Click to Enlarge V-Editing: custom drums
The sounds are just a starting point; with V-Editing you can completely customize the snares, toms, bass, and cymbals. Sizes, head type, construction materials, cymbal sizzle, and snare buzz can all be changed as desired. Positional sensing on the snare and ride changes the sound as you play toward the rim for even more realism. The TD-12 is also brush-compatible.


Monster mesh
The TD-12S features mesh heads all around for ultra-realistic feel and response on the entire kit. The 10"-diameter PD-105 dual-trigger mesh V-Pad has the size and feel of a real high-end snare drum. The whole range of snare techniques can be used, including rim clicks, full and shallow rim shots, and cross sticking. It responds dynamically to every stroke from ghost notes to slamming rim shots. Positional sensing brings out more ring in the tone when you play toward the rim. Snare, cymbal, and buzz rolls are no problem with the interval control function, which varies the sound based on stroke speed for more authentic rolls.


Click to Enlarge The toms consist of three PD-8 mesh V-Pads, with the newest dual-trigger technology for more accurate sensing and triggering between the rim and head. The rim sound even changes depending on how hard you play! The heads can be tensioned to your preference with a standard drum key. The pads are outfitted with new chrome mounting hardware for sure placement and smooth looks.


A solid foundation
The all-new KD-85 bass drum pad is a workhorse performer with better conditioning for a truer feel than ever before. It accommodates double bass pedals and has the toughness and stamina needed to provide the pulse over the long haul.


The improved MDS-12 stand has a new folding design that sets up in minutes. The sturdy grip clamps keep your drums and cymbals locked down so they won't move around on you in performance. Cables are hidden inside the pipes for a clean, squared-away look and labeled for easy connectivity. The open-leg design makes hi-hat placement easier, and its spacious design accommodates extra drums, cymbals, pads, or optional Roland PM-3 satellite speakers.


Hat trick
Like its big brother the VH-12, the new streamlined VH-11 floating hi-hat has a great acoustic feel. Close your eyes and you'll swear you're playing a real hat. The one-piece floating design mounts easily onto a regular hi-hat stand for full motion capability. The VH-11 comprises a floating cymbal pad over a fixed base and mounts on a conventional hi-hat stand quickly and easily. Give it the eyes-closed test and you'll swear you're playing the real deal.


Roland's V-Drums changed the way contemporary players think of electronic drums. Their TD-20S kit extended the frontiers of electronic drumming. Instead of being a retro relic of the '80s, electronic percussion is again a powerful instrument for creative expression. With the new TD-12S, that power is within almost everybody's range.


Features & Specs:



TD-12 Drum Module:Drum Pads:
  • Over 500 sounds
  • 50 kits
  • 250 sequences - 150 preset/100 user
  • Ultra-realistic COSM sounds
  • V-Editing for customizing sounds
  • 12 trigger inputs
  • 4 audio outputs
  • MIDI I/O
  • Positional Sensing for authentic sound and response
  • Interval Control for realistic-sounding buzz rolls and cymbal swells
  • One KD-85 bass drum pad
  • One 10" PD-105 mesh dual-trigger snare pad
  • 3 PD-8 mesh dual trigger tom pads
  • Chrome mounting hardware
MDS-12BK Stand:VH-11 High-Hat:
  • Easy setup
  • Cables hide inside tubing
  • Mounts additional components
  • One-piece floating design for realistic sound and action
  • Mounts on conventional hi-hat stand (hi-hat stand not included)