Hands-On Review:Roland V-Compact Series TD-4S
A new standard in V-Drums value
By David Garza
Roland Product Specialist
Electronic percussion continues to expand in popularity by giving drummers the ability to play quietly and have access to an amazing variety of sounds. Roland’s V-Drums have become the industry standard since capturing the market with the introduction of the first V-Drums set in 1997. This is due to a combination of amazing playability; expressive, high-quality sounds; and intuitive, user-friendly editing. Since then, the V-Drums line has expanded to offer sets for every drummer, from beginners to the pros, and at every price point.
Roland has recently introduced the V-Compact Series TD-4S. It incorporates the V-Compact characteristics by offering the same great playability, expressive sounds, ease of use, and unique practice functions at a very affordable price. The TD-4S is not only the perfect kit for practicing; it’s great for studio or live use as well.
Playability is key
V-Drums are famous for their great-feeling, two-ply mesh head V-Pads. Their unique patented design offers an acoustic-like feel over a wide tension range. You can tighten or loosen the heads to get just the right feel. They are also very quiet, extremely durable, and pick up all the nuances and dynamics of drumming with excellent sensitivity and response. Every V-Drums set has at least one mesh pad and the TD-4S is no exception. It comes with the PDX-8 dual-trigger V-Pad for the snare drum. You can play on both the head and the rim of the pad to perform everything from subtle buzz rolls to cracking rim shots. You can even play cross stick sounds on the rim and still get the rim shot when you play harder.
The two CY-8 V-Cymbal pads for the crash and ride are dual-trigger and let you perform cymbal chokes by grabbing the edge. There are bow and edge crash and ride cymbal sounds that are incredibly expressive. Play the bow of the ride pad with the tip of the stick and the sound is there. Play it harder to bring out a ride bell sound. Hit the edge with the shank of the stick to get more washy sounds just like an acoustic ride. For the hi-hat, the dual trigger CY-5 V-Cymbal and FD-8 Hi-Hat Control Pedal let you play top and edge hi-hat sounds with smooth response from closed to open and in-between. If you want to upgrade the hi-hat, the TD-4 is also compatible with Roland’s VH-11 V-Hi-Hat for even more realistic play.
The three toms of the TD-4S are gum rubber PD-8 pads. They function as single-trigger with the TD-4, but have great dynamics and feel. The KD-8 kick trigger has a great feel as well and can even handle double kick pedals.
All the pads connect to the TD-4 with one multi-pin connector that breaks out to separate cables that are labeled for easy setup. There is also one extra cable provided for either a second crash or for a three-way triggering ride for separate bell, bow, and edge triggering if you upgrade the ride pad to an optional CY-12R/C.
The TD-4S looks a little different than most other V-Drums sets. Instead of locating the TD-4 Percussion Sound Module to the side of the kit, it is mounted right in the middle. The included compact and lightweight MDS-4 Drum Stand is both very stable due to its four-leg design and provides easy access to the module.
The power of any electronic drum set lies mainly within the module and in this regard, the TD-4 excels. The module has an ergonomic design that complements its placement on the set. Its dedicated buttons that light up and adjustable LCD display make it very user-friendly.
The most important feature of the TD-4 is the sound. Roland has always been known for great sounds and the engineering team focused on this aspect of the TD-4. The 125 drum, percussion, and cymbal sounds are rich, punchy, dynamic, and expressive. You’ll be blown away at how responsive the sounds are. They have a wide dynamic range and really change tonal character with velocity, just like acoustic drums. Combined with their playability, they make playing the kit a very natural experience. There are 25 built-in kits offering a variety of acoustic, electronic, and percussion sets to cover a wide range of musical styles. All kits are easily editable and the drum and percussion sounds can be tweaked with dedicated buttons for adjusting tuning and muffling.
Get better faster with Rhythm Coach
The TD-4 includes a metronome and unique Rhythm Coach practice functions. When you press the metronome button to start the click, the button flashes at the tempo. The built-in Rhythm Coach functions are designed to help drummers improve timing, accuracy, and technique, using the metronome along with visual feedback on the display. There are five adjustable exercises and some even provide scores to help track your progress.
- WARM UPS combines several exercises and evaluates your performance with a choice of three courses ranging from easy to difficult.
- TIME CHECK displays timing accuracy on the screen and you can choose the number of measures you play before being scored.
- TEMPO CHECK decreases the click volume as you become more tempo-accurate.
- QUIET COUNT metronome alternates between sound and silence over a selected number of measures to develop your timing accuracy.
- AUTO UP/DOWN helps develop technique as the click gradually speeds up and slows down between selectable tempos.
Capture yourself with more functions
A Quick Record function lets you easily record yourself with a single button push. You can even use Quick Record in conjunction with the TIME CHECK mode to check the accuracy of your performance.
Play along with your favorite music by connecting MP3 players or any other audio source into the Mix-In jack. Use the MIDI out for sequencing or playing sounds in other hardware or software in the studio.
With great sounds, playability, and features, the V-Compact Series TD-4S truly is an incredible V-Drums value!