Hands-On Review:Roland Rhythm Coach & Electric Snare Packs

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Roland Rhythm Coach & Electric Snare Packs

Learn to play drums without driving people crazy!

By Steve Sansome

Back when I was just getting started playing the drums, most afternoons would find me practicing my rudiments and sticking exercises on a steel snare with a pair of marching sticks that seemed as big as billy clubs. That was a long time and a few million beats ago, but the learning process hasn't changed much for young players these days.

Roland Rhythm Coach & Electric Snare Packs My drums always fell quiet when my dad got home. After working all day he found hearing my drum practice about as relaxing as listening to a jackhammer breaking up concrete. I would then slap the old rubber vacuum pad on the snare, which would muffle the drum, but also made it sound like a cardboard box.


If only I had had the Roland Rhythm Coach back then. Electronic drums made silent practice possible for players who could pay the hefty price tag, but the Rhythm Coach Pack features the first quality digital drum that's affordable for the average drum student. And with the training modes that come with it, it's like getting drum lessons included for free!


Fresh mesh
The RP-2 Mesh Drum Pad is descended from the famous V-Drums. The mesh head has a natural, bouncy feel to it that's very easy on the wrists and effectively mimics the rebound and action of an acoustic snare head. Eight lugs provide precise tensioning to tune up the head. The pad is nearly silent, as the mesh capably dampens the stick sound. The sensitivity is adjustable for the most comfortable feel and response.


One pad, many sounds
The RM-2 sound module contains a diverse selection of drum and percussion sounds. The 28 sounds feature a range of snare drums, including maple, steel, brass, 13", deep shell, and marching models. There are three toms, four different quad-toms, bass drum, and marching bass drums. The inclusion of high and low timbales, along with cowbell and claves, makes the Rhythm Coach a valuable tool for exploring Latin rhythms. The vast palette of sounds makes the process of learning to play and practicing a lot more fun and involving than the dull thump of a rubber pad. I would have given anything to hear those sounds during the long solo practice sessions when I was a kid! The headphone option allows you to practice anywhere, anytime, with a virtual studio full of drums and percussion sounds to play with.


Roland Rhythm Coach & Electric Snare Packs Time is on your side
The metronome in the Rhythm Coach provides 11 different sounds including traditional metronome, electric beep, simple electric, unique sweep, zap, hi-hat, cowbell, shaker, claves, sticks, and "voice" count. The list of rhythms includes all the standard note values, plus three different varieties of Afro-Cuban clave rhythms. These, combined with the hand drum and percussion sounds, make the Rhythm Coach a valuable tool for Latin percussionists as well as drummers.


The time-keeping machine in the RM-2 contains a range of exercises to develop critical skills of timing, speed, and endurance. Time signatures up to 13 beats per measure are supported. Rhythmic Notes is a great mode for warming up, and also teaches note values by taking players through a changing series of note values from halves to 16ths, and back down.


Time Check tests accuracy by measuring players' beats against the metronome, and uses visuals to display whether beats are placed before, on, or after the tempo. Quiet Count develops internal timing by playing at a set volume for the first eight measures, then playing the second eight measures at a reduced volume. Speed Check gives you a workout that advances the metronome five beats per minute whenever a rhythm is played for eight measures.


Gradual up/down builds playing endurance by increasing or decreasing the metronome one beat per minute until the maximum/minimum tempo is reached. It's a great way to cultivate speed and precision. Step Up/Down enhances endurance by increasing or decreasing the metronome's tempo five beats per minute every eight measures until the maximum or minimum tempo is achieved.

The timer function plays the metronome for a length that you program, from 1-60 minutes. Tap tempo allows you to march to your own drummer by tapping in the time.


Roland Rhythm Coach & Electric Snare Packs Get connected
Two inputs on the back of the RM-2 allow you to connect up to two additional pads. These could be used to attach a bass drum pad for bass/snare exercises. An additional pad could be used for snare drum duets. Drum teachers will find the Rhythm Coach has a lot of interesting possibilities for giving lessons, with both teacher and student having the ability to play their own pads simultaneously.


There is also an audio input for connecting a CD or tape player, allowing you to hear a mix from the player and the pad sounds. This lets you practice along with the music of your choice, CD/book packages, or the included practice CD. Used with a portable player, you can practice wherever you want.


The Rhythm Coach Pack includes the RP-2 practice pad, RM-2 sound module, and connecting cables. The pad runs either on an optional AC adapter or four AA batteries, so the pad is great for taking on the road. The PDS-2 pad stand is a recommended option for stand-up play and optimum positioning of the pad.


The Electronic Snare Drum Pack includes everything that comes with the Rhythm Coach Pack, plus the PDS-2 Pad Stand. Roland is also sending a booklet/CD combo free to registered owners, with demonstrations, additional exercises, and four play-along audio tracks.


Roland's electronic drum packs make a lot of sense for young players and beginners who need to practice without disturbing family and friends, developing players who want to polish their technique and time-keeping skills, and pros who like to warm up before shows and practice on the road.


Features & Specs:



RP-2 V-Practice Pad:RM-2 Rhythm Coach:
  • 8" diameter
  • Trigger input
  • Tuning key
The Roland Electronic Snare Drum Pack
  • Includes the above components plus the PDS-2 Pad Stand.
  • 4-voice polyphony (one voice for metronome)
  • 11 metronome sounds
  • 28 instrument sounds
  • Panel control volume knob
  • 5 function selection buttons
  • Power switch
  • 2 - 1/4" trigger inputs
  • Stereo miniature phone jack out
  • Stereo miniature phone jack mix in
  • Optional AC adapter jack
  • Powered by optional DC 9V AC adapter or 4 AA batteries
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Owner's manual