Sep 10

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At last, Roland after all these years, have upgraded the TD-30 drum Brain to the TD-50. It has been a while and I wasn’t sure if they ever were going to do it. Their 909 day although I am sure has been a great success took a little flak from the people who commented on this on-line. One of the main comments was their ability to market and recycle all that they have done in the past and this is definitely true. Although, we all love the sounds of the 808 and 909, it makes me wonder when they are going to invent something new. That said, I am all for improvements and if Roland can build something further on the Roland TD30 by way of the TD-50 then I will be very pleased that it exists in this world. However at a cost of £1939 for the TD-50 module or £6599 for the TD-50KV kit, we are talking some serious money. The smaller TD-50K is £4129 which makes me think that the TD-50 module is over-priced being half the price of the whole kit. I think £1400 – £1500 is more realistic.

I sincerely hope that we don’t hear their repetitive saying that “it has been built from the ground up”, because it clearly has not. It has been built up from its predecessors the TD7, TD-10, TD20 and TD30 but yes it will without a doubt be their Flagship V-Drum sound module. At this stage it is hard to properly comment on how it sounds and feels and to do any comparison with the TD-30 but the most obvious advantage I can see is the ability to play your own samples via an SD card. I never understood why this was not on the TD-30 as it was crying out for it.

Roland’s information on the SD card tell us that it’s easy to trigger your own WAV files using any of the TD-50’s drum pads, and you can loop or layer them alongside the internal sounds while controlling volume and tone via the TD-50’s front panel. There’s even a choice of audio sampling formats: 48 kHz, 96 kHz, and the standard 44.1kHz – all sounds great to me.

OK so what else is there to make you want to spend such money on a TD-50? Roland say that they now have something called “Prismatic Sound Modeling” and they tell us that this means “that every element of your playing style is caught and conveyed in thrilling detail. Working alongside Roland’s newly developed digital snare and ride pads—which feature our most advanced trigger-sensing technology yet—the TD-50’s high-resolution processing gives you the most lifelike, resonant, and expressive sounds you’ll hear from an electronic kit”. Whilst I think that I can’t wait to hear this in the flesh, I still want an electronic kit to be very capable of producing electronic sounds for 2016, so the idea of have a sampling capability is still the best news for me.

There was a mention of a new Snare Drum and this of course is great news. To me the snare drum has got to be the most important drum and how this sounds and responds to your playing is crucial. The TD-50 brain apparently has three digital trigger inputs for connecting advanced Roland pads like the new PD-140DS digital snare drum and the new large CY-18DR digital ride cymbal. The PD-140DS costs £579 and the CY-18DR is £409. Again, the prices hurt a bit.

Rolands info on the Snare is that it is “a 14″ PD-140 digital snare featuring Rolands new multi-element sensor system and a 3-layer mesh head that give a natural rebound and feel. This new design means that the system will notice hits across every area of the pad, and tiny changes in dynamics are detected so that you can play more expressively and naturally with every subtle nuance reflected in what you hear”. The new Ride Pad is an 18″ CY-18DR Digital ride with a new high-resolution, multi sensor system that detects every stroke from edge to bell. This combined with the new TD-50 module gives the drummer the widest range of dynamics and responsiveness that has not been possible with any previous Cymbal pad.

I am not sure if you could use either the PD-140DS or CY-18DR with a TD-30 module as this module would not have the digital inputs. Whether or not Roland will do an update to the TD-30 to show the new drum and cymbal, I don’t know but if they did, I am sure it would have limited use.

Two other cool features are the fact that the module has a USB 10-channel audio out for multi-track recording through a single USB cable and it also has an easy-to-use audio recording function. You just hit the record button and start playing to capture your performance. If you’re playing to a click or backing track, there’s an option to record just the drums, or to record them with the click or track included. Once captured, your recordings can be easily exported for upload and editing in your DAW.

Interestingly, I have just seen a TD-50 upgrade package for £2,239 which comprises of the TD-50 module, a CY-18DR Digital ride and the 14″ PD-140 digital snare, which is an intersting price given their idividual prices.

It is also worth noting that whilst the TD-50KV kit comes with the KD-140-BC Kick Trigger Pad which is very suitable for studio recording and home use, it also has the optional KD-A22 kit which will mount on your 22-inch acoustic kick shell for live use allowing you to incorporate your favourite 22″ acoustic kick drum into your TD-50KV setup.

Anderton’s music store at Guildford have done a YouTube clip featuring the best electronic drummer in the world – Michael Schack giving you a good idea of what your £6500 kit will sound like:-

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Specifications

Roland TD-50 Drum Module

Flagship electronic sound module with ultimate expression
400+ dynamic and expressive instruments in high-quality audio
New TD-50 sound module with Prismatic Sound Modeling
Digital Pad inputs (USB) x 3 for new 14” Digital Snare (PD-140DS) and 18” Digital Ride (CY-18DR) multi-sensor system
Play your own WAV samples via SD card
USB 10-channel Out/4-channel In for multi-track recording through a single USB cable
Master Output (XLR) and 8 Direct Out (TRS), balanced for PA connection
Metronome with Quiet Count and audio playback function for practice
Audio record function to capture and export drumming performances
Advanced V-Edit system to customize drum and cymbal sounds

Drum Kits: 100
Instruments: More than 400
Effect Types:
Pad Compressor: each pad
Pad Equalizer: each pad
Room Type: 25 types
Reverb Type: 5 types
Stereo Enhancer
Multi-Effects: 3 systems, 30 types
Master Compressor
Master Equalizer
User Sample Import:
Number of User Sample: Maximum 500 (includes factory preloaded user samples)
Sound Length (total): 24 minutes in mono, 12 minutes in stereo
File formats that can be loaded: WAV (44.1 kHz, 16/24 bits)
Song Player (SD Card): Audio File: WAV (44.1 kHz, 16/24 bits), MP3
Recorder:
Recording Method: Realtime
Maximum Note Storage: approx. 40,000 notes
Export File Format: WAV (44.1 kHz, 16 bits), SMF

For more TD-50 specifications please click here.
Roland CY-18DR Ride Cymbal

Size: 18 inches
Available playing methods (triggers):
Bow shot (high resolution position detection, wide dynamic range)
Bell shot (wide dynamic range)
Edge shot (wide dynamic range)
Choke (choke edge, bow touch)
Sensor system:
Multi element sensor system
Bow sensor x 3
Bell sensor
Edge sensor
Touch sensor
Built-in sensing processor
Connectors: DIGITAL TRIGGER OUT port (compatible with Roland drum sound module equipped with DIGITAL TRIGGER IN port)
Power supply: Supplied from DIGITAL TRIGGER IN port (DC 5 V)
Current draw: 90 mA
Dimensions: 470 (W) x 470 (D) x 55 (H) mm, 18-9/16 (W) x 18-9/16 (D) x 2-3/16 (H) inches

Roland V-Drums Digital Snare

Pad size: 14 inches
Shell depth: 4.3 inches
Tension rods: 8
Head: 3-ply mesh head (Floating mid-layer structure)
Available playing methods (Triggers):
Head shot (High resolution positional detection, Wide dynamic range)
Rim shot (Depth detection, Wide dynamic range)
Cross stick (Automatic switching)
Brush sweep
Sensor system: Multi element sensor system
Head sensor
Position sensors x 3
Rim sensor
Cross stick sensors x 3
Built-in sensing processor
Supported covering size: 98 (width) x 1,060 (length) mm, Thickness: 1 mm or less
Connector: DIGITAL TRIGGER OUT plug, (compatible with Roland drum sound module equipped with DIGITAL TRIGGER IN port)
Power supply: Supplied from DIGITAL TRIGGER IN port (DC 5 V)
Current Draw: 90 mA
Dimensions: 380 (W) x 380 (D) x 160 (H) mm, 15 (W) x 15 (D) x 6-5/16 (H) inches
Combined weight of all 3 items: 10.3kg, 22lb 11oz

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