Roland released the TD-17 series in April 2018, aimed at mid to high level players. There are three specification levels in the range to suit your budget and requirements. The most basic of these still offers a high level kit, and the fully specced TD-17KVX cuts no corners to offer you an amazing piece of kit. In this article we’ll break down the different offerings to learn all about Roland TD 17 series.
To ensure the range is affordable for as many players as possible, Roland offers the TD-17K-L. While it’s the cheapest model in the range, it retains many of the great features of its bigger brothers.
The 8” snare and 10” kick drum pads feature mesh heads for a realistic feel. The tom pads are made of high quality rubber, which Roland promises won’t slow down your playing. They give great stick response and work well together with the mesh snare pad.
This kit offers quite a bit more than the base model TD-17K-L. It features all mesh pads for great-feeling and consistent playing between pads. The PDX-12 snare is a huge 12” which gives you an almost acoustic sized playing area and a great level of expression with accurate sensors picking up all of your dynamics with ease.
Finally, the absolute best of the TD-17 range, the KVX offers aspiring, intermediate level, and professional players alike everything they need to perform at their finest.
Alongside the giant 12” PDX-12 snare pad, this model allows you to use the standard hi-hat stand of your choice with the expressive VH-10 hi-hat pad.
This pad uses a ‘floating’ design, meaning that it moves up and down to simulate a real hi-hat, including bow and edge sounds. The cymbal pads on this range-topping model are larger, and you get an extra crash cymbal, to give you more options in your playing.
Side by side comparison
The three models are quite different in specification and pricing, so let’s take a look at what makes them unique from one another.
Click here to jump to an overview of individual pads further down the page:
|Sound module||TD-17-L x 1||TD-17 x 1||TD-17 x 1|
|Hi-hat||CY-5 x 1||CY-5 x1||VH-10 x1|
|Hi-hat control pedal||FD-9 x 1||FD-9 x 1||Uses standard hi-hat stand (not included)|
|Crash||CY-8 x 1||CY-8 x1||CY-12C x2|
|Ride||CY-8 x 1||CY-8 x1||CY-13R x1|
|Snare||PDX-8 x1||PDX-12 x1||PDX-12 x1|
|Toms||PD-8A x 3||PDX-8 x3||PDX-8 x3|
|Kick||KD-10 x 1||KD-10 x1||KD-10 x1|
Roland TD-17 Module
It’s worth noting that between the three TD-17 kits, the modules are identical, with the exception that the TD-17K-L version doesn’t support Bluetooth.
There’s a lot on offer with this all new module and for the asking price, it’s hard to beat. The module is designed to make your life easy, whether you’re simply switching between the 50 inbuilt kits, or fully customising the sounds to suit your individual tastes. A large rotary dial makes menu naviga5tion a breeze and you can see exactly what you’re adjusting with clear text and graphics on the backlit screen.
Powerful sound engine
Roland has incorporated the ‘prismatic’ sound engine from their flagship TD-50 into the TD-17 module so you can play with incredibly generous dynamic range. The realistic samples (there’s 310 of them) give you true-to-life sounds in any style that you choose.
The TD-17 module is endlessly customisable, allowing you to change the simulated size of drums and cymbals, the amount of muffling, and you can layer sounds together to create something special with a very full tone. Check out this video which explores some of the module’s customisation options:
Import your own sounds
Normally, Roland shies away from allowing users to import custom sounds, because doing so can increase the latency of playback. They want only the best planning experience with no lag, so this makes perfect sense.
But now, with the powerful TD-17 module, latency isn’t a concern. You can now import your own sounds via an SD card (32 GB max). You can even edit them right on the module!
You’re able to layer up to two of your own custom sounds together, or mix and match them with the inbuilt samples. Further customise the sounds with the on-board equaliser, pitch control, and effects to create your own signature sound.
Connect your smartphone via Bluetooth and sit it within easy reach on the handy shelf above the module to play along with music and videos of your choice.
Please note that the TD-17K-L module does not support Bluetooth
It’s easy to find your way around the module’s menus quickly with a large central dial and shortcut buttons for commonly accessed functions. This lets you spend more time playing and less hunting for settings.
In quiet count the click will play for a set number of bars and then you’ll aim to keep accurate time without a click for several bars. This helps to develop your ‘internal clock’. The cycle will repeat until you stop it.
The module will take you through a range of different subdivisions and tempos to help you become comfortable with a variety of playing speeds.
Play along with the click track for a pre-set number of bars and then receive a score depending on how accurate your time is.
Built in songs
The TD-17 module has 7 built in songs, but you can also import your own songs. The best thing about this is the ability to change the speed, so you can learn a complex song at your own pace.
DC in x1
Master output L/Mono, R x2
Mix in x1
Trigger input connector x1
Trigger in (aux, crash 2) x2
MIDI out x1
SD cart slot x1
USB computer port x1
Help! What do all the code names mean for the different pads?
Between the three spec levels in the TD-17 range, there’s a lot of different equipment to get your head around. What makes one better than the other? Hopefully this break down of the options will clarify things for you.
PDX-12: 12 inch dual-mesh trigger pad
12” playing surface for realistic feel and appearance
Adjustable mesh head allows your to fine tune your desired response
Independent sensing of rim shots and regular strokes
Hoop height is low, allowing open rim shots as on an acoustic snare
Mounts on any standard tom holder or sits right in a regular snare drum stand
PDX-8: 8 inch dual-mesh trigger pad
8” playing surface with a 10” rim for improved rim shots
Dual triggers for rim shots and regular strokes
PD8-A: 8 inch dual trigger pad
Supports rim shots with edge trigger
Solid construction with good rebound
CY-12C: 12-INCH V-CYMBAL FOR CRASH
Weight is balanced to provide optimum balance and swinging motion
Accurate triggering gives reliable and consistent performance
Individual bow and edge triggers
CY-8: 12 inch dual trigger cymbal pad
Swinging motion for realistic playing
Individual bow and edge triggers
New design looks more like a real cymbal
CY-13R: 13 INCH V-CYMBAL FOR RIDE
Three triggers – edge, bow, and bell accurately respond for precise playing
Realistic swinging motion and large bow area simulate a real ride cymbal
CY-5: 10 inch cymbal pad
Swinging movement for realistic playing
Separate bow and edge triggers
Suitable for use as hi-hat, splash cymbal or similar
FD-9: Hi-hat pedal
Ultra quiet operation
Transitions smoothly between open, half open, and closed positions
VH-10: 12 inch V-hi-hat
Single cymbal floating design
Mounts on a traditional hi-hat stand
Natural feel with swinging motion and great stick response
Tone changes smoothly as you change the foot pedal position
Realistic acoustic-like techniques like foot splashing and half opened playing
Independent sensors for bow and edge playing
KD-10: 5 inch Kick pad
Low noise design thanks to the built in dampening so you can play any time without disturbing others
Feels like an acoustic kick drum with special mesh head and cushioning
Supports single and double kick drum pedals of your choice
Wide base and strong frame mean the pad is solid and won’t move about as you play.
The TD-17 range has something for everybody. For the budget conscious, the base model TD-17K-L retains the powerful module, missing only the Bluetooth feature, but just plug into the module with a standard 3.5mm audio cable and you’re in the game. The rubber pads may not be to everyone’s liking, but they’re still very playable and super durable.
The middle of the range TD-17KV is a great option if your budget won’t stretch to the KVX, but you love the feel of mesh heads. You’ll get the massive 12” snare pad which gives you maximum playability and you gain Bluetooth to keep annoying cables out of the way.
The TD-17KVX, oh boy this kit has it all. The VH-10 hi-hat is about as realistic as you can get from an electronic pad. The ride cymbal has 3 zones so you can play on the bell exactly as you would on an acoustic kit and you’ll get an extra crash cymbal for unrestricted expression.
Don’t think that you’re limiting yourself with the TD-17K-L and KV kits, because they’re fully upgradeable to the KVX spec so the kit can grow with you as a player.
Whatever your level of playing, the TD-17 range will take care of all of your needs so you can enjoy playing to your full potential.
What’s your favourite thing about the TD-17 series? Please do leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.