Review: Roland TD-17KV Electronic Drum Kit

Roland V-Compact TD-17KV-S Drum Kit

The Roland TD-17KV drum kit is a great mid-level kit for both it’s playability and learning/practice features. For people that just want to play, this kit offers a nice selection of pads and sounds to dive right in. For those that want to learn, there’s a coach mode built into the module to help keep you on the right track.

Let’s take a closer look at this kit and see what’s both good and bad about this one.

5 Drum Pads & 3 Cymbal Pads

First up is the pads. This kit has the basics, with mesh heads on the drums and rubber covered cymbals. Roland sells all their V-pads as individual items as well as in kits, so they have product numbers of their own.

  • A 12-inch mesh snare (Roland PDX-12) – which is a dual zone pad with separate sounds on the head and the rim
  • 3x 8-inch tom pads (Roland PDX-8) – which are dual zone pads with mesh heads
  • A 10-inch kick pad/stand (Roland KD-10) – which is big enough to handle a double-kick pedal
  • A hi-hat pad (Roland CY-5) – which mounts on the rack and is operated with the included pedal
  • 2x 12-inch cymbal pad (Roland CY-8) – one for each of the crash and ride, with separate zones on the edge and the head, and also choke capability

The drum pads with the mesh heads have a great feel and people who own these drums love how it feels more like a real drum. You can adjust the tension of the heads to give more or less rebound, depending on what feels better for your style of play. This is a big advantage over electronic drum kits with rubber drum pads.

The cymbal pads are rubber-covered plastic and feel as such. They don’t have the hard surface feel of a real cymbal, and is probably the least natural feeling part of the kit during playing. They are, however, playable and responsive.

There’s no bell zone on either cymbal, so that is something to keep in mind. In order to trigger the bell sound when using one of these pads as a the ride cymbal, you simply just hit the cymbal harder than a normal tap.

The hi-hat is controlled via the included foot pedal. People who own this kit don’t always have the best opinion of how the foot pedal feels in comparison to a real hi-hat, but it gets the job done.

Roland PDX-12 Pad

Overall, these are a pretty nice set of pads for a kit in this price range. If you like the feel of Roland’s mesh V-drums, this is probably about as cheap as you can go, kit-wise, to get the mesh V-drum pads on all the snare and toms. There is also the TD-17K-L kit, one level below this one, that has rubber pads in place on mesh pads on the toms.

The Rack

As far as electronic drum racks go, this one is pretty small and compact, with a small overall footprint. There’s enough room for the included pads, with room to add more pads if you wish to upgrade.

There are three round bars that you can mount the drums on – the two side bars and the shorter center bar that is intended for the snare drum pad. The center part of the rack is an H-shaped support that isn’t designed to have any drums mounted on it’s center cross-bar.

The rack can be folded while assembled, for transport without taking it all apart. This kit is quite portable, in terms of electronic drum kits, due to it’s compact size and design.

Sturdiness

The nice thing about Roland V-drums is that they are well designed for taking a beating. This kit sits sturdy on the floor with four solid leg posts, and doesn’t wobble much at all unless you get rough with it. The rack hold everything in place nicely, and if you have it sitting on a rug it stays in place during play.

Feel and Playability

The thing that stands out most to people who own this kit is the overall feel. With the mesh V-drums, you’ll often feel like your playing on normal drums once you get into it.

For this price range, the 12-inch dual zone snare really stands out on this kit. The snare pad has a great feel and it’s only 2 inches smaller in diameter than a normal 14 inch snare drum. The mesh head of the snare can be adjusted for whatever tightness feels most natural for you. The feel of the snare pad allows you to play more natural sounding rolls and dynamic styles. It really does feel great to play.

The toms are similar to the snare pad, but smaller in size, therefore smaller targets. They also have the plastic rim on the inside of the rims, which some drummers don’t like due to accidentally hitting them sometimes with the sticks. Not too big a deal, but something to consider. They feel great when playing, much like the snare.

The cymbal pads, like most kits with rubber cymbals, are probably the least natural-feeling part of the kit. They play nice though, and you get used to the rubber feel pretty quickly and can play dynamically on the cymbals. The snare pad is kind of thin and some people who play it say it feels too wobbly.

The kick drum head has a good feel during play and also does a pretty good job of absorbing the thump sound, which can be a problem with harder kick pads on some kits. The padding material of the head is neither too hard or too spongy, and just works well. The kick drum feel compliments the mesh V-drum heads nicely.

The pedal for the hi-hat doesn’t feel exactly like a normal hi-hat pedal, but it does work well. It’s better than what’s been on previous incarnations of Roland V-drum kits in this price range in the past.

Works with Double Bass

The kick drum pad is big enough to fit a double bass pedal. The pad surface area is 5 inches in diameter and the stand of the kick pad will fit on top of a Roland NE-10 noise eater with a standard sized kick pedal attached.

The TD-17 Drum Module

Roland makes the TD-17 sound module specifically for the TD-17 series of electronic drum kits. The TD-17 is a fairly capable module, described maybe as a cheaper version of the TD-50.

The TD-17 includes a limited set of sounds compared to the TD-50 along with some neat learning/practice features. Let’s take a look at what the module offers.

  • A Ledge on Top – You might not even notice this at first, but there is a ledge on top of the drum module that can work great to place your cell phone, if you’re playing along with MP3’s on your phone on the aux input, for example.
  • 50 preset drum kits and 50 user kits to save your own kits
  • 310 sounds – Derived from the TD-50 module. Keep in mind that many of the sounds are variations of the sounds, such as cymbal tips and edges, drum heads and rims, etc.
  • 7 songs to play along with for practice – Rock, dance, funk, jazz and Latin styles.
  • Metronome/Click – Nice to have for practicing
  • Ambience, Bass and Treble Knobs – Right on the front of the unit, it’s easy to dial in a quick EQ and room ambience while playing.
  • Load Your Own Samples – You can load samples into this unit to create your own unique kits.
  • A Built-in Practice Coach – Sounds weird but works well for practicing and learning. It guides you through various warmups and exercises, and can score the accuracy of your playing.
  • Drum Sound Settings – For tweaking each sound of your kit.
  • Drum Pad Settings – To adjust sensitivity and feel of the pads.
  • 30 Built-in Effects – Such as reverbs, delays, flangers, bit crushers and stuff like that.

Overall, there’s not really much to complain about here, considering what you’re getting for the money you will be spending on this kit. The sound quality is great and the sounds are crisp and dynamic.

One potential negative is that people who have owned more advanced kits or modules might find the range of sounds to be a little lacking compared to the next level up. Of course, you have the option to load your own sample or use the midi out to control another sound module or a computer with a drum sampler – so you’re not too restricted with the sounds.

Here’s what the TD-17 drum module has for connections:

  • Cable Snake Input – to connect the cable that connects the module to all your drum pads
  • Two additional trigger inputs – labeled Crash 2 and Aux – so you can add another cymbal and tom pad, for example
  • 1/4-inch x2 Master Stereo Output
  • Headphones mini-jack
  • Mix input mini-jack – for hooking up an MP3 player or cell phone, for example
  • USB – to connect to a computer
  • Power Adapter Connection
  • Midi Out – To control external sources/devices with your drum kit

That’s a pretty standard set of connections, to be expected for a drum module in this price range.

Sound Quality and Sounds

The sound of this drum module is great. The sound set is a limited version of what Roland includes on the TD-50 module. Even though it might seem like a smaller sound set, what’s there is pretty good.

Combined with the dynamic play of the drum pads, especially the PDX snare/tom pads, the sound of the TD-17 module is pretty dynamic. The snare sound and dynamics especially stands out on this kit, so if you are a snare-happy player and this kit is in your budget range, this might be the one for you.

You’ll be able to play along with most styles of music with this kit, as there are enough kits and sounds to put together pretty much any combination you’ll need.

With the ability to set muffling on the sounds, as well as dial in reverbs and other effects, and then on top of that adjust the Highs/Lows and overall ambience with the knobs on the front – this is not a bad module at all for those that want to dial in a real specific room and kit sound.

Accessories

In addition to the rack, module and pads, this kit includes the following accessories in the box:

  • AC Adapter
  • Cable snake
  • Mount for the Sound Module
  • A drum key – to put together the rack hardware and adjust drum heads
  • Knob bolt – for mounting the snare drum to the rack
  • Setup guide and manuals

This kit doesn’t include some things that you might expect. It doesn’t include:

  • A drum throne
  • A kick pedal
  • Drum sticks
  • SD Card

So if you need those things, consider that you’ll need to budget for them as well.

Setup & Assembly

This kit isn’t too hard to put together, and the included instructions are pretty decent. Roland shows you how to put the small hardware bits together and how to run the cables optimally, which is more than many assembly guides from other manufacturers are able to accomplish. You’re probably looking at 30-60 minutes to get it all put together and adjusted to your liking.

Remember to not crank all the joints and connectors too tightly until you have most of the kit setup, as you will find yourself mostly likely sliding around and adjusting parts as your get more of the pieces put together. It’s best to leave most of the bolts lightly snug until you get everything where you want it, then to a final tightening on everything to keep it all secure.

Here’s some good tips on setting up a kit like this properly:

Hopefully that is helpful if you are new to adjusting an electronic drum kit setup.

Once you’re set up and assembled, you’ll want to run through the sound settings and configure things like the sensitivity and feel of the pads.

Quick Reference: Roland TD-17KV Manual

The manual has lots of info about how those specifics work, if you want to see before you spend the money on this kit.

Positives
  • The PDX-12 snare pad is killer
  • Kick pad has a great feel and acoustic sound dampening
  • Drum module is excellent for this price range

Negatives
  • Crash has no bell zone
  • High-hat pad feels weak
  • No throne, sticks or kick pedal included

The Verdict

Overall, the Roland TD-17KV is a pretty darn good kit for what it costs. You will be hard pressed to find another kit in this price range that has a great combination of snare sounds and snare pad feel. This kit can help you retain the feel of playing real drums without spending too much money.

Check Pricing or Buy

Beginners will probably love this kit, especially for practicing. Intermediate drummers will also find this to be a fun kit to play as well, as well as useful for practicing and retaining chops. Players or pros with advanced expectations and higher budgets will likely want to look at higher-end drum kits along with the TD-50 drum module and pass over this one, but until you get to that point, there’s nothing wrong with the TD-17 series.

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