The Simmons Titan 50 and the Roland TD-1DMK are similar in terms of features, size, pricing and expandability. There are some key differences though that you should be aware of if you are trying to decide between the two.
The Snare Pad
The snare pads on both the Titan 50 and the TD-1DMK are quite playable and have features such as dual zones and the ability to generate nice rim shots. In terms of feel, they both are good feeling snare pads to play on and they both work well with their respective drum modules to provide a good snare drum experience.
They both have 2-ply mesh heads which provide a natural rebound. They both also operate with single sensors underneath the mesh heads.
The advantage goes to Simmons here. The snare pad on the Titan 50 is a 10 inch diameter pad with a nice amount of playing surface, while the snare pad on the TD-1DMK is smaller at 8 inches diameter. The Roland pad also has the inner ring which makes it feel smaller than it is.
The Tom Pads
The tom pads are very similar in terms of features and configuration. Both kits come with three tom pads that are all 8 inches in diameter. All tom pads are single zone pad that can only generate sounds from the head. They both have a very similar feel and there’s not a lot of difference between the two kits here.
The Hi-Hat Pad
The hi-hat pads on both kits are both basic 10 inch cymbal pads. The CY-5 on the Roland is actually a dual zone pad but it functions as a single zone pad on the hi-hats for the TD-1DMK. The hi-hat pad on the Simmons is a single zone pad.
Both can do open, closed and mid range levels, but lack the level of subtlety found on more advanced drum kits and cymbal pads. The controllers for the hi-hat also feel very similar during play. They have that typical spongy feel of a cheaper hi-hat pedal controller, but they work just fine. They can both do hi-hat foot taps but not splashes.
I’d give a slight edge to the Roland TD-1DMK on the hi-hats. I thought it felt just a little more responsive when trying to do quick foot action like hi-hat snaps with quick open/closed motions.
The Crash Cymbal Pad
The crashes are a little different on each kit. Both kits have the same size crash cymbal pads at 10 inch diameter. They both have choke features. They both also feel about the same in terms of sticking and rebound.
However, the TD-1DMK uses dual pads for crash cymbals on the kit, which adds the ability to play both edge and bow sounds from the crashes. The Titan 50 only has single zone crash cymbal pads with no separate edge or bow zones. The TD-1DMK wins on the crash cymbals with the dual zone pads.
The Ride Cymbal Pad
The ride pad situation is a little more complicated, especially when you look at the new TD-1DMKX version of the kit available from Roland.
The Roland TD-1DMK uses the CY-5 pad, which is the same as the crash cymbals on the kit. As a ride cymbal it only has two zones and can generate both edge and bow sounds. It also has a choke. If you hit it harder, it will generate a bell sound with the TD-1 module. It’s size is 10 inches diameter.
The Roland TD-1DMKX uses the CY-8 pad. This pad has the same amount of zone, the bow and edge, but is larger in size at 12 inches diameter. It also has a choke. It also can generate a bell sound with the TD-1 module by being hit harder.
The Simmons Titan 50 uses a 10 inch pad for the ride cymbal and it’s basically the same single zone pad as the crash cymbals. It doesn’t have separate edge or bow zones but it does have a choke. The bell sound is also generate by hitting the cymbal harder.
The Roland TD-1DMK and TD-1DMKX both win over the Simmons Titan 50 with the separate edge and bow zones on the ride cymbal, which can make it a little more expressive to play.
The Kick Tower
The kick pad implementation is different on both of these kits, and each has some advantages and disadvantages. In terms of feel, they both have that hard rubber pad type of feel during play and are pretty similar in that regard.
The kick pad on the Titan 50 is a standalone tower. It has a pad that is wide enough to support a double bass pedal. The pad height is just under 14 inches, which is higher than centering the beaters on a 22 inch kick drum. The nature of the standalone kick tower gives you some flexibility in moving it left, right, back and forward.
The kick pad on the TD-1DMK is attached the right-center leg of the drum rack. This pad is wide enough to support a double bass pedal. The pad height can be adjusted vertically by moving it up or down the drum rack pole. There is no way to move this pad left, right, back or forward like a standalone kick tower.
Depending on how you want to be able to adjust your kick pad location, each of these offers different advantages. The kick pad on the Titan 50 has the fixed height but can’t be height adjusted. The kick pad on the TD-1DMK has a fixed horizontal location but can be adjusted vertically.
If you like keep the beaters at the same height as they would be centered on a 22 inch kick drum, the TD-1DMK will work better for that. If you don’t mind a slightly higher, fixed beater position and like the horizontal movement flexibility, the Titan 50 will work better.
I won’t say either is better here, they are just different. Personally, the TD-1DMK works better for me since I don’t like to change my beater heights when moving pedal between my 22 inch kick drums and my electronic drum kits.
The Kick Pedal
The Titan 50 comes with a budget level kick pedal and the TD-1DMK doesn’t include a pedal at all. The Titan 50 could be a better pick if you are a beginner that doesn’t want to have to add an extra expense of buying a kick pedal. The TD-1DMK could work better for drummers who already have kick pedals or who don’t mind the extra expense of buying one separately.
TD-1DMK – 4 post with round vertical and cross bars. Requires assembly.
The rack situation is where we see some more key differences. Both racks are fairly compact, but the Roland TD-1DMK is the most compact with the smaller footprint. Both racks are also fairly sturdy and I had no issues with mounts sliding on the racks when everything was tightened down properly. Both racks also have a similar height and height restrictions.
The Titan 50 rack is nearly fully assembled out of the box. This was really nice when initially setting up the kit and makes the Titan 50 much quicker to setup overall. The rack also uses rectangular bars on the cross bars, so it reduces slippage for mounts attached to the cross bars. It’s also a little wider overall and has more room for adding more pads. This is nice since there is an expansion set available for the Titan 50 which includes another crash pad and another tom pad, and there’s room to add both if you upgrade.
The TD-1DMK rack need to be assembled out of the box and it adds extra time during setup. It’s not that hard to assemble, but it does add the time. All of the bars, including the cross bars, are round. While that could lead to mount slippage, I haven’t experienced any of that with this kit after tightening everything down properly, so it’s not really a negative. There’s less room on the rack for expansion. Also, the two middle vertical supports being closer together can make it a little tricky to position a kick tower if you switch to using one of those.
While I like the compact nature of the TD-1DMK rack, I preferred the Titan 50 rack. The slightly larger size wasn’t much of an issue, coming fully assembled was awesome during setup, and there’s a little more room for expansion.
The Drum Module
25 drum kits, 10 user kit slots. Adjustable levels, pitch, decay, panning and reverb, compression and EQ.
In terms of sound, I thought both drum modules have really nice sounding drum kits. Kits on both modules have clear, punchy modern sounds.
In terms of features, the Titan 50 module has more to offer than the TD-1.
The TD-1 drum module isn’t very deep at all. It lacks the ability to change sounds on the kits, effects options and the ability to save custom kits. So basically, when you fire up the TD-1 module, you can switch between kits and play them and that’s about it. The kits themselves are pretty nice and I’ve had fun with them and didn’t find the lack of sound design options to be a drawback for when I want to just play drums.
The Titan 50 drum module offers more depth. You can customize kits by swapping in different drum sounds and by changing pitch and decay levels for each sound. You can also tweak effects like reverb and compression. There are also 10 user kit slots to save drum kits that you have customized. When playing this module I didn’t feel the need to change the sounds of the kits much since they sounded good out of the box. But it was nice to have the sound design options available.
In terms of connectivity, the Titan 50 module edges out the TD-1 module. Both kits can connect to a computer via USB to transmit MIDI to an external source, in most cases a computer. The Titan 50 additionally has a physical MIDI out jack. The Titan 50 module has Bluetooth which can be used to transmit MIDI or to play along with music from Bluetooth devices like smartphones. The TD-1 doesn’t have Bluetooth features.
Both kits offer the ability to expand and add another pad or two.
The Titan 50 module has additional inputs for another crash and tom pad. You can buy an expansion pack for the Titan 50 that includes another 10 inch cymbal pad and 8 inch tom pad to take advantage of those inputs.
The TD-1DMK has the ability to add one more cymbal pad. You can’t use more than 3 toms with the TD-1 module. There is currently a version of the TD-1DMK, the TD-1DMKX, which includes an additional 12 inch cymbal pad to take advantage of the extra cymbal input.
Personally, I prefer the slightly larger ride pad on the TD-1DMKX over the expanded Titan 50 kit with an extra tom pad. I like having a 12 inch pad for the ride to set it apart from the crash cymbals visually. Depending on your drumming sensibilities, either might be more preferable to you.
The Wrap Up
This is a situation where there isn’t a clear winner between the two. Each have advantages and disadvantages.
The Simmons Titan 50 has less features on the pads but a deeper sound module with sound design capabilities. It has a larger snare pad. It uses a kick pad tower and includes a kick pedal. It can be expanded with an extra cymbal and tom pad. It also has Bluetooth connectivity.
The Roland TD-1DMK and TD1-DMKX have more zones on the cymbal pads but a more basic drum module with no sound design capabilities. It has a smaller snare pad. It uses a kick pad attached to the rack. The TD-1DMKX offers an additional, larger cymbal pad for a ride cymbal. It has no Bluetooth features.
Hopefully this helps clear things up a bit if you are trying to decide between the two.