ATV aD5 – The E-drum Revolution?

If you read my blog articles you might know that I am a big Roland V-drums fan and I pretty much like everything Roland made in terms of electronic drums. Except one little detail: The sounds.

Roland modules do still generate an unrealistic synthesizer 80’s sound. The only way to fully enjoy Roland V-drum kits  and their awesome functionalities, is chaining the module to a computer to use it with drum sample software like EZdrummer2.

That means you have to switch on your laptop every time you want to play. This can be very annoying in an everyday situation where you really only want to play for 5 minutes.

ATV_aD5_1The alternative is either coping with the bad Roland sounds, or using a 2 Box Module. The problem with the 2Box Drumit5 is: It is orange… (Just a joke!). The 2 box module provides real drum sounds, but hihat and ride cymbal are not as realistic as the Roland VH-11/13 and the known 3 way ride (CY-12/15R) in combination with a V-drums module. So you loose the play feel.

The drum module that offers a good playing feel, looks good and has realistic sounds all in one is simply not existing. Until now…

The ATV Cooperation is founded by Mr. Ikutaro Kakehashi the former founder of Roland, who believes that new and better electronic musical instruments need to be created for the future. This company invented a revolutionary electronic drum module called: aD5.

This module is compatible with not only all Roland kits/pads, but any kind of trigger pad from major manufactures. I scent there is Roland like technology inside the module, since it supports the 3 way ride and 2 zone crashes, which is a known feature from several V-drums kits too. The big revolutionary difference is the possibility to use real drum sample sounds, directly triggered by the module. It seems like you can store and upload your own drum samples from whatever database to the SD card of the aD5.

So you can play better sounding kits, similar to EZdrummer2, with the module only. No PC is required, there is no latency and the sounds are balanced with your gear.

How many pads can be connected?

The number of pads that can be connected is similar to the Roland TD-25 or TD-15.

  • ATV_aD5_3KICK
  • TOM 1,2,3
  • RIDE (3 Zones)
  • AUX 1 (2nd Crash)
  • AUX 2 (4th Tom or Splash)

That shows the aD5 is made for standard middle class setups. All pads except Aux 1/2 are connected via multi-connector (similar to Roland TD-11, 25). MP3 player input, headphone out, an additional stereo out are standard outputs known from almost all electronic drum modules.
The USB connector ensures the usability as Midi converter, in case you want to connect this module to a PC and trigger Superior Drummer 2.0 for example to record Midi. The module does not have a Midi out, which would be unnecessary anyway. Who uses a Midi cable if there is a USB? The really interesting out/input is the LAN connector.

ATV_aD5_2I am not entirely sure, but I think that this connector can be used to link 2 aD5 modules. In case you want to build a huge metal drum kit with 2 brains and 20 pads. But this is only me assuming this function, it is only a guess.


What I also like about the aD5 itself, is the look. Finally a good looking e-drum module with an aluminium housing and no strange children colors. This module is compact and its clean design makes it fit every drum set. Well done ATV!

The costs of the ATV aD5 will be 815€ ex. VAT according to ATV Europe.

Some questions are still unrevealed and will make me stay awake at night:

  1. Does the module support positional sensing?
  2. Is the LAN connector there to chain 2 of them together?
  3. Can I trigger 2 zones at the tom pads?
  4. Can I use my own drum samples?

I am really excited about this module, since I have been waiting for such a product since I started playing e-drums.
Check out the ATV Cooperation website and their YouTube channel.

Please keep in mind that this article is not a review. It is only speculative and opinion based. I have not tested this module so far. 

37 Replies to “ATV aD5 – The E-drum Revolution?”

  1. Do we really know that it will play multi-samples (equivalent to EZDrummer2) via the SD card? That’s just speculation, right?

  2. Nice. I hope people don’t get turned off by “ships with 5 kits” because I have a feeling those are going to be beautiful sounding kits. Quality over quantity for the win.

    Plus, you can load more, so… there’s that.

  3. Yes I have seen all the videos on youtube about this new module.
    And yes many details are still not revealed. Positional Sensing? Not sure till now.

    I have a technical question. How is it rechnically possible to put the drum samples from a VST Software, like EZdrummer 2 or Steven Slate or Superior Drummer 2 and so on directly into the internal database of this drum module to use it directly without a PC connected.
    Sorry for that question if it sounds stupid, but I really don’t know that.

    How about the brand new topclass module from ALESIS called STRIKE? It will come summer 16 and has the option to load drumsamples directly to the modules database by PC?!
    Maybe another interresting module.
    What do you think about it? If I have time I plan to go to Musikmesse Frankfurt 2016.

    • The problem is not to put drum samples into a module, but their development. Recording and processing samples cost huge amount of money.
      Roland kits are already expensive because of their quality and durability.
      Putting samples into module just take up large space and the only problem to solve is minimise latency.

  4. Again about the ATV aD5. All the people I have found on internet who played the aD5 at NAMM16 reported that it will trigger only 1 Zone on the toms and not 2 Zones. Nobody said anything about positional sensing. There was no sound editing in the module in any way.
    It is not possible to load your own samples or VST samples into the database of the module.

    If all these things are true it would be disappointing in my opinion.

    • The thing with the toms seems to be true, 1 zone only. Positional sensing the way we know it from Roland is also patented. So it might be the case it does not provide this feature. However. I still think there are many reasons buy this module.

  5. i just got one (in us); sounds are amazing. no two zone toms. no machine gunning. great dynamics. there is a very low volume high pitched whine when volume is maxed but i have an email out to the company to look into this. at this point it is too new to add any new kits etc. but the 5 kits are more than adequate for most drumming — although if you are really into techno/electro then it is not for you as they are all realistic kits.

    • customer service for the company is extremely responsive — i will report back on the issue i mentioned — but they are already looking into it.

          • Just bought it, first impression, sound slightly better then Roland, continue testing..will reports back soon

          • The module can be fine for those don’t came from VST and 2box world, I can’t have the dynamic feel like 2box or any VST out there, this module are lined as Roland\Yamaha style with new sound, which is ok, but the price is a bit overpriced as well, the MIDI USB don’t works until you upgrade firmware, secondly, there is no editing option, no metronome, no song, no recording device etc..It has 5 kit and pad setting it’s almost all about it what you have, setting the pad is a bit challenging as well, no rim sound, there is exaggerated hard hot spot with Roland pd105 and pd125 and overall poor trigger respond making difficult to play in normal situation, edge of cymbal are awfully hard sounding without turning to -8 and the bow became unusable, conclusion the module sound good, issue on trigger response, missing to much feature and don’t bring something really new on the Edrum World, Module that will satisfies some.

  6. Just bought one and return it, there is problem on the dynamic range, found hard to set the dynamic correctly, it’s either low, or high, noticed as well, not enough sample when rolling and playing tom fill, always the same few sound, also I found a bit disappointed, there is no editing, nothing at all, I class this module for 6\10, Nothing worth buying folks, Td-25\td-30 still better with position sensing and lots more feature and complete module. Nothing related to 2box at all, complete different word, sad folks new companies bring something like this is terrible.

    • I forgot to said, you cannot imports your own sample and no editing feature available as 2box, the new sound will be only available from them, not from your own, one employee from the store just confirm me the module is nothing close to 2box, AD5 have 650MB memory only, it’s different world.

  7. First impression, the sound are nice, on par of Roland or a bit better, but I am struggling with dynamic and sound variations range, it seem to me not enough sound when playing dynamic, secondly I can’t find any editing available nor to imports sound, will reports you back more playing. I am 2box users and td-30, was curious about this module, I have 20 days to test it, if not enough satisfied, will return it.

  8. I bought one, and I love it.
    And I have to re learn my drum playing, my dynamic accuracy was not good while playing my former TD4.

    The snare and toms work fine, with the R-Drum trigger and meshheads.
    Roland cymbals work perfect too.

    I run the trigger wizzard several times with different soft and hard strikes to find a good way to deal with the dynamics, without destroying my drums ( and arm muscles 😉

  9. Ordering ad5 today hopefully it’s better than the td25 if not I’ll return it is will let everyone know. 2box sounds good but the cymbals suck.

  10. I wanted to give additional updates. I’ve been using the ad5 since February. I also have a td-30 for comparison and have played acoustic drums extensively along with occasional vst’s. Once dialed in the ad5 is decidedly much more dynamic compared with the td-30. The hi hat samples are particularly better. I use a pd-128s for snare, vh13 for hat, kt10 for kick and Yamaha xp120 for toms. While there is no real editing besides volume the sounds are much better compared with the endless tweaking results you get with the td30. I do expect the next set of samples to be even better as the team has had more time to refine the end result. The updated triggering firmware also made hi hat setup easier. And I have no financial or other ties to the company other than being a user and hoping for continued development.

  11. Update — I’ve had the module for more than a year. The firmware updates added more triggers and now the sound store has opened. For simplicity of playing a very realistic emulation of acoustic drum kit it is amazing. The new sounds add even more versatility to the instrument and demonstrate the manufacturers long term commitment to the product. Also they will be releasing an entire drum kit system withe a novel triggering system that will eliminate hot spots and improve the already excellent dynamic range of the ad5 — expected by September. Anyway just figured I would add some updates to my review.

    • I actually bought an aD5 because of all these “has such a great sound, same as Superior Drummer” reviews, here and elsewhere.

      I decided to send it back after a few days: on first sight, the sounds were quite good, but, after a while they were just getting on my nerves: These sounds are not reasonably multilayered and the module does not use any algorithm such as round robin to bring variation into the sound. In the medium velocity range every stroke sounds practically identical, which gives a very pronounced machine gun effect.

      I’ve been using VSTs for years, and there are worlds between the lively sound a VST such as Superior Drummer or EZdrummer give you and this module.

      • The aD5 is not for everyone. It is more for people who like it simple and want dry unprocessed sounds. You might not be the person for it. I am like you in this regard.

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