Roland TD-17 vs TD-25

Roland released a new entry-level/mid class drum set called Roland TD-17. A lot of drummers seem to have trouble to decide between the TD-17 and the TD-25 kit.

Comparing the 2 sets is very hard as each e-drum line comes with different types of sets.

The TD-17 line consists of the TD-17K-L, KV and KVX. While the TD-25 line has the TD-25K, KV and KVX. Here is a list of prices (approximate):

  •    TD-17K-L – 1000$
  •    TD-17-KV – 1200$
  •    TD-17 KVX – 1700$
  •    TD-25K -1900$
  •    TD-25KV -2300$
  •    TD-25KVX – 4100$

If you want to know the difference between the 3 Roland TD-17 sets, please read this article or watch this video.

The Difference between the 3 Roland TD-25 Sets

All 3 Roland TD-25 sets come with a Roland VH-11 hi-hat, an MDS-9 drum rack, 12” dual-zone CY-12C crash(es) and 13” CY-13R 3-zone ride cymbal. The new Roland TD-25KVX has an 18” kick drum instead of the Roland KD-9 kick. The KVX does also have a 12” PD-128 snare pad and 3x 10” Roland PDX-100 tom pads. While the TD-25KV is coming with a 10” PDX-100 snare and tom and two smaller 8” PD-85 rack toms. Every other component is identical to the KVX version.

The Roland TD-25K is an even reduced version of the TD-25KV, with the same 10” snare, but a small 8” floor tom, two even smaller 6.5” rack toms and only one CY-12C crash cymbal.

The TD-25KVX is basically twice as expensive as the other two TD-25 sets, only because of its big Roland KD-180 kick drum and slightly bigger snare and tom pads. It cannot be compared with the any of the Roland TD-17 sets, as it is too far away in terms of pricing.

We cannot compare each TD-17 set with each TD-25 set either, as it would not make sense in terms of the features and components either. The TD-17K-L and TD-17KV sets are therefore not relevant for this comparison, as they count as entry-level sets.

We will only compare the TD-17KVX with the Roland TD-25K and TD-25KV since that is the difficult decision that most uncertain buyers face.

To make this as logical as possible, I will rate each component with a number from 1 to 10 (depending on the importance of the part) and compare the added value afterwards.

Rack

The TD-17KVX has an MDS-4 rack, while the TD-25K/KV consist of the MDS-9 rack. The ladder rack is better, bigger and more compact if folded. The ball joint boom arm cymbal mounts are better than the MDS-4’s regular straight mounts. However, the rack is not a big factor, therefore I keep the rating numbers low.

  • TD-17K – 4/10
  • TD-25K – 6/10
  • TD-25KV – 6/10

Snare

The TD-17’s Roland PDX-12 is optically not the nicest snare, but it is 12” big and has a side mounted trigger pickup, while the TD-25’s Roland PDX-100 snare is a solid 10” pad with a centre mounted trigger cone that can be used with Positional Sensing capable modules. But this will also result in hot spotting problems in combination with a VST like EZdrummer2. Hitting the centre of the pad will cause heavy volume peeks. While Positional Sensing in combination with the TD-25 Soundmodule is nice to have if you use Superior Drummer 3, which is compatible with this feature as well.

The Roland PDX-100 has a dual mounting system and can be mounted onto a Pearl tom arm and a regular L-braked. The Roland PDX-12 12” playing surface is obviously better than a 10“size pad. While the PDX-100 looks much better and feels more valuable, it is still very small as snare pad. 

  • TD-17KVX – 6/10
  • TD-25K – 6/10
  • TD-25KV – 6/10

Toms

The Roland TD-25K comes with two tiny 6.5” rack tom pads (PDX-6) and one 8” PDX-8 floor tom. While the 8” pad is already annoyingly small, the smaller 6.5” toms are a pain. These pads are supposed to be 2 inches bigger as the number suggests through the inner white plastic ring. However, they are not really, because you will consistently hit this ring. And this can become an annoying problem. 

The Roland TD-17KVX has at least 3 of the 8” PDX-8 pad as rack and floor toms and is therefore already better than the TD-25K in terms of the toms, but still worse than the TD-25KV. Because the TD-25KV comes with actual nice tom pads. The two Roland PD-85 rack tom pads might be small (8″), but at least you do not hit a plastic ring. They are actually very nice to play and well made.

The TD-25KV comes with another 10” PDX-100 pad as a floor tom, which is much nicer optically and in terms of the playability than these PDX-8 pads. But keep in mind, the KV tom pads do all come with a centre mounted sensor which can cause a hot spotting problem when using a VST (EZdrummer2). While the PDX-6 and 8 pads have a side mounted trigger pickup at a spot that does never get hit.

  • TD-17KVX – 4/10
  • TD-25K – 3/10
  • TD-25KV – 6/10

Kick Pad

Both versions of the Roland TD-25 consist of the Roland KD-9 bass drum pad. A noisy wobbly cloth kick pad. The rebound is excellent, but that’s about it in terms of good features.

The Roland TD-17 has the new Roland KD-10 kick drum, which is an improved version of the KD-9. The Roland KD-10 is steadier, has the same great feel but is quieter than the KD-9 and you can actually use it in an apartment.

Note: Both pads work with any single and double pedal.

  • TD-17KVX – 6/10
  • TD-25K – 3/10
  • TD-25KV – 3/10

Hi-hat

The two Roland TD-25 sets come with the Roland VH-11 and the TD-17KVX has the new Roland VH-10. Both hi-hats are 12” in diameter and can be mounted onto a real hi-hat stand.

However, the new Roland VH-10 might look cheaper and does actually cost less but is still the better version of the two. The VH-10 top part is lighter and can be bent more naturally. That is a tiny advantage over the Roland VH-11 hi-hat.

  • TD-17KVX – 9/10
  • TD-25K – 8/10
  • TD-25KV – 8/10

Crashes & Ride

All 3 sets come with the exact same crash and ride cymbal models. The 12”CY-12 crash provides a great playing feel and the 3 zone CY-13R ride is all right as well. I would probably still upgrade the ride to a CY-15R on either of the sets since it triggers much better than the CY-13R.

You see there is no difference here between the 3 sets, except that both TD-17KVX and TD-25KV come with 2 crashes, while the TD-25K does only have one crash.

  • TD-17KVX – 6/10
  • TD-25K – 4/10
  • TD-25KV – 6/10

Module

The sound module is the vital factor when making a decision between the 3 kits.

What is better, the new TD-17 module or the more expensive TD-25 module?

First of all, we are comparing apples with oranges.

The TD-25 comes with the technology of the previous Roland generation. It has TD-30 flagship technology from 2012. The TD-17, on the other hand, comes with trigger technology and the sounds of the latest module generation. It is basically a small TD-50 Soundmodule with 2016 technology.  

Sounds

The sounds of the TD-17 are with no doubt better than the TD-25 sounds. There are some people that prefer the TD-25 sounds, but that is a matter of personal taste. Objectively the TD-17 sounds are closer to an acoustic sample sound and are therefore better. The majority of listeners would agree on this. Additionally, the TD-17 allows the user to layer the sounds with one shot WAV samples. The possibilities in terms of sound editing are basically endless through the sample layering feature only.

The TD-25 kit sounds can also be edited, but there is no layering without an additional Roland TM-2 Soundmodule and you are stuck with a reduced version of the 2012 sound editing technology from the TD-30.

Triggering

The TD-25 comes with Roland’s famous Positional Sensing technology on the snare. The module recognizes whether you hit the snare in the centre or closer to the edge. This is a nice feature for VST recording with Superior Drummer 3. The Td-17 does not consist of this feature.

Note: Positional Sensing does only work with certain modules in combination with certain pads. The TD-25 does not have positional sensing with a PDX-12 pad.

A very annoying limitation of the TD-25 module is the connection between head and rim sound of the tom pads. It is not possible to assign a different sound like a cowbell to the tom rim. The TD-17, on the other hand, allows it to assign separate instruments to head and rim on every pad. Additionally, the TD-17 does also allow you to split the pad inputs with a regular Y-Splitter cable to connect 2 pads to one input.

Roland developed a couple of technologies to make the sound processing more realistic in order to avoid the machine-gunning effect when playing drum roles. The TD-25 has the 2012 Supernatural Feature, while the TD-17 has the 2016 Prismatic Sound Modelling Feature to accomplish that task. I do not notice any difference, but maybe the drumming experts do.

The TD-17 module coming with the TD-17KVX version and includes a Bluetooth receiver to stream audio from your smartphone. That is very handy for the everyday drummer and it is another feature the TD-25 does not have.

The TD-17 comes with 100 drum kit slots while the TD-25 has only 36.

The TD-17’s SD-card slot is great for loading audio files and updates. The TD-25 does not have an SD-card slot.

Similarities

Both modules have the exact same number of trigger pad inputs, a MIDI output, 2 master audio outputs and an audio input for MP3 players or smartphones. The cable snake to connect trigger pads and the USB port is identical too. Both are compatible with Roland VH-10 and 11 hi-hats but not with any advanced Roland hi-hat like the VH-12 or 13.

Different classes

Roland has different categories of drum sets. Entry Level, Mid-Tier Compact, Mid-tier Stage and High end. The TD-17KVX is a Mid-Tier Compact set, while the TD-25 line is part of the Mid-tier Stage category. The TD-25 is basically one level above the TD-17. Not sure if that is a valid buying argument:)

My Personal View

Personally, I would without a doubt always choose the TD-17 module over the TD-25. The TD-25 is too limited for its price and it is just not up-to-date. I have never been a fan of this module, like so many people who bought it.

I am guessing that Roland keeps the TD-25 running for another 1 to 2 years until it is replaced by a new model. The TD-25’s replacement is probably already in progress. Everyone knows that the TD-17 module does make the TD-25 obsolete. Which is very funny, because Roland became basically its own competition.

  • TD-17KVX – 9/10
  • TD-25K – 7/10
  • TD-25KV – 7/10

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider. The most important part is still the drum module. And I have a clear winner here. However, for the users that are not as concerned about the module but the entire drum kit, it could make sense to buy a TD-25KV set.

Who should buy the TD-17?

  • EZdrummer2, Superior Drummer 3, Steven Slate Drummer and Addictive drums users
  • Audiophiles
  • Beginners
  • First Time E-drummers

Who should buy the TD-25?

  • Superior Drummer 3 users
  • Quality lovers
  • Midi recording drummers

The TD-25K is not an option at all in my opinion. It is more expensive than the TD-17KVX and almost all components are less good as the TD-17KVX parts. And most of all, it has only one crash.

The TD-25KV has a very good snare/tom pads and a better rack, but is that worth an additional 600 bugs over the TD-17KVX? That is up to you.

Final Rating

  • TD-17K – 44
  • TD-25K – 37
  • TD-25KV – 42

Custom Idea 1

Let’s say you buy the TD-17KVX and you have an additional 600 bugs left because you did not buy the TD-25KV.

I would straight away sell one of the PDX-8 pads on eBay for 80$ and buy a second 200$ PDX-12 as a floor tom. The ride cymbal would become the 3rd crash since there is another free input and I would invest in a Roland CY-15R ride instead. You would then have a killer set with 3 crashes, a big ride and a big floor tom for the same budget as a TD-25KV would cost. I think it is obvious which kit is better.

Custom Idea 2

For 2560 bugs you would also get this baby. The drum-tec Jam set with real shells and the TD-17 module. Nothing is better than drum-tec mesh heads and the trigger systems are at the same level as Roland triggers. So this is an option to consider.

I hope this article can help you to make a decision. I know it is a bit biased, but I cannot pretend the TD-25 is the better deal. It is what it is.

Please support my efforts in ordering your amazon via my affiliate links and consider buying your gear at drum-tec. This way I will get a commission that helps me to keep this blog running.

Besides, the drum-tec sets come with free custom sounds preinstalled;) 

Thanks for reading and keep drumming!

 

34 Replies to “Roland TD-17 vs TD-25”

  1. Great article Marcel. Great breakdown and exactly what I was looking for.

    It’s interesting to see the positional sensing wasn’t included in the 17 module. I’d worked out the rest of the differences.

    Thanks

  2. Hello. I need some advice. I own Td-12kx drum set and I am considering to replace only the module. Do you think Td-17 module is good replacement for td-12?
    I have some “Vexed” sounds (master picks 1&2) in my td-12 module and I play only live gigs with my td-12 kit. Tnx.

    • For me personally no, as I am a big fan of the TD-12. But in terms of sound quality yes. The TD-17 is not a live module though. Too less outputs. Better look into a TD-50.

  3. Hi, I want to know what mounting hardware to be used for the third crash if I take out the tom2 and put a crash on behalf of it. I will be leaving the crash and ride near the floor tim as is.. thanks
    philip

  4. I have a TD15K set and thinking of replace the PDX100 snare with PDX12. I have an extra PDX100 and then i can use 3x PDX100 as toms. Is the PDX100 compatible with the PDX12 in snare position?

  5. Thanks for the great comparison. I have been looking at the 17kvx since its release, but it is not quite pro level. Also, it is tiny compared to the Yamaha DTXtreme 3 that I have been playing, which is large and sturdy but otherwise disappointing—terrible hi hat, and must use SD3 to get decent sounds. And it is not very portable for gigs. The drum tec Jam looks much more portable, but rather expensive- more than $3000 with th TD17, shipping and US customs. Do you know of any other $3000 options that are pro level?

  6. Thanks for the great article, Marcel…very helpful! I was wondering though what the practical advantage of switching out the floor tom pad for a bigger mesh pad is? Thanks, James

  7. “TD-17 does also allow you to split the pad inputs with a regular Y-Splitter cable to connect 2 pads to one input.”

    No to “question” your knowledge, but how do you know this? I can’t find that info anywhere in the module specs. If it is the case, will a normal Y cable work or do I have to have a special splitter?

  8. Fantastic article, thank you! As it stands the TD-17KVX is sitting at the top of our short list and this article has reaffirmed this. I do have a question. I have a small DIY recording project and for our next EP we were looking to use an electronic drum kit to trigger a VST plugin since we lack the resources to create a proper recording environment for acoustic drums. We currently own BFD3 and are fairly used to it but the concern is that it won’t play as nice with the TD-17 as some of the other VST’s you have mentioned. Should we also be planning to upgrade to a different VST or could we expect to make BFD3 work?

  9. Hi Marcel,
    Thank you for really valuable info. I am also in the dilemma of choosing between the TD-17KVX and td-25KV. The main goal is that it should play nice with Superior Drummer 3 and I would like to be able to capture as much detail as possible, therefore I guess I need positional sensing to be supported.

    If we assume I go with the TD-17KVX:
    I would like replace the snare with a PDX-100 in order to get positional sensing. But if I understand you correct this is not possible? Or will the TD-17 module be able to capture and transfer the additional midi info to the VST? Maybe it’s just the TD-17 modules audio engine that can’t handle the positional sensing?
    I can’t find any info on this from Roland.
    According to this article (https://www.rolandcorp.com.au/blog/expanding-customizing-v-drums), the PDX-100 is a typical add-on for the TD-17KVX.

    I have never used Superior Drummer 3 before. Let’s say i exchange some V-pads and cymbals. Will I then be able to do a more fine grained configuration in SD3 than just selecting the TD-17 kit, and setup specifically which drum- and cymbal models are attached, to get my custom kit working well with SD3?

    • You do not get positional sensing with the TD-17. The module does not feature it. The TD-25 is better for SD3. However, make sure you fully understand what you buy. Drop me an email if you want more detailed info. Your question is kind of complex: info@v-drumtips.com

  10. Great article which persuaded me to go out and buy a TD-17KVX…and I’m very happy with it so far! Just a follow-up question to the splitting of pads…
    Let’s forget about the two additional inputs on the rear of the module for a sec, and talk about the 10 into 1 wiring loom/harness. Can I split one of the stereo ‘male’ jacks in a similar way as you do the ‘females’ on the back, and if so how? Looking to add one more pad than the back inputs can supply.
    Cheers Paul.

  11. Hallo Marcel, ich habe ein TD-25kv mit 3 chrash und einen ride sowie 1 pd-85 und 3 pdx-100. Würdest du bei diesem kit das 25er modul gegen ein 17er modul tauschen?

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