Why do I still only have a TD-9

You might have come across my V-drumtips videos and wondered why the person who’s so much into E-drums is not owning the best module/kit on the market. I am still using a Roland simple TD-9 Version 1.0 although I am the one who recommends the TD-12 as the best choice out there all the time. So why don’t I have a TD-12, 20 or 30 myself? (BTW, I do not count in the TD-25 for a good reason.)

There are several answers to this question:

  1. I am not playing as often

Roland TD-9Let’s be honest, how many hours are you playing yourself? Everyone who has a full time job, kids, other hobbies or anything that takes time, can understand me better. There is just not much time to use the kit anyway. For me it is effective 3 hours a week. Do I need the most fanciest drum kit for 3 hours a week? No!

  1. Features

The only reason to buy one of the 3 best Roland modules is a feature called positional sensing. The Roland TD-9 does not have this feature on the snare and ride. Playing a snare with positional sensing is much more fun and feels way more realistic. But is this little feature worth paying 500€ for a TD-12, 1000€ for the TD-20 or even 2000€ for the TD-30? Not for me.

  1. The Module Sounds

The sounds of TD-12 and 20 are worse than the TD-9 sounds. Simply because these modules are a bit older. The TD-30 Sounds are not worth an upgrade either, they sound nowhere near like a real drum kit. The only way to enjoy the features of those 3 modules is using them as trigger Midi Converter together with Superior Drummer 2.0.

  1. New gear does not enhance my productivity

I would consider myself already as the owner of an awesome drum kit. However, I do still not use it for many recording projects. A bigger kit will not change this fact. My song writing and recording work is not affected by the gear I use. I am pretty sure that some people out there write awesome music with an old Roland TD-3, while others write nothing with the newest Roland TD-30KV.

Roland TD-3:

But what about other modules?

The TD-15 is not a TD-9 upgrade. The only real upgrade is the option to connect it directly to a PC via USB cable. The missing Midi Input is an actual downgrade that does not allow the user to expand the kit and the sounds are still not great. The alternative to Roland would be a 2box module, but since the hi hat is nowhere near as good as the Roland VH hi hats, I cannot consider this module. Even though the sounds are the best ones I ever heard, processed by an e-drum module.

The TD-9 has still everything I need. It has MIDI in- & output, it works perfect with the Roland VH-11 hi hat, it has lots of setup features of different triggers and I can use it with EZDrummer2 or Superior Drummer 2.0. And until I get one out of this 3 other modules for a very good price (I am always aiming for a TD-12) I will keep my TD-9.

Don’t get me wrong. My biggest passion are E-drums, but that does not mean I’ll spend everything I have on them. I know the TD-30KV is awesome and the best kit out there, but not a must have for me. Not yet 🙂 It is like the iPhone 6, it is a nice smartphone, but a Samsung S3 does the job too.


Related Post: Depts for E-Drums

38 Replies to “Why do I still only have a TD-9”

  1. I would need to argue the TD15 is an upgrade from the TD9 in terms of sounds. I had a Vexed TD9 and the TD15 cymbal sounds are definitely better to me. The Vexed TD15 is even better again. I’d recommend vexing yours if you haven’t already.

    • I know that many people use these Vex kits. And it is surely an improvement. But it is still no where near as good as EZdrummer 2 or Superiour Drummer. If you try them once, you’ll never go back to the Roland sounds:)

      • So you’d spend more money for a TD-12 and you think the TD-30’s are awesome.. yet you said earlier that the sounds are worse than your TD-9.? Hmm, Using your logic, why in the world would you be interested in the more expensive newer TD kits if all you’re doing it triggering Drum plugins? My Roland TD-1VK’s I got new for $370 shipped (sale. plus coupons, plus 25% gift card) triggers plugins just as well as the $6K Roland kits. I wouldn’t spend 25 times as much money just to use the kit to trigger drum software!

        I disagree with you that the sounds on the higher end kits (and some sounds on the lower end kits as well) sound nothing like real drums. I even occasionally use the stock sounds on my lowly TD-1K it to record and no one has ever even mentioned the sound of the drums or questioned them. If you play what’s right for the song and pick the right drum sounds and mix the drums right many stock sounds can work. I even have a song (I’m a signed songwriter) that was cut by a big name country artist (though ultimately never released) and the producer actually called me and asked how I got such a great drum sound. Thing is, on that particular song I used the stock sounds on a VERY lowly Yamaha DTX Explorer kit from like 2005 or something, lol.

        • The sounds of a TD-12 are worse than the TD-9’s, but I don’t use the module sounds, I use sample software. You cannot compare the TD-1 with a TD-9/12,20/30. They have far better dynamic and more capabilities. It is like saying a Toyota Aygo is like A Porsche since both transport people.

          Of course no one has questioned your TD-1 sounds, since normal people(none drummers) don’t hear the difference. The sounds are still not real drum samples. And no one can use them on a serious record.

          It might be a different story with the Yamaha kit. However, listening to the sounds I can only say that they are not great either. I would love to hear that song, cause I can’t believe any serious producer would say that. Maybe the guy has hearing loss.

          • You obviously know little about recording and mixing. Of course there have been major label songs released that used stock E-drums sounds, this is not even a serious debate. The fact your common sense doesn’t tell you that is, mystifying.

            Furthermore, drummers don’t have golden ears, able to deceiver between acoustic, sampled or algorithm based drums sounds on a whim. Some sounds are convincing, others aren’t. Depends on the song, the playing, the recording, the mix, the mastering etc. In a blind test there are stock sounds on just about all E-kits that sound authentic.

          • Hi Eddie,

            I know indeed only the basics about recording and mixing. Drummers don’t have golden ears but listeners neither. I’d say 99.9% of the music consumers will not hear the difference between drum sample and drum sound that got picked up. Of course there are good and bad sample sounds. I hope you are aware that I am not talking about the e-drum module sounds. It is only about sample sounds from software like SD 2.0, not the sounds of an e-drum module, the e-drum kit is just there to trigger them. And btw. these sounds are real recordings. My overall point is that it might be too expensive to spend money and time on real drum recordings for the majority of bands, that don’t have the budget anyway in most cases. E-drum sample sounds are perfect for high quality but low budget recordings. It makes no sense to mic up a shity entry level drum kit, with wasted heads and cheap microfones when you can have the sounds of high quality equipment you would not be able to afford in the first place.

  2. I have a TD-15 (TD-15KV) module also. I think that it’s a great module! It does what I need it to do. I still don’t understand why Roland discontinued this module!!

  3. I started with the Roland TD3, went to the TD4, then the TD9 and TD15. Not one of those modules provided anything that even remotely sounded like a real snare drum. Fed up, I researched alternatives and found the Alesis DM10. I got the module for $600 (it can be purchased for less) and right out of the box provided a more realistic sound than any of the Rolands. A couple of gotchas, though. I’m using the Alesis with Roland pads and getting the two to play nice can be tedious. Also, Alesis’ cymbal sounds are, ahem, less than the best so I’m using the Roland TD15 for cymbals. Everything is fed to a Behringer mixer so levels can be adjusted. This arrangement has worked out well for me.

    • This is an interesting combination. And you are totally right with the sounds. Roland sounds are not great. This is why I am using EZdrummer 2. I really recommend trying it.

    • You don’t seem to understand, as many Roland detractors that Roland DOES use SAMPLES as well as algorithms for their drum sounds. So some of those snares are REAL drums.

      Furthermore why on earth would you buy not one, not two, but THREE different Roland kits/modules if none of them had “remotely” realistic snare sounds? Me thinks you’re full of it or just plan not too smart to keep shelling out money for things you don’t like.

  4. I still use a TD-6. I spent a lot of time learning how to shape the sounds I want. Also, the TD-6 has a great Timpani setting. I recently played a Musical that required two Percussionist with one playing Timpani. I was the only Percussionist and I covered the parts by programming the Timpani parts into the TD-6 and I set up three Roland PDX-8 pads. worked great. The TD-9 also has a Timpani setting. As for a Snare sound, I selected one that was close to what I wanted and then I changed the EQ and sensitivity until I found what I wanted.

    • Hi Richard, I am impressed that professional musicians, like you can even use electronic drums at an orchestra gig. A 2Box Drumit5 would be perfect for your purposes, as you can sample real sounds of whatever you want.

  5. Roland should not uplift td9 v2 software..
    What is the usb drive size limit to use in td9,td11 and td15??
    Can roland td15,td25,td30,spd30 version 2 software be uploaded in td9 and td11 to increase 99 kits from 50??
    Plz anybody answer me..

  6. Completely agree, after 8 years the TD-9 still works for me as a practice kit at home. Feel is more important to me than sounds and I have replacement allmost every pad to try resemble my acoustic kit as best as possible. 8 years later technology has hardly improved.

      • So if you are simply triggering to VST, why the move from the TD-9 to the TD-20. I’m looking for a decent hardware kit to trigger (I’d hope for minimum PD-105 BK pads), and I’ve got a TMC-6 incoming.

        Is it really necessary though to hook up a TMC-6 to main module because I think the computer can accept multiple midi signals anyway, and within the VST I should be able to map it all out.

        • Because the 12 or 20 is more dynamic, which can improve the playability with software like SD 2.0. But you are right, the TD-9 does the job too. Hooking up a TMC-6 to the TD-9 is more for connecting additional pads. In theory an HD-1 would be enough to trigger a software and change the midi notes afterwards, but sometimes drummers want to play the whole kit as it stands there with many toms and many cymbals.

          • Do you know which modules have positional sensing? Is positional sensing even needed with Superior 2?

          • Yes, according to the E-drummer “Fake Simle Revolution”, Superior Drummer has features that support positional sensing. Even some EZdrummer EZX extensions support PS. The Roland TD-8, 10, 12, 20, 25, 30 support positional sensing.

  7. What does this mean?

    “..don’t I have a TD-12, 20 or 30 myself? (BTW, I do not count in the TD-25 for a good reason.)

    What good reason? I own the TD-25 and it’s, without a doubt the second best sounding module Roland currently makes and without a doubt better sounding than the TD-9.. which I still own. It’s on a different level than the TD-9 as far as sounds goes.

    • The TD-25 has some flaws. 1. It has limited inputs and cannot be extended with a slave module like TD-9,12,20,30. 2. Head and rim cannot be assigned independently to different instruments like for example a cowbell sound to the tom rim. 3. The sounds are better that the TD-9 sounds, but still the 2012 TD-30 sounds, which are not real samples, but processed plastic sounding generated Sounds. I would never spend 1000€ for this module, especially not with these limitations. I would always go for a TD-20 if I had the budget of 1000€. The sounds from TDW-20 to TD-30/25 have not improved a lot. It does not justify an upgrade from TD-12 or 20 to TD-25 for me.

  8. I am the proud owner of a TD-9 for more than 9 years. This was my first drum kit and I’m now a pro working drummer.
    I practiced thousand of hours on this kit and still do everyday. V-drums are to me the best practice tool for drummers EVER. It is different indeed than an acoustic kit and of course I have thousand of hours of experience behind acoustic kits as well.
    Now onto the reasons why I’m keeping…
    This module is a beast. I don’t use any VST. Never have. The sounds are, honestly, impossible to distinguish from real drums on a recording, and I’m using standard pads. I recorded covers or demos with it only but the sounds really shines.
    It just that drummers don’t wanna do the necessary *programming*. I don’t wanna be a dick, but I you spend as much hours as I do into tweaking everything on this module to your liking (I got over 40 customized sets) you gonna make them sounds GREAT.
    Seriously how many of you have gone through the process of :
    – Selecting a basic factory kit;
    – Tweaking each and every drum (changing model, virtual tuning, dampening etc).
    – Choosing the virtual room, testing the kit in every single configurations ’til it sounds perfect.
    – Mix everything perfectly, and adapt sensitivity if needed.

    I guarantee if you do those steps, your e-drums gonna sounds better than you can believe.
    Also last but not least, the consistency in the V-drums sounds is actually a bonus in many cases for recording or live playing.
    The ability to put the kit in a “virtual room” is mind blowing, I can have it in a virtual bathroom reverb, but select wood reflection?! Possibilities are endless.

    The TD-9 is seriously impressive IMHO if you get deep into it. No other Roland modules are worth the upgrade as far as sounds are concerned in my opinion.
    However I might want more options for mixing and recording as I’m starting using it professionally.

    • Jazzbat , im not a forum poster but today I write possibly my 10th reply ever….
      You have pulled me back in line regarding the TD9. I have spent a good 30-40 hours + doing the same specific adjustments from USER KIT to get the sound I want. When the whole kits done, its just magic and the rest is history (…or recordings). Im also of the opinion that if you cant get bloody close to the sound your after, you’re probably not spending the time (which I find enjoyable) on the abovementioned adjustments. Im always adjusting settings depending if I want to hit harder than normal ( …mrs gives ya the shits) and quickly changing over to a different cymbal etc etc…. but once the groundworks done, as you would on any ekit (or should want to) , the sound really amazes me and everyone who hears it.

      So the reason Im glad I had read your post……. I just dont know why Im searching for “something else” when Im actually totally satisfied with the TD9 sound from the module. I do play metal and honestly dont vary much between many kits, which only have a few changes anyway but I love it so much that my poor acoustic kit has not been out since i got it around 4 years ago and my drumming has improved dramatically for so many reasons, pushed me past so many of my frustrations and habits, not to mention the obvious benefits from way more play time. I even recently sent a guitarist mate one of his songs with drums recorded and he specifically said he was amazed at how real the kit sounded. Sometimes its easy to get carried away with adjustments….I guess why would I want much more??? So thank you, your post has pulled me back out of dreamworld and onto the path of actually finally recording hence why I arrived here. An hour ago I decided to get a discontinued Roland VS-20 for recording, just looking at module sound feedback on forums before Im satisfied recording with current sound but now I will spend the time on setting up a virtual computer upstairs to record (I have a moderately good IT understanding …always be good to know more and I have a total overkill of a wanker computer….and Ive played guitar for 10 years from beginner to a recordable metal guitarist…..I got into electronics from trying a soldering mod on a guitar,i fuc..ed it first go..now a few years on im wiring bloody factory 3 phase power, and stuff ive never thought id touch and I make the highest end cables you CANT buy unless someone actually wanted to buy one with neutrik silent / ultimate/ timbre plugs , canare cable…I probably sell them at cost..haha as I like making them….getting all the strands all delicatly pulled apart , perfect soldering joins…etc. Ive made 18 so far-guitarists amazed at the Silent plug feature )

      So I welding my module down…haha….
      And getting back to just enjoying playing as its perfect as is.

  9. Hi,
    I would like to know what is the settings in TD-9 for changing head and rim instruments independently ? I explain, I’ve a 3 ways zone trigger (Roland compatible) when I try to set it up for a Ride cymbal I can setup the Head instrument but when I push the cursor to Rim and hit the cymbal Edge to setup the Rim sound it automaticaly turn to Head so I’ve the same sound for Bow hit and Edge hit…Thank you.

  10. Hello from Germany

    interesting writings about the TD9v2 Modul, which i´ve bought recently. I agree absolutely with the comments here, excapt the machine gunning i noticed in all samples, even with VEX. Can it be improve by better meshheads? I´d like to build me a nice kit with cromerack natural cymbals and the beautiful LAURIN DrumPads (a canadian manufacturer which i read a lot about in the roland forum)

    Thanks a lot


  11. One question: if I buy td9 and not td 15 only to trigger midi drum sounds via ezd, will lack of supernatural technology affect my sound quality in recordings? in other words, when triggering drum sounds, how important is the improvements in the modules? what is the cheapest yet a module that can does everything as the best modules only to be used for triggering drum sounds?

    • No, there is no difference if you trigger EZD. The Super Natural has nothing to do with the triggering. You could record a killer song with a Roland HD-1:) So the TD-9 is fine.

  12. I have a TD-9 set and was considering an upgrade when I came across your article. I am very interested in using the modules as a trigger Midi Converter with Superior Drummer 2.0. But when I did a little research, it appears that Superior Drummer is for recording and not live performance. Is that correct?

    • Yes, I would never use a sample software + daw for a live gig. There is so much that can go wrong. Live modules are the ones with individual outputs like the TD-20, 30 and most of all the TD-50 and 2Box drumit 5. The 2 later are the sample loaded modules.

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