Why VDrums ?
In 2012 Roland released their Supernatural VDrums series, the flagship model being the TD-30 module. In 2016 Roland released the TD-50 module taking further step to increase the capabilities of the TD-30 module, reflecting the further increases in CPU power across the IT computer industry made in the four years between 2012 to 2016. This enabled further advancements Roland had envisioned but could not achieve until the development of these latest chips. The result turning the already advanced sonic sound generation and editing sophistication of the TD-30 module to a level of digital sophistication in professional digital studio quality electronic drums unparalleled and unrivaled in the industry. This marks a new development for drummers because the technology is such now, that it challenges without doubt any notion that electronic drums don’t measure up to acoustic drums, and in fact electronic drums have many great advantages and features that don’t exist in an acoustic drums set. Personally I love playing both.
However I have chosen to play Vdrums exclusively for the time being because of the sheer power of creativity and expression they offer for both live and studio performance. Their quality and versatility is unsurpassed, from playing a true to life be-bop kit and the next moment a fat studio deluxe kit, all with full dynamic control. The TD-30 boasts a total of a 1100 drum voices, which can be configured into 100 kit patches, and can be customized from the ground up; choosing heads, shell material and depth, tuning, dampening, mics placement, snare buzz and kit resonance amounts.
The individual kits can be mixed with ambience which is split into three sections, overhead mics with precise placements, a huge number of room environments from a locker to stadium size, with full parameters over size and shape, mics placement, and wall materials, and lastly reverb. Extensive effects can also be added to every kit which also come with master EQ and compression as well as EQ and compression for each individual voice of that kit. The mixer section enables control over each individual voice’s volume, panning, compression, EQ, ambience and effects.
Effectively this translates to the equivalent of being able to build a hundred different drum kit configurations, which can then be processed for recording with all the flexibility of a million dollars studio !!!
The TD-30 also comes with a six part sequencer, 262 backing instruments which with all the other 1100 voices can be programmed into sequences all capable of been triggered from any pad, and all of this massive output can then be routed to 12 different outputs, 8 direct , one analogue and one digital stereo master output, for full mixing control of individual voices, live or in the recording studio at 24 bit 44.1KHz.
The TD-50 to which I will be upgrading next year, is the first electronic drum set using pads triggering sounds digitally via USB, it also enables the user to load his or her own samples directly to the internal memory of the unit, and boast many new unprecedented sound editing and routing features.
This entire package can then be accessed from a single untreated room in my house and I can play and record day or night without disturbing the neighbours!
A unique opportunity
Roland VDrums have also enabled me to create a very unique drum set configuration whereby I have developed a different approach to playing the drums. I play in circles always facing directly forward completely open handed, never having to twist my torso. The tom placement and tuning order is unconventional, the rim of each tom can have a voice assigned to it. I tend to assign percussive voices there (usually extra hihats), which creates a kit configuration with 6 hihats, impossible to reproduce in the real world. My custom set up and voice assignment has inspired many different ways of phrasing, embellishing and playing grooves.
As a personal journey Roland VDrums have enabled me to manifest my vision, to play a unique instrument, with total creative control, coupled with precise sound reproduction in any environment.