Review: Roland TD-17KVX Electronic Drum Kit

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Review: Roland TD-17KVX Electronic Drum Kit

roland td-17kvx
Words by Rob Gee

Roland Australia | RRP: $3,569

Over the years, the Roland TD Series has become synonymous with quality, versatility, and performance feel for beginners and professional drummers alike. As the range has grown and developed, we have seen features in higher end models passed down the line to continue their development. And every iteration of a new model is an exciting time to see what key features are on offer to improve where the previous model left off. That was what made the release of the TD-17 range so exciting when they first launched. With two models, the TD-17KV and the TD-17KVX, Roland promised a lot in both features and price. The best part was, they delivered.

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The TD-17KVX is an all mesh, five-piece electronic drum kit that moves away from a practice tool and becomes a very real performance kit. It offers two crash cymbal pads and one ride, with a hi-hat trigger system that you mount onto your own hi-hat stand. To round the kit out is the kick pad, which is designed to accommodate your own kick pedal, to suit your needs.

The snare comes as a PDX-12 pad, which is a 12” dual-trigger pad. It offers a tension-adjustable two-ply mesh head with triggers and a rim trigger as well, which offers a natural rim height as most drummers would be accustomed to, not just a low edge to the pad. It’s a drum pad that is designed to take a beating and keep on delivering. You may expect the mesh to struggle in hiding up to repeated beatings in the same zone over and over again, but I have seen these pads take more than two years of abuse and show nothing more than some grotty wear and a well-polished sweet spot. You don’t get that sort of durability from a real snare head!  These same heads are found on the three PDX-8 tom pads, offering a natural feel, a snappy rebound, and a serious amount of play time without wear.

The VH-10 hi-hat trigger is a great addition to the TD-17KVX. This is one of the standouts that the KVX has over the KV, with a more realistic feel to the left foot as you get to drive your own hi-hat stand and not simply open and close a trigger with spring-tensioned paddle. If you’re going to be performing on stage with this kit, or practising at home before switching to an acoustic kit, you want all the elements to feel as natural as possible. That is why the hi-hat trigger in the TD-17KVX is such a joy to play with.

It’s for that very same reason that the kick drum is offered on a pad that accommodates your own kick pedal. The KD-10 kick pad is compact enough to not be cumbersome, but offers a large enough footprint and pad zone to accept most double kick pedals. I found these kick pads to have a spongey feel, that dampened well when you drove into them, but still offered a nice positive rebound. It certainly does the trick with that satisfying thud feel, but it doesn’t create a lot of acoustic noise, so you’ll not have the family in the next room banging on your door to quit practising when you’re really getting into it. That is, as long as you don’t have the TD-17KVX connected to a PA system.

And with that, it has me needing to talk about the sounds. The entire kit is designed for a relatively quiet practice situation. The pads, kick, and cymbal triggers all present very little acoustic noise. What the TD-17 range does offer is an incredible array of sounds in the module, which are very easy to navigate. Both the TD-17KV and the TD17KVX share the same module. You aren’t missing out on sounds with the lower-priced option, just the number of cymbal pads and the feel in the hi-hat. Once all wired up, aside from lacking one cymbal trigger, the TD-17KV sounds just like its improved relative.

Of course, Roland have been creating electronic drum sounds for more than 40 years, since the release of the old CR-78 with its coloured buttons and wooden cabinet. Well, the TD-17 has come a very long way since then. What you get in this module is more than 40 years of updating of sounds to culminate in a brilliant collection of electronic drum tones. On top of that, there are recorded drum tones for real studio or live performance sounds. You can have your TD-17 sound like just about any type of drum kit, be it a modern acoustic studio kit, a Latin American percussion section, or a vintage electronic drum machine, and just about everything in between. Further to these factory-loaded sounds that come with the TD-17, you are able to download additional sounds and effects to your module to further increase the potential it has. 

A quick trip to the Roland website will allow you to register there and download a selection of custom patches created by Roland V-Drum specialist Simon Ayton. So, what you get in the box is really only the beginning. You can expand the sounds the TD-17 has available and then build your own kits with the sounds it offers to create custom patches of your own. This kit is really only limited to your imagination and creativity. 

Head to Roland for more information.