There are a whole host of optional additions you can spring for with the kit, including mounts for Cymbal and pad, and a personal drum monitor, as well as an assortment of other accessories. This is a fairly standard list for an electronic drum kit and there are no unexpected additions. The kit itself weighs 22kg (48 pounds), with dimensions of 120CM X 110CM X 125CM. With a matte black finish, it has an appealing and professional look on stage.
The Roland TD 11K is generally an entry level to the intermediate Roland electronic drum kit. Roland is more than well aware of this, so the kit actually has a host of features that aid in the learning and practicing of your drum skills.
The kit has a coaching suite. Some of the options are fairly useful, regardless of your skill level, with warm up routines and wrist loosening exercises that you will find useful throughout your journey with the Roland TD 11K. There are also two types of rhyme exercises that are incredibly beneficial, one in which your playing is matched up to a metronome and given a score at the end of the exercise, and another where the metronome goes silent during the exercise and you match up your playing to it. Both of these exercises are great for building up a sense of rhythm, and it is good to see a drum kit that is also an equally good learning tool.
Sound quality and variety
Finally, to the most important questions. How does the drum kit sound, and how much do the sound options in the drum kit vary? The sound is surprisingly good for an electronic drum kit. This is especially true for the Roland TD 11KV with the added meshed heads and such. The difference in quality due to the superNATURAL sound engine is a major bonus.
The kit comes out of the box with 190 sounds, with settings on a dial letting you change the sound of the kit easily and intuitively. The kit also comes with the option of letting you make your own settings with the built in sound, allowing you to create unique kits for your own use.
190 sounds are far from the largest amount of sounds on high end electric drum kits. However, there is a nice variety in the sounds that make up for the limited number, making this a versatile kit that will allow you to play a variety of genres.
The kit comes with 25 pre-defined drum kits, and lets you create 25 other kits of your choosing using the sounds on the device.
One of the most interesting things about the Roland TD 11K is that it is compatible with almost all Roland Electric drum add-ons. In theory, you could make some truly insane setups, with as many added heads as you want, although nobody but the most insane really needs to be able to add ten Roland cymbals to their kit. The customisability is really useful and gives the kit a longer lifespan, allowing for several upgrades.
Build Quality and Setup
Setting up the Roland TD 11K and Roland TD 11KV is fairly easy and can be done in a few minutes by following the simple instructions that come with the kit. The kit comes with an MDS-4V rack system. The rack arms on the Black MDS-4V rack are of fairly standard length and will be immediately intuitive to use and comfortable. The frame itself though is slightly shorter than average, around 20CM less than normal. This generally makes the kit much more compact and easier to carry around, although it might take some getting used to initially. This is a V-drums setup which is appropriate for its compactness.
The controls are straightforward and intelligently designed for ease of use, placed directly within arm’s reach from the seating positions. None of the functions are esoteric, and it’s fairly easy to change any setting to what you need with just the press of a button or the turning of a dial.
As for input and output, the kit comes with a MIDI port in the rear of the device. Connecting the Roland TD 11K to your computer via the MIDI port will allow you to use the kit to trigger any sound in your sound library, which greatly enhances the versatility you can achieve. The back of the kit comes with two USB ports as well, one for a storage USB that lets you play any track on the kit, removing any limits on backing tracks and lets you jam along to any track of your liking. The other USB port is for connecting the kit to your computer – this lets you use the kit for recording, and sound input and output.
Practice, on stage, and recording
So how does the Roland TD 11K hold up when it comes to practice, live performance and recording?
Practice: the rubber heads that come with the kit are fairly loud. They are nowhere near as loud as an acoustic kit would be, but you may still end up annoying your friends and family! The Roland mesh heads are quieter and work for practice. The coaching options on the kit make it great for both practice and learning. Most importantly, the setup of the kit is very similar to the standard setup of an acoustic kit, so that you can easily transition to almost any other kit without a re-learning period.
Live performance: The sleek black look of the kit makes it look good on stage. The versatile sounds let you easily adjust your kit for the needs of any gig. As long as the kit is supported with good equipment, it will do well on stage.
Recording: the ability to use any sound through the midi port, and the fact that there are two different ways to connect the kit to a recording device, means that it is a surprisingly good choice for recording. While it is definitely beaten out by higher end kits when it comes to sounding professional, there is no reason that you cannot record excellent quality tracks with the Roland TD 11K.