From synths and effects to guitar amps and electronic drum kits, Roland is an eminent brand that merges a deep musical heritage with the highest quality products.
Its V-Drum series of electronic drum kits is a true success story. Today, the range is so vast, there really is something for everyone at every price point and level of ability. At the entry-level end of things, we have the TD-02KV. It bagged third place in our Best Budget Electronic Drum Kit shootout.
Complete with the TD-02 module, the TD-02KV ships with 16 kits inspired by its higher end siblings in the range and as you would expect, the sounds are excellent.
Mind made up? Check out the Roland TD-02KV electronic drum set on Amazon
- Electronic vs Acoustic drum kits
- Hear hear
- Specification and Assembly
- The TD-02 Sound Module
- Kits and sounds
- We’re all connected
- Playability and feel
- Coach Mode
- Differences between the TD-02K and TD-02KV
- Upgrade/expandability options
- Who should consider buying the Roland TD-02KV?
Electronic vs Acoustic drum kits
This really isn’t intended as a ‘which is best’ scenario.
There’s nothing like a drummer going full tilt on an acoustic drum set – and from a playing perspective, there’s nothing like being let loose on one either. For most drummers, especially in gigging bands, this is the way to go.
But they are freaking loud aren’t they? And they take up so much space!
The main advantages of electronic kits compared to their acoustic counterparts are threefold: you can bash away to your heart’s content quietly through headphones (although no electronic drum set is completely silent); they occupy a comparatively small footprint; and you can access a wealth of different sounds and kit emulations to suit a wide range of musical genres and styles.
The Roland TD-02KV ticks all three boxes. It’s a compact, fully functional electronic drum kit with great sounds at an affordable price. It’s also really easy to use. The TD-02 sound module with LCD display provides a simple yet powerful interface that’s a breeze to navigate.
One other somewhat important point is what to play the kit through. Personally, to get the best of both worlds, we’d recommend investing in a decent set of headphones AND a dedicated drum amp like the Roland PM-100 monitor.
But of course this may not be practical (or indeed affordable) so as a minimum we’d suggest headphones should be top of the list simply because they’re versatile and can be used in a variety of applications and environments to suit your own circumstances.
Specification and Assembly
The TD-02KV is one of the most compact and affordable kits in Roland’s extensive V-Drum series so you’ll have no problems squeezing it into a pretty small area if you’re short on real estate.
We certainly will be digging into the details in this review, but from a top level perspective in this section, we’ll keep it simple.
The TD-02KV package contains all you need to get started playing drums. Here’s the inventory – or put another way, what’s in the box?
- TD-02 Sound Module
- PDX-8 8-inch dual zone mesh snare pad
- 3 x PD-4 single zone rubber tom pads
- 3 x CY-5 dual zone cymbal pads (hi-hat, ride & crash)
- KT-1 kick drum trigger pedal
- FD-1 hi-hat trigger pedal
- MDS-Lite 4 post drum rack
- Cables and manual
Assembled, the kit is sturdy, robust and the pads are all height and angle adjustable. We like the MDS-Lite drum rack because it enables plenty of flexibility in terms of drum pad spacing to get things feeling comfortable.
And on the subject of assembly, well there’s not much to it really. The nice people at Roland have put together a nifty video to give you a helping hand.
The TD-02 Sound Module
The TD-02 Sound Module is minimalistic – but in a positive way. When you consider the TD-02KV’s price point and target audience, keeping things simple is a good thing.
So aside from the LCD display, there’s a grand total of just 12 buttons. Moving from top to bottom and left to right we have:
- The power button: it does what it says on the tin
- The Metronome button: which in addition to an audible tone also blinks in time with whatever tempo you’ve set. Sometimes, simple is best and it’s good to see a fully adjustable and configurable metronome included on the TD-02 sound module
- Volume up/down buttons: there are 30 levels of volume
- Forward/backward buttons: for scrolling the menu
- Exit button: cancels an operation of returns to the previous screen
- Menu button: hitting this button reveals a number of sub-menus: Coach (more about this later); Pad; MIDI; System; Version; and Factory Reset
At this price point, editing is pretty limited, but the TD-02KV does afford some tweakability through this button.The Pad setting for example allows you to tinker with pad type parameters, sensitivity and threshold.
In addition, the Pad setting also enables editing of the XStickSens parameter. Courtesy of the dual zone mesh snare pad, this is where you specify the strength of the strike at which the cross-stick sound and the rimshot sound are switched
The other MENU options – MIDI, Version and Factory Reset are pretty self-explanatory. System is where you set power supply type, volume, display and USB computer port input/output parameters
- Enter button: confirms an operation or value and also moves to the next screen
- Drum Kit button: here’s where you select which of the 16 kits you want to play
- +/- buttons: switch between drum kits and values. Pressing one while holding down the other enables you to scroll rapidly in larger steps
Kits and sounds
An entry-level electronic drum set this may be – but you still get 16 preset kits to choose from, and these cover a wide gamut of musical genres.
|No.||Kit Name||No.||Kit Name|
|1||Acoustic Jam||9||Jazz Lounge|
|2||Home Studio||10||Jazz Legend|
|3||Big Rock||11||Pop Club|
|4||Rock Star||12||Hyper Attack|
|6||Metal Beast||14||House Party|
Roland does a good job here of offering a blend of acoustic and synthetic kits. On the acoustic side, Acoustic Jam and Big Rock are two particular favorites with the latter sounding decidedly and deliciously thunderous.
If drier sounding kits are more your thing, check out the Classic Rock kit. The Funky and Funk Soul kits also exude an acoustic vibe – perfect for all manner of light, soulful grooves with really nice quite highly tuned snappy snares. Rockstar offers a much deeper sounding kit. Equally desirable.
The Metal Beast kit is another favorite that lives up to its name. Tight, punchy and aggressive.
Moving aways from acoustic kits, Hyper Attack offers an altogether more effected sound that’s heavily compressed and tight with a ringy snare that really cuts through.
Some kits are clearly ‘electronic’ like the errmm Electronic kit. Very TR 808-esque. House Party offers a similar vibe and there’s even percussion sounds that have their own kit.
The standalone kick and hi-hat pedals are pretty responsive but also quiet in operation which is important if keeping noise to a minimum is a priority. The ride and crash cymbals can be choked – but note these are only dual-zone (bow and edge) only. No bell folks!
A key overall quality here is the simplicity of the kit and the excellent drum sounds. An important point to note however is that the TD-02 offers no capability to develop your own custom kits.
We’re all connected
Practice makes perfect, and with the Roland TD-02KV, playing along with backing tracks from your device or tablet is a breeze. In terms of connectivity, there are two options: wirelessly via Bluetooth and hardwired with a cable.
Bluetooth will afford you the most freedom because you’re not physically anchored to the TD-02 sound module, but to make this happen you’ll need to purchase the Boss BT-DUAL adapter which plugs into the back of said module. In its native format, the TD-02KV doesn’t ship with Bluetooth.
This will connect your device to the TD-02 so you can play along with your favorite tracks. In your headphones (or speaker) you’ll hear the TD-02KV alongside the music you’re streaming.
You can also use this functionality to play along with videos – whether it’s a music track on YouTube for example or tuition videos to hone your skills.
The second method is via good old fashioned cable plugged into the MIX IN connection on the back of the TD-02. This is a 3.5mm jack input and enables the connection of an audio device.
Two different methods – same result. We prefer the Bluetooth route because hey, who likes cables, but it’s good to have the choice.
You can also connect the TD-02KV to a computer through a USB connection. One of the things this enables is interaction with the excellent MELODICS tuition software.
You get 40 free lessons bundled in with the package but if that leaves you hankering for more, you can take out a paid subscription. The same USB connection also facilitates connection to Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software so you can use the TD-02KV to lay down authentic drum tracks as part of a song recording process.
Playability and feel
The Roland TD-02KV is a fully adjustable 8-piece kit with snare, 3 x toms and three cymbal pads (hi-hat, ride and crash).
There’s no actual pad for the kick drum because it’s ‘virtual’; just a beaterless standalone pedal (KT-1). It’s the same concept with the hi-hat pedal (FD-1). The great thing is that you can move them around for optimum positioning.
With decades of R&D experience to delve into, Roland V-Drums are renowned for their quiet operation. They’re designed to exhibit minimal pad and cymbal noise and the TD-02KV certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
They work well and are quiet in use with minimal vibration and mechanical noise. If you’re a bedroom or apartment drummer this is important. It means you can practice and become a better drummer without getting a lawsuit from the neighbors.
The rubber pads used on the toms are a resilient rubber material, but you get a dual zone mesh snare drum. And that’s definitely a good thing.
Mesh is a substantial step up from the snare drum pad used on the TD-02KV’s smaller sibling the TD-02K which is single zone and all rubber.
Mesh offers an enhanced dynamic response and feel compared to rubber and is much more akin to the vibe you’d get from an acoustic kit. And being dual-zone it also means you can access more sounds and styles.
Because, as with an acoustic snare drum, characteristics like rimshots come into play where you strike the head and the rim simultaneously. You can also adopt a ‘cross-stick’ technique where you only strike the rim of the pad.
Depending on the force used, different tones can be achieved. A soft strike produces a cross stick sound; hit it harder and you’ll get a familiar rimshot tone. The ‘XStickSens’ value can be adjusted in the settings.
Generally the TD-02KV feels pretty natural to play. The sensitivity of the pads, particularly the snare means good control over drum nuances and dynamics. Sound triggering is accurate and smooth.
Any electronic drum set worth its salt should have some kind of tuition program built into its brain to monitor timing and accuracy progress as you hone your tub thumping skills.
The TD-02KV does – and it’s called Coach Mode. Accessible via the Menu button on the TD-02 module, you have access to four different modes.
(1) Time Check: provides visual representation of how on the beat you are with a mark out of 100. There are easy and Hard sub-modes to accommodate drummers of all levels and abilities. And Hard by the way certainly lives up to its name!
(2) Quiet Count: plays one bar of click track and then a bar of silence, then a bar of click and silence again and so on. The idea here is to stay in time when there’s no click track so that you’re synced with the click track when it comes back in. Very useful for developing consistency and your ‘internal’ metronome
(3) Auto Up/Down: is all about playing along to a CHANGING tempo. It revs all the way up to the top tempo (around 260bpm) and then all the way back down. Your mission, if you wish to accept, is to stay in time with the variations. A real test of drumming endurance.
Don’t worry the changes in tempo are gradual and incremental, but another great discipline to learn drum fluency. You can specify practice time duration length and also set the upper and lower tempo limits
(4) Change Up: this mode deals with the sub-division of notes: ½ notes, ¼ notes, ⅛ notes, ⅛ note triplets, 1/16 notes etc, changing every two measures. ½ notes are the starting point and they progressively become shorter before ultimately reverting back to ½ notes again
Coach Mode is both intuitive, fun and pretty essential if we’re honest because it works on developing the fundamental rhythmic principles that are the cornerstone of any drummer’s progress and ability.
Differences between the TD-02K and TD-02KV
We touched on this earlier, but we should mention that down in entry-level land as far as Roland V-Drums are concerned, there are in fact TWO kits: the TD-02KV which we’ve covered in this article and its more bijou sibling the TD-02K.
There are many similarities shared between the two kit type variants and relatively few differences, but they are important so let’s take a look.
The TD-02K is the most compact kit from Roland and ships with a three-post rack. All 4 PD-4 pads are rubber.
A unique aspect with this particular kit however is the fact that it’s height adjustable making it ideal for kids and younger players. Without this capability, reaching the footpedals could be a bit of a stretch. And don’t be concerned about the three-post rack – it’s still pretty sturdy.
The TD-02KV features a four-post rack (MDS-Lite) which enables more flexibility with drum pad spacing. As we’ve seen, you get a PDX-8 tension adjustable mesh head snare pad for better feel and dynamic response. It’s also dual-zone so supports dual snare sounds – rim and head.
The tom pads are PD-4s, the same as the TD-02K; the cymbals are the same across both kits – as is the TD-02 Sound Module.
Summarizing, the main differences are a more robust frame on the TD-02KV and the all important mesh dual-zone snare pad. The TD-02K of course will be cheaper and potentially more suitable for kids. We think in most circumstances, the TD-02KV is the better choice.
At the end of the day, the TD-02KV is a budget electronic drum kit occupying the entry-level region of Roland’s V-Drum range – but even at this price point, although limited, there are ways you can enhance and expand the kit.
In terms of additional ‘pads’ about the only option you have is to add an additional crash cymbal, such as the OP-TD1C – but you can swap out existing pads for different Roland variants.
There’s a massive list of compatible pads in the Owner’s Manual on page 15: https://static.roland.com/assets/media/pdf/TD-02_eng02_W.pdf
Actually on the subject of the manual – it is actually very helpful with anything to do with the TD-02KV (and the TD-02K for that matter) and certainly worth downloading for reference.
The manual shows an example of how a Roland CY-13R cymbal is used to replace the existing CY-5 that ships with the TD-02KV. Different pads have different capabilities so this is definitely a way of enhancing the specification of the overall kit.
The beaterless KT-1 kick drum trigger pedal supplied with the TD-02KV is excellent, but there may come a time when you’d prefer to use a conventional Roland kick pad/pedal arrangement. If that’s the case, fear not. The TD-02KV offers this capability.
You could for example go for something like the Roland KD10 kick pad in conjunction with an acoustic bass drum pedal.
- It’s from the Roland V-Drum range so you know the sounds will be excellent
- Supremely compact and well constructed
- The mesh snare pad offers great dynamics and feel
- Coach mode is a nifty drum tuition tool
- Very quiet in operation, minimizing sound transfer to other rooms
- No bell sound on the cymbals
- Quite expensive compared to other budget electronic drum kits
- Limited expandability options
- Kits are excellent – but no custom kit capability
Who should consider buying the Roland TD-02KV?
A typical user of the TD-2KV will most likely be someone looking for their first electronic kit; or an acoustic drummer wanting a cost-effective entry into the world of electronic drums; or someone needing a practice kit at home that won’t prompt a noise abatement order from the neighbors.
It would also be an ideal investment for an ex-drummer looking to get back behind the skins (or pads in this case) again.
A fantastic entry point into the world of electronic drums. Brand reputation is important when choosing any musical gear and they don’t get much bigger than Roland.
Sound wise it competes with anything in its class, but in our Best Budget Electronic Drum Kit round up article, it is the most expensive in the shortlist – but only just. The lack of kit customization may also be a negative for some players.