Roland Octapad SPD-30 – A Real Drummer’s Review


I’ve owned a Roland Octapad for over two years and it has become an essential part of my setup. This article covers my experience of using this instrument in comparison to other drum pads.

My aim in this article is not to regurgitate tech specs. It’s a perspective from someone with a lot of experience using the electronic instrument, and it will help you decide if this is worth the investment or not.

This instrument is an electronic pad built for drummers and percussionists.

Let’s get right into it!

Roland Octapad – Percussion Pad

Roland refers to the Octapad SPD-30 as a percussion pad rather than a sample pad. It has a large amount of built-in sounds, which can also be customized through the device.

Roland almost doubled the number of onboard kits in the Version 2 system update. If you own an Octapad SPD-30 with the old software, you can upgrade to the newer version by connecting the instrument to your computer via a USB cable. (Software updates are available on the Roland website).

The onboard sounds range from acoustic sounding drum kits, electronic hits, world music percussion, and musical sounds like bass synths. Therefore, this instrument can be used for a wide variety of genres.


Extending it to a mini electronic drum kit

This instrument also allows you to extend with additional pads, a kick, and a hi-hat controller. You can use it as a mini drum-kit.

The SPD-30 uses Roland’s V-Drum technology, and that’s noticeable when you’re using elements like the hi-hat controller. It feels as responsive as a quality electronic drum set.

I used this instrument with the Roland FD-8 hi-hat controller and it worked really nicely.

Octapad back - inputs and outputs

I also switched between a few different kick pads (both Roland and Yamaha brands). They all worked seamlessly.

Use it to make a hybrid kit

I love setting the Octapad up next to my acoustic drum set for live performances.

A great aspect about the extensibility of this electronic instrument is that you can hook up almost any type of drum trigger or pad to it.

For example, you can hook up an acoustic drum trigger to your Octapad. For example, using a kick-drum trigger you can complement your acoustic bass drum sound with an electronic kick.

This is a great option when you want to expand your drum sounds, or when the mic setup if your kit is less than ideal.

The Octapad is not a custom sample pad

A very important point to keep in mind is that the Octapad does not allow for custom sampling on-board. Therefore you cannot add your own WAV files to this device. Alternatively, you can always use the Octapad as a MIDI controller to a computer and trigger your samples through that.

If onboard custom sampling is a feature you really need, you should consider getting the Roland SPD-SX. However, that device does not have as many extensibility options and does not have phrase looping. The SPD-SX serves a different purpose.

Customising built-in sounds

Although the Octapad does not allow for importing custom files, it does include a lot of customization of the internal sounds.

For example, you can layer sounds together, change the pitch, add a bunch of different effects such as reverb.

You can also customize and create your own kits based on the built-in sounds on the Octapad.

How do the pads feel to play?

The pads are very sensitive. They can really nicely detect slight changes in your strike.

I think this is one of the biggest advantages that the Octapad has over its cheaper alternatives.

A drummer that is used to playing a high-quality electronic drum set or acoustic kit will be very satisfied with the response of the pads.

How loud is the device?

Octapad - audio outputsIt’s not silent. It’s more like hitting a rubber pad. This should cause absolutely no problem when playing with speakers or on stage.

However, when playing at home, it’s not as quiet as hitting a mesh pad for example.

The actual audio output of the device is great. There are stereo outputs or the option to output in mono.

Playing it on stage

Octapad SPD-30 - Phrase looping
The phrase looping menu on the Octapad

It’s a joy to play on stage. I’ve used this as a primary instrument on stage, as well as a secondary option next to my drum set.

The sensitivity of a pad can feel different when you’re playing live. You can often hit the pads a lot harder when your adrenaline is pumping. Thankfully, this instrument is sensitive enough to still differentiate between big strokes.

I’ve used cheaper options live, and the volume sensitivity for live performance fell down greatly on those.

Having an instrument like this really allows you to explore a much wider range of sounds. It can add a new sonic dimension to your live performances.

Phrase Looping

The Octapad allows you to enter phrase looping mode, which allows you to perform your own sequences with up to 3 kits at a time. I found the menu system very useful for this, as it’s easily possible to mute and delete pads on the fly.

You can also hook up an external foot-switch and customize what action it will perform. For example, you can set the foot-switch to automatically start the phrase looping mode.

Octapad - Pad lights

The lights next to each pad are extremely useful. The lights show you which pads are currently active in the phrase loop. Hitting a pad initially will add a note to the loop and will turn on the light. The lights also flash depending on muting of pads during on the phrase loop.


The quality of the Octapad is superb. My one has been through a lot and it’s still almost like new. It’s been dropped and even rained on a few times.

The pads have absolutely no cross-talk issues between them. If you clearly hit one pad, it’s never going to accidentally trigger another one.

MIDI capability

Octapad - USB capabilityThe Octapad can be used as a MIDI controller to a digital audio workstation.

As expected, you can also chain it up to other devices and sync the metronome. This is very useful if you’re using the phrase loop functionality while playing music from other electronic instruments.

What are the drawbacks of the Octapad?

Octapad - foot switch and midi input/outputs

The Octapad instrument is quite expensive, there’s no getting away from that. In fact, all Roland pads are expensive.

However, they’re absolutely top quality. Roland are generally the brand of choice for the professional musicians when it comes to percussion pads.

Once you get used to playing the Octapad, you’ll never want to play on a cheaper pad again.

For this price range, I personally found the lack of custom sampling unfortunate on this device. Though for my own use, I could live without it.

Octapad - module mount
Module mount attached to the bottom of the Octapad

What hardware should I get?

I use the Roland PDS-10 stand. It’s very sturdy and built for Roland pads.

However, you’re certainly not constrained by that option. You will need a module mount if you wish to mount the Octapad to a piece of hardware, such as a drum rack or stand.

I personally mounted my Octapad directly to my Roland V-drum rack, as the module mount fitted directly into the pad holders.

Summary – Roland Octapad SPD-30

I’m a big fan of the Octapad. It’s by far the best percussion pad I’ve tried to date.

It’s not completely perfect; its lack of custom sampling is a drawback in this price range. However, it’s not built for this purpose.

If you have the budget then I’d highly recommend you consider this instrument. It majorly beats cheaper models in almost every point of comparison. It can withstand constant touring. It’s a very good investment in quality.


If you want to check out other models, be sure to check out our popular article on the best electronic drum pads.


Write a comment below if you would like any more information. I would be very happy to answer any questions you have on the Roland Octapad.

Thanks again,


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Roland TD11KV Review – Mesh Electronic Drum Set

As a world famous electronic drums manufacturer, Roland does not fail to surprise us with the quality and functionality of its products. In this review we are going to present Roland’s TD-11KV V-Compact drum set.

As a compact electronic drum set, this kit can fit smaller spaces or even be taken on the go. It suits drummers with any skills, from a complete beginner to a full on professional player.

It is also important to mention that this electronic drum set is quite an affordable solution for budget saving. Yet, the set still provides the quality and all features you want to have in your electronic drums. Without further ado, let’s get into details!

Roland TD11KV Features

These electronic drums set provides a much more natural and realistic sound than most other products on the market. It features several different modes for practice, teaching and recording.

Therefore, it is suitable for new players who want to improve their drumming skills. You can either rock the drums freely or play along to one of the many professionally recorded backing songs. This feature will make you feel as if you were really playing in a band.

The set also features a fairly large LCD screen where you can easily control all the settings, chose your playing mode and switch songs and sounds. This easy interface makes the drum kit very user friendly.

The simple USB connectivity feature will allow you to connect the set to a computer and use different applications to alter and edit your sounds. You can also use the USB connectivity to backup your data on a computer or PC, as well as play it back in MP3 and WAV formats.

If you’re an experienced drummer, you know that the stability of the kit highly affects the quality of the sound and the overall result of your drumming. Therefore, it is important for a kit to be stable and secure at all times.

Luckily, the Roland TD-11KV kit comes with a compact yet very solid stand. The included MDS-4V is actually a custom stand for the V-Compact series of Roland’s electronic drums. It is one of the most compact stands that will save you some space while keeping your drums completely stable.

Besides the compact and secure stand, the kit features a stylish design that will nicely suit and room’s interior. The center of the kit is a joint bar that strengthens the whole setup and improves overall stability.

Key Playing Features

The Roland TD11KV electronic drum set features the SuperNatural TD-11 drum sound module. This highly advanced module provides natural and realistic sounds as well as great features for overall playability.

The set features mesh-head V-ads for snare and toms, as well as great V-cymbals and the CY-5 cymbal pad for hi-hat. The cymbal pad features a highly responsive 10 inch playing zone that allows for natural swing movement and a more realistic drumming experience.

The set also includes the FD-8 Hi-Hat controller that is in charge of providing smooth transitions and making the hi-hat sounds more realistic and professional. The great design of the kick pad provides a natural feel, just as if you were playing a real, full drumming set.

The kick pad is perfectly designed to provide a dynamic response at the right time. It ensures accurate triggering and provides a great drumming experience overall. The set also performs well when it comes to edge triggering.

Unfortunately, it does not include a kick pedal and a drum throne, which are necessary to complete the setup. Therefore, you will have to make that extra purchase but considering all the features and benefits of the set, it is well worth the money!

What New Players Should Know

In general, the set is very easy to set up and you can do it in under a few minutes if you follow the instructions clearly. Therefore, you don’t have to worry if you haven’t owned a drum set before.

The sound module includes a diverse library with a variety of sounds coming from different musical genres. Therefore, there is something for everyone within the library of the set.

This set features a special practice mode. This includes a quick record/quick play feature that allows you to replay your sound and focus on the quality you’re creating.

It also includes a Coach function that will help you build your drumming skills to a professional level. As a beginner, you will also want to start learning about editing and altering your sound to create more professional-like results.

With the simple USB connectivity feature, you can connect the Roland TD-11KV and transport your sounds to your PC, where you can further edit them in sound programs and applications.

Roland TD-11KV – Final Word

All together, this electronic drum set from the V-compact Roland series provides everything you need for a professional drumming experience.

The set is compact and it won’t take up much space at your home. The stable stand will ensure the best sound quality while the SuperNatural sound module and other pieces of equipment will do the rest.

Overall, this is a highly responsive drumming kit that provides a natural feel, featuring a great design and convenient practice features for beginners.


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Roland TD1KV Review – Compact Electronic Drum Set

Whether you’re looking for a high-quality drumming kit to practice your skills and track your progress or simply to rock it like a pro, Roland has got you covered! The TD1KV V-Drum compact drum kit features superior sounds and amazing durability, which is all you need for a good drumming session. The V-Drum kits are already known for the high level of performance and the professional feel they provide.

This specific kit features a wide array of different sounds and styles to choose from and it can follow your progress as you improve. The TD1KV drum kit we are going to review in this article is often confused with the TD-1K kit, which is in essentials quite similar to it. However, there’s a major difference in the fact that the TD1KV has a mesh snare which the TD-1K kit lacks.

Provided by the world’s most popular electronic drums manufacturer, Roland, this kit ensures the highest quality and best drumming experience you can get at home. Having been in the industry for over three decades, Roland has found a way to put together all good features in use by combining them into one drum kit. Let’s check out what the TD1KV electronic drum it has to offer!

Roland TD1KV V-Drum Features

What’s so great about this electronic drum kit is that it provides functionality and convenience mixed in one. It is quite practical since its structure allows it to fit in smaller spaces. Thus, you will get a chance to practice your skills and enjoy drumming at home while saving space. Besides, the kit features a modern look and does not interfere with the style of your room interior.

In terms of quality, as a part of the V-Drum lineup of compact electronic kits, the TD1KV is a very sturdy and durable choice. It is comfortable and easy to use, allowing you to get used to it quickly. The ergonomic drum rack can be adjusted in terms of height. Therefore, you can set up the drum positions for different heights if necessary. This will allow flexibility if there are more people using the same kit.

In fact, this drum kit can be adjusted to a much larger sense, since the height of each cymbal and the angle of the snare pad can also be tampered with. Customizing the kit according to your needs and requirements will allow for better comfort and playing style. With this much flexibility, this drum kit is a great choice for both those who are learning to play and the experienced drummers who need a practice or warm-up kit.

As you move up and improve your skills, you won’t need to spend money on a more advanced drum kit, as the TD1KV can improve with you. Simply replace parts and add extras to make your kit more advanced. You can choose to add an OP-TD1C Cymbal Pad or replace the kick pedal for better KT-10 or KD-9 pedal models. You can also add extras such as the NE-10 Noise Eater, PM-03 Personal Drum Monitor or use the TDM-3 V-Drum Mat to prevent the kit from moving around.

As for the elements, this drum kit includes:

  • TD-1 percussion sound module
  • Snare pad with mesh head
  • Crash cymbal pad
  • 3x tom pads
  • Ride cymbal pad
  • Hi-hat pad
  • Beater-less kick pad
  • Hi-hat pedal

Key Playing Features

The TD1KV V-drum compact electronic drums set features 15 built-in kits for better drumming experience and personalized style. The set supports the basic acoustic drum techniques such as advanced hi-hat playing and cymbal choke. This allows you to maximize your drumming experience and get the most out of your sessions.

The realistic snare drum feel with head/rim triggering and the overall professional feel provided by the mesh-head PDX-8 V-Pad allows you to play like a pro and test your limits. As for improving your skills, the TD1KV kit brings along great features such as a coach function and a metronome that allow you to fully control your playing.

You can track your progress with the record feature and listen to your music later on in order to improve your skills and better your style. You can simply record your sessions on any computer using a classic USB cable, thanks to the USB-MIDI interface built in the kit. Thus, this drum it is also great for creating music with no additional hardware needed. All you need besides the set is a computer and a USB cable. You might also want to use a music software to further tune the result.

What new players should know

Whether you haven’t used Roland’s drum kits before or you’re completely new to drumming, you should be familiar with apps that can make your experience more enjoyable. Roland features a free series of V-Drums Friend Jam apps which include jam tracks and practice features. These apps also allow you to compete with other users on a worldwide scale, making drumming with the V-drum it even more exciting!

If you want to learn about different techniques and styles, you can get an in-depth education by using the DT-1 V-Drums Tutor application. Overall, the drum kit is very simple to use and even the new drummers will find it easy to get used to it. The layout is simple and clear and the control panel allows quick and easy access to different functions and settings.

The Roland TD1KV – Final Word

Overall, the TD1KV drum it is a modern yet compact drum kit suitable for all sorts of players, from beginners to pros. It features superior sound and high-quality elements with a professional feel while being completely adjustable in terms of height and angles.

At first, the set leans more towards average to beginner players but it can be transformed into an advanced drumming kit for professionals. Simply add or replace some components and you will get a highly advanced, more professional drum kit.


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The Roland TD-30KV Review – Top-End Electronic Drum Set

Roland as a brand is known for producing high quality, world-class musical instruments, and the Ronald TD-30KV is no different. Both TD-30K and TD-30KV models were introduced simultaneously, but the latter took the market by storm as it targeted high end, pro users.

Build Quality and Hardware

It is a lightweight model even though it takes up its share of space. The box contains 4 cymbal pads, 5 trigger pads/drums, the sound engine/module, input and output audio cables and corresponding mounting gear. It features the stunning MDS 25 rack with its specially designed clamps, chrome electroplated tubing and a cable management system, that takes care of all the wiring to give a polished and compact look.

A model of a next-generation series, the Roland TD-30KV features the SuperNATURAL synth engine. It brings in behavior modeling and is equipped with an advanced sensing technology for the first time in electronic drum kits. Behavior modeling is used to reconstruct the original drum sounds preset in the module to give the ‘raw’ feel while the advanced sensing technology dynamically adjusts the levels of individual samples depending on the manner and position of pads struck.

Unlike most amateur kits that have pads made of plastic or the real drums that have Mylar, a mesh-like material is used in TD 30s trigger pads. The pads are tailored to absorb sound and reduce noise production, but still give the feel of real counterparts.

The material yields a lesser rebound due to its softer nature and this helps both amateurs and pros play it better. The drums produce great sounds with the help of the extraordinary sound module while keeping the noise under 50 dB (which is quiet for drums).

The kick pad is the robust and dependable KD 40 and weighs approximately the same as its standard counterpart. The kit comes with the specially forged VH 13 hi-hat that accommodates a sensor for motion detection as well as grayish, strangely sticky cymbal pads.

If you have the budget for this kit, it’ll be a dream come through!

Electronic Drum Drum Module

Together with the amazing behavior modeling and advanced sensing technology that produce unique and exceptional sounds, the TD 30’s sound engine has a myriad of options available to its users.

The sound module has each button designated according to its function and an LCD screen installed to display the changes in real time, so new buyers do not have to keep a manual at hand all the time. On a superficial look, the interface seems quite intricate, but with the help of a simple 10-minute tutorial, players can achieve astounding levels of sound quality.

Users can change various characteristics of each drum pad to trigger by customizing options of shell depth, beater type, sound muffling and resonance/mic position. They can also change reverb settings by adjusting Hi damp frequency (Hz), Hi damp (%), middle or mid dampening frequency (Hz), and low-cut frequency.

These settings demonstrate the level of detail that can be achieved by the sound engine, and there are many more such options available; the above-mentioned ones do not even scratch the surface.

The back panel of the module has a bunch of sockets, including trigger inputs, a mix-in input for music devices like iPod, a set of routable direct outs, a simple USB socket and a USB socket for memory cards.

Playing experience

After a simple setup, the Roland TD 30 KV gives its users the unlimited freedom to play any style and kind of music while guaranteeing a realistic feel and producing first-class sound quality. The toms have a great dynamic range and with the help of the sound engine, rimshots-enabled tom pads can produce all kinds of sounds and effects.

The greatest strength of the kit is the effortless transitions in sound. This can be felt both in the cymbals and the tom pads. The sounds are modified according to the position and force of each strike due to the motion sensor. A much more noticeable effect can be felt on the ride as the sound changes subtly from the bow, bell and the edge.

The tone alters just like real drums when increased pressure is applied with closed cymbals. Cymbal swells sound brilliant whether the player uses ordinary sticks or mallets to produce them. Users can also use the headphone output to hear the nuances and subtlety of each stroke clearly.

The Song Player is another option in the module and it can be used to play back TD 30’s pre-configured songs and patterns or songs stored on the memory card. The Song Player has only a few basic control options that can be used play and stop the music.

Configuring the settings

The kit comes with an LCD display and labeled buttons that help new users configure the sound module’s settings comfortably and the manual does not have much use after one or two sessions.

With the help of the V-Drum technology, changing various kit characteristics is quite easy, and a user kit can be created effortlessly via a menu system that is player-friendly and intuitive. Seven sliders on the sound module are used as ‘faders’ to control the strength and intensity of sound coming in from the hi-hat, toms, cymbals and the other inputs.

From the six drum kit buttons, multi-effects, composition, mixer, and ambiance can be selected to introduce additional changes in the music to have the best possible results. The user has three ways to adjust the volume; mix-in, phones and master, and tweaking these is as easy as turning a knob.


By far the most expensive kit from the company on the market, the Roland TD 30 KV is an amazing set of drums with great design and structure. One point to be noted is that the kit is not suitable for beginner drummers, as they can easily get confused and overwhelmed with the number of options at their hand. Dropping in a large sum of money on this model is also not very smart for someone who does not know how to take care of such a beautiful instrument.

The company designed this kit keeping pro users in mind, who want to have a realistic experience with electronic drums and can take advantage of its customization options.  The kit has received high ratings for its quality and durability, as it is built to stand the test of time and bear the daily wear and tear for years.

Check out our electronic drum set reviews page, to browse through the best kits on the market – from entry-level sets to the top-end pro kits.

The brilliant SuperNATURAL module gives the user a never-ending number of sound variations to create the sound they desire. With the help of constant behavior modeling, the kit allows its players to feel the nuances of a real drum kit, so they can have the taste of the real, old-school drums without any of their flaws. All in all, Roland has outdone itself with the TD-30KV.

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Roland Handsonic HPD-20 Review – Is it Worth it?

Roland Handsonic HPD-20The Roland Handsonic HPD-20 is a hand percussion pad that is easily portable and applicable in many music contexts.

It’s a unique little electronic instrument, which is applicable for recording as well as on-stage performances.

Here are the main features contained in the Roland Handsonic HPD-20.


Onboard Sounds

The Roland HandSonic HPD-20 brings an abundance of sounds, which will satisfy all sorts of drummers.

You can get 850 sounds of different percussion instruments, from traditional drum patterns, to more specific options, like conga and bongo sounds.

A variety of electronic beats and combinations is also a great perk of this electronic device, especially for DJs and sound engineers.

Drummers will like the connectivity of this device, like the option to insert your USB flash drive into it and transfer your own audio files your HandSonic. You can transfer about 500 WAV files to this device. This option enables you to add a personal touch to your live performances.

This feature is also one of the reasons DJs praise the HandSonic HPD-20.

They can get a wide range of sounds by adding their own samples from a USB-flash or generate them using the D-BEAM control and the sensors on the HandSonic.

These features make their performances more versatile and interesting, giving DJs a chance to express themselves through a larger number of pre-recorded patterns and live improvisations.

Pad Responsiveness

This pad uses Roland’s trademark SuperNATURAL sound technology, where they say that every kick or hit you make on the Roland HandSonic HPD-20 is produced in a responsive way. This technology manages to translate the input of your playing style into a great electronic output.

When you hit a beat, the software behind this technology responds automatically and keeps the sound natural.

As a result, this helps to keep velocity oscillations or unnatural breaks between samples.

What you can also do when playing this device is to adjust the instrument settings, so that you adapt the sounds to your playing needs.

Also, you can edit your tones using three separate engines for various effects.

This device comes with dynamic rubber pads that are very adaptable to playing demands. You can tweak your sounds, as well as mute or simply dampen the pads, to get the most out of your playing performance.

Instrument Size

With the weight of just over five pounds, it’s an extremely practical drumming instrument for transportation.

As for the dimensions, it’s 15.9 inches wide, 12.2 inches long and 4 inches thick.

Unlike old-school drum sets or multi-part electro kits, the Roland HandSonic HPD-20 can be packed into rucksacks. This makes it a great choice for minimal setups, as well as performers on themove.

Drummers will find it practical that you can plug a pedal into it and can play it as a side drum kick. There’s also a hi-hat input. These two features make this device compatible with other elements of Roland electronic drum kits. So, you can turn the Roland HandSonic HPD-20 into a mini electronic drum set.

Instrument selection

hand percussion
Get authentic hand percussion sounds from this electronic device.

Apart from the drum sounds and samples, you can adjust this music device to produce sounds of a variety of melodic instruments.

If you’re into Indian music, you can play the santoor on your HandSonic.

Those who like the ancient music of the British Isles will appreciate the sound of crotales you can get on this device.

Additionally, you can play gongs and bells, as well, which will enrich your playing experience.

To top it all off, all the sounds of melodic instruments can be easily tuned to every key you might need.

You can also use the Roland HandSonic HPD-20 as a MIDI controller, which will enhance every live gig you’re playing at. This is very useful for DJs and producers, who often use MIDI technology both in studio and on stage.

How to amplify it

You need to use external speakers or headphones inputs to hear the output of the Roland Handsonic.

For rehearsals or smaller gigs, the Roland PM-10 amplifier is a great option to amplify the sound of your Roland HandSonic HPD-20.

This amplifier is a powerful sound marvel that can reach the max power of 30 watts. It also comes with a 10-inch, 2-way coaxial speaker. You can plug an MP3 or CD player or in the Roland PM-10, as well.

The volume controls will enable you to adjust the sound of the external source and the HandSonic, while you can additional tweak the tone using the 2-band equalizer, built into the amplifier.

Please note that if a PA is available for your show, then this is usually the best option to pick. In that case, you will not need to use your own amplifier.

The Pros and Cons

The most obvious advantage of this device is its size. Its dimensions make room for some user-friendly playing experience and portability. So, if you’re playing a gig or have a studio session where it’s more important to get a wide range of natural drumming sounds, the Roland HandSonic-HPD20 is a reasonable choice.

The pads are soft and ergonomic, so that both experienced drummers and drumming beginners can play them with equal zest and passion.

Still, those players who have some previous percussion experience will be able to spot and use more features of this Roland machine than those with less experience.

Although DJs are more often tend to use sample and percussion pads, this is a fresh option for wide range of generic and custom-made sounds for their performances. Having an all-in-one solution is a dream-come-true option for every DJ, which is why the Roland HandSonic-HPD20 comes in pretty handy for this purpose.

Having all this in mind, it’s important to stress out that this isn’t a rhythm machine. While it can perform some of its features, it can’t replace a full-scale rhythm machine.

Also, when compared to some multi-pads, such as the Roland SPD-20, it lacks some sequencing and looping options. Of course, you can get an additional device and connect it to your HandSonic, but it would be more convenient if this device had more of this additions.

The Roland Handsonic HPD-20

Getting a Roland HandSonic-HPD20 is a great device to enrich your drumming sessions, either as an addition to a larger electronic drum kit or as a standalone device. It can really add a bit of flare to your life performances, as well as provide a new platform to practice and record your rhythm creativity.

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The Electronic Cajon – Technology to Make Playing the Cajon Even Better

Electronic CajonElectronic cajons have hit the music world with a bang as they open up a whole new range of sound possibilities, while also complementing the traditional sound of a cajon.

I’m a big fan of Cajons. They are very popular instruments for street performing, playing small gigs and as a primary choice for many different musical styles.

The cajon is an extremely versatile and portable instrument. You can get a surprising variety of acoustic sounds from these little boxes.

However, their acoustic qualities alone are not always adequate for all musical styles. This is where some great new electronic cajon technology comes in.

In this article I’m going to explain two new great pieces of electronic cajon technology from Roland:

  • The Roland EC-10 EL Cajon – This is a full electronic cajon instrument made by Roland. It works as both an acoustic instrument with a great amount of electronic additions ready to go.
  • The Roland EL Cajon EC-10M Mic Processor – The mic processor is an option for you to adapt your current cajon into an electronic cajon.

The cajon is a percussion instrument that originates from South America. The word cajon literally means a box or a crate, which precisely describes the shape of this instrument.

It consists of four plywood sides and a hollow body. One of the sides is thinner, while the other three are a bit thicker. Every cajon has a hole at the back, which gives cajon players a chance to produce a variety of sounds.

The player is sitting on the cajon while playing it. The playing patterns and the shape of this instrument haven’t changed for centuries. However, new electronic enhancements open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Roland’s Electronic Cajon – The EC-10 EL Cajon

The Roland EC-10 EL Cajon (EL stands for electronic layered) is a standalone instrument. For starters, it has a nicely manufactured body that produces very decent acoustic sounds even when played without the electronic enhancements. However, the electronic elements sound amazing.

Have a look at this video to see this electronic cajon in action:

The Roland EC-10 EL Cajon comes with an integrated Roland sound module. It provides players with a myriad of drumming sounds. This is an very handy option for live performances. Imagine a drummer who needs to switch from tambourine to shaker, djembe or any other percussion instrument. With this electronic cajon, you just choose the desired sound.

There are 30 different kits integrated into this electronic cajon.

Apart from the sounds produced by the player on the spot, the Roland EC-10 EL Cajon offers a variety of sound effects. This makes it a great choice for bands that play electronic music.

All the sounds and effects that you can create on this Roland cajon are enhanced by electronic add-ons. This enables you to generate a vast number of sound combinations, which makes this instrument perfect for all sorts of live gigs and concerts.

Also, it comes with a built-in speaker, so it can be played completely on its own. In case you need to produce a more powerful sound, you just place a microphone in front of its speaker.

You can plug it into a power outlet for longer concerts, but it also has a battery, which is a great option for street gigs.

Roland EL Cajon EC-10M Mic Processor

This mic processor from Roland is a great way of adding electronic enhancements to the acoustic Cajon you already own.

Using this processor will expand the number of playing options you have on the acoustic cajon. The Roland Mic Processor offers 16 playing kits, which can raise the sound possibilities of your cajon to a completely new level.

This video show it in action really nicely:

This processor comes with an integrated looper. It’s a great feature for players who want to experiment with their cajons and cover their sounds with various layers of innovative tones and sounds.

Also, you can clip a condenser microphone onto this processor. This addition will improve the quality of sound you get combining an acoustic cajon and the Roland EL-Cajon EC-10M Mic Processor.

You can play different onboard sounds by pressing the foot pads.

If you want to mix the sounds you play via a mono output, you can send the electronically layered sounds and the mic sounds in two separate ways.

In addition to the footpads that come with this processor, you can get and connect additional footpads to it. For instance, a kick trigger pedal would be a great addition to your cajon set, especially for more demanding gigs.

When it comes to gigs, you should know that the Roland Mic Processor can also be used as a battery-powered device. Four AAA batteries will suffice for up to 5 hours of playing.

More Information about Cajons

cajonsThe cajon is usually 18” high, 12” wide and 12” deep. When a player sits on it, they have a fine ergonomic position that enables smooth drumming.

As for the sounds, you can produce the bass sound by hitting the middle of the front part of the cajon.

Moving from the middle to the top will give you higher and higher notes.

If the middle part serves as the bass drum, the upper part of the front plank can be played as a snare drum. You can play the cajon with your hands, but some players also use drum sticks, brushes and mallets.

The breakthrough of cajons to the global market has coincided with the increased popularity of world music. In the last thirty years, various music genres of Africa, the Caribbean and South America have become popular on a global scale.

Since the cajon takes an important place in these music styles, they have become popular worldwide.

As such, the basic role of cajons has changed. Many gig bands add cajons to their fleet of instruments, since they can sometimes replace a drum set.

Its size and portability makes the cajon a perfect piece for street gigs. You can often see a guitar player and their cajon colleague playing in the street.

Famous musicians and bands also make great use of the cajon in their concerts. Here you can see Bon Jovi playing “Something for the Pain”, accompanied by a cajon.

Interested in getting your hands on an electronic drum set? Check out our electronic drum set reviews.


I hope this article has answered your questions about the electronic cajon. If you currently own a cajon and are happy with its current acoustic qualities, then the EC-10M EL Mic Processor is well worth considering as an option.

If you have yet to get into the world of cajons, then the Roland El Cajon is a great option. It works as both an acoustic instrument, along with some great electronic enhancements. So it can really scale with your level of playing.

Lastly, playing a cajon is really fun. They are ultra portable and can allow you to practice your drumming and percussion from a totally different perspective.

Have fun, and be sure to ask if you have any questions about electronic cajons.

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Roland TD-50 – The New Roland Flagship Electronic Drum Set

Roland-td-50-electronic-drum-set-reviewRoland has recently announced their new flagship electronic drum set. This is further bridging the gap between acoustic drum sets from the TD-30, the previous Roland flagship model. This is such an exciting new product into the world of electronic drumming. The technology is a big step forward and it is really built to improve the feel and sensitivity of the drums.

This is a big electronic drum set. It resembles an acoustic set and is going to look amazing on stage. The technology is finally ready to enable it. The TD-50 comes with a triggered electronic drum head that can be added to any acoustic drum head.The kit also includes a 14-inch full sized snare head, with a deep shell. It looks amazing and features a great new mesh head. This is important, as the strength and quality of the head needed to be improved for this increased snare size.

This kit featured digital drum pad technology inside the new Roland pads. Up until now, pads were actually analog and triggered digital signals. These new pads will are only compatible with the TD-50 drum module. The pads use USB technology and communicate digitally through this.

The Ride is 18-inch size. With the new digital technology, the range, variety, and depth of sticking have now dramatically improved. This will come as a big improvement to drummers looking to get a much more realistic feel out of their cymbal. One awesome feature is that you can simply touch your hand over the surface of the ride cymbal to muffle it as it is ringing. This is such a cool advancement to the old style choke cymbal detectors.

The drum module has a new digital triggering engine, improved processing power. The module allows you to really hone in on your perfect drum and cymbal sounds. For example, through the controls and screen display, you can easily control the simulated size, thickness, muffling, pitch, ping level, microphone position of the cymbals and more. The simulated mic position and room level allow you to control the ambiance and reverb sound of your kit. Roland has coined what is know as their Prismatic Sound Modelling in this new drum module, which they say improves the response, expressiveness, and dynamics of the module, compared to previous models.

td-50-sound-moduleA great addition, it finally allows for user sample imports! This is a massive step forward for Roland. The lack of user samples has been a complaint for many power electronic drum users over the years. The reasoning was that processing power and triggering technology was simply not good enough to deliver a good performance and feel of custom sampling. However, the technology is now here and it is possible to import your own samples. The samples are imported into memory on the drum module. This massively improves the processing abilities to work on those samples. It is possible to record your own acoustic drum set as samples in the studio and then load these as samples onto your TD-50 electronic drum set. This is such a cool and welcome feature.

For the studio drummer and producers, the drum module includes a lot of features that would otherwise have to be done on Ableton or sound production software. The module allows for layering of default and custom samples together, as well as processing the sound to change the rate of attack for example. These type of features will be especially cool for pop and electronic drummers, that need to get a sound above what is possible with an acoustic drum set. For sound outputs, the drum module contains XLR outputs as well as jack outputs for each pad that can go straight into the mixer.

Roland is one of the top names in electronic drums sets. This new flagship model is a really exciting prospect and is further pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology in the electronic drumming world. I’m really excited to see how this develops even further, and how it will push their competitors (particularly Yamaha) to come out with even more exciting electronic drum sets.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on an electronic drum set. Make sure to check out our electronic drum set guide.

Check out this video of the Roland TD-50 in action, it is a really impressive piece of kit!


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