Roland TD-50 vs Roland VAD Electronic Drums – Which is Better?

The Roland TD-50 line of drums focuses on high-end specs and functionality, whereas the Roland VAD line of drums (which stands for V-drums Acoustic Design) has particularly great stage presence.

Even though the TD-50 and the VAD series are professional electronic drum kits and offer great sounds and build quality, they differ in quite a lot of ways.

Key Differences Between Roland TD-50 and Roland VAD

  • Look and feel: Most of the e-drum kits in the two lines of drums have the same snare (PD-140DS). The most significant difference is that the TD-50 line has tom pads, and the VAD line has full-sized shells.
  • Kick drum: Most TD-50 e-drum kits have a kick tower pad (apart from the top of the range TD-50 kits or where you buy a separate bass drum add-on), while every drum set in the VAD line has a full-sized kick drum.
  • Hardware: The tom pads and the cymbals pads on the TD-50 line of drums are mounted on a rack, while the VAD line takes a more traditional way of mounting the drums on cymbal stands and clamps.
  • Drum modules: The VAD-706 includes a TD-50 module, though it’s outside the price range of the vast majority. The next VAD model below that, the VAD-506, includes the TD-27 module which is not quite as good.

Key Similarities Between Roland TD-50 and Roland VAD

  • The drum module: The flagship models on both the lines of drum kits use Roland’s most advanced drum module, TD-50X.
  • Build quality: The TD-50, as well as the VAD, are the best offerings that Roland has, and they have incredibly good build quality.
  • Sounds and editing capabilities: All the drum kits in both lines of drums have professionally recorded samples and good editing capabilities for those sounds.

Pros

  • Adjustable mesh heads: The pads and shells have tension lugs and can be tuned according to your playstyle.
  • Advanced trigger sensors: Roland’s advanced drum triggers are very reliable, making it a less stressful purchase of an e-drum kit.
  • MIDI and recording options: The drum modules on TD-50 and VAD drums have custom sampling capabilities, onboard recording, and MIDI over USB.
  • They look great: Both kits look fantastic.
1. Roland V-Drums Acoustic Design VAD506
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Cons

  • Price: While offering good build quality, great sounds, stage presence, and practicality, Roland’s drums also come at a premium price.
  • Only the flagship model of the VAD line of drums comes with a TD-50X drum module: While all TD-50 drum models have TD-50 or TD-50X drum modules, the VAD103, VAD306, and VAD506 come with TD-07, TD-17, and TD-27 drum modules.

Roland TD-50K2 – Price Comparison

Roland VAD 506 – Price Comparison

The Drum Modules

Roland’s TD-50KV2, TD-50K2, and VAD706 come with the newest and most advanced drum module, TD-50X. The TD50X has good effects and sound editing capabilities, custom sampling, onboard recording, and audio over USB, to name a few. In addition to the two main outputs, it also has eight direct outputs, making this drum module great for mixing live performances or recording with it.

The other two e-drum kits offered in the TD-50 line of drums(Roland TD-50KVX and TD-50KV) use the TD-50 drum module, the predecessor to the TD-50X. The main differences are the built-in sounds, the support for the new digital hi-hat(VH-14D) on the TD-50X, and other feature enhancements.

The VAD103, VAD306, and VAD506 all use inferior drum modules. While the TD-07, TD-17, and TD-27 drum modules are all good in their own right, they are missing a lot of features. Also, the sound and effects editing capabilities are much more limited on these drum modules than on the flagship TD-50X.

Sounds

The flagship model TD-50X has 900 sounds and 100 kits(45 user kits). That’s superior to the 143 sounds and 50 kits available on the TD-07 module that VAD103 uses. Even though the samples in these drum modules are professionally recorded and can be edited quite a lot, there’s a point that using VSTs could be a better option.

Kick

The kick drum is one of the most visible differences between KD-50 and VAD. The drum kits in the VAD line have either 22”, 20”, or 18” full-sized kick drums, while most of the KD-50 e-drum kits come with a 5” kick tower.

The kick drum itself is one of the biggest reasons the VAD line of drum kits has such a significant stage presence. Moreover, the drum shell feels better due to the resonance.

One thing worth noting here is that even though the VAD line of drums is designed to look like acoustic kits, they have no acoustic properties and are still quiet enough to practice with while not disturbing anyone.

Snare and Toms

All drum kits except for VAD103 and VAD306 have a 14” PD-140DS digital snare. The PD-140DS V-Pad has Roland’s most advanced triggering and good sensitivity. It is fitted with a three-layer mesh head that provides a natural rebound and feels.

The tom pads are also a significant difference point. The PD-50 line of drums has a traditional style of e-drum tom pads, while the VAD line has tom pads with a full-depth wood shell. All of the tom pads are dual-zone, meaning that they provide independent head and rim triggering. 

Cymbal Pads

The ride cymbal on every drum kit is a triple-trigger, and most of them come with the 18” digital ride, which is the most advanced of all Rolands’ cymbals. The only exception here is the VAD103 and the VAD306, which have a smaller 13” ride cymbal.

The flagship models on both the TD-50 and the VAD line of drums have the 14” VH-14D hi-hat. The reason for that is that the new digital hi-hat offers touch sensitivity, tonal variation, and other features that only the latest TD-50X drum module supports.

Alternatives

If you are looking at the TD-50 series or the VAD series of e-drum kits, one alternative brand that offers pro-level drums is the Pearl e/Merge e/Hybrid electronic drum set. In collaboration with Korg, Pearl created the Pearl e/Merge electronic drum set. The drum set is worth mentioning here because Pearl is one of the leading brands of acoustic drums, and Korg is one of the top brands in electronic instruments.

One other alternative that you can probably look at is the ATV aDrums Artist Series Extended. It’s a five-piece drum kit with good playing dynamics comparable to actual acoustic drums.

ATV aDrums Artist Series Extended
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What are the Advantages of Roland VAD Electronic Drums?

The most significant advantage that the Roland VAD e-drum kits have over the TD-50 kits is the stage presence and the overall feel of playing the drums. The full-depth wood shells of the VAD series of drums make them respond more like an acoustic drum set.

Conclusion

For someone that wants their e-drum set to have a big stage presence or is playing live performances most of the time, the VAD line of drums might be the way to go. The TD-50, on the other hand, is more practical, compact, and does a great job in the studio.

If you are looking for a compact pro-level electronic drum set that fits perfectly in almost any situation and is excellent in the studio, you might want to look at the TD-50 line of drums. They also have more outputs and more interchangeable options, as well as portability.

The Roland VAD line of drums, on the other hand, puts quite a lot of focus on stage presence, and they are also made for professional drummers with excellent build quality and hardware. If you are a drummer that performs live most of the time, then the VAD line of drums might be a good option.

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Mike O'Connor

Drumming has been my passion for over 18 years. I play quite a few different genres and I really enjoy experimenting with hybrid kits that blend acoustic and electronic drums. I love all things drumming!

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