Roland TD-17 First Look

Instant reactions from a first sit-down with the brand new kit

Published May 8, 2018 by Michael J.

The opportunity to play a new electronic drum kit before it's released is always fun. Having the chance to play Roland's new V-Drums kit is exciting! Today I was able to play the new TD-17KVX, the latest offering by Roland to the V-Drums line. Here are some of my first impressions…

While the rack, cymbals and toms looked familiar, there were a few things that jumped out at me upon seeing the kit for the first time. The new 12-inch snare pad looked like a 13 or 14-inch pad at first glance since much more of the head is exposed due to a thinner rim. I also noticed a new kick drum tower that was more robust in design than what I was used to. There was also a movable hi-hat that strongly resembled the VH-11. And lastly was the new TD-17 module. It has a clean and simple layout with a newly designed mount that keeps it out of the way yet still within reach.

Roland TD-17KVX - Rear View
Roland TD-17KVX - Front View

Enough admiring the new look of the kit, I wanted to play it! I was immediately taken by the high quality acoustic snare sound on the first kit. I stayed on this kit for a while, taking the snare pad through its paces. Buzz rolls near the edge, ghost strokes, and a heavy backbeat were all handled with ease by this new snare pad. The new VH-10 hi-hat was sensitive and responded to opening and closing. And the sounds were great! I also need to mention the kick tower. The best thing I can say about it is that I wasn't giving it a second thought as I played. I didn't have to pull it back from scooting forward, it didn't rock forward and back with each hit… it felt like a kick drum should: solid as a rock (just like the kick sounds themselves).

I'm very fond of electronic kits that give you nice sounding acoustic drum sounds without having to go into any deep editing or tuning. The sounds in the TD-17 are borrowed from Roland's flagship TD-50, so my expectations were exceeded as I made my way through the presets. Kit after kit, the sounds were fantastic. With each new kit I found myself changing up the beat and my approach as the sounds sparked creativity.