Published January 15, 2020 by Patrick H.
After years of leading the charge in "traditional" electronic drum sets, Roland has stepped into the realm of acoustic drum set-based electronic kits with the V-Drums Acoustic Design series. Although previous entries in the category of electronic drum sets built around acoustic drums exist, such as Pearl's ePro series, and Roland has previously hinted at this direction with their full-size kick drum-equipped TD-50KVX and TD-25KVX kits, this is the first time we've seen a complete Roland electronic kit using actual acoustic drum shells and hardware.
The V-Drums Acoustic Design series consists of three kits: the compact 5-piece VAD306 with TD-17 module, the 4-piece VAD503 with all-new TD-27 module, and the 5-piece VAD506 with TD-27 module. All three offer acoustic drum set looks and stage presence with double-braced chrome stands.
Roland bills the VAD306 as a space-saving kit, with its compact footprint (similar to a "mid-level" V-Drums set, such as the new TD-27KV) and shallow-depth wooden shells. While the shells have been cut down to save space and weight, Roland says they'll "feel instantly familiar to any drummer" from the playing position. Sizes are 12" for the snare, 10" for the two upper rack toms, 12" for the lower rack/floor tom, and 18" for the kick. Even though these pads are slightly smaller in diameter than many standard acoustic drum sets, you only have to go back to the TD-30KV to find those exact same sizes on Roland's flagship kit!
The VAD306's complement of cymbal pads includes the 12" VH-10 hi-hat, two 12" CY-12C crashes, and a 13" CY-13R ride.
The VAD503 and VAD506 are essentially the same kit in 4 and 5-piece versions, although the VAD506 also includes an additional cymbal pad. These kits are built around the full-size, full-depth wooden shells promised by the V-Drums Acoustic Design name, with a 14" PD-140DS digital snare, 20" kick, 10" (VAD503) or 10" and 12" (VAD506) rack toms, and a 14" floor tom. The kick and toms are finished in a midnight sparkle wrap that looks understated at first but catches the light onstage.
Cymbal pads include the 12" VH-10 hi-hat, 14" CY-14C-T crash, 18" CY-18DR digital ride, and, for the VAD506 only, a 16" CY-16R-T crash/ride.
The new TD-27 module used by the VAD503 and VAD506 (also found as part of the new TD-27KV V-Drums set) inherits Roland's Prismatic Sound Modeling technology from the TD-50. A new feature called PureAcoustic Ambience Technology optimizes each kit to create a natural and immersive sound field when playing, as well as allowing you to adjust simulated overhead mic positioning. The TD-27 module is also equipped to take advantage of the high-resolution, multi-sensor triggering of the PD-140DS digital snare and CY-18DR digital ride cymbal, with an additional digital trigger input for another digital cymbal or drum pad. Three standard auxiliary trigger inputs are also available, while Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream audio from a phone or laptop to the module.
So which of the three is right for you? If you're considering the VAD503 or VAD506, the choice comes down to your preference for a 4 or 5-piece configuration and whether you want the VAD506's extra crash/ride right off the bat. And either way, you get the updated sounds and features of the new TD-27 module. The VAD306 would be a great choice if you want the overall acoustic vibe but need something that's a little easier to get to and from the gig or find a spot for in the practice room, studio, or on stage. Whichever you choose, you'll be performing with the visual presence of acoustic drums backed up by Roland's reputation for electronic drums.