Roland HD-1 V-Drums Lite Reviewed!

The Rack

The hippest feature of the HD-1 is also the one that’s most likely to cause controversy. As I mentioned earlier, the stand that supports the entire HD-1 is small, light, and easy to fold up for storage or moving. This same design that makes the HD-1 so space efficient also makes it difficult to customize the arrangement of instruments. There are hard limits to how far apart some instruments can be, how high they can be mounted, and at what angles they can be placed. Without a doubt, some players will find that the stand just isn’t adjustable enough to place the surfaces exactly where they want them. The biggest issue may be the position of the bass drum and hi-hat pedals, which are absolutely fixed in terms of angle and distance apart from one another. I’m 5'8", and the pedals were a comfortable fit for me, but I certainly see how they could pose a problem for a very young student or a player taller than myself.

The cables for all the pads pass though the interior of the stand’s pipes. And, since the instruments have a limited range of position, there’s very little excess cabling around the kit. In fact, Roland has taken the next step and wired all of the pads’ cables to a single multi-pin trigger connection cable. While this totally solves any problem of hooking the correct pad up to the correct input, it also means that you won’t be able to use the HD-1 brain for anything other than the HD-1 pads. As an added touch to the stand, there are three leveling feet that can be used if you need to set the kit on an uneven floor.


The review kit included the optional PM-01 Personal Drum Monitor. This is a tower-style monophonic speaker system designed specifically for the HD-1. It is also the essence of simplicity. The back of the speaker system includes a single line input minijack and the power jack. The front includes a volume knob and a power on/standby knob. That’s all there is to it. If you want to turn the unit off completely, you first turn the knob to standby and then unplug the device from the wall.

In action, the PM-01 system is designed to sit in between the kick and hi-hat pedals. This puts the system close enough to the instruments to create the illusion that the sounds are actually coming from the drums. The system has a power rating of 15 watts and uses a single 4" speaker. The speaker uses a bass-reflex design, so there may be more low-frequency response than you might expect from such a small speaker. Keep in mind that this is only a “personal monitor.” It will push enough drive for your bedroom, but it’s not going to fill a concert hall.

If you’re thinking of buying the HD-1 for use as a practice kit, you’ll likely be using headphones for late-night practice. But once ear fatigue kicks it, it’s a pleasant change to lose the cans and go au naturel.

Two other add-on packages are available for the HD-1. One is the TDM-1 mat. If you set your kit on this mat, you’ll protect your floor from any scuffs and scrapes. Plus, Roland claims the mat helps to quiet the kit even more. The other add-on is the DAP-1 accessory package. It includes a drum throne, sticks, earphones, and a minijack cable.

Lastly, there’s the video manual, which is really cool. None other than Johnny Rabb takes the viewer through setting up the kit and working with various features. Rabb’s presentation is clear, light-hearted, and fun. I hope that this becomes a standard feature for all future electronic percussion products. Watching a pro work through the machine is a lot more fun than reading a manual.


Model HD-1 V-Drums Lite Electronic Drum Set
Price $999
Pads One 8" mesh-head pad, three 7.5" rubber pads, three CY-5 cymbal pads.
Kits 10
Demo songs 10
Inputs Custom multi-input trigger jack (DB-25), mix-in
Outputs MIDI, audio, headphones
Features Support stand with integrated kick pedal, hi-hat pedal, and cables; Instructional DVD included.
Add-ons PM-01 Personal Drum Monitor
Price $149
Accessories (NOT REVIEWED) DAP-1 V-Drums Accessory Package (headphones, drum throne, sticks, stereo mini connection cable).
Price $109
TDM-1 V-Drums Mat
Price $109—$119

Roland Corporation U.S.
5100 S. Eastern Ave.
Los Angeles
CA 90040

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