Giving the TD-17 added appeal

Monday, 25 February 2019 9:03 am

The options for after-market sound enhancements have increased with drum-tec selling stand-alone sound packs for Roland modules. digitalDrummer checked out some options for the TD-17.

WHEN THE ROLAND TD-17 was launched, our review noted that it was unusual in that it sounded great out of the box. That’s in contrast to many previous offerings that shipped with sounds that failed to show off Roland’s enormous onboard editing capability.

We noted that the module combined some of the capability of the latest-generation Roland sound engine which debuted in the TD-50 with the ability to import external samples and to blend them with the stock sounds to increase the sound palette even further.

And that is exactly what German e-drum supplier drum-tec has done with its Live Sound Edition for Roland TD-17 pack.

Traditionally, drum-tec has produced “special edition sound packs” as a product enhancement for the Roland modules it sells. It diplomatically states that the bundled Roland samples “sometimes are slightly off from the tastes of the European drum community”.

“We, therefore, started to include the respective Sound Edition with every new Roland module purchased at drum-tec as a gift.”

Initially, the additional kits were simply tweaked versions of the onboard sounds on Roland modules. However, the latest generation of modules includes the ability to import sounds, giving drum-tec a new opportunity to add value.

“The samples have been recorded at Spytunes Studio in Mainz, Germany,” explains drum-tec marketing manager Marvin Hemme. Spytunes is owned by Ralf Schumacher, the drummer regularly seen in drum-tec’s YouTube channel.
For the TD-17, the free Live Sound Edition pack features 11 quality acoustic kits, ranging from a DW Collectors kit to a vintage Slingerland, as well as nine additional snares based on drum-tec’s own inhouse sample recordings.

The pack is pack is supplied on an SD card with new modules. The new patches are easy to load if you follow drum-tec’s detailed step-by-step instructions.

The rework of the stock kits with the addition of the imported samples lifts the module to a new level and broadens the sound palette of the module.

So, if you’re buying a TD-17, the addition of the custom sounds makes buying from drum-tec a logical choice – especially as the enhancements are free.

But drum-tec is taking this a step further. It has recognised the demand for its bundled sound packs and has started selling them as stand-alone products, especially for those earlier modules which are no longer available in its stores. The guys are also working on a range of packs for specific genres, with offerings like the Rock Classics and LA Studios for the TD-11 and 25, and a Top 40 for the TD-30.

The first stand-alone pack for the TD-17 is drum-tec’s Metal Sound Edition. In the 10 included kits, there’s all the punch and presence you would expect in a metal kit, and the stock sounds are again combined with imported original samples.

The Metal Sound Edition includes a Tama Artstar, Premier Maple, Sonor SQ2, Pearl Masters, Sakae Trilogy, Tama Star, Ludwig Rocker, DW Collectors, Sonor Rosewood and a Pearl Export kit. These may not all be traditional “metal” kits, but they have been manipulated to create sounds which can be easily applied in metal settings.

People tend to baulk at the prices of Roland kit enhancements because, to date, they have been tweaks that the end-user could possibly do him- or herself, with time and effort. However, the new drum-tec offerings include more than just expertise and experience – they have additional samples not found elsewhere. So, it’s not hard to justify the €42 (around US$40) price.

The bottom line: Any module’s stock sounds are just the starting point and often don’t represent the full capability of the samples or the technology. Companies like Vexpressions have refined the art of module tuning, achieving what many amateur drummers would never accomplish and recreating real kit sounds which are easily loaded and used.

This enhancement process combines art and science and drum-tec has used that well to add value to the modules it sells. Now, that expertise is available globally for a modest price. If you’re serious about getting the best sound out of your TD-17 – admittedly, a great sounding module – it makes sense to at least check out the drum-tec YouTube channel to hear what is possible.