When it comes to electronic percussion, Roland have a track record that is second to none. Their range of V-Drums kits have been the industry-leading standard since the introduction of the TD-7 in 1992.
Naturally, this led them to their next revolution in digital percussion – Hybrid drumming. Defined simply as the combination of acoustic percussion and digital percussion, it paved the way for experimentation and creativity with percussion that had never been seen before.
One of their most prominent ranges in this vain, is the SPD series of percussion and sampling pads.
Let’s explore Roland’s world of digital pads.
You don’t have to look far to find a drummer with one of Roland’s iconic SPDS-X units setup alongside their drumkit. The simplicity of having a separate unit with separate assignable pads that allow you to throw in any sound imaginable alongside your acoustic kit.
Be it alternate drum sounds to include in your grooves, or special FX sounds to add some dramatics to your band’s live set, percussion and sampling pads can be a great platform for creativity.
But before diving in and making your choice, it’s important to note that not all pads are equal, and it’s not all about the number of pads available to you.
Sampling Pad - The SPDS-X
Let’s start with sampling pads. Put plainly, a sampling pad, like the Roland SPDS-X, is a platform for samples. They allow you to load any sample you wish, and play it at the strike of an assigned pad. With 4Gb of on board storage, and total expandability by way of USB, the possibilities with the Roland SPDS-X are functionally endless.
The unit also includes an on-board multi-effects engines, multiple sub-outs to route audio the way you choose, and even a routable on board metronome, the SPDS-X is truly a drummer’s best friend.
Percussion Pad - The SPD-30
A similar layout and construction can lead the uninitiated to confuse percussion pads with sampling pads, when in reality, they serve a very different purpose. Percussion pads, like the Roland OctaPad SPD-30 are not expandable, but do have complete sound engines built right into the unit. This effectively makes them full electronic drumkits in a far more compact form-factor.
It isn’t just limited to traditional drumkits though, the SPD-30 includes a vast library of percussion sounds (99 kits to be specific), a controllable phrase loop function, and extra trigger inputs to add things like a kick pedal trigger, or a hi-hat controller.
Breaking away from the multiple, all-in-one pad format, Roland expanded their offering with the SPD:ONE range, a more focused series of pads designed with specific use-cases in mind.
The SPD:ONE Kick provides 22 genuine kick drum and percussion sounds. It also allows importing of your own audio data into one of the 12 internal sound banks. The robust, yet-sensitive pad can be played with sticks, hands, or feet. This makes it perfect for solo performers looking for a simple solution to add percussion to their set.
The SPD:ONE WAV allows the importing of your own audio samples by simply connecting the unit to a computer. Whether you need full-length backing tracks or one-shot samples, your sounds can be loaded and played in seconds. Like the SPD:ONE Kick, the unit can be triggered by sticks, hands, or feet.
The SPD:ONE Electro is centered around adding electronic percussion sounds to your live performance. It contains 22 iconic sounds, including fat snares, crisp hand claps, electronic cowbells, and more, and also includes 12 banks for importing your own audio data.
The SPD:ONE Percussion was designed to allow musicians to add authentic percussion sounds to their performances. It contains 22 realistic percussion sounds, including snares, hi-hats, cymbals, shakers, tambourines, and more, as well as the 12 banks to load your own audio data.