Gearing Up: Roland’s New V-Drums Acoustic Design

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The Real Feel of Roland’s top-of-the-line VAD706

When writing a song, performing before an audience, or laying down tracks to be at our best, making the music has to “feel” right. For too long, drummers have had to live with a double standard with their playing experience: Take advantage of the world of percussion sounds that electronic drum modules have to offer or play a more traditional acoustic drum set that feels better. Innovations in Roland’s new V-Drum Acoustic Design promises drummers the best of both worlds. 

Roland changed the drumming landscape with the introduction of their V-Drums (Virtual Drums) back in 1997. With innovations like mesh drum pads, V-Drums felt more like the acoustic drums that defined the drumming experience for most players. V-Drums were a huge success and have evolved with many sound module improvements and dramatic changes to their drum and cymbal pads. However, the more physical aspects of electronic drums have continued to look and feel different from the familiar full-size set of acoustic drums that has inspired generations of drummers.  

With the new V-Drums Acoustic Design, Roland has significantly changed the electronic drumming experience, blending the physical presence of acoustic drums with digital percussion technology. Physically, the new design offers the authentic look and craftsmanship of a premium acoustic drum kit with full-size wood shells and cymbals, beautiful finish options, and responsible chrome hardware. The assembly functions—as electronic drums often cannot—as a formidable centerpiece for bands on stage, but more importantly, full-size acoustic drums laid out before a drummer, provide more of the feel of a traditional drum set. The combined rich immersive sound and organic response of V-Drums Acoustic Design drums promise to inspire drummers to go deeper and explore.  

Roland’s V-Drums Acoustic Design lineup features the flagship VAD706, along with VAD506, VAD503, and VAD306. With a full complement of drum sounds that can be tuned to your liking, the TD-50X, TD-27, and TD-17 modules that power the Acoustic Design series can also import external samples.  

The top-of-the-line VAD706 V-Drums Acoustic Design kit is a five-piece kit with full-size wood shells and double-braced chrome stands. It features digital snare, ride, and hi-hat pads that bring detailed playability to the three key pieces in a drummer’s arsenal. The full-size wood shells with advanced sensing systems are designed to deliver a real acoustic feel.  

At the heart of the VAD-706 is Roland’s TD-50X module, built on the company’s proven Prismatic Sound Modeling and PureAcoustic Ambience technologies. It houses over 900 sounds, including many new kick, snare, hi-hat, tom, and cymbal selections. It offers stereo XLR master output and eight TRS direct outs that provide balanced connections for a PA mixer along with an integrated 32-channel USB audio/MIDI interface for professional computer music production. Four auxiliary analog trigger inputs allow for easy kit expansion. The TD-50X can import additional WAV samples via an SD card and mix input from a smartphone or laptop. 

VAD706’s PD-140DS 14-Inch Digital Snare (also included with VAD506, and VAD503) 

works with the high-speed processing in the TD-50X module to bring the ultimate expression to snare work. A three-layer mesh head is fitted to a standard 14-inch shell and provides a natural rebound and instantly familiar feel that drummers will appreciate. A multi-element sensor system tracks strokes across the pad in precise detail—even cross stick techniques are detected. 

For cymbals, the VAD706 provides an 18-inch CY-18DR digital ride cymbal and a newly developed 14-inch VH-14D digital hi-hat that offers a new experience in touch sensitivity, tonal variation, and open/closed resolution. The 14-inch top/bottom cymbal design provides a familiar look and feel, while the high-res detection system captures stick and foot articulations with perfect detail. The TD-50X module includes new sounds fully optimized for the VH-14D. The VH-14D is also a great upgrade option for the VAD506 and VAD503. 

Two 16-inch CY-16C-T crash cymbal pads offer VAD706 players an even response, improved stick feel, and the natural swinging motion of acoustic cymbals as the result of a 40-percent thinner design. These full-size thin crashes are also included with VAD506 and VAD503. 

Rounding out the VAD706 is the 10-inch PDA100 and 12-inch PDA120 rack toms along with a 14-inch PDA140F floor tom. Each is equipped with shell sensors developed specifically for V-Drums Acoustic Design wood shells that eliminate hot spots while providing accurate, even response across the entire playing surface.  

Adding to the realism of the VAD706, Roland’s 22-inch KD-222 bass drum includes a kick sensor system first developed for Roland’s flagship TD-50 V-Drums kit, the system utilizes innovative air-damper mechanics to “move air” through the wood kick shell, producing resistance as the beater hits the head for an authentic acoustic feel. Double pedals are supported, too. 

The four premium finishes available for the VAD706 include a transparent stained maple appearance with Gloss Natural, Gloss Cherry, or Gloss Ebony options, or a bold Pearl White finish.  

Roland’s V-Drums Acoustic Design VAD706 is available now at $7,999.99 with other models starting at $2,699.99.

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