Contributed by Canadian musician Gary Steeves for Roland Canada
I’ve been using Roland V-Drums since I bought my Roland TD-12 about seven years ago. I had used other electronic drums before this, but I was starting to play more jazz and needed electronic drums with better sensitivity and feel. When I bought the TD-12, I made some modifications. I am blind and felt that the 8” toms might be hard to target, so I upgraded the three tom pads with 10” pads. The other thing I did was set up all my tom rims to trigger the same sounds as my tom pads, so if I hit a rim no one would be the wiser.
Over the first two years of owning the TD-12, I modified it to be as close to my acoustic kit as possible. I have used the editing possibilities on my TD-12 to create a kit that uses the same drum sizes, heads and cymbal sizes, and even the type of wood, as my acoustic kit to give continuity to our band’s sound when I record or play live with the V-Drums.
I have three cymbal triggers; a 15” 3 zone ride trigger and a 12” PD-125 as my snare. I also have four PD-105 tom triggers, making it a little tight on the TD-12 rack but I’ve made it work. I often use my TD-12 when playing live with my classic rock cover band, Rainshadow. We generally use the V-Drums in situations where we are in smaller venues and want to control the front end volume. With my amp, I can play the way I normally do but the band can control the mix of the drums through the PA. I’ve also used my TD-12 for recording demos when we didn’t want the bother of miking an acoustic set.
When I moved into a new apartment, I set up my Roland TD-12 in the spare bedroom and started playing. The next thing I knew my downstairs neighbour was banging on the ceiling! Not the friendliest way to communicate but I got the message that drumming was bothering them. I did some research online and learned about building a floating stage to reduce the noise. I threw together a platform out of particle board taken from old TV stands, with foam and cardboard between the layers and under the feet/pedals. It seemed to work but it wasn’t stable and it was definitely an eye sore. Not to mention if we needed the room for house guests, taking the rigged up platform apart was a real hassle.
Luckily I read about the Roland Noise Eater sound isolation parts. I picked up three Roland NE-10 sound isolation boards so I could set up a double kick and my hi-hat. I was able to set up a double-kick pedal I bought a few years ago but, due to my worry about noise, was never able to use at home. I also grabbed enough of the Roland NE-1 sound isolation foots for my rack, hi-hat stand, and snare drum stand. I don’t have a two-legged hi-hat stand, so I had to get creative to fit everything on the Noise Eater boards. Finally, I got a V-Drums TDM-20 Drum Mat to put under everything to help deaden vibrations even more. Unlike the floating stage, I’m told the drum mat looks great under the kit.
Once everything was set up, it was time to see what the results would be. I had some songs to learn for my band so I pulled them up on my computer and started playing. After practicing for half an hour I checked in with my girlfriend and she told me that everything was noticeably quieter. The other result is I have not heard any more complaints from my downstairs neighbours which is great! Thinking that I may be annoying my neighbours took all the fun out of playing but now that I’ve got the V-Drums, Drum Mat, and Noise Eaters set up it’s taken the worry out of playing.
I’m very impressed with the Roland Noise Eaters. They do what they are advertised to do and they look great too.