Roland TD-11 Review: Still good in 2023?

Wondering if a used Roland TD-11 is still good in 2023? Find out in this long-term review of this 2012-vintage electronic drum kit

Roland has built a reputation for creating long-lasting, dependable electronic drum gear. If you’re looking on eBay, you’ll likely find that Roland electronic drum kits and modules tend to hold their value. If you’re after a Roland electronic kit but don’t have the budget for a brand-new one, you’ll probably want to know if buying a used kit is a good investment. Here, we’ll look at the Roland TD-11, an electronic kit I’ve owned since 2016. We’ll see how it’s fared over the years and how it compares to modern eDrums.

Roland TD-11

The TD-11 is still a good module in 2023, however, the drum sounds are starting to feel dated and the included pads are small by modern standards.

– Seb Atkinson

Roland TD-11KV electronic drum kit
Drum sounds
Pads & hardware


The TD-11 is a good kit for drummers on a budget. Look for the high-end KVSE and KV models, avoiding the basic K model which uses rubber pads.


Related: If you’d prefer a brand-new electronic drum kit, check out our review of the TD-17, the successor to the TD-11!

Roland TD-11 Pros and Cons

USB interface with continuing driver support for Mac & PC – can be used with drum VSTsSmall drum pads – even on the top-of-the-range version
11 inputs allowing for expansionBuilt-in drum sounds are dated
Compatible with pad splitter cables/adaptorsMaster-out and headphone outputs do not have separate volume controls
Support for all Roland pads except digital padsBuilt-in metronome outputs via the master out as well as the headphone output
Presets for all analogue pads except the latest R-T thin cymbal padsNo positional sensing support
My Roland TD-11 KVSE after unboxing
My TD-11 KVSE shortly after unboxing

Who is the Roland TD-11 for?

The TD-11 was originally the beginner to intermediate-level kit in Roland’s range. Today, the TD-11 is still a good choice for beginner drummers thanks to the low price when buying used.

It is also a good option if you already have an acoustic kit and want to see what owning an electronic kit is really like, again because it can be picked up relatively cheaply.

The kit is best used as a home practice tool as it lacks some of the pro features of high-end kits, which we’ll get into below.

However, more experienced drummers may find the TD-11 a bit limited due to the small drum pads and unsophisticated drum sounds. Of course, you could upgrade a TD-11 with new pads or even an A-to-E drum conversion, and the module sounds can be replaced by running software like EZdrummer 3 on a computer. Find out more about how to do this in our guide to making eDrums sound more real.

When was the Roland TD-11 released?

The Roland TD-11 drum module was released back in 2012 and was first announced on 21st March 2012. It is part of the range of modules equipped with the SuperNATURAL sound engine, first launched in the high-end TD-30, with the mid-range TD-15 and TD-11 inheriting the same technology. The TD-11 was replaced with the TD-17 in 2018.

Roland TD-11 vs TD-15

The TD-11 is effectively a cut-down version of the TD-15. Below is a comparison of some of the key features:

Drum Kits50100
Trigger inputs11* (cable snake + 1 aux)12* (cable snake + 2 aux)
Separate headphone volume controlnoyes
Use a pad as a switchnoyes
Metronome output controlno (output to both headphone and master)yes (option to output to master & headphones, or just headphones
Trigger metronome with MIDInoYes (trigger built-in metronome from your DAW/other MIDI signal)

*Total number of trigger inputs includes 2x sockets required for both ride (bow & bell) & hi-hat (hi-hat & pedal control) counted separately

What do these similarities and differences mean for you in 2023? Here are some of the main takeaways:

  • One additional pad input on the TD-15, making it a better choice if you want a larger kit
  • The TD-15 may have more drum kit sounds, but they are still based on the same sound technology. As a result, they don’t sound as good as modern modules. Read the section below on VST drums to make these older modules sound better using a computer and software!
  • The TD-11 doesn’t have a separate master-out and headphone volume control and no ability to isolate the metronome to the headphones only. This is relevant to drummers wanting to play to a click generated by the module, but not have this output to the master out (for example if playing live)
  • The TD-15 allows you to change drum kits by hitting a specified pad. This may be useful to drummers using it live and need to switch to a different kit sound mid-song

All in all, the TD-11 is more suited to those looking for an electronic kit to practice on at home, while the TD-15 has some more advanced features better for drummers looking to play live.

What versions of the Roland TD-11 were available?

There were three main versions of the TD-11 available. All had the same drum module, with the differences being the pads that came with the kit:

The TD-11K

TD-11K – The basic version with one mesh snare and three rubber tom pads, basic cymbal pads

The TD-11KV

TD-11KV – The higher-end version with all-mesh drum pads and upgraded multi-zone cymbal pads


TD-11KVSE – A limited-edition version which adds an extra crash, plus the VH-11 stand-mounted hi-hat and larger drum rack borrowed from the more expensive TD-25

Which version of the TD-11 is best?

Of the three kits, the KVSE is the best version but quite rare, as it was only available for a year or two around 2016 (and the one that I own!). It is comparable to the current TD-17KVX, only with the larger drum rack.

The main disadvantage of the lower-end K and KV versions is the basic stand-mounted hi-hat pad and separate foot pedal. This is far less realistic than the VH-11 found on the higher-end KVSE and other more expensive Roland kits. Because the VH-11 (and newer VH-10) is stand-mounted, it feels like playing a real acoustic kit.

After the KVSE, the next best model is the KV model, thanks to its upgraded cymbal pads and all-around mesh drum heads, which feel much more realistic than the rubber tom pads on the K version. The KV is also easier to get hold of than the KVSE thanks to being in production for much longer.

Find out more about the KV in the video below, which also features sound demos (the sounds on all TD-11 modules are the same). Alternatively, why not check out the best Roland V-Drums here?

TD-11 I/O and Ports

The TD-11 side panel features stereo/mono master outputs and headphone outputs, a mix-in to play along to music, an auxiliary trigger input and a MIDI-out port.

The TD-11 side panel features stereo/mono master outputs and headphone outputs, a mix-in to play along to music, an auxiliary trigger input and a MIDI-out port.

Meanwhile, the top of the unit features a USB interface to connect to a computer, as well as a USB port for playing music from a flash drive and storing presets and recordings from the module.

The top of the TD-11 features a USB interface to connect to a computer, as well as a USB port for playing music from a flash drive and storing sound presets and recordings from the module.

What replaced the Roland TD-11?

The Roland TD-11 was replaced by the TD-17 which was announced on the 8th of May 2018. That module has several upgrades such as a new sound engine based on the TD-50 and the addition of Bluetooth to play along to songs on your smartphone or other devices. Additionally, the TD-17 includes the ability to load single-shot samples from an SD card to enhance the onboard sounds.

How does the Roland TD-11 compare to modern drum modules?

The main disadvantage of the TD-11 compared to newer drum modules is the onboard sounds, which aren’t quite up to the standard of more modern modules. However, this doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a cheap used module to use with VST drum software.

Despite this, the TD-11 offers a lot of advantages. The built-in USB connection means it’s better than older modules like the TD-9, which only has a MIDI connection. The USB interface allows you to send both audio and midi signals to a PC for recording, triggering VST software and even routing your computer’s audio back to the drum module for playing along to your favourite songs.

Despite launching 10 years ago, the TD-11 still receives driver support from Roland, so it will work with modern computers and operating systems. It’s even received a driver update for the latest Macs with the M1 Apple Silicon chip.

However a word of warning for Mac owners – sometimes Apple’s annual Mac OS updates can temporarily break compatibility with your module. Occasionally Apple will change the way things work in their operating systems, and after over 5 years of ownership I have once experienced updating my Macbook to the latest OS, and finding my module is no longer recognised when connecting via USB.

This was fixed when Roland released an updated driver – so the solution is to check compatibility via the TD-11 drivers page before upgrading your OS.

Is the TD-11 compatible with VST drum software?

Yes, the TD-11 works with VST drum software, and no extra hardware (such as an audio interface) is required thanks to the built-in USB interface, which sends MIDI to your computer. As a result, the TD-11 is a good module for VSTs, and you can read more in our guide to the best modules for VST drum software. Alternatively, if you’re new to the benefits of VST drums, check out our guide on how to make your drums sound more real.

Are the pads that come with Roland TD-11 kits still good?

The TD-11 comes with pads that are comparatively small compared to some more modern kits. Comparing the TD-11KV to its replacement, the TD-17KV, you’ll find the pads are generally one size smaller than the older kit:

TD-11KV pad sizesTD-17KV pad sizes
Snare10-inch* (PDX-8)12-inch (PDX-12)
Rack Toms8-inch* (PDX-6)10-inch* (PDX-8)
Floor Tom10-inch* (PDX-8)10-inch* (PDX-8)
Crash12-inch (CY-12C)12-inch (CY-8)
Ride13-inch (CY-13R)12-inch (CY-8)
Hi-Hat10-inch (CY-5)10-inch (CY-5)

*The PDX-8 and PDX-6 pads have a 10 and 8-inch rim diameter respectively, but the playing surface is actually 8 and 6.5 inches respectively, due to the design of the rim on these pads

The TD-17KV features larger tom and snare pads, however, this is offset by the downgraded crash and ride pads, which are swapped for cheaper versions. Most notably, the TD-17KV only comes with a 2-zone pad for the ride, while the TD-11KV comes with a 3-zone pad, meaning you can play the ride’s bell, bow and edge sound on the TD-11KV but not on the TD-17KV.

If you’re just purchasing the TD-11 module, you’ll be pleased to hear it includes built-in presets for almost all of Roland’s drum pads, aside from the latest ones launched after the TD-11. Fortunately, there are only a handful of pads launched since then, and they can still be used. Simply take a preset from a similar pad and adjust the sensitivity in the pad settings so the trigger response suits your needs.

Does the Roland TD-11 work with pad splitter cables?

Yes, the TD-11 supports drum splitter cables. Splitter cables are third-party or DIY cable adaptors, that allow you to take the rim and head signals from a dual-zone pad input, and separate them into two separate pads. This allows you to expand your TD-11 beyond the limitations of the 11 inputs.

For the best results using a drum splitter cable, it is best to use two identical cymbal or drum pads on the same input which requires a bit of work adjusting the pad settings to work properly. Stay tuned for a guide on using splitter cables soon!

Wrapping up – is the TD-11 still good in 2023?

The Roland TD-11 drum module still holds up today and can be good value on the used market, despite launching just over 10 years ago. It is best used as a practice kit at home since it lacks some of the more advanced features such as the ability to route the metronome to headphones only.

While the built-in sounds aren’t amazing in 2023, the inclusion of a USB interface and continued driver support for the latest PCs and Macs means the TD-11 is a great choice for VST drum triggering in particular. This makes the TD-11 a great budget drum module paired with EZ-Drummer 3 or even connecting to Superior Drummer 3.

Finally, thanks to the renowned build quality and reliability of Roland drums, even a used TD-11 kit in good condition is likely to offer many more years of playability and a lower price than purchasing a new kit.

Other Roland kits to consider:

  • TD-9: An older kit with midi in and out but no USB interface
  • TD-15: A higher-spec TD-11 with an extra trigger input and positional sensing on the snare pad
  • TD-25: Successor to the TD-15
  • TD-17: The TD-11 successor
  • TD-27: Probably the best new Roland kit available right now


Where to buy a Roland TD-11

Because the TD-11 was discontinued in 2018 with the launch of the TD-17, you can no longer buy a brand-new TD-11. However, it can easily be found on the used market, with modules typically going for around $230-250 and full kits for around $400-600.

Used kits can often be found at Guitar Center as well as on sites like eBay and Craigslist.

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By Seb Atkinson

Seb has been a drummer since 2004 and an eDrummer since 2008. He founded eDrumHub to provide information on electronic drums for other drummers who can't justify an acoustic drum kit for practice at home.

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