Roland TD-15 Review: Still good in 2023?

Discover if the Roland TD-15 is worth considering as a used eDrum kit in 2023. We run through the best features, pros & cons, and what kits to compare against.

Roland V-Drum kits are well known for holding their value on the used market compared to electronic drums from other manufacturers, thanks to a strong reputation for dependable hardware. Here, we see if the 2012 vintage TD-15 is worthy of the reputation Roland has built up. Read on for our Roland TD-15 review, where we look through why you might want to consider this eDrum kit and what to compare it against in 2023.

Roland TD-15 Review

The TD-15 is still good in 2023 if used for VST triggering as the built-in sounds are dated. When buying used, be sure you’re not paying more than a TD-25, which is the successor to the TD-15.

– eDrumHub

Drum Sounds
Pads & Hardware


Skip the TD-15K model and go for the TD-15KV for the higher-end drum pads and included VH-11 floating hi-hat.


Roland TD-15 Pros and Cons

USB interface with driver support for Mac & PC – can be used with drum VSTsThe included pads are small by modern standards
2 aux inputs for expanding your kitBuilt-in drum sounds are not great
Compatible with pad splitter cables/adaptorsMaster-out and headphone outputs do not have separate volume controls
Support for all Roland pads except digital padsNo positional sensing support
Separate volume dials for master and headphone outputsMore expensive than the TD-11 on the used market for only 1 additional input

When was the Roland TD-15 released?

The Roland TD-15 V-Drum kit was released back in March 2012 at the same time as the cheaper TD-11, which has the same physical module design but in black instead of silver. Its sound engine is based on a cut-down version of the SuperNATURAL technology found in the Roland flagship at the time, the TD-30.

If you’re looking for a brand new set of eDrums, why not check out the best Roland drum kits here.

What’s the difference between the Roland TD-15 and TD-11?

The TD-15 is basically a higher-end version of the TD-11, with additional drum sounds, effects and quality-of-life features. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

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/or other MIDI signal)

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

So what exactly does this all mean for the budding electronic drummer in 2023? Here’s my take on why you might want to consider the TD-15 over the TD-11 drum module:

  • The TD-15 has one additional trigger input, making it better for drummers who want a larger kit. Both AUX pad inputs can be configured for any pad, whether a cymbal or drum.
  • The TD-15 may have more drum kits, but in reality, only a handful are worth using. They also use the same underlying technology as the TD-11 and they sound dated in 2023. Either of these kits is best used for triggering a VST drum library if you don’t like the drum sounds.
  • Similarly, the exclusive effects processing on the TD-15 is not really relevant in 2023 if you want to use this drum module to trigger a VST.
  • A major benefit of the TD-15 is the separate headphone and master volume control. This is ideal if you want to use your kit live, or to route a click track to your headphones and not to your PA or amplifier. Read more about this in the audio routing section below.
  • The TD-15 allows you to change drum kits by hitting a specified pad. This may be useful when playing live if you need to switch to a different drum sound mid-song.
  • The TD-15 features a metronome that can be triggered by MIDI. This may be beneficial to drummers playing live to pre-programmed backing tracks.

What versions of the TD-15 were available?

The TD-15 came in two variants, the TD-15K and the higher-end TD-15KV:


The Roland TD-15K set up against a white background

The TD-15K comes with all the same pads as the cheaper TD-11KV, including two 10” PDX-8 pads for the snare and floor tom, two 8” PDX-6 pads for the toms, a single 12” crash and a 13” ride.

Compared to the TD-11, the only difference is the wider MDS-9V drum rack on the TD-15K and the module itself. As a result, the TD-15K does little to distinguish itself from the cheaper TD-11KV, and this maybe a reason why the TD-15 was only available for three years. If you’re looking for a cheap used kit, then it’s only worth getting the TD-15K if you find it for the same price as a TD-11 in similar condition.

The drum pads are the cheaper of Roland’s two mesh designs. Each has a plastic inner rim, which means the actual diameter of the mesh head is around an inch less than the rim. This means the 8” toms actually only have mesh heads that are 6.5 inches in diameter, which is very small by 2023 standards. On the plus side, all the pads are dual zone.

Similarly, the 8” snare is small, when compared to the current TD-17’s 12” snare pad. The small diameter can make it easier to accidentally trigger rim shots for some players.


The Roland TD-15KV set up against a white background

The KV model adds improved drum pads and the VH-11 floating hi-hat. This hi-hat pad is the highlight here. Mounted on a standard acoustic hi-hat stand, this electronic cymbal moves up and down on the stand and is controlled by your left foot. The action is identical to an acoustic hi-hat, minus the full-sized bottom cymbal, making it much more realistic to play than an old-school stand-mounted hi-hat pad.

Meanwhile, the drum pads are a pair of 10” PDX-100 and two 8” PD-85BK pads. As before, the pads are dual-zone but have heads that reach across the full width of the rim. This benefits the 8” toms due to giving you more usable space. Though again, by modern standards these pads are on the small side.

Which is the best version of the TD-15 in 2023?

The best TD-15 kit is the TD-15KV, thanks to the inclusion of the VH-11 floating hi-hat. This hi-hat pad is a big improvement on the stand-mounted CY-5 pad on the cheaper TD-15K and feels much more like a real acoustic hi-hat to play.

However, beware of the small drum pads, which you might want to replace with larger ones in the future, or even convert your own acoustic drums to electronic ones, as I did.

Can the TD-15 be used to trigger drum software?

The TD-15 is a good module for use with drum triggering because of its built-in USB interface.

For the uninitiated, drum triggering is when you connect your electronic drum kit to a computer via USB or MIDI, and trigger drum software with your drum strokes. This is a way to replace the drum sounds on your module with high-quality drum samples that are recorded from real drums in real recording studios. For more information, read our article on how to make your electronic drums sound more real.

The TD-15 is a good module if you want to use drum software, also known as drum VSTs. The USB interface carries both MIDI data from your drum kit and can return audio back to the module’s headphone and master output jacks. That means you don’t need the added expense of an audio-MIDI interface – the TD-15 module acts as the interface itself.

The TD-15 also features a traditional MIDI-out port, but no MIDI-in. That means you can use the module to trigger other devices, but you can’t use another MIDI device to trigger the TD-15.

Metronome audio routing on the TD-15

The TD-15 features more advanced audio routing for the metronome than the lower-end TD-11. Under the metronome settings, it is possible to select if you want the metronome to be played through both the master out and headphones or headphones only. This is a very useful function if you want to play live or record drum covers while using the metronome. 

By selecting headphones only, only you will hear the metronome, and you can send the master out to your mixing desk or camera audio input if recording.

Can the TD-15 be expanded?

The side panel of the TD-15, showing the DC in, headphone jack with volume, mono/stereo master out, mix-in, two additional trigger inputs and a MIDI out port

The TD-15 module features two aux inputs which can be used with either drum or cymbal pads and assigned to various sounds within the module. Each input can also be used with a drum VST and mapped to different MIDI notes if required.

If you want to expand your kit even further, the TD-15 supports drum splitter cables. Splitter cables allow you to plug two pads into a single drum input and use each as a separate single-zone pad. Learn more about drum splitter cables here, including the pros and cons.

Which V-Drums replaced the TD-15?

The TD-15 was not on the market very long, it was replaced by the TD-25 in April 2015, which itself was replaced by the TD-27 in January 2020. That contrasts with the TD-11, which was sold until the TD-17 replaced it in May 2018.

As a result of this, there are far fewer TD-15s on the used market compared to the TD-11. This is a result of the relatively short run between 2012 and 2015 and the fact that the TD-15 was sold at a higher price, making it more of a niche product.

Using a drum pad as a switch

One feature of the TD-15 that is not on the TD-11 is the ability to use a drum pad plugged into the trigger-in AUX jack as a switch to control the module. This feature allows you to assign any of the following functions to either the head or rim zone of the connected drum pad:

OFFDisables the pad control function
KIT+Selects the next drum kit
KIT-Selects the previous drum kit
SONG PLAYStarts song playback
SONG STOPStops song playback
SONG PLAY / STOPStarts/stops song playback each time you hit the pad
TAP TEMPOSet the tempo based on the interval at which you strike the pad

This may be a good feature for gigging drummers, as they can plug in a USB stick containing their backing tracks into the module (WAV or MP3 format), and control playback using their sticks, instead of needing to fiddle with the controls on the module itself.

To set up the pad control function, go to the “Pad Control” section of the main menu, and press “ENTER” (F3). Select the head or rim zone using the up and down buttons, and choose the setting you want to use.

How does the TD-15 compare to modern drum modules?

Of the current Roland range, the TD-15 is closest to the TD-17. Both modules have the same number of inputs, a USB interface, and support for all of Roland’s drum pads except the new digital pads.

Neither of the drum modules supports positional sensing. This feature would allow modules to alter the sound of the drum depending on where on the head it is played, though this is only available on Roland’s high-end modules.

The main limitations of the TD-15 compared to newer modules are the lack of Bluetooth and dated built-in drum sounds. The drums exhibit a “machine-gunning” effect, which is when repeated hits on the drum sound almost exactly the same and is common on older eDrums. The TD-15 overview video from Roland below demonstrates this limitation:


What are the TD-15 drum pads like?

The TD-15 drum pads are small by modern standards, measuring 8 inches across for the two high toms and 10 inches across for the snare and floor tom pads. However, it is possible to mix and match drum pads, so there is no reason why you can’t buy a used TD-15 now and upgrade any pad to a newer Roland-compatible pad in the future.

If you don’t mind the smaller sizes, the pads included with the TD-15 are good quality. Some of the drum pad models are still being used on the modern TD-17 and on some TD-27 kits, and have been on the market for over 10 to 15 years. Similarly, the cymbal pads are of a tried and tested design going back almost 20 years, only recently having been replaced by newer versions.

Roland drums have a reputation for durability, so provided the used kit you are looking at has been treated well, you should have no issues with the included pads.

Is the TD-15 still worth your money in 2023?

The TD-15 is still a good eDrum kit some 11 years on if you can find it for a good price. However, they tend to be rare, and you can often find a TD-11 kit for much less money as a result. On the other end of the scale, some drummers may prefer to step up to a newer TD-25 or a TD-17, which can be had for not much more money on the used market.

The main limitation of the TD-15 module is the built-in sounds, which don’t hold up that well today. However, the module could be a good option if you want to trigger drum software, as this kit triggers MIDI as well as any modern eDrum module, without the added expense of newer hardware.

The key benefit of the TD-15 over the similar TD-11 is the additional trigger input and the greater versatility of the headphone and master-out jacks. If you are considering using your eDrums on stage, then the TD-15 is a much better option than the limited TD-11, which is really only good for private drum practice at home.

Other Roland kits to consider:

  • TD-9: An older kit with midi in and out but no USB
  • TD-11: A cut-down TD-11 that’s worth considering if you’re OK with 11 inputs and don’t need advanced features
  • 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 can you buy a Roland TD-15 eDrum kit?

eBay is the best place to find a TD-15 module or full kit online and offers good buyer protection provided you complete the transaction through the eBay platform.

Alternatively, you could try searching on sites like Craigslist, Reverb, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace.

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.