eDrum News

Roland VAD504 and 507 Launch: First Impressions

Module and hardware upgrades plus the 14” hi-hats come to Roland’s mid-range VAD series kit. Are the upgrades worth waiting for?

If you’re in the market for a new electronic drum kit, you might want to hold fire. That’s because, on the 4th of October 2022, Roland dropped some upgrades on their mid-tier VAD 500 series kits, bringing them closer to the high-end 700 series range. Read on to find out what the updates are, and if you should buy the latest 504 and 507 kits instead of their 503 and 506 precursors.

What V-Drums did Roland launch in October 2022?

Roland announced a range of updates to the V-drum range on the 4th of October 2022, With no less than six new kits. Several of these are now among the best Roland drum kits available to buy.

At the lower end, new versions of the TD-17 kits in the form of the TD-17KVX2 and TD-17KV2 were launched, bringing new, thinner cymbals to the range, following on from those previously launched with the original VAD503 in 2020. The VAD307 also launched as an update on the VAD306, with the same thinner cymbals and new hardware from the flagship VAD706.

Learn more about the new TD-17 kits in our comprehensive review.

Higher up the range, the TD-27KV2 launched, which adds the new VH-14D digital hi-hats, which were previously only available at the flagship tier of V-Drums. Read more in our TD-27 review.

But possibly most exciting of all is the updated VAD 500 range, in the form of the 504 and 507. These also introduce the digital hi-hat, plus new hardware inherited from the high-end VAD706 kit.

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VAD504 vs 504 and VAD507 vs 506: What’s the difference?

The key differences between the latest VAD504 and 507 kits and their respective predecessors are the introduction of 14” digital hi-hats and heavy-duty tom and cymbal stands inherited from Roland’s flagship range.

The biggest difference that drummers will notice is the old analogue VH-10 12” inch hi-hat has been ditched in favour of the 14” VH-14D digital hi-hat, which was previously only available on Roland’s top-of-the-range kits.

When it comes to hi-hat size, this brings Roland’s offering into line with other brands like ATV and EFnote, who both offer 14” hi-hats in their equivalent products. With the trend for larger and larger electronic cymbal pads over the last five to six years, the old 12” Roland hi-hat has been the outlier. The extra two inches are welcome as it means the new hi-hats are in line with the typical size of acoustic hi-hats.

Compared to rivals from EFnote and ATV, however, the Roland hi-hat has the edge thanks to its digital connection to the TD-27 module. The VH-14D is regarded as one of the best electronic hi-hats out there, and Roland says that the digital connection results in higher-resolution detection which improves the pick-up of playing dynamics, stick techniques, and foot articulations.

The other major upgrade is improved hardware. Gone are the older style of stands which use multi-clamp tom holders, and instead are replaced with heavy-duty combined tom/cymbal stands inherited from the high-end VAD706 kit.

Roland TD-27 2.0 module update for October 2022

Accompanying the physical changes is a version 2.0 update to the Roland TD-27 module. 10 new kits have been added, as well as a ‘remastered’ version of three pre-existing kit presets already available on the TD-27. Furthermore, 39 new custom samples used within kit presets are now available for use to layer into your own custom kit presets.

When it launched, the TD-27 inherited many features and sounds from the flagship TD-50, and now even more features have trickled down. This includes two layering options in the form of crossfade and fade endpoint settings, plus the ability to edit transient shaping on user samples. This is useful for anyone who imports custom samples for use in their kit presets.

Finally, a parallel mode has been added to the module’s master compressor, plus compatibility has been added for Roland’s Cloud subscription.

If you’re an existing TD-27 owner and like the sound of these upgrades, then the good news is that the update will become available to you later in 2022. Look out for the Version 2.0 update via Roland Cloud!

VAD series price hikes

While VAD series updates are very welcome, unfortunately, it does not appear to be a straight swap from old components to new – it looks as though the new kit updates will be accompanied by a price rise.

In the UK where eDrumHub is based, we were able to find the older VAD503 in stock for £2,886.50, whereas listings for the new VAD504 are for £3,633.00.

Meanwhile, in the US, we did not find the 503 in stock, but found the old 506 (which is a 5-piece kit instead of a 4-piece) for $4,999.99, vs $5,399.99 for its replacement, the 507.

The increased price is no doubt due to the high cost of the VH-14D hi-hats, which retails for £679/$1,124 if purchased separately – around two to three times more expensive than the outgoing VH-10 hats.

This may be too expensive for some drummers, who might want to consider the cheaper VAD307 kit. Learn more about budgeting for your electronic drum purchase in our guide on how much to pay for electronic drums.

Should you buy a Roland VAD504 or VAD507 drum kit?

If you can, our tip is always to try out an electronic drum kit in person before buying, to really feel how the kit plays.

Some stores may still have the VAD503 and 506 models, and you may find clearance deals on these older models or ex-demo examples. If you don’t miss the enhanced playability of the 14-inch hi-hats, then it might be worth considering the older model with the 12” hats, if you’re able to haggle down the price.

Can you upgrade your VAD503/506 to 504/507 spec?

If you already own a VAD series kit and like the look of these new upgrades, then there’s good news. As mentioned in Roland’s press release, existing TD-27 owners will be able to upgrade their module to Version 2.0 later in 2022. At this point, you’ll be able to buy a VH-14D hi-hat separately and it will be compatible with your module after updating the software.

Of course, the only thing you’ll miss out on is the upgraded hardware, however, this is a small enhancement to the new kits rather than a major upgrade.

What do you think of the new Roland kits?

Are you considering a new 504 or 507 VAD series kit? Or do you feel the price rise isn’t worth it for the addition of the digital hi-hat? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

You can find the new VAD 504 and VAD 507 at Guitar Center, or in Europe, you can pick up the new 504 or 507 Kits from Thomann

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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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