Ultimate Guide: Roland TD-17 V-Drums

Learn to use the Roland TD-17's rich features to improve your drumming in a clear and simple way with this Ultimate Guide.

9 mins read

In the following guide, we’ll go from setup through expanding and on to how to use the kit’s features to improve your drumming in a clear and simple way

The Key to a Smooth TD-17 Setup

Setting up the TD-17 takes around 45 minutes from unpacking to playing. See more detail on setting up here!

Setup V-Drums left or right-handed. Choose your preference.
Clear a space and unpack all the items checking them off while referring to the manual as you go.

Start by building the V-Drums rack then attach the pads and cymbals.

Once the rack and pads are in place, connect the module and run the cable loom.

Finally, connect your drum hardware including hi-hat stand, pedals and stool. If you don’t have these optional items yet, see the Roland options here.

See the optional Roland TDM series drum mats here if you are setting up your kit on hard floors. 


TIP: Don’t discard any V-Drums boxes until you are sure you have all the parts needed!


The same TD-17 module comes with several kit configurations so the module is pre-configured to match each particular trigger combination.

Make sure your trigger settings for the TD-17 match your actual kit configuration.
See the detailed steps for configuring the TD-17 module here.


With the TD-17KL and KV kits the rack mounted hi-hat requires no adjustment.

The free-standing VH-10 hi-hat shipped with the TD-17KVX kit has a manual open/close adjustment on top which needs calibrating before use.

V-Drums hi-hat offset adjustment is critical so that the module is aware of your hi-hat foot position.

If this adjustment is not performed, you will have a hi-hat that either sounds too closed or open which will be difficult to play with.

See the detailed steps here.


Most people are happy to just switch on the TD-17 module and play with the standard factory settings.

The stock settings are carefully chosen to suit a wide range of players.

The TD-17 is completely configurable to suit any player and music style.

Dive in a little deeper once you’re comfortable to take your playing experience to a new level.

This guide has a detailed section on all the things you can do to tweak the way the TD-17 plays so dive in here.


The Bluetooth audio/MIDI streaming feature of the TD-17 is designed for fun and effective drumming sessions.

For a really fun and rewarding practice session, connect your smartphone directly to the TD-17 module and stream audio through the TD-17 audio outputs and headphones directly.

There’s a dock built-in to the top of the TD-17 module and you can even record the incoming Bluetooth stream along with your playing. See the details on using this feature here.


Getting continual and accurate feedback on your playing is the most effective way of improving your drumming.

The TD-17 has extensive coaching functions built-in which helps you to identify your weaknesses and tackle them head-on in a fun and rewarding way.

Coaching modes are a button press away and range from realtime TIME CHECK to WARM UPS and QUIET COUNT. 

Each of these coaching functions is specifically designed to help you refine your technique and develop your internal clock. Two things are great drummers have in common. 

Good technique allows you to comfortably play what you want as you feel it without limitation.

Building a strong sense of internal clock allows you to keep a steady and dependable beat for fellow musicians to follow. They are listening to you!
See the details here.
TIP: Read this for more ideas on building your drumming skills 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR DRUMMING SKILLS


Creating your own kits on the TD-17 is easy and expected!

The TD-17 sound engine is loaded with sounds arranged into kit patches for quick selection.

Each kit has its own sound assignments for each pad trigger zone along with any effects or special playing features you can choose. 

Trigger zones have two instrument layers main and sub that can be mixed, cross-faded or switched.

Snare head & rim for example each have their own uniquely tuned and muffled sounds.

Assign a hi-hat sound to any trigger zone and control it from the hi-hat pedal.

User WAV samples can be imported, tuned and adjusted and assigned to trigger zones too and even combined with the internal factory sounds. 

To explore the incredible TD-17 kit creation possibilities, see the detailed info here.


A song player function is built in to the TD-17 to allow MP3 and WAV files to be played directly from an SD Card.  

The song player has a loop function allowing you to repeat any section of music again and again until you perfect it. 

If the song you are learning is too fast, use the realtime speed control to slow down the tempo of the audio and slowly build back up to original speed as your skill improves.

See all the details on the additional TD-17 features here.


Each TD-17 model is easily expanded.

Add extra triggers such as an additional crash or floor tom or even another side snare. 

There are a huge range of compatible triggers for the TD-17 including bar triggers, acoustic triggers, cymbals and pads. Each trigger comes with its own cable to get going quickly.

Each of these additional triggers can have its own sound or two if it’s a dual trigger which can be different for each and every kit patch.
See the link to expanding your TD-17 here.
Download the TD-17 user manual here.


Record the TD-17’s audio and MIDI using one USB cable.

Audio and MIDi are recorded digitally in one pass with standard DAW software such as Ableton Live, Apple Logic Pro or any other recording software.

For the complete ins and outs including an explanation on MIDI, see the article on recording the TD-17 here.


Created by Roland V-Drums specialist Simon Ayton, these patches were designed using the internal factory sounds and many of the techniques covered in the TD-17 guide. Enjoy exploring the possibilities!

Simon Ayton

Simon is a musician, drummer, software designer, sound engineer, and V-Drums Specialist for Roland Australia.