Roland VH-13 Hi-Hat Review

The Roland VH-13 is currently known as the best but most expensive e-drum hi-hat on the market. It looks and feels like a real hi-hat and similar to the VH-11, it can be mounted to a real hi-hat stand. It consists 2 major components, a bottom piece and a top cymbal. It does require a quite intense setup process, hence to its construction.

The anti-spinning gear is made for all kinds of “hi-hat stand-pipe types”. The special anti-spinning rubber parts included come in 3 different sizes. XL, L and M. A solid metal clamp holds the anti-spinning rubber in place. This hi-hat consists an inner stereo cable to connect the bottom part with the top part. The hi-hat clutch is similar to the VH-11 clutch. It looks and functions like an acoustic hi hat clutch.

The triggering result in combination with the right module (TD-30 and 50), is incredible. No other e-drum hi-hat is as realistic. It opens precise and step-less and it feels like a real hi-hat. The whole surface can be played and triggers consistently well.

But do you even need such a “realism simulator”? In this article, I will answer this question.

The difference between VH-13 and VH-11

First, we need to find out if Is actually worth to buy a VH-13, because it might not make sense for everyone. If you are already the owner of a VH-11, you might ask yourself if it is you should even upgrade to a VH-13?

Well, it depends… The only additional feature and the only difference between 11 and 13, is the VH-13 “pressure feature”. This circled rubber sheet on the edge of the bottom cymbal does make it possible to press the hi-hat pedal harder when the hat is already closed, to change the pitch of the hi-hat similar to a real hi-hat. This is a very nice feature, especially for drummers with a very dynamic play style. This is the only technical difference in relation to the triggering.

I personally think that the average e-drummer does not need this feature, especially since it costs you 200€ more. The cost difference could be the reason why some internet famous e-drumset owners did purposely decide to go for a Roland VH-11. They simply knew that they do not really need the VH-13 pressure sensing for 200€. But as we all know. It is not always a matter of need. I personally love this feature and the whole look of the VH-13 makes me preferring a VH-13 to a VH-11.

There is, however, an actual physical downside to the VH-13. It is loud! Actually, it is much louder than a VH-11, hence to the hollow space between the cymbal parts. Stick hits and closing the hat cause much more noise than the VH-11. But at least you have this feeling and the looks of 2 actual cymbal halves that move like a real hi-hat.

The rotation stopper of the VH-13 can be seen as an improvement, since the cymbal will never spin like the VH-11 controller. However, the setup process is, therefore, more intense.

Comparison with the Roland VH-12

I already compared VH-12 and VH-13 in a video on my channel. But here is the summarization. There is no actual difference noticeable between 12 and 13. I tested them both with a TD-30 and did not spot anything. They feel the same, they act the same, and they almost are the same. They are almost identical except for their pedal sensor type. The VH-13 sensor sends out a different signal.

There is a common misconception about the sizes of the Roland hi-hats. Some think the 12 stands for 12” diameter, which concludes that the 13 stands for 13”. This is not true, all 3 hi-hats, 11, 12 and 13 are 12” big.

The VH-12 does even have an important advantage over the VH-13. Namely, the colour/rubber material. The VH-13 is only available in dark silver colour at the moment. This colour layer will dissolve and after a while, the cymbal will look used and bad. The VH-12, on the other hand, has a black rubber surface (except the silver version from the TD-20X), which can be treated by rubber care products to make it look like new. This fact and the lower price on the second-hand market, make the VH-12 a much better choice.

Note: Roland’s TD-50KV comes with a black VH-13 for this reason.  Silver cymbals might look cool, but the will wear out faster than the black cymbals.

VH-11, 12 and 13? What to buy?

First of all, the Roland VH-13 is not even compatible with anything but the Roland TD-30 and 50 module. Drum-tec connected a VH-13 to this TD-20 module, but I don’t believe this setup works 100% accurate.

The VH-12 on the other hand, is older but can officially be plugged into a TD-12, 20, 30 and 50. I compared those 2 cymbals in the following video and came to the conclusion that there is no actual difference between VH-12 and 13. If you spot a trigger difference, let me know, cause I could not.

There are only some minor physical differences in the way the pad is made. So If I would have to decide between VH-12 and VH-13, I would buy a VH-12. Simple because it is cheaper on Ebay and can be maintained with Dr. Kreddo rubber care.

Note: The Roland TD-25 Sound Module does not support the VH-12 or 13.

But what if you have to decide between VH-11 and VH-13? As mentioned above, it depends on the way you play drums. If you play normal rock beats and if you are a beginner, you won’t need a VH-13. If you play Jazz and similar dynamic styles, you should definitely get a VH-12/13. If actual noise is an issue, get a Roland VH-11!

The VH-13 comes with:

  • 3 anti-spin rubbers
  • metal clamp
  • cable ties
  • 2 stereo cables
Hi-hat ModelRoland VH-11Roland VH-12Roland VH-13
Compatible with:TD-4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15,20, 25, 30, 50, TDW-10,ATV aD5, 42BoxTD-12, 20, 30, 50,ATV aD5, 42BoxTD-30, 50, ATV aD5
Pressure SensingNoYesYes
Price New370 – 400€590€
Price Used160 – 220€230 – 330€350 – 480€
ColorBlackBlack, SilverBlack, Metallic Grey

I hope this summary could help you to make a decision between VH-11, 12 and 13. Click this affiliate link to buy a VH-13 online. I will get a commission if you buy through this link.

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