The Roland TD-9 – The Best Module
The Roland TD-9 is a mid-class Electronic Drum Module that is out of production since 2012. Even though it is not new, it is still a very good module, not to say “the best e-drum module” if you consider all factors.
A Roland TD-9 module is only available on the second-hand market. You have to dig through eBay or reverb to get one. Its current price is about 250$ to 350$ depending on the condition and the software version. It has been replaced by the Roland TD-15, which is also not in production anymore but much more expensive (2012-2015).
But why is the TD-9 better than the TD-11 and TD-15?
The Roland TD-9 is basically a TD-11/15 module without USB port. The sounds are almost identical. Most internal features are the same too. The TD-11 and TD-15 do have a few more instrument editing and practice features, but overall there is not much of a difference to the TD-9. The triggering and the pad compatibility is almost identical. All 3 modules (TD-9, 11 & 15) are compatible with the Roland VH-11 hi-hat and almost every other Roland pad.
Not to forget, the TD-11 has one less trigger input than TD-9 and 15.
However, the TD-9 module has one unique feature that was not implemented on Roland’s later electronic drum modules, such as a MIDI input to trigger an internal Percussion Set. Meaning you can expand the module with a 2nd slave module to connect more trigger pads.
This feature is explicitly described in this video:
If you have a TD-9 you have basically the Roland high-end trigger capability combined with the possibility to expand your set with a huge amount of additional trigger pads.
The Percussion Set + MIDI input is usually a feature of flagship modules like the TD-12 or the TD-20. No newer middle-class module has this feature, not even the TD-25.
So if I would have the choice es between a TD-11, 15 and 9, I would always go for the TD-9.
- TD-11 (300$ used, 500$ new)
- TD-15 (500$ used)
Yes, you miss the possibility to connect the module to your PC via direct USB cable, but still. The TD-9 will stay the best choice between the 3. Even if you have to spend another 100$ for an additional USB MIDI interface.
Software Version 2.0
The Roland TD-9 software update (From: TD-9 version 1.0 to version 2.0) is Roland’s only electronic drum module update that a costs money. It could be bought via USB flash drive for 80$ from several music shops a while ago. I am not aware of any shop selling the update at this moment.
Now it is hard to find and if you see one on eBay you have to ask yourself if it is worth it.
The difference from 1.0 to 2.0 is that the module can not only read WAV files (1.0) but MP3 (2.0) files from your USB flash (with music files).
There are also some new instruments added and 50 new drum kits (100 in total).
Find more information about the Update here:
I personally would not pay 80$ for this update, as I do not think it is worth it. Better buy a TD-9 with the version 2.0, rather than upgrading a 1.0 module.
The sounds of the TD-9 are better than the TD-12 sounds, worse than the TD-20X sounds, much worse than the 2Box or ATV aD5 sounds, equal to the TD-15 and TD-11 sounds and also better than the TD-1 or TD-4 sounds.
The triggering of the TD-9 is better than the ATV aD5, 2Box DrumIt5 and Alesis Strike Pro. All of the modules mentioned do not perform as well in terms of triggering, especially related to the hi-hat. The TD-9 combined with a Roland VH-11 hi-hat would still outperform many of the newer (not Roland) modules.
If you use your electronic drum set to trigger VSTs like Superior Drummer 3 and you care about the number of electronic drum pads you can add but are not concerned with Roland’s Positional Sensing feature, the TD-9 is your module.
No other module delivers such a performance, so many features and such a reliability for such a good price. Considering all these factors, the TD-9 module might still be the best.