Our Roland TD-17 module review is based on more than 3 years of using this drum brain in many musical capacities. Of all the modules and sets we sell in our retail shop, the TD-17 is the most popular and has provided us with much experience concerning its functions, strengths and drawbacks.
This post will provide a pros and cons analysis of the Roland TD-17 module. If you are trying to decide if the 17 is right for you, then this post should help to clarify the facts in your mind before purchasing.
Roland TD-17 Module Details
The TD-17 module is a budget mid-level level module with a relatively full feature set. The former TD-11 module offers less, as does the current TD-07 module. However, when it comes to Roland drum sets, the TD-17 is still considered a basic module when compared to more expensive options.
The TD-17 has a clean design that is easy to use. It has enough buttons and knobs to control major features without too many to confuse novice drummers. The regular 17 module comes with Bluetooth integrated. The 17L module is identical in every way, except that it does not come with Bluetooth. We always found this a strange choice from Roland. Just give us Bluetooth or don’t… Personally, we believe this to be a bit of market research, since this was the first and last Roland module to come in both options. The TD-17L module is no longer sold packaged with any drum set, so we see how that experiment ended up…
TD-17 has been criticized for a flimsy build quality, but we find it to about right for its purpose and price. We never had any quality issues with the module, although the design of the screen makes it susceptible to scratches more than many past Roland modules.
Let’s break down some of the best and worst features of the TD-17 module.
TD-17 Module Strong Points
Here are the things we like best about the Roland TD-17 module.
The TD-17 allows up to 10 triggers to be connected and also facilitates independent head and rim sound separation to allow the most diversity of sound options. This is an awesome feature set that provides lots of possibilities.
The module has a decently large library of sounds at 310 samples. The drum sounds are ok, but some of the cymbal sounds are truly a huge leap forward from past Roland modules of similar price.
The TD-17 has the ability to layer sounds and use imported samples. This makes it virtually limitless in the sonic possibilities it can produce. Furthermore, the TD-17 has basic EQ controls to custom craft each sound.
We like the simple AMBIENCE knob that can easily change the complexion of the soundscape.
The TD-17 has a proprietary quick-release rack mount. This piece makes removing the module fast and easy.
The TD-17 module features SD card functionality to allow backups and custom kit creation. We love that we could make a super awesome Thunder Custom Kits collection for the TD-17.
The TD-17 has a typically selection of effects, as well as learning and practice tools, making it well-rounded as a beginner to intermediate module.
Roland TD-17 Module Cons
Not everything about the TD-17 is positive. There are some things we really do not like, as well.
The module uses a cable snake. We really do not like these. They greatly limit the way a kit can be set up, as far as position and distance of triggers. If any wire breaks, you must repair it or buy a completely new snake at a very expensive price. Personally, we think cable snakes are one of the absolutely worst features of many Roland modules, past and present.
There is no transient designer. Even the cheaper TD-07 includes this feature. It is sadly missed, since transient design is so important to achieve realism.
The easy-release module mount is only found on the TD-17. If you lose it or break it, getting a new one could prove to be challenging in some areas of the world.
The drum sounds are really a step below the quality of some of the cymbals. There are not a lot of good acoustic drum sounds, with about half the samples being usable and the other half being quite crap.
There are not many copy options within the module, making it time consuming to make changes across every kit. This is not a downside for people who do not make many changes to their stock kits, but can be a giant pain in the butt to “sound engineers”.
Headphone volume is quite low, which is commonplace for modules in this price category. There are very few output options for live sound reinforcement, but the module does provide an easy USB connection.
Buy Roland TD-17 or Not?
All in all, we find the TD-17 module to be a great choice for its price. The TD-17 drum sets have been real winners for Roland, despite quality issues with some cymbals from the newer Malaysia factory. If you are in the market for a basic to intermediate module, then consider the TD-17 as a final candidate on your possibilities list.
We had a real blast creating our Thunder Custom Kits for the TD-17 modules. In fact, it was the very first pack we made and sold, since 2018. If you want the very best metal and rock sounds for your TD-17 module, then look no further. We got you covered with Thunder Custom Kits!
What do you think of the Roland TD-17 module? Did we miss anything important in this review? Feel free to leave your opinion or experiences on any of our social media pages!