Roland SPD-S

The Alien Drummer

New member
Thanks for opening the Electronics page.

My best electronics purchase has been the Roland SPD-S. It has some built in sounds but gives me the ability to sample whatever (kick, snare, tom, etc) sound that I want to. It has 9 pads and an input for two triggers.

I also have an old Yamaha PTX8 that I bought new in 1989 and an old proteus 1 that I bought for sounds about the same time.

For my kit I trigger the kick and snare thru the SPD-S and getting ready to do the toms also but thru the PTX8. I have a couple of roland pads in addition to the SPD-S.

I would love to have a full electronic kit to practice on and for very small venues.

If anyone has samples to share I would be happy to swap some of mine. Just give me a buzz.

Later- Jeff


New member
Sounds like you know what ur doing in ur set...I'm thinking of adding an electric set to my pearl set. And what u said really helped me out on what to do with my set now. thanx!!!


New member
I love using my V-Drums for any size venue. First time I played them out I thought it might have been a mistake, but when the Mackie subs kicked in it was magic. We could hardly sound check for the people wanting to check out the eKit.

Don't get me wrong about acoustics. It is just really cool to be able to dial up some of my saved kits to place spot on for the song. I play a V-Drum TD-10 full kit. I wish it had a CF card slot on it. I believe the TD-20 does. If not I will wait to upgrade/add the newest Roland version when brought to market. I also use the Roland Handsonic SPD-15 and a SPD-20 (?-you know the one with six or eight trigger pads. Looks like a table top.)


New member
those multipads seem like a cool addition to a kit.
I've got the KAT pad and hope to work it in eventually, but so far we just use it as an aux percussion station onstage and the singer or guitarist joins in when they feel like it.

I went from fully E to a hybrid approach now with a little of each.
I think no matter what main kit I end up playing I'd always want to have some E- elements involved. There's just too many options to pass up!

thanks for sharing your approach, guys~


New member
I just got mine a couple of days ago.. can't wait to fully get the juice out of this thing!!!


New member
I'm thinking about getting a SPD-S for my drumset, but one thing bothers me - are the built in samples include sounds like bongos, congas, timbalitos etc? How about some effects - any reverbs, delays etc?


New member
ok one last question - is it really as user friendly and easy to use for a total electronic drums n00b? :)


New member
I too was considering getting one of these to not only suppliment drum sounds and loops but also to trigger different "keyboardy" samples we do on tape. Is it user friendly?


New member
I attended a Johnny Rabb clinic where he demo'd the pad and put it to really good use, triggering music that he played along to- very cool.
He described in detail what he was doing and it seemed very simple to set up and use.

The Alien Drummer

New member
As far as being easy, just just plug it in and go. It has built in sounds and loops to get you started. Just press the +/- scroll buttons to scroll through the different patches or waves.

After that just follow the book and you shouldn't have any probelms setting up your own custom kits and then dive into the fun of sampling sounds and using them in your music!


New member
The SPDS is the single most important piece of equipment I own
It allows me to make this joke
Q-How many bass and guitar players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A- None, I have a machine that does that now

I am a one man industrial band that triggers loops in real time
I compose bass and guitar parts and then use the phrase sampler to build the loops
The different "instruments" are panned left and right so I get separation in the PA
This concept has been very liberating for me as an artist because I could never find people to play such experimental minded stuff

The drawbacks?
The pads are a bit hard to differentiate in a dark stage environment so I used red tape to "pinstripe" the pad to see the division between pads
This is invaluable for those songs with 5 or 6 different loops
The other problem is that my pad seems to be malfunctioning right now (wouldn't ya know it, just after the warranty expires)
I built my own triggers for the main loops because I tend to hit real hard
I think I may have knocked the unit silly

Having a flash memory card is also a huge plus because I can load an entire show's worth of data onto one card

I didn't care for the stock sounds so I just went in and erased a good 90% of the data
Some of the sounds are cool when you manipulate them backwards and change the pich but generally, I can cover the stock sounding stuff on my Alesis D4
Besides, stock sounds are so bland
It's much more fun and interesting to create your own stuff
It's not so sterile and there are rough edges


New member
I just bought the SPDS as well, and it already makes a beautiful addition to my yamaha kits.
But besides the sampling ability for long waves, i'm sorry i don't have any to share "YET" but can anyone hook me up with some killer drum sounds?
Snare hits, bass, 808 drops, cymbals, toms, congas, and does
anyone know the best way to get drum sounds off of BFD?
I just joined this site but you can be sure that once i've got my electronics set up i'll be more than happy to share what i find.
And if you guys can't help me out with sending some sounds my way any links or advice on where to get quality stuff from?

The Alien Drummer

New member
I lost my hard drive a month or so ago and lost most of my samples. I have about 30 new ones. Just PM me and let me know what you might want.


New member
Rockula!":1chn6xc5 said:
The other problem is that my pad seems to be malfunctioning right now (wouldn't ya know it, just after the warranty expires)
I found this when i was researching to buy one.

"Here's a quick and easy fix for the famous dead pad problem!"

A very well thought-out user interface, combined with the ability to do more than you might imagine make this little gadget a winner. Initially I used it only to augment my acoustic kit with samples of auxiliary percussion, but it was surprisingly easy to get into the other features. You can play a sequence live on the pads and save the whole thing as a sample, which helps get around the polyphony limitation if you're building up something elaborate. With a Compact Flash card installed, the extra storage allows you to trigger some extremely long full-quality samples. The external controller and foot switch inputs can be programmed to do almost anything. Think beyond drums: the SPD-S is deliciosly versatile.

READ THIS! Others have correctly reported that false triggering and dead pads can appear after only a few months of use. The good news is that it can easily be fixed by anyone with a Phillips #2 screwdriver and reasonably good hand skills. WARNING: I'm an experienced technician. Don't try this unless you're comfortable working inside electronic equipment. What you need to do is carefully clean the contacts on the ribbon cables that connect the pad sensors to the main circuit board. To do this, turn the unit over, remove the stand adaptor and the 15 screws that hold the bottom on. Slide the bottom up and back to clear the switches, controls and jacks on the rear apron. Remove the 3 screws holding the foil shield over the main circuit board, and fold the foil back. CAREFULLY pull out the two ribbon cables from CN11 and CN12. Use a clean WHITE eraser to gently clean the oxide from the silver contacts on the ends of the cables. They will get visibly cleaner. Turn over each cable end to make sure you've cleaned every contact. GENTLY plug the cables back in ALL THE WAY, making sure they're the right way around (the correct directions are shown in white ink on the main board). Carefully reassemble the unit and test it. Chances are the problem pads will be completely restored. NOTE: doing the above WILL void your warranty. Attempt it only if you're confident in your abilities, and you want to fix your beloved SPD-S without spending a dime or waiting for weeks.

Slightly overpriced perhaps, but overall the SPD-S is a lot of creative power in an appealing versatile package. If it was $100 less, I'd probably have a second one by now.

It's very tough not to fall in love with this thing - try one out in a music shop and see what I mean! A quick flip through the manual and a glance at the rear panel reveals the great thinking that went into this product. It's worthwhile even if you "only" want to use it to add dozens of top-quality sounds to your setup. The fact that you can store tons more of your own sounds on Compact Flash was the clincher for me. But think beyond the obvious - there's a LOT that can be done with the SPD-S.

The ability to play standard WAV files is great. The effects are a little mid-grade, and the sampling inputs are a little noisy, but it's more than possible to make top quality sounds with this unit.

Ease of Use:
I get frustrated easily with clunky programming interfaces, but once you've gone through a procedure once with the SPD-S manual on hand, you'll never need to look it up again. The multi-function buttons light up and flash to remind you what you need to do, and the prompts in the LCD window make sense. Experienced gearheads could probably get by without ever cracking the manual.

Roland was hard to reach, didn't offer quick turnaround for professional users, and wouldn't supply service materials, thus necessitating my vigilante repair described above. Roland service is generally okay, but unspectacular.

I'd buy another SPD-S in a heartbeat if anything happened to my current one. Ideally, I'd have two or three. I do a regular gig with only the SPD-S and two foot switches. Try THAT with anything else that costs $500 and fits into a laptop case. There are a couple of things I'd like to see improved, like faster importing of WAV files, or more sensible choices in ribbon cable contact plating materials (see above), but overall this box is a great tool, and can bring new creative possibilities to almost any setup.


New member
I had my boss at the music store I work at look the thing over
He is a qualified electronics repairman and we tested everything to make sure the piezos were not dead
I am not completely sure what happened but I think I may have made a change whilst running around inside the menus (don't change parameters when you're stoned)
I transferred all my samples/patterns to my flash card and turned off the unit
After removing the card (and making sure I got everything on the card) I initialized the entire system
It was a gamble that because I did not know if it was a hardware problem or a settings problem
After initializing the entire system, I turned it back on and was able to assign samples to pads and re-build all of my patches

I have learned my lesson with this pad
I agree that putting a brain directly under a striking surface is not the best thing
I am using my extension triggers for most of my "guitar/bass" parts and the seldom used parts go on the actual pads so that there is less heavy striking during the course of a song

The next sampler I buy will be one that separate from the playing surface


New member
I'm still at the moment a guitar center employee, NOT in sales anymore though, luckily, too many kids come in there and just wank, but the performance guarantee's are stellar for the price especially for electronics. Unless its visually chopped to bits or abused they typically replace it no questions asked, or give you the money you spent on the piece, i get em on cymbals even though i've yet to break a single one in 15 years, but electronics are new to me so i'm at least coverered to an extent.


New member
The Alien Drummer: sorry to bug you about the SPD-S again :) but do you have any pic showing how it's mounted to your drumkit?