The Roland Octapad SPD-One Review

When it comes to making the best electronic music instruments, no one can deny Roland is a reputable brand. And this is why they have been making some of the most popular drum accessories across the globe.

Modern drumming is quite demanding. Chances are you will feel the push to add some electronic elements in your drum setup. After all, everyone else is doing it, right?

Well, whether you take on an old-school 808-style kick or handclaps on the backbeat, you may need to trigger a few samples from an album.

Before, such a setup would mean you look for many cables, computers, and big LED screens.

Today, things have changed, thanks to Roland’s innovations. And this is where the new Roland SPD-1 pads come into play. They offer an excellent example of the new literature of e-percussion add-ons.

And we are going to look at this device in detail.

Is the Roland SPD-1 a sampling Pad or a Percussion Pad?

Roland Spd 1
Roland Spd 1

I have also been confused before. I mean, many of us know only about the Roland SPD-SX, which is one of the most popular sampling pads on the market.

Hence, it is easy to wonder what the Octapad SPD-30 can do that is different.

In sample terms, the first is a sampling pad, while the latter is a percussion pad.

Still, confused? Let’s get the difference.

Understanding a sampling pad

A sampling pad works just as the name suggests, to sample sounds. The Roland SPD-SX, for instance, allows you to trigger audio-tunes by hitting the pad. It also carries a few external triggers you can use as specific moments.

When you are identifying the sample, you can pick an old-school vintage snare crack, for instance, which triggers the sounds of a real snare. But there is more to it than just percussion sounds. For instance, a player can trigger a vocal hook, a looped piano phrase, or upload a recorded neighing of a horse.

A sampling pad is used by drummers to augment their drum kits (electronic or acoustic).

The SPD-SX goes beyond just the drumming world. Many DJs also use it to produce different effects in their performances. This is perhaps a feature that makes it greatly functional and reliable.

A percussion pad

A percussion pad is a tool specifically for drummers and percussionists. It offers pro sounds in plenty. In this case, the Roland Octa pad SPD-30 makes some of the best beats – and that is what it is all about. This portable V-Drums kit offers the easiest approach to make wonderful beats.

The percussion pad does allow you to upload other samples. Nonetheless, it comes with a bunch of pretty interesting onboard sounds.  

You trigger each sound by hitting a pad or using an external trigger. The pad may come with different virtual kits and several individual instruments, just to make drummers and percussionists get more inspiration.

A percussion pad helps professional drummers adapt to the changing tonal demands of the modern world. And, unlike a sampling pad, it cannot be used by DJs.

About the Roland Octapad SPD-1

Roland Spd 1 Top View
Roland Spd 1 Top View

The SPD.ONE is a brand-new series of percussion instruments in the Roland family. Joins the percussion category with four choices: The Electro, the Kick, the Percussion, and the WAV.

You can tell that the first three are similar in terms of functionality and features. The SPD-1 Wav is for those who want customized backing tracks and sounds. Hence, it works slightly different.

In any case, the Octapad SPD-1 one is a percussion pad that allows the drummer to create various sounds to enhance their performance. Roland has made these once specifically for drummers and percussionists.

Here are some of the features that captured my attention.

Physical looks

Roland Spd 1 Dimensions 1
Roland Spd 1 Dimensions 1

For many uses, the first impression is a great consideration when buying anything, let alone a percussion pad. And in this case, it is also about how easy you can use the device.

The SPD-ONE has beaten this test. You can start making music right from the box, without having to change anything. You don’t have to program it since the sounds and the twerks are pre-tuned.

Also, it features a sleek and sturdy design with effects knobs that look like guitar pedals. This feature makes them appear incredibly appealing.

You may also want to note the heft of each unit. A single glance will tell they are pretty dense, and you don’t even need to touch them to notice this. That is a good thing because they are built with stick and hands playing capabilities. And don’t forget, you can also play with your foot.

I was pretty impressed that I played the kick for a long time using my foot, but it never slit on the carpet. This is an effect you get from many devices that cannot stick on the ground.

As stated above, it comes with four units; the Kick, Electro, Percussion, and WAV Pad. The first three are different from the last one because they don’t have factory-loaded sounds.

More about the build

One thing sets the SPD: ONE apart is how it resembles the Iconic Boss Pedal line-up by Roland. It comes in bright colors, features, and all-metal chassis and a front styling highly recognizable to guitar players.

What is more, the pads can be player by hand, sticks, or even foot. These features are not only aimed at making the drummer feel great but to offer them compatibility. You can put this pad anywhere and still enjoy your playing.

For those who would like them mounted, it comes with hardware that clamps each pad on a tom holder. They can also be installed on the L-rod. Or the cowbell post.

This sounds like good news, right? Well, it is. But there is still a lot of room for improvement until you get something that makes you feel at home.

Drumming is all about what gives you relaxation. For instance, I like creating my own mounting gear. I could not get this piece on the Pearl Reference, so I had to craft a solution or a V-Drums kit.

Performance and sounds

Roland Spd 1 Output Input
Roland Spd 1 Output Input

Now, if you have your mounting issue handled, we can talk about more serious issues – the sounds and other features.

SPD-ONE carries a beautiful collection of onboard sounds, all from Roland’s top library. This is what you get from such an affordable price, even though you cannot add your own.

Factory tunes

I liked the Electro, more and I am certain you will too. It is the best collection of captivating retro drum sounds, featuring classic but excellent drum machine samples of Roland’s 808s and 909s.

If you are a drummer looking to bring onboard some vintage vibes, then this a product for you. And the Sounds will make you feel right at home.

Secondly, there is the Percussion unit, which perfectly complements the minimalist appearance. It comes with traditional rhythmic percussion; hence, you should expect some wonderful tambourines and cowbells.

Also, drummers get exposure to a few more tunes like a gong, tympani, and wind chyme. There are sounds for both open and closed hi-hat played based on the dynamics. Open tones have more fire, while closed ones are cooler.

The Kick doesn’t disappoint either. It is created for foot playing and features a combination of ten various drum tunes. You can get acoustic bass sounds, Cajon bass, and an electronic bass sound.

There are also a few percussion sounds for the feet. For example, those who love ankle jingles and a hi-hat chick will find it greatly applicable.

The pad does not come with as many samples as you would expect. But it has the capability to open up the whole tone sculpting factory when you use the knobs.

What about the effects?

The pad comes with dedicated knobs, which are pretty interesting. They can easily help a drummer create new sounds. Although you can’t change much on the sounds, it is still a pretty decent start altogether.

The Percussion and Electro functions allow you to toggle between different features. It has a built-in shifting which can come in handy for some projects.

All three units work with the tuning knob. This helps you alter the feeling of any sample you want, like a fat snare sound on the Electro can be made to sound sharper.

The Kick unit features both reverb and distortion effects. Even better, you can shift between the two easily and fast, as the buttery reverb works smoothly.

The WAV Pad

The WAV Pad is different from the other three, as it offers more playability options. You can import up to 12-user playback tracks.

Roland built it to play two different tracks at the same time, though it does not have a metronome. This feature means you upload any click file track. Also, Roland states there are more than 360 stereo storage minutes.

This unit can serve as an electronic drum. It even features layering functionality that allows you to produce different sounds when you hit with varying velocity.

Pros

  • Easy to set up.
  • East to use.
  • Great Sounds.

Cons

  • It does not have a line-in.

Conclusion

The Roland Octapad SPD-1 comes with excellently playable pads, especially when you use drumsticks. It is USB connectivity, which allows you to upload tunes in the WAV PAD mode.

It is also worth noting it has respectably sensitive parameters.

Hence, it can be a great solution for hybridization. But I cannot recommend it for those looking put aside laptop use in a live setup.

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