- Find out what makes Roland VAD306 popular among skilled drummers
- Discover a range of flexible features and customizable functions the VAD306 offers
- Learn why you should upgrade your drum rig to V-Drums Acoustic Design Series VAD306
- Also, check out our posts on the best electronic drum kits & drumsticks for beginners
Roland is among the most famous drum makers in the world, widely renowned for the quality of acoustic and electronic drum sets.
This review aims to dive deep into the technical specifications of VAD306, dissect its strengths & weaknesses, and provide drummers valuable info regarding its performance, so let’s start from the top.
Roland VAD306: Verdict
Roland VAD306’s advantage lies in its all-rounded design. Not many brands have succeeded in creating a versatile, great-sounding, and highly portable electronic drum kit that could sell at an affordable price, but Roland did it with VAD306.
This mid-range e-drum kit offers a great quality sound, robust construction, and what most traditionally-minded drummers demand — an acoustic-like expressiveness.
The Roland VAD306 V-drum set is far from the strongest kit in the series, let alone on the entire market. Its performance has been eclipsed by virtually all of its successors who came outfitted with various upgrades.
Still, drummers from all genres adore this drum kit because it offers a well-rounded box of benefits while being considerably cheaper than other VAD models.
Roland VAD306: Review
The VAD306 is a unique V-Drums Acoustic Design kit, purposefully compact while maintaining the distinctive acoustic aesthetic of the series. The footprint is the same as a mid-level V-Drums set, making it ideal for home use and tight stages
What does Roland VAD306 have that other mid-tier V-drums don’t? Aside from the infamous name and the promise of quality accompanying it, VAD306 has cutting-edge features that grant it impressive durability and sound that you’d normally expect of a boutique drum kit.
To better understand why Roland VAD306 is still relevant and just as popular today, when several new and improved models have joined the brand’s catalog of V-drums, we will talk about the drum set’s build quality, sound, features, and more.
Build Quality: 8/10
While many electronic drum kits typically feature rubber, plastic, or silicone materials, Roland used a combination of real wood and mesh for the shells on its VAD306, giving the kit a professional look that’s hard to ignore.
Equipped with double-braced stands made of sturdy chrome, VAD306 was clearly built to last. Its stands are corrosion-resistant and won’t wear as fast as brass but, sadly, can’t compete with stands made of heavier metals.
Another prominent benefit of VAD306 in terms of build quality is its compactness. Even though its shells are slightly wider than the ones supplied to an average electronic drum kit, the entire set is fairly light and easy to transport.
Roland’s VAD306 weighs around only 45 pounds, and with dimensions measuring 14.96 by 37 by 23.43 inches, it is surprisingly robust for such a small kit. However, there is still some room for improvement in VAD306 drums.
To optimize its portability and keep the weight on the lower end, this drum kit does not feature any shell reinforcements that would make it as road-worthy as its younger counterparts (such as VAD506 or VAD706).
Sound Quality: 9/10
Roland’s VAD306 is among the best-sounding drum kits in its price range, and its shells are mainly to “blame” for such a feat.
Boasting shallow but deep kick shells made of multi-ply wood, these shells will add another dimension to your playing, regardless of which preset sound you intend to use and for which purpose.
Furthermore, each shell on VAD306 comes supplied with custom-made sensors, guaranteeing surgically accurate and consistent tone with each strike.
On the downside, VAD306 trades a portion of its “sonic flexibility” for increased sound quality.
Getting accustomed to these drums’ unique feel and response may be slightly more challenging than average, especially for musicians with little experience with electronic drums.
What makes VAD306 different from most e-drums is a heavy emphasis on authentic acoustics. Aside from higher versatility, one of the main reasons why most drummers would switch to an electronic kit is the ability to pick a different sound on the fly.
Roland’s VAD306 is more of an “electric-acoustic” drum kit, augmenting the tone with the qualities of real hardwood.
It is clear that Roland designed the VAD306 drum set with playability in mind, and all features that this kit is graced with work in harmony to achieve that.
VAD306 features hundreds of different presets but allows the drummer to choose between unique, distinctly dissimilar ones.
Sitting down with the module, I found fine-tuning the desired preset way easier than ever before, since everything from the shells to the heads are tunable. Honestly speaking, the interface would benefit from a little modernization, but it’s straightforward enough to get the job done.
The only reason why the features of Roland VAD306 aren’t rated 10/10 is that this kit is not as well-rounded as its boutique counterparts — mainly, the lack of the new highly expressive digital snares, rides and hi-hats. However, for those looking to save some money, it may not be a huge compromise for some.
Roland’s VAD306 brings many presets and sounds that drummers can quickly shift between. More specifically, this kit offers 310 sounds and 50 unique presets, up by 10 compared to the first V-drum in Roland’s series, the VAD103.
All of Roland’s sounds have been sampled from boutique drum parts and cymbals, allowing the drummer to bring some of Roland’s finest creations to the board with a click of a button.
Even though there are many options, it would be unfair to say that the same attention to detail was invested in creating each of them. Certain presets are more detailed, while a few are too basic for professional use, especially for touring drummers.
Dialing In A Sound
It is easy to find a pitch-perfect tone for each drum piece comprising the VAD306 set since the TD 17 module has various tone-shaping tools. Dozens of effects, importable WAV samples, trigger inputs, and cutting-edge tonal detection are just some of them.
Roland’s proprietary Prismatic Modeling technology brings a broad spectrum of shapes to the “sonic board,” propelling them to behave differently relative to the drummer’s playing style.
Blending different sounds is also an option, enabling the musician to experiment with thousands of available combinations. Moreover, you can always import new sounds to increase the versatility of the VAD306 further.
Different features may require a different approach depending on whether the set should be used in a rehearsal studio, for warm-up before the gig, on tour, or in a recording studio.
To simplify life for its customers, Roland ensured that mapping the VAD306 kit is as straightforward as possible.
To use the sounds, effects, and presets available in VAD306, the drummer only needs to use the TD 17 module. It supports dual-cannel audio and MIDI to PC conversion; all you’ll need is a USB cable.
The interface is a big part of the Roland VAD306, specifically the TD-17 module. It is neither too large nor too small; all the functions are neatly organized and self-explanatory.
From the four twist knobs in the upper right corner that govern ambiance, bass, treble, and volume, to the instrument pad selection, to using different modes, switching between different songs, and changing to a different drum kit preset – all of this is easy in Roland VAD306’s interface.
The electronic display is small, so you may need to stop playing and come closer to see which mode, song, or kit is currently active.
The same can be said about the pad select section, although it features only 10 buttons, which most drummers should be able to memorize quickly.
Roland’s VAD306 is still a staple in the brand’s V-drums catalog but is a relatively old model.
If you’re more accustomed to modern or more digital-oriented electronic drum kits and have additional questions about this set, the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding this topic may help.
Who Is Roland VAD306 Good For?
As one of the most versatile electronic drum kits in the middle price range, VAD306 is equally suited for professionals searching for a good backup (or a different kit to practice on) and moderately skilled drummers looking for an upgrade.
How Playable Is VAD306?
Objectively, VAD306 requires some getting used to since it’s in the golden middle between fully acoustic and fully electronic drum kits. Due to its unique feel, its learning curve is slightly higher than average.
Even though Roland eventually released several newer drum kits in the V-series, thousands of drummers are still choosing VAD306 for all the right reasons. It is decently portable, sounds great, is easy to customize, and is remarkably versatile.
Overall, it is an excellent choice for drummers of all music styles, genres, and skill levels, not to mention that it is much cheaper than its younger siblings.
Before you go, check out our guide to the 5 Best Headphones For Electronic Drums!