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OCTAPAD SPD-30: A Compact Drum Set with V-Drums Pad-Sensing Technology


Roland SPD-30 Octapad: A Review




If you are looking for a portable and powerful electronic drum pad that can trigger a wide range of sounds, you might want to consider the Roland SPD-30 Octapad. This device is the latest addition to the legendary Octapad series, which has been around for more than 25 years. But what makes this drum pad so special? And what are its pros and cons? In this article, we will give you an overview of the Roland SPD-30 Octapad, its features, benefits, drawbacks, and some alternatives. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of whether this drum pad is right for you or not.




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What is the Roland SPD-30 Octapad?




The Roland SPD-30 Octapad is a digital percussion pad that allows you to play and trigger various sounds using eight built-in pads and four external inputs. You can use it as a standalone instrument, or as an extension of your acoustic or electronic drum kit. The SPD-30 comes with 670 instruments divided into 50 kits, covering acoustic drums, electronic drums, percussion, melodic instruments, and sound effects. You can also customize your own kits by editing parameters such as tuning, muffling, tone color, pitch sweep, volume, pan, and reverse.


A brief history of the Octapad series




The first Octapad was introduced by Roland in 1985 as the Pad-8. It was a MIDI controller that could trigger sounds from external sources such as drum machines and synthesizers. It had eight pads arranged in a rectangular shape, giving it a sleek and futuristic look. The Pad-8 was followed by the Pad-80 or Octapad II in 1989, which had increased patch capability and memory card storage. In the early 1990s, Roland launched the SPD series, which added onboard sounds and effects to the Octapad concept. The most popular model was the SPD-SX, which was released in 2011 and became a standard tool for many drummers and percussionists. The SPD-SX had nine pads, 4GB of internal memory, 700+ sounds, and a multi-effect engine. In 2010, Roland revived the Octapad name with the SPD-30, which blended the best features of the previous models with new technology and functionality.


The features and specifications of the SPD-30




Here are some of the main features and specifications of the Roland SPD-30 Octapad:


  • Eight large, touch-sensitive pads with LED indicators



  • Four dual-trigger inputs, plus hi-hat controller for adding pads or triggers



  • 670 instruments divided into 50 kits (99 kits in Version 2)



  • Phrase Loop function for recording and overdubbing up to three layers



  • USB connectivity for MIDI and memory storage



  • Large backlit LCD and easy-to-use controls



  • Rugged, road-worthy design



  • Dimensions: 541 x 272 x 88 mm (21.3 x 10.7 x 3.5 inches)



  • Weight: 3.8 kg (8 lbs. 7 oz.)



  • Power supply: AC adaptor (DC 9V)



What are the benefits of using the Roland SPD-30 Octapad?




The Roland SPD-30 Oct apad has many advantages that make it a great choice for drummers and percussionists of all levels and styles. Here are some of the benefits of using this drum pad:


Versatile and realistic sounds




The SPD-30 offers a wide range of sounds that can suit any musical genre and situation. You can choose from acoustic drums, electronic drums, percussion, melodic instruments, and sound effects. The sounds are sampled from high-quality sources and processed with Roland's COSM technology, which enhances their realism and expression. You can also layer up to three sounds per pad, creating rich and complex tones. The SPD-30 also allows you to adjust the pitch, decay, and tone color of each sound, giving you more control over your sound.


Advanced triggering technology




The SPD-30 features Roland's latest triggering technology, which ensures accurate and responsive performance. The pads are large, touch-sensitive, and velocity-switching, meaning they can detect how hard and where you hit them. The pads also have LED indicators that show the pad status and activity. The SPD-30 also has four dual-trigger inputs that let you connect additional pads or triggers, such as kick, snare, cymbals, or toms. You can assign different sounds to the head and rim of each input, expanding your sonic palette. The SPD-30 also supports Roland's V-Drums hi-hat controller, which lets you play realistic hi-hat sounds with open/close/foot splash techniques.


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Phrase Loop function and USB connectivity




The SPD-30 has a built-in Phrase Loop function that lets you record and overdub up to three layers of sound on each pad. You can use this feature to create loops, grooves, backing tracks, or soundscapes on the fly. You can also sync the Phrase Loop function with an external MIDI device or a computer via USB. The USB port also allows you to transfer data between the SPD-30 and a computer. You can backup your kits and settings, import new sounds, or update the firmware of the device.


What are the drawbacks of using the Roland SPD-30 Octapad?




While the Roland SPD-30 Octapad has many strengths, it also has some weaknesses that you should be aware of before buying it. Here are some of the drawbacks of using this drum pad:


High price and limited storage




The SPD-30 is not a cheap device. It costs around $700 USD, which is quite expensive for a drum pad. You might find other drum pads that offer similar features for a lower price. The SPD-30 also has limited storage capacity. It only has 99 user kits (50 in Version 1) and no SD card slot for expanding the memory. This means you cannot store too many custom sounds or loops on the device.


Outdated design and interface




The SPD-30 has a rather outdated design and interface compared to some of its competitors. The device looks bulky and heavy, with a black plastic casing and a large LCD screen. The screen is not color-coded or touch-sensitive, making it hard to navigate the menus and settings. The buttons and knobs are also small and crowded, making it easy to press the wrong one by mistake. The SPD-30 could use a more modern and user-friendly design that matches its advanced features.


What are some alternatives to the Roland SPD-30 Octapad?




If you are not convinced by the Roland SPD-30 Octapad, you might want to check out some of its alternatives. Here are some other drum pads that you could consider:


Alesis Strike Multipad




The Alesis Strike Multipad is a 9-pad drum pad that offers 32GB of internal storage, 8000+ sounds, 5 built-in effects processors, a 4.3-inch color display, an audio looper, a sampler, an audio interface, and more. It costs around $700 USD, making it a direct competitor to the SPD-30.


Yamaha DTX-Multi 12




The Yamaha DTX-Multi 12 is a 12-pad drum pad that offers 1277 sounds, 200 user kits, 64MB of flash memory, an audio player function, a MIDI controller mode, an iPad app integration, and more. It costs around $600 USD, making it slightly cheaper than the SPD-30.


Nord Drum 3P




The Nord Drum 3P is a 6-pad drum pad that offers 400+ sounds, 100 user kits , a sound engine based on virtual analog synthesis, a multi-effect section, and more. It costs around $800 USD, making it slightly more expensive than the SPD-30.


Conclusion




The Roland SPD-30 Octapad is a powerful and versatile drum pad that can enhance your drumming and percussion skills. It has a large collection of sounds, an advanced triggering system, a phrase loop function, and a USB connectivity. However, it also has some drawbacks, such as a high price, limited storage, and an outdated design. Depen


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