Classic Japanese drum beats with a digital heart
If you haven't seen the highly choreographed Japanese drumming broadly known as Taiko, then you're missing out. It's loud, dynamic and fast-paced fun. Roland is looking to capture some of that traditional fire and bring it to modern percussionists with the Taiko-1.
Roland says that there are over a million Taiko players throughout Japan, and the traditional percussion experience is going global. But some new players are put off by the often large size of the instruments, the even bigger sound and the regular maintenance needed to keep them in tip-top shape. Even pros can find tours to be costly, and some venues don't bring out the best in the instruments.
The Japanese music gear maker has, of course, been pounding out electronic drums for a number of years, one of the main advantages being that they're easier to transport and set up than traditional acoustic drums while offering a huge array of percussion sounds via a single processing module. Such is the case with the Taiko-1.
Built to coincide with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and based on the katsugi okedo daiko, a kind of drum that's slung over the shoulder, the Taiko-1 has 14-inch mesh heads top and bottom – with dual-zone trigger technology – and an electronic drum module inbetween.
That module offers the player a large selection of Taiko drum sounds, along with other percussion sounds, with the ability to import 16-bit/44.1 kHz samples and use those too. Over 20 onboard effects have been cooked in, and users can keep track of what's going on via a 128 x 64-dot LCD display.
The Taiko-1 processing heart has a headphone jack for relatively quiet practice (Roland says that its mesh heads offer acoustically quiet performance), a 0.25-inch output jack (which can accommodate a wireless output system like the Boss WL series for cable-free playing), a trigger input connector, two foot pedal ports and a USB port. Bluetooth 4.2 caters for backing tracks to be streamed over, and the module can be powered by eight AA-sized batteries for portable playing or via an included power adapter.
The Taiko-1 goes on sale in July for US$1,500. The video below has more.
Product page: Taiko-1