Creating Roland TD-17 Kits – All You Need


Each trigger zone in the TD-17 can be assigned two sound layers called Main and SUB.

These two layers could be internal sounds which are already multi-layered velocity switching themselves or you can combine samples with the internal sound engine in several ways.

If you want to add a user sample layer, simply choose the sound from the ‘User Sample’ category when assigning a sound.

These layers can be mixed, switched or faded together for many creative possibilities.

Here’s a description of the various fade/switch methods that can be used when creating TD-17 kits:


Main and SUB layers are always mixed together with the volume balance determined by SUB volume.

Use: Ideal for combining ‘element’ sounds such as snare rattle, kick drum sub microphone, reverb


The SUB layer will come in only at the velocity level chosen from 0-127 and its level determined by the SUB volume.

Use: Layer a cowbell on the hi-hat that only triggers when played at higher velocities. See the ‘More Cowbell’ patch number #31 in the TD-17 for an example.


The SUB layer will come in gradually at the velocity level chosen from 0-127 and its level determined by the SUB volume.

Use: Create a custom kit with user samples taken from drum sample software.

For example, a similar internal snare sound is used for ghost strokes, rolls and subtle playing and the drum sample is assigned to the SUB layer. The SUB layer gradually fades in to combine with the factory snare. As a result, this technique allows subtle playing response and offers huge creative possibilities.


The SUB layer will replace the Main instrument at the velocity chosen between 0-127 with its level determined by the SUB layer volume.

Use: Dramatically change sounds depending on how hard you hit. You could have 17” hi-hats when played softly or pitched up 12” hi-hats when playing harder.

TIP: When using user samples that will be played percussively that is where you want the tail of each note to remain when another is played on top, change the mode of the sample from ‘Mono’ to ‘Poly’


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