Creating a drum splitter cable for the Roland TD-11

It is possible to connect more than one pad to an input, thereby (almost) doubling the capacity of the Roland TD-11. However, a standard Y-cable, such as a TRS->2xTS, can’t be used. Instead we need a custom drum splitter cable.

In a previous post, I showed how to create a multitude of cymbal sounds by configuring the edge and bow of the cymbal inputs differently. However, it is also possible to connect more cymbals and pads than the TD-11 is designed for, by using a custom drum splitter cable which connects the head of two pads into one input. This technique works for all recent mid- and high-range modules such as the TD-12, TD-15, and TD-25.

After surfing around a bit, I stubled upon the site Drumsplitter.com, that sells drum splitter cables. However, ordering a single cable from the US, with the additional VAT, Customs and transport fees doesn’t really attract me. Luckily, the cable is quite straightforward to create. I found a Youtube video describing the process. All that is needed:

  • One female 1/4″ TRS stereo phone connector
  • Two male 1/4″ TS mono phone connectors
  • A 100 kOhm resistor connected between the tip and ring of the TRS connector.
  • The sleeve of the TRS connector is connected to the sleeve of the two TS connectors.
  • The tip of the TRS connector is connected to the tip of one TS connector.
  • The other TS connector’s tip is connected to the ring of the TRS connector.

However, a picture is claimed to tell more than a thousand words, so this is a simplified drawing:

Drumsplitter for Roland V-Drums

Resistor R is 100 kOhm

Anyone with a soldering tool and a multimeter can solder this cable.

Roland V-Drum drumsplitter cable

So I did.

My soldering skills are really poor, but being careful not to burn the plastic insulation around the copper, and using a multimeter to verify that I didn’t create an unwanted shortcut, I had the cable.

In addition, I got the good feeling of having accomplished something.

If you are new to phone connectors, here are some simple guide lines:

  • The connector consist of two (TS) or three (TRS) soldering pins.
  • The sleeve pin generally stands out in one or another way, compared to the other pin(s).
  • The soldering pin for the sleeve is the pin connected to the surface of the connector if the connector has a metal surface. Otherwize, it is normally the longest pin, or the outermost pin.
  • In some stupid cases, the pins are located at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. In that case, the sleeve pin is at 6 o’clock.
  • The tip is connected to the other pin (TS) or one of the other pins (TRS).
  • The ring of the TRS is connected to the third pin.

After I’ve made the cable, I connected it to the desired input of the TD-11 module. Note that I chose to use a female TRS, rather than a male TRS connector. This allowed me to connect the cable to any input of the TD-11, such as the Tom 1. If I would want to connect it to the Crash 2 input, I would simply use the male-male TRS cable which comes with the TD-11K.

Roland TD-11 tom pad settingsMy initial idea was to connect two cymbals to one input using the splitter, but that does not work. The splitter only works with pads. I guess it works with any kind of pads, including the mesh pads, but I haven’t verified that. Of course, you won’t be able to make rim shots on any dual-trigger pad, but for toms, that normally don’t matter.

In order for the cable to work as intended, I – of course – had to disable the LINK feature for the selected input in the Inst menu, just as I wrote about in my previous article Adding a cowbell to the TD-11. After that, I selected two different sounds for the Head and Rim for the desired input. In my case, I connected two single-trigger PD-8A pads to the T1 tom 1 input. I physically located the pads so that the Right pad corresponds to the Rim, and the left pad as the head.

However, I discovered that I had to increase the sensivity of the pads in order to get good triggering.

Roland TD-11 pad sensivity settingsThis is done in the System->Pad Settings->Basic menu, by increasing the Sensitivity value. You might also need to adjust the Threshold value. Go ahead and experiment until you find a good setting.

This worked out well, and since I recently bought an old TD-3K kit for the sole purpose of using its cymbals, so I had a few PD-8 dual-trigger pads to spare. Thus, I made a second cable and attached two double-trigger PD-8 pads to the T2 tom 2 input. This left me with the T3 tom 3 input unused, so I attached a CY8 cymbal directly to it.

Now I had expanded my TD-11K to a reasonable size. Four toms and four cymbals. Quite neat, don’t you think?Roland TD-11K expanded with an extra cymbal and an extra tom using a drumsplitter cable.

22 Comments

  1. Turan Dincer

    I have just bought Roland TD 11KV. I guess I can do the same expansion as you mentioned. If so, I appreciate the information that you share.

    Reply
  2. chris

    Hey Fredrik,

    I can confirm the splitter cable works on mesh pads (PDX-8,PDX-100,PD-124)

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Alvaro R.

    Hi! Great post. I have recently buy a TD11K and I think this is going to be very useful to expand it.
    What’s the use you give to the kick drum pedal on the right side of the picture?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      That one is actually connected to a TD-3 which is outside the picture.

      Reply
  4. David

    Great Post!

    Is it possible to conect via midi a td3 to the td11? And use the imputs of the td3 to conect the extra cymbals?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      Hi, since the TD11 doesn’t have MIDI in, it’s not possible to connect the two in any useful way. The only way is to connect cymbals to the TD3, and let the TD3 generate the sounds. That’s the way I’ve connected it, so essentially, I’ve got two separate kits mounted on the same stand. To get the sound out, I have connected the drummodules to two separate stereo inputs on a mixer.

      Reply
  5. Derik

    Will a virtual instrument program like Superior Drummer 2.0 recognize the extra cymbals/toms after you’ve done this modification?

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      Basically yes, each sensor will generate different MIDI notes. So, as long as you can program the virtual instrument to generate whatever sound you want for each MIDI note, that’s a no-brainer. Otherwise, the TD-11 allows you to define whatever MIDI note you want to generate for each sensor.

      Reply
  6. Lou

    Great article!
    Does anyone know what cymbal mounts will work on a roland rack. I was looking for an alternative to the expensive rolands maybe a Gibraltar Grabber Cymbal Arm or ??

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      I can’t vouch for it, but as I recall from Gibraltar’s racks, they have the same diameter as the Roland ones. So I assume the mounts will fit.

      Reply
    2. David

      Anything from anyone can be used given appropriate adaptors if necessary. I have Yamaha and Pearl cymbal arms on a Roland rack, using Roland tom brackets with the l-arms removed, for example.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: Roland TD 11 Review: An Actual Drummer's Ultimate Guide - Kickstart Your Drumming

  8. Kristian

    How did you extend your drum rack? It looks like both of your extra pads are on an extenderarm thingy?

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      Since new new pads came with a used TD-3 kit I bought, I extended my rack with a few pieces I could scavenge from the TD-3 rack.

      Reply
  9. JL

    Do you know if both pads from a split input can be struck simultaneously, such as a Tom 3 and Tom 4 being struck at the same time when they are both split off of one input, being the Tom 3 input in this case?

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      That is unfortunately not possible. I mitigate that by hitting Tom1+Tom3 or Tom2+Tom4 when I want to make a double hit instead. That sounds good enough for that.

      Reply
  10. Drew

    On my td-11 the trigger cable has ten 3/4 jack connections but only 9 pads or cymbals…. what does tje extra cable do and why can i not get sound out of it…… please help. There are no setup manual on this extra cable

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      The last cable is the RDB cable which is used to get the bell sound if you connect a CY-13R as a ride.

      Reply
  11. Wesley

    I would love to expand my roland td-11k. I already have and alesis single zone cymbal connected through the crash 2 imput. But I would like to add some more cymbals and pads to it, but there is not enough rack space. What do I buy or do to expand the rack?

    Reply
    1. Fredrik Lundström (Post author)

      Well, Thomann.de (if you are in Europe) has a lot of stuff. I guess any rack bars will do. Or any standard cheap cymbal stand.

      But if you’re in for it: I found a complete used TD-3 kit for €350 on Blocket (Swedish version of e-bay), which was less than the cost of two cymbal pads and two cymbal rack stands, so I scavanged it for everything useful. That way I got a lot of extra pads, allowing me to connect them using the drum splitter cable. So keep an eye on e-bay!

      Reply
  12. David

    Has anyone tried this on a Roland TD-25 ?

    Reply

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