Gear Review – Roland Octapad SPD-30 Versus SPD-SX

Which is better, the Roland Octapad SPD-30, or the Roland SPD-SX? In today’s modern music, electronic drums are exploding in popularity.

Today, being able to blend digital samples and electronic sounds with acoustic drums is crucial. But with so many options out there, what do you pick?

Well, I’ve done the work for you and rounded up the two biggest players in the electronic drum pad world, and made a review for both:

Roland Octapad SPD-30 Review

Roland Octapad 30 Review
Roland Octapad 30 Review

Meet the king of drum pads! Featuring more than 600 sounds, the Octapad SPD-30 is much more than a total drum kit in a box. With the ability to connect up to 4 different trigger inputs, you may not even need to pack your drum kit to your next gig. Although I’m kidding a little bit, I’m very impressed with this piece of hardware.

The sounds are set to 50 different drum kits. These kits range from straight ahead rock drum kits, to jazz, all the way to gamelan orchestras. If you so desire, you can mix and match any kit you like to create the exact sound you are looking for. Each sound is also customizable with a large array of different options.

There are a ton of internal effects that can be used to alter any sounds going through it. But the most important part of this drum pad is that it has a very powerful looping function.

With a few simple controls you can run through a variety of sounds and have them looped for as long as you want at whatever tempo you desire. While the onboard screen may seem a little difficult to understand at first, with a little practice it should all make sense.

The pads themselves are well made, and feel very natural to play on. As usual with Roland electronic drums, the 8 triggers work incredibly well and are beautifully responsive.

All pads are pressure sensitive and have a large range of dynamics. Additionally, using the 4 trigger inputs, you can connect a few other pads or hi hats to make your very own makeshift electronic drum set.

Overall, the Octapad SPD-30 is an impressive piece of hardware. Definitely worth giving some consideration next time your in the market for an electronic drum pad.

Octapad SPD-30 Features:

  • 8 High quality V-Drum velocity sensitive pads
  • Over 600 sounds built into 50 drum kits
  • 4 external trigger inputs
  • USB and MIDI inputs
  • Phase loop functionality
  • Backlit LCD display

PRICE: $699.00
Buy it from Amazon here

Roland SPD-SX Review

Roland SPD-SX Review
Roland SPD-SX Review

if you are a musician that frequently uses samples in your live performances, Roland’s SPD-SX sampling percussion pad may be exactly what you’re looking for. While there are many similarities to other samplers like the Akai MPC series, you’ll find that this pad is far more catered to drummers.

Featuring 9 playable pads, you will have a powerful sampling system sitting under your drumsticks.

The SPD-SX is pretty simple to use. You can either plug it into a computer, or an audio player such as an iPod and load your samples.

Pre load samples into the system before hand, or you can do it live on the spot. Additionally, there is a huge array of onboard effects that can be used to alter the samples at will, including delays, reverbs, filters, loopers, or anything else you can imagine.

The pads, just like with the SPD-30 are very well made and velocity sensitive. They are made with a softer rubber that could possibly feel nicer to play than the Octapad.

All of the pads are incredibly responsive, and won’t leave you wondering if you actually managed to hit it or not. It is also mountable which makes it easy to set on a stand and place beside your drum kit, synth, turntables, or anywhere else you want.

Overall, the SPD-SX is a very powerful tool that is one of the most unique pieces of equipment in the sampling genre. It’s live applications are endless, and due to it’s original design, can be played easily with sticks. With today’s increasing demand for musicians to be using live samples in their music, this is definitely worth checking out.

SPD-SX Features:

  • 9 High quality velocity sensitive pads
  • 2 external trigger inputs
  • 6 hours of internal sampling memory
  • loads of onboard effects allowing full customization of samples
  • USB and MIDI inputs
  • Custom Software Included
  • Backlit Display

PRICE: $799.00
Buy it from Amazon here

The Verdict: Roland Octapad SPD-30 Versus SPD-SX

When it comes to which set of pads you should purchase out of the two, the choice is really up to you. Both devices are incredibly different and have different uses.

If you are a live drummer or musician that is simply looking for an array of electronic sounds to add to your music, then you should choose the Roland Octapad SPD-30.

However, if you are looking for a powerful sampling tool with a huge amount of live applications, the Roland SPD-SX could be what you’re looking for. However, if you just can’t decide, maybe you should just get both!


  1. Jonny Harmonsays:

    Great article. I have the Broland SPD-SX and I often wish I had an Octopad so I could quantize/loop. The sampling is a breeze though. I guess you’re right – I need both.

  2. I’m not sure who you could contact directly. I would suggest heading to Roland and Yamaha’s websites and checking their contact information. Perhaps you can give them a call or send them an email and they will be able to help you from there. Also, check Linkedin for anyone who works in the drum department for those companies. You may find some additional email addresses that you can hit up.

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