I quite often take out my acoustic guitar and so solo gigs at open mics and the struggle I have is that you can’t easily add beat behind your voice. I’ve tried passive ‘cigar box’ style stomp boxes in the past and never got good results and then I came across the SPD One Kick which retails at around £170.
The SPD One is part of the SPD One Series from Roland which are pads designed for musicians…the kick (as the name suggests) largely focuses on kick drums but has other sounds too.
The SPD One Kick is mostly made of metal and feels incredibly solid and well made. The pad that you hit or stomp has plenty of grip and can take a battering!
The top has four controls for adjusting: the sample, the volume, the tuning and the reverb or distortion. There’s also an indicator light and a variation button for switching between sound banks (allowing you to have up to 24 sounds)
The side has buttons for adjusting the threshold (how loud each hit is and how much that varies) and the sensitivity (how hard you have to hit the pad to get a result) plus a microUSB socket for connecting to a computer to add your own sounds (this isn’t as easy as it should be so check out my tutorial)
On the back you’ll find headphone and line out outputs, a power input and the on off switch. Then finally, on the bottom you’ll find a battery compartment, screw holes for mounting the device to something like a drum kit (mounting bracket included) and two pads to give it plenty of grip on the floor.
The SPD One Kick can be battery or mains powered and the battery powered option gives you up to 6 hours of usage (depending on the quality of your batteries).
It has 22 samples built in but the key ones are:
- Standard Kick
- Hard Kick
- Percussion Kick
- Stomp Box
- TR Kick
- Cabassa / Guiro
- Ankle Bracelet
- Cowbell / Claves
- Clap / X-Stick
You can also input your own samples in WAV format and they can be up to 5 seconds long. This is done Via USB.
The SPD One Kick is super easy to use and get used to and can be used with your foot, drumsticks or your hand…a little adjusting of the threshold and sensitivity helps you get the right setting for your means of playing.
My favourite sounds have been the TR Kick and the Std kick which I’ve used live with a little bit of reverb. I’ve found that in a live setting it’s reliable, easy to use and plenty loud enough (oh, and it sounds good!).
The ability to tune is useful too…especially if you want a deeper sounding kick!
The only thing I don’t really like are the sounds of the cymbal and the bells but it’s all down to personal preference!
I’ve managed to play it standing up with my guitar but it’s certainly much easier when sat down!
So, what’s the verdict?
I picked up one of these because I wanted something I could use in my live setup to add some beat as I always gig with just me and a guitar and it does exactly what I want it too and sounds really good in the process.
In terms of downsides, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not a big fan of the cymbal sound, adding your own sounds isn’t included on the bundled manual and for the price they don’t throw in a USB cable!
All in all however, if you want an electronic alternative to some of the passive stomp boxes out there then this is well worth picking up and it really adds something into my live setup and fits nice and easily in my guitar bag.