Ok… this is the logic that I used when purchasing an e-kit…
I (like many of us that use Toontrack products) have a home studio. Recording drums is somewhat tedious and kind of a PITA. So… I wanted a well built kit with nothing more than a MIDI controller/interface. This way I wasn’t paying for “high quality” samples within a module that I’d never use for more than a MIDI interface.
After a lot of research… I really wanted to go with the Roland higher end kit. The drums were fairly small (max 12″), but the mesh heads provided nice feedback. The drums and hardware were also nicely made and sturdy. The problem… the module costs $3500!!!! So I contacted Roland and asked if they could sell me a higher end kit with a cheaper module (maybe TD-9 or TD-11). The answer was “NO”. Really, Roland????
So… I went with my second choice (again… bang for buck). Alesis had a kit with 3 12″ pads and 2 10″ pads. The cymbals were larger (other than HH) and I got 3 of these. The module is perfect for MIDI interface and the kit is fairly well made. It’s not as well constructed as the Roland, but it also doesn’t cost $7500. Again… Roland is charging that much because the module is $3500. The kit better be built nicer for the additional $4000. I got the Alesis with just as many pads and cymbals as the Roland for a mere $1300. Are the samples as nice? No… but again we’re using Toontrack software, which is better than Roland anyway.
So in conclusion… unless you absolutely need to piss money away… stay away from Roland and get something that will enable MIDI triggering for a more reasonable cost. Even if you simply want to play this in standalone mode (no computer MIDI interface)… I see no justification in buying a more expensive module just for good sounds. You can practice with sounds that “aren’t as good”.
Bottom line… Roland had better get their heads out of their butts and understand that people are going to take them to task on stupid business models.
Once you factor in the cost to own, you may reach a different conclusion. I bought Roland back in 2005 and have been very happy with my purchases. They are more expensive, but they also are built to last and have a consistent upgrade path as new technology changes. They also offer advanced features not found on cheaper kits. My new TD50 module has the cy8 cymbal from my first kit. I think it’s a mistake to recommend to other new drummers to stay away from the flagship company because of a lack of perceived value. If you owned a Roland product and then switched to Alesis, then you’d have a stronger argument. Let’s see how you feel in three years.