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Handsonic and SM-57

Being a player that does a lot of live playing as well as studio recording, I couldn’t be happier knowing that we are now carrying the SM-57 mics by Shure. It is by far my favorite mic to use on my snare drum, and gets a great sound, whether you mic the drum from the top or from the bottom. It is ultra sensitive, and just picks up the full tonality of the drum in either setting.

I had a chance to play around with the Roland Handsonic HPD-10, and I was pretty impressed with it for the most part. The first thing that I noticed when I plugged it in and started tapping on it was the velocity sensitivity on the individual pads. Somehow, the “instrument” notices when you are playing a “slap” type of hit on the pads when trying to perform a conga “slap.” The pads also respond quite well at low velocity. The next thing that I really liked about it was the array of sounds that come pre-installed, and they are fully customizable. Granted, I only played it through my AKG headphones and not a real sound system, but the overall ambiance of the tones produced, especially by the congas and bongos was superb. There was a very natural sounding reverb on the drums, and being one that would rely on an instrument like this instead of the real thing (because I have ZERO hand drum technique), I felt very convinced that I was hearing the real thing. Of course, you can tone down the level of any effect, or turn the levels way up to produce some pretty zany sounds. I must also mention that the bell and block sounds were also spot on.

The last feature that I found to be really cool was the D-Beam controller. You can basically wave your hand, or any other limb for that matter above a spot on the pad and it causes a sound to occur, just as if you were striking a pad. It also senses how elevated your hands are off of the pad, in determining the velocity or pitch of the patch being played. VERY cool! This is definitely a really cool piece of gear straight out of the box, and if you’re not looking to shell out all the dough for the HPD-15, then this is just as good of a pad to either learn about electronic percussion, or to toss into a live setup to achieve authentic percussion sounds.

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