We took a look at the Mandala drum controller last year: it’s a multi-zone drum controller you can play with sticks. Different zones give the device extra expression, packed into a compact area. And the manufacturers know something about controller design, having worked on the D-Beam IR controller for Roland (among other things). Check comments on our last post: the combination of the finely-detailed zones, smart MIDI configuration, and quality pads have made people fall in love with playing this thing.
That’s good enough as-is. Make the Mandala really cheap (US$349 list!) and add a USB plug for use with a computer, and you’ve really got something interesting. (It’s now purple instead of red as pictured here.) “But wait, there’s more!” These guys also bundled 4 GB of samples, including some 3,000 snare drum samples. That makes it arguably a better deal than some soundware libraries that lack hardware. I like the way they describe it: “It’s a synthesizer with drumsticks, with a drum pad so sensitive it responds even to a fingertip touch.” If they’re halfway there, this could be a must-have.
I have to get one of these in for review. Shipping in December, apparently just in time for the holidays. This one could rise to the top of our holiday list.