Experiences with handsonic, suggestions for optimum uses?
I have had my HandSonic for just over a year - I do not play any gigs but I do jam occasionally with friends -(electric and acoustic guitars,keyboards)
- I used the conga settings and also the full drum kit with Roland hi-hat and bass pedals (and God forbid I actually use sticks with great discretion with the kit set up) and occasionally tabla and some african.
I agree with the sensitivity and responsiveness being less than that of a traditional instrument (obvious to most I imagine)
Others have mentioned that the limitations of the HandSonic are only an issue until you develop/learn to use alternative technique to produce desirable sounds.
That has been my experience - at first I was wowed with the possibilities- then I became frustrated by not being able to create consistent or desired tones and subtle nuance - as I struggled with adapting my technique to this new instrument I have slowly started to recognize its strengths and weaknesses and have learned about a great many of my own - My technique on the HandSonic has improved as has my understanding of the settings and the overall personality of the instrument.
Over time I have gotten much better at customizing the settings to suit my needs and ear and have become much better at creating settings for the amplification of the unit through my particular system for playing live with friends at home.
Traditional acoustic percussion is great in that there is a great tactile and audible response that not only helps to achieve a groove but IS for a great part of the experience THE groove I desire. That tactile feedback is what allows me to feel more connected to the music in an intuitive way.
In my limited time with the HandSonic I feel that there are times when I have gotten it to sound really sweet and definitely felt at those times it was a great instrument for my expression. Other times I am almost embarrassed by it because I know that I can sound way better on a traditional instrument. Obviously it is those times when I realize clearly that it is my inexperience with this instrument that creates the greater limitation. I imagine that in another years time I will be much better than I am now. As I have watched the various Roland demos it is easy to see that a really talented pro percussionist can create magic with it because of their control and technique and raw talent. I will continue to dream.
Personally I have found that setting the Conga set-up so that all pads sensitivity are on the Finger 2 setting then customizing the individual pad sounds to fit my style of play -- I turn the overall system volume up enough that my light finger taps are audible and the mix is complimentary when played with other instruments - I then use my fingers mostly ( light to hard taps) -- Occasionally a palm or slap but they do not usually affect the sound as much as just allowing me to play more intuitively/rythmically. (because I have set a pad to a Slap for instance, so no matter how I trigger it -- finger or open hand -- it is a slap sound) At first this technique seems a little counterintuitive because it requires more of a planned conscientious attack than one where you just feel the music and play along as you might do with a familiar acoustic instrument - but as with most challenging things once you get it wired it does start to become second nature - and viola you have a successful technique.
Set this way I have developed a more successful technique that allows me a great deal of subtle nuance (because of the volume ) and hand/finger control -- that more closely mimics what I can achieve with an acoustic instrument -- mind you to feel satisfied I had to develop a little technique that is different than playing acoustic conga -- but after time it now feels natural, intuitive and expressive.
That¹s my 2 cents -