Synesthesia has announced a new version of its popular Mandala drum synthesiser, offering true acoustic drum emulation plus a whole host of synthetic possibilities, and now able to connect easily to a Mac or PC for direct software control and integration into a range of music software.
Unlike most, if not all, other digital drum pads, the Mandala 2.0 doesn’t just register one central zone to determine how hard the user has hit the pad, but instead can detect the exact location and strength of every point on the drum’s surface, thanks to 128 concentric rings spread from the centre of the drum to its edge.
It comes with a massive four gigabytes of sound samples, including 3,000 professionally created, proprietary samples of the Black Beauty Snare Drum. It’s a synthesizer with drumsticks, with a drum pad so sensitive it responds even to a fingertip touch.
“The Mandala is anything you want it to be – it can be the best drum you’ve ever had, or any other instrument you can imagine,” said Vince De Franco, Synesthesia founder and CEO, and inventor of the Mandala. “Use it as a compositional tool, or to create any sonic reality your heart desires – it’s the smartest thing you’ll ever hit with a stick. It literally will be a different product for everyone who buys it, as simple or as complex as you want. Its lightning-fast trigger and ultra sensitivity help drummers play faster, more evenly and more expressively. Those who’ve used it tell us it helps them reach new levels of their talent, discover nuances in their playing and reignite their passion for drumming and for music.”
Accompanying software allows players to set up new sounds, and expand their drum kits and sample libraries. The software automatically accommodates up to five separate drum pads. It’s also designed to inspire and facilitate composition – along with the included instruments, players can add their own samples to the library, and use the effects to mould and create their own sounds.
The Mandala works seamlessly with most major music software, like Native Instruments Battery and Reaktor, FXpansion BFD, Ableton Live, Propellerhead Reason and Apple GarageBand.
It offers full functionality as a programmable real-time MIDI controller able to manipulate external MIDI-compatible gear like synths, samplers, tone modules, etc., using MIDI notes, velocity controller and position controller.
One Mandala drum pad can accommodate from one to seven different zones of sound – each of which can be configured as a separate instrument, with an array of specialized settings. Players can have a snare, a bass and a cymbal (or a harp, marimba or organ, or any other instrument) – all in the same drum head, all at the same time. One Mandala can act as one drum, as an entire drum kit, or as an eclectic combo.
The Mandala 2.0 retails for $349, and will be available November 1 online at mandaladrum.com and musiciansfriend.com. Each Mandala is hand-crafted and thoroughly tested before it is shipped, so expect two-week delivery.