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Roland HandSonic HPD-20 Digital Hand Percussion Controller Reviews

4.0 stars based on 12 customer reviews
Questions about the Roland HandSonic HPD-20 Digital Hand Percussion Controller?

Questions about the Roland HandSonic HPD-20 Digital Hand Percussion Controller?

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  • Steve
    from March 20, 2017

    Great machine

    Sweetwater gave fantastic personal service arrived in about 3-4 days
    This machine is fantadtic

  • Biker Bob
    from April 20, 2016Music Background:
    Loop artist, drum facilitator, studio musician. Semi Pro level.

    Best choice for portable percussion

    This thing ROCKS! I am a solo loop artist, periodically facilitate drum circles and wanted either a portable electronic drum kit or this unit to add better percussion parts without having to lug heavy drums around. I am amazed at the sensitivity and control that this Handsonic allows in adding percussion to my performances. I DO NOT claim to be a trained drummer, but I am a pretty good hand drummer and with this unit, I can add some awesome percussion layers to my loops, both in the studio and on the go. Light, portable, powerful and extremely expressive. I run this through the mixer in the studio and run it into the aux. input of my looper from the phone output of the Handsonic. Works great. For bigger gigs I run into a mixer, to the input of the looper into 2 EV ZLX12P speakers and WOW.. the stereo pan control for each pad gets some awesome drum affects. I have had so much fun with this thing it's unreal... you got to get you some of this...

  • Steve
    from NH February 9, 2016Music Background:
    No skills

    HPD-20 drums

    Im not a musician in grammar school only had lessons on a rubber
    Drum pad so lost interest! This unit has so many percussion
    Sounds and possible variations that i can get lost just fooling around.
    Tabla is cool, dont have a computer but that expands the options.
    Tell my friends just get one well worth it !

  • Chip
    from Katy, TX USA September 25, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    The Roland Handsonic HPD-20 Rocks!

    I use the HPD-20 for an acoustic side project. I also added the Roland pedals to give me the ability to play a full kit sound. It allows me to effortlessly move from a fat drum kit to a conga/bongo/cajon array in literally a second!

    Having recently upgraded from the HPD-15, I find the newer model much more user friendly as far as creating/saving custom patches. Moreover, the sound replication is greatly enhanced. The new trigger surfaces are softer and easier on your hands. Although, I still prefer to wear drumming gloves. Overall, I am very pleased with the unit and have zero regrets!

  • Drumjazz
    from Durham, NC October 19, 2013Music Background:

    Nice upgrade from hpd-15

    Just received the Roland HPD-20 and I like it very much. Have only played it for about 30 minutes, but there are many improvements (IMO) over the older model. The pads are very responsive, and there are new sounds (Yay!).

    The editing is going to be a lot easier now that there is a menu-type screen. One of the things I used the HPD-15 for was triggering MIDI from a laptop. If you ever did this, you know what a pain it was to set MIDI note numbers. This is much, much easier now. I am also looking forward to loading and designing my own sounds, etc. More to say, I am sure, but this is just a first impression.

    The free shipping took only took a few days, and sales associate Paul Allen is always helpful.

  • Rick W
    from Pennsylvania June 24, 2016Music Background:

    Very cool , but a little misleading

    This thing does a ton of things and that's cool. Sounds awesome. As advertised though it is misleading. Says 200 drum/ percussion kits. It comes with about 40 usable right away, a bunch that you will probably never use, and there is 100 empty spaces. You have to basically design your own setups and fill it in.

  • Brian Foster
    from Broken Arrow, OK July 10, 2014Music Background:
    50+ year drummer/ percussionist Pro, ministry and hobby

    Upgrade from Hpd-15

    Just started tweaking out the new HPD 20. I have played HPD 15 for 5 or 6 years and it was a little tough to give up thos 2 pads and ribbon controllers. That said, I am quickly getting kits built and adjusted. ALL pads including the d-beam can be dual layered with an assortment of mix / replace settings so with a little practice you have more, not less, surfaces to play on. I am disappointed that you can't edit and loop the quick record but its not a deal breaker. They are trying to get us to buy their loop station. The first flash drive I tried didn't read (wasn't empty) but I bought a cheap one and it works fine. The multi-positional play on the front left pad is also nice as is the ability to mute from any pad. My favorite upgrade is actually the seperate volume control for phones. That drove me crazy on the 15. My thunder is gone but I replaced it with a dual layered much better sample.
    To sum up, learning curve is longer but worth the trip. Sounds are potentially better but need tweaking. When its all settled in it will be a much better instrument.
    Gotta work on those loops though...

  • Ashu
    from United States November 11, 2013Music Background:
    Performing Musician

    Awesome hardware, not so good default sound library/Preset kits

    I have owned HPD 20 for almost 11 years. So the moment I heard about HPD 20, I pounced and preordered. Somethings I already knew
    1. This has 2 pads less than HPD15 and does not have side ribbons that I loved.
    2. The sound engine was from TD-9 and had no resemblance to HPD15

    What I didnt realize was how much I missed the old sounds. Like Ghatam and Afro Flam sounds. The Punch and the Woody 1,2, the glass crash, the bomb and thunder used to be my go to patches for a ton of shows.

    Even the maracas, shaker 1,2,3 , the belltree were more awesome sounding in HPD15. The claps sounded more real instead of machine like on the previous model.

    First Roland took SPD-20 with similar sounds of the shelf, try to get one now. Used SPD-20 sells for more than new SPD-30. Just because of the sounds. And now it follows the same route on HPD-20.

    Hardware wise its amazing. It has a much better feel and sensitivity. The rubber seems much better. HPD-15 felt plasticky, this one has skiddish rubber like grip and feeling. The saving grace is it can sample. But the loaded samples dont sound the same on this compared to preset patches on HPD-15 or 20. Even preset kits for pot drums, dholak, drums feel useless. You cant use them without changing all sounds so its time consuming. Also Any changes you make are permanent unlike HPD-15 where you could modify something and not save it.

    There are improvements in some other patches. Like more drum kicks, snares, hihats and many more ethnic instruments. Which are pretty awesome. Even the way instruments are organized feels better. ANd there seem to be many more user and preset kits. Love all the USB. But this feels like a new drum altogether instead of an upgrade. Hope Roland will release a patch with older instrument patches. In todays date with dirt cheap flash drives, it should have been included. Its a no-brainer; But unlikely.

  • QuestTerry
    from New Haven December 8, 2016Music Background:
    drummer for 50+ years, electronic music for 20+, almost almost professional

    Why I Like The 15 Better

    I had learned a bit on friend's HPD 10's and a 15 over the years. I have owned the 15 for two years now, had a chance to buy the new one or the 15, used and it was no question. I use mine not so much as a studio resource, but a full time live instrument. I use both ribbons in so many ways, from sounds to control like pitch bends and extra notes for chords. I play bass drum with a detuned floor tom using my thumb and I find it much more responsive. My sets DO take lifetimes to program, and it is a constant process adjusting separate elements for relative volumes, etc. The new instant permanent editing would make things very difficult. A lot of the factory patches are filled up with junky sound effects to be sure, and I wish there were more cymbals. The samples may be better sounding, but with a bit of studio knowledge, you can turn anything into something else to make up any perceptible differences. I do have 20+ years in synth programming, however, so some of the more obtuse functions come easier to understand. But I feel I am only just starting to get some of the deeper level of sound possible with this instrument. Roland, please make another 15 and take everyone's comments to heart! But for those who need the MIDI and computer savvy functions, this might be great, but calling it HPD 20 is misleading unless there are 20 pads

  • eklektro
    from los angeles November 17, 2013Music Background:
    pro drummer, programmer, performer

    Pretty great, but could have been Amazing...

    OK, like the previous poster says, the HPD-20 seems an entirely new instrument, rather than an upgrade to the HPD-15, and for the most part, this is Great. Its awesome to play this thing.. very intuitive setup, and the sound set is much more modern. So i appreciate most of the improvements, and some of the "changes"; however, Buyer Beware: One of the most sought-after features is not functioning. The USB driver 1.0 for computer connectivity DOES NOT WORK WITH MAC OSX 10.8x. i have tried 3 different recent model Macs, and different versions of the OS. (next i will try an older MacBook Pro running 10.6x or 10.7x) I sent Roland tech support an email and they replied that they "are ordering a Mac from their IT department" so they can try this out. (!) (Really? for the first time?) I tried calling Roland tech support to see if i'd have more luck, but had to spend 40 minutes on hold listening to the cheesy looped commercials for their guitar products before i hung up in utter frustration. Also, for loading one's own samples, i've tried 3 different USB sticks, with different formatting, and i have yet to get one to be recognized. Amazing that the manual merely recommends that one purchase the Roland USB stick (probably at highly inflated price) rather than give the user any simple specifications (size, formatting specs, etc), to save too much trial and error. This is typical big corporation dis-connect, so for anybody out there hoping to load your own samples or connect directly to a computer without need for stand-alone audio interface; i would suggest that you hold off from buying this new product until you can confirm that the features you need are fully functioning. Too bad, 'cause it sounds great :)

  • Damon
    from February 13, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Pro Musician,

    Oh RLY???

    Okay Roland, you need to hire ME to be your product analysis specialist. I have been playing Roland devices for decades and this was one product I wanted to love but don't. For one thing you build a recorder into the instrument but it doesn't do loops like you think it should. You know, set tempo, play to start loop and at end of specified number of bars do autoloop. This could have been it's most amazing feature live. It's a nightmare to get it to loop on the beat. And that new pad you put on there is not better than it's predecessor. Are you aware of how many people play drums on this thing? It's almost too noisy to hit with sticks, meaning the thud is almost louder than the drums it spits out. Not so with the older version. Nice menu system but who decides how the menu works? How could you mess that up? Do Japanese people think THAT differently than we Americans? It's like you got the eggheads in the programming dept to do the front end design, after using American products for a decade you would think Roland might figure out that musicians are not rocket scientists. It's so frustrating trying to mess with Japanese products that need to be programmed. Do some research will you! On the plus side, the Supernatural sounds are not excellent but they're pretty damned good but the claps and cowbells suck and where's my floor tom?. The iBeam works really well on this model. And seriously folks, you added a Hi-Hat pedal and a Bass Drum port but you took away the ability to Y the two devices into one input thus removing the ability to add another pad. Why is this important? Look at the layout. It's almost perfect for mini drums. Had they included the pad option as an extra I could have purchased a pad to use as my floor tom. That way I have three toms right on the device as full sized triggers. Perhaps you could ask the eggheads in the programming department to re-jigger the footswitch jack as an extra pad input. What the h*** were you NOT thinking!

  • Tony Sales
    from November 26, 2013Music Background:

    HPD20 First Impressions

    First Handsonic for me although I have a Roland TD4 Drum kit so can't compare to earlier models. For the last reviewer a USB pendrive has to be formatted on the HPD20 itself before use - this info is on website not in manual. First impressions are that the sounds and sensitivity are impressive, but I would agree that most of the preset kits are not really of any use for traditional percussion parts. Traditional conga/bongo and djembe techniques do work with minor modifications to playing style which means you can reproduce realistic hand drums sounds - which is why I bought it. However there is a whole wealth of other features which open up a new world of experimental techniques - including loops, synths and sound FX etc. I was hoping that the record feature would allow you to overdub and quantise, but it is a purely one take realtime affair. The ability to import samples is a great idea - I intend to sample all of my own percussion and drumkits and try them out. The factory presets are editable, which I see as a negative, because you have to reset the whole unit to factory defaults using a file downloaded from the Roland website to get them back. As a percussionist I find using the small finger pads awkward, but I can use the centre and rear pads in the normal way as the front pads hardly trigger if I slap these with my fingers...

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