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The Handsonic is very high on instant gratification. I've had a number of
non-percussionists sit down at mine and have a lot of fun. (I'm a
non-percussionist as well.)
On the other hand, I have a couple of gripes that seem reflective of much
my experience with Roland gear in that the operating system always seems to
keep it from living up to its promise. Here are the chief issues that come
* The effects are much like the effects from the SP-808 (and other Roland
units) but the provisions for realtime control of the effects are much more
limited. In particular, the unit has 3 knobs purportedly for realtime sound
tweaking but all they really seem to do most of the time is provide a
slightly faster way to edit kits. I really wish I could do things like
assign the knobs to the feedback level on the delay effects, for example.
* The sequencer on board is very weak for loop building and actually isn't
even much of a sequencer. It doesn't let you erase notes. It doesn't let
switch parts while recording. The Handsonic with some good MIDI looping
software in its OS would be really cool. Even just matching some of what
be done on things like the MC-505 would be a start. As it is, I end up just
doing my looping in audio which seems somewhat of a waste since MIDI data
ought to be more flexible.
As for the sounds, I don't know whether I prefer it or my Emu Planet Earth.
The latter probably has better sounds but they are harder to get to.
Summary: Fun percussion controller with decent sound sets that falls short
of what it could be by not having an OS that allows much realtime effects
manipulation nor easy loop creation/manipulation.
- From: Tom Roady <email@example.com>