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Roland Handsonic HPD-15 vs HPD-20
Old 4th March 2014
  #1
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Roland Handsonic HPD-15 vs HPD-20

I've been watching too many JMJ vids, and now have an urge to get myself a Roland Handsonic HPD-15.



Before I do, has anyone here got one? Got some tips/warnings?

Is the HPD-20 better with all the USB connectivity going on? It is missing some cool knobs (3 real time modify) and those L&R Ribbon Controls.



Just incase anyone asks - WHY DO YOU WANT ONE?

Well, I'm a habitual tapper. I've done it all my life - kitchen sinks, steering wheel in the car - anything that has good acoustics - I'm tapping away!. This device will be like giving my habit the itch it needs.
Old 4th March 2014
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
The 20 says 'supernatural' on it, so I presume the sound engine has been upgraded. IDK if the 20 has the sequencer? The pedal/trigger inputs? I'd want to know if those missing knob functions can be replicated through MIDI in.
Tough call, but those ribbon controllers sure look like fun.
Old 4th March 2014
  #3
VST
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I have a HPD-10 which looks very much like the 20 and I really like it. It's all samples in the 10, so as mentioned, prolly an upgraded engine. Apparently the samples on the 15 are out of phase, which was fixed on the 10.

A 20 or 10 would be your best bet imo. The 15 is much older.
Old 5th March 2014
  #4
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Interesting. The 15 was released around the same time as the MC-505, and has a similar sound font as other gear released by Roland at the time.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vstace ➡️
Apparently the samples on the 15 are out of phase, which was fixed on the 10.
Wait, what? Out of phase?

Can you point to some supporting info? I am not sure how this is even possible, as something has to be out of phase from the also-present source signal in order for the ear to even perceive that something is awry.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up ➡️
Wait, what? Out of phase?

Can you point to some supporting info? I am not sure how this is even possible, as something has to be out of phase from the also-present source signal in order for the ear to even perceive that something is awry.
Well… there is a concept often called "absolute phase", more accurately referred to as "polarity" which is usually most noticeable on kick drum recordings. Picture this: You've got a mic in front of a kick drum of a standard drum kit. When the beater hits the kick drum's head, the head will move away from the player and toward the microphone FIRST - so the first half-cycle of the fundamental will be "positive-going", which on a DAW waveform display will usually look like the waveform goes "up" on the first half-cycle, before going down on the second half-cycle.

When this is played back on loudspeakers, the speaker cone will move TOWARD the listener first, as if the listener had been standing in front of the drum kit when the original performance was recorded.

If you somehow invert the polarity (aka inverting the phase 180 degrees) at some point in the recording / mixing process, the speaker cone will move AWAY from the listener in the first half-cycle of the kick drum sound. With a very tonal, resonant drum sound this may not be all that noticeable, but with a short, tight kick sound it might be more apparent.

Not that anyone could listen to a recording and say, "that kick drum is out of polarity!"… but… technically, there is a difference between one and the other. It's something I was taught to always be aware of to insure correct polarity during the recording process, and I guess would be more of a factor in live "off the floor" drum recording, and more apparent with low punchy sounds like kicks, toms, and so forth.

There are little devices like this one:

Galaxy Cricket Polarity Test Set | Sweetwater.com

that will help verify the polarity of a signal while recording. These are often used by techs on big PA systems or in studio build-outs to insure that nothing's wired back-asswards. Not that you'd keep one in a belt pouch while setting up for a drum session in the studio, it's more likely that the techs would use it to verify all the tie lines and so forth while the studio was being wired for the first time. On the tours I've done the PA crew used devices like this to "click" or "ping" the system since having some signals with reversed polarity flying around a hot stage with lots of loud wedges could cause all sorts of voodoo when trying to control the levels and feedback on stage.

Not that this has anything to do with the rumor that the HPD-15's internal samples are played "out of phase", but it would certainly be possible that at some point in all of the HPD-15's digital and analog circuitry (or the initial process of recording, editing, and storing the samples in ROM) that their polarity somehow got inverted.

Let's say you record and then quantize / beat detective a HPD-15 low conga alongside some live drums. If the HPD's waveform "goes down" while the kick drum's waveform is "going up" then instead of stacking energy and creating more impact on that beat, you'd possibly be sucking energy out and lessening the "punch" for that crucial few milliseconds right at the attack portion. Of course, since the drums probably have different fundamental frequencies, after half a cycle or so nothing's in phase anymore, and waveforms are stacking and subtracting from each other all over the place - but I was always taught to verify polarity while recording to insure that this wasn't the cause when someone in the room goes, "I dunno… do the drums sound punchy enough to you?"

Does it matter? Perhaps. Possibly. Definitely. Not at all. Who freakin' knows? Still, it's easy enough to check and verify and, like Remo Gaggi says in the courtroom meeting scene towards the end of "Casino"…..

"Why take a chance? At least, that's the way I feel about it."
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I am skeptical. Roland employs a lot of smart engineers, I don't think something like that would ship from them. Link to measurements and evidence please.
Old 5th March 2014
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
If you can get a good condition hpd-15 it will be much cheaper. The 15 has great sounds, particularly percussion and global/ethnic drums. I get most use out of it from triggering samples in battery.

Hpd-20 can load samples though which might be helpful for some.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #9
VST
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osc1lfo ➡️
I am skeptical. Roland employs a lot of smart engineers, I don't think something like that would ship from them. Link to measurements and evidence please.
Roland Handsonic HPD-10 vs. HPD-15 - VDrums Forum

Let's try to further verify this. I'll try to find some more info. But I can make recordings of my HPD-10 to help.
Old 7th March 2014 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser ➡️
Well… there is a concept often called "absolute phase", more accurately referred to as "polarity" which is usually most noticeable on kick drum recordings.
Great, thorough post with a lot of smart observations that did not occur to me. However, even if the samples were out of phase (typically the source samples would be shared across many different distinct Roland or Boss products), or else something else somewhere in the signal path introduced phase distortion or otherwise altered the phase, I would think Roland would have caught this very early on in QA.

This could probably also be corrected in software somewhere by using a fairly simple algorithm to adjust the phase based on the difference between the actual signal phase and the expected signal phase.
Old 8th March 2014
  #11
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interesting. For me, I'm more interested in quality and flexibility and the HPD-20 seems to be the way to go, the HPD-15 seems to have too many flaws. I can achieve the ribbon and modulation effects using a kaossilator, so not a real big loss there - just think it would have been cool to keep those features on the HPD-20.
Old 15th April 2015
  #12
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🎧 5 years
I just got the HPD-20 today, and am absolutely loving it.

The rubber surface is soft and forgiving enough to play for long sessions, and the sensitivity is perfect. The stock sounds are actually very, very good - much better than I had expected. It just feels very natural to play and sounds fantastic. I haven't tried Midi yet, BUT I can't wait to start incorporating this into my productions.
Old 15th May 2015 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemosit ➡️
I just got the HPD-20 today, and am absolutely loving it.

The rubber surface is soft and forgiving enough to play for long sessions, and the sensitivity is perfect. The stock sounds are actually very, very good - much better than I had expected. It just feels very natural to play and sounds fantastic. I haven't tried Midi yet, BUT I can't wait to start incorporating this into my productions.
Excellent news. How does the unit sound with your own custom sounds? Can you apply the sensitivity naturally to say a bunch of noisy samples cut up form old funk & soul recordings?

Is it easy to go experimental by layering say a more natural percussion set with noise or electronic samples?
Old 15th May 2015
  #14
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DBEAM!
Old 16th May 2015
  #15
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🎧 15 years
The only thing i wish the hpd-20 had is multitrack loop recording (or overdubbing). .
I'm going to try loading my own hang drum samples this weekend. we'll see how that turns out
Old 19th November 2015
  #16
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Sparklebarf's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
It feels like I'm missing something...each trigger on my HPD-15 come factory preset with different volume levels which are completely counter intuitive. It seems like I have to go through each patch individually to get them to sound right...its been a pain.
Old 19th November 2015
  #17
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🎧 10 years
I'm kind of torn between the HPD-10 and the Korg Wavedrum. I know they're quite different, but if you had to choose only one, which one would you choose and why? The HPD-20 is currently out of my budget.
Old 19th November 2015 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemosit ➡️
I just got the HPD-20 today, and am absolutely loving it.

The rubber surface is soft and forgiving enough to play for long sessions, and the sensitivity is perfect. The stock sounds are actually very, very good - much better than I had expected. It just feels very natural to play and sounds fantastic. I haven't tried Midi yet, BUT I can't wait to start incorporating this into my productions.
Can you tell us if the HPD-20 can be sequenced or if it can sequence external gear?
Old 19th November 2015 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcgood ➡️
Can you tell us if the HPD-20 can be sequenced or if it can sequence external gear?
It can be sequenced from an external source, and it can also be used as a controller for external sounds.

The MIDI implementation is actually fairly extensive. Here is a link to the MIDI implementation Documentation:

HPD-20 MIDI Implementation :: HandSonic HPD-20 :: Manuals :: Support :: Roland
Old 19th November 2015 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chemosit ➡️
It can be sequenced from an external source, and it can also be used as a controller for external sounds.

The MIDI implementation is actually fairly extensive. Here is a link to the MIDI implementation Documentation:

HPD-20 MIDI Implementation :: HandSonic HPD-20 :: Manuals :: Support :: Roland
So this can serve as a drum module, which can also be played by hand???? Wow. How is this not on everyone's radar?
Old 19th November 2015
  #21
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🎧 10 years
I have been wanting HPD-15 as well. Tell me why shouldn't I get it? What's the speculated flaws around it? Anything obvious to show me? Is the feeling of the pads themselves different?

I don't need necessarily the user samples and instead I like more of the things you can do in live so that's why I would like to have those realtime knobs and ribbons. Also using HPD-15 as drum module via midi.

Last edited by AnalogGuy; 19th November 2015 at 10:37 PM..
Old 20th November 2015 | Show parent
  #22
VST
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac ➡️
I'm kind of torn between the HPD-10 and the Korg Wavedrum. I know they're quite different, but if you had to choose only one, which one would you choose and why? The HPD-20 is currently out of my budget.
I had the same contemplation but the Roland won out due to midi implementation such as triggering multiple synth notes and the variety of sounds available at once. I do however think the Wavedrum would be a purer sounding albeit more limited instrument. You can also play it with sticks which you can't to with a Handsonic(unless you want to ruin the finish).

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogGuy ➡️
I have been wanting HPD-15 as well. Tell me why shouldn't I get it? What's the speculated flaws around it? Anything obvious to show me? Is the feeling of the pads themselves different?

I don't need necessarily the user samples and instead I like more of the things you can do in live so that's why I would like to have those realtime knobs and ribbons. Also using HPD-15 as drum module via midi.
I would avoid the 15 in favor of the 10 or 20. Much better response, samples and overall design. I love my 10, use is all the time in my productions. Whether I'm just adding some congas, or fills, or laying in midi to trigger Ableton drum racks it works great.
Old 20th November 2015 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by VST ➡️
I had the same contemplation but the Roland won out due to midi implementation such as triggering multiple synth notes and the variety of sounds available at once. I do however think the Wavedrum would be a purer sounding albeit more limited instrument. You can also play it with sticks which you can't to with a Handsonic(unless you want to ruin the finish).
Thanks. I eventually plan to get both. Been wanting them for years, and now that I'm playing drums in a band, I actually have a reason to buy them. I'm leaning towards buying the HPD-10 first because I think it'll be more useful, but I'm GASsing more for the Wavedrum.
Old 20th November 2015 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac ➡️
I'm kind of torn between the HPD-10 and the Korg Wavedrum. I know they're quite different, but if you had to choose only one, which one would you choose and why? The HPD-20 is currently out of my budget.
I got the HPD-10, because to take advantage of the Wavedrum you still need to use a stick...for instance the sides that have the raised bumps, you have to use the side of the stick to generate sound. I'm not a proficient drummer, and while can beat on my Alesis controller, to beat on the Wavedrum and switch to rimming the side is too much for me.

Also the Wave drum is just one surface...yes you can generate different responses depending on where you tap it, but with the Handsonic it's all strictly divided. You KNOW where to tap for different sounds are located.

Also there's the Roland D-Beam (I know it well from my Gaia and Juno Di).

As for Handsonic differences, there's the phasing issue with the HPD15, with HPD10 you are stuck with the sounds that are in the ROM, but the HPD20 you can load in sounds but it's $$$.

I confess I haven't looked into whether the HPD-10 can drive another drum sound generator.
Old 20th November 2015 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by VST ➡️
I had the same contemplation but the Roland won out due to midi implementation such as triggering multiple synth notes and the variety of sounds available at once. I do however think the Wavedrum would be a purer sounding albeit more limited instrument. You can also play it with sticks which you can't to with a Handsonic(unless you want to ruin the finish).



I would avoid the 15 in favor of the 10 or 20. Much better response, samples and overall design. I love my 10, use is all the time in my productions. Whether I'm just adding some congas, or fills, or laying in midi to trigger Ableton drum racks it works great.
I've had the 15 for a few years and it is excellent. The amount of real-time control you have over the sounds is great. I use the internal Sequencer as a loop tool then run it through a Sherman filter bank.... Awesome on deep house tracks.
Old 22nd November 2016
  #26
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I just wanted to let everyone here know that I eventually got the HPD-20. I've had it for 3 months now - and it is really at home with my music style.

I'm now starting to think of funky ways to use it - as an external controller for my TR-8 - as a sampler (the sampler is actually quite useful).

I'm also thinking of doing a little youtube video on it - as it really is a very well made instrument from Roland.
Old 22nd November 2016
  #27
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How are you using it, @ ranzee ?

Had the 15 back in the day and loved it. The 20 is on my one-of-these-days list. Much better specs than the 15.

Always envisioned a 2-person gig with me on keys and a female (for lead vocals while I do harmony) on Handsonic. Research shows audiences respond more positively to musicians demonstratively playing instruments. They like to see the cause and effect of a guitarist strumming a chord and hearing a sound emerge. Doesn't matter if they're faking it or not, it just adds to the drama. More than a laptop at least, so I figured that combo and some head-noddin', foot-stomping choons would help me get local gigs.

But I'm past the stage of realistically making this happen, so I give you my idea for free. Just mention me in your Grammy acceptance speech. Thanks in advance.
Old 22nd November 2016
  #28
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That's great. The HPD-20 sounds amazing and the ability to load samples should be very useful. I got the HPD-10 *and* the Wavestation last year. I have used the Wavestation more for recordings because it just sounds so organic. The HPD, on the other hand, is great for live playing. I'm even considering buying the FS-6 dual-switch to emulate a kick drum and hihat pedal.

I originally wanted the HPD-10 to emulate several percussion instruments without having to buy a bunch of them, but ironically having the HPD made me want to own the real thing. I've already bought two darbukas (one with jingles) and I'm planning to buy a cajon and a djembe next month.
Old 22nd November 2016 | Show parent
  #29
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ranzee's Avatar
 
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robotunes ➡️
How are you using it, @ ranzee ?

Had the 15 back in the day and loved it. The 20 is on my one-of-these-days list. Much better specs than the 15.

Always envisioned a 2-person gig with me on keys and a female (for lead vocals while I do harmony) on Handsonic. Research shows audiences respond more positively to musicians demonstratively playing instruments. They like to see the cause and effect of a guitarist strumming a chord and hearing a sound emerge. Doesn't matter if they're faking it or not, it just adds to the drama. More than a laptop at least, so I figured that combo and some head-noddin', foot-stomping choons would help me get local gigs.

But I'm past the stage of realistically making this happen, so I give you my idea for free. Just mention me in your Grammy acceptance speech. Thanks in advance.
Pretty much the same reason.

I originally got it to add more if a live vibe to my songs. Adding some hand percussion really juices a track up. There is some really good expressive tech in this. The Supernatural engine helps with smooth transitions between expressiveness.

I've had pads firing 5ths on analog monos, and samples of loops that are running with just a tap to start/stop.
Old 22nd November 2016 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac ➡️
That's great. The HPD-20 sounds amazing and the ability to load samples should be very useful. I got the HPD-10 *and* the Wavestation last year. I have used the Wavestation more for recordings because it just sounds so organic. The HPD, on the other hand, is great for live playing. I'm even considering buying the FS-6 dual-switch to emulate a kick drum and hihat pedal.

I originally wanted the HPD-10 to emulate several percussion instruments without having to buy a bunch of them, but ironically having the HPD made me want to own the real thing. I've already bought two darbukas (one with jingles) and I'm planning to buy a cajon and a djembe next month.
I was going to get the 15 over the 10, but I probably realized that was JMJ's influence. I do like the USB connectivity of the 10. Then I kinda went cold on this for a while until my local store was selling them a little cheaper, and all of a sudden I find myself getting a 20
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