Today we are taking a look at the Roland HPD-10, something to bring out that creativity in you and get you away from those RSI induced aches.
We love the fact that technology has progressed enough to bring with it the possibilities of cramming so much goodness into such a neat product. The HPD-10 is a fantastic instrument from Roland's hand percussion range. It is a little larger than a ream of A3 paper, measuring 323x427x75mm. It comes supplied with instructions and a power supply, but high up on the options list should be a PDS-10 stand, which makes the unit a lot easier to use and adjust to a comfortable height.
The best description of the HPD-10 is a really modern drum machine. It doesn't have any built-in recording functions, so it certainly could replace a drum machine if that is your requirement, but you can attach it to an external recording machine. It offer 400 built-in sounds, a metronome function (for keeping the rhythm spot on) and ten individual pressure sensitive pads. There is also a D-Beam controller, which is great fun, you simply wave your hand over the sensor at varying heights to achieve the required sound effect. Before I move on to how great the HPD-10 is, I should also mention the rhythm coach feature. This is great for adults and children alike, and shows an LED duplicate of the ten pads. It gets you to listen to a beat, whilst it shows you which pads to strike, then you have to repeat things at the correct rhythm to progress. This is a great training aid and makes learning fun.
Onto the sounds, and they really are fantastic. There are a lot of futuristic samples in there, with stunning special effects. You also get congas, bongos, tabla, cajon and steel drums, to name just a few. The fact that the pads are pressure sensitive adds to the realism and creativity. The harder you strike a pad, the louder the sound.
You can also turn the HPD-10 into a mini drum kit. Adding two external triggers allows you to add a cymbal and a kick trigger for that bass drum. There are also MIDI in and out sockets, so you can add extra functionality here too. For silent use and practice there is a headphone socket. But for rocking the house you need to connect either a single amp, or two powered speakers for stereo output. We used Roland's PM-10 personal monitor amplifier, which delivered stunning sound and clarity. Every small detail of the percussion instrument or effect was spot on, and when you hit those low bass drums, you really feel them. We also tried the HPD-10 with a Marshall MB30 bass amplifier. It was comparable to the PM-10, not quite as detailed, but certainly an option if you need to save a little on your budget.
Altogether I would put the HPD-10 into two camps, where it scores very highly indeed. If you are a pro musician and need to add percussion to your set-up, then look no further, you will not be disappointed. If like me, you love music, spend all day doing the same thing, and need some creative release at the end of the day, then spend you hard earned cash now. The HPD-10 has given me and my family hours of fun and I am very sad to have to send it back.
Product: Marshall MB30 Amplifier
Supplied by: Marshall Amplification plc
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