Hands-On Review:Roland HPD-15 Percussion Pad


Review: Roland HPD-15 Percussion Pad


Electronic drum pads for stick-wielding drummers are no big deal anymore, but our hand percussion brethren have been out in the cold for years, until now. Why any company has waited so long to exploit or serve this growing market is anybody's guess, but leave it to Roland to be first on the block, and incorporate their market tested V-Drum technology into the deal as well.


Divided into 15 parts beyond the basic playing surface, the HPD-15 allows hand percussionists to play up to 15 sounds simultaneously, and there are 300 worldbeat-oriented percussion sounds onboard to choose from. Features include a 10-inch rubber playing surface with 15 areas for triggering up to 15 sounds, a built-in pressure sensor for muting and pitch control, onboard reverb and dedicated effects, preset rhythm patterns and metronome, dual ribbon controllers, three control knobs, MIDI in/out dual trigger input and high hat control jack.


Another feature, which seems to be showing on every new piece of Roland gear, is the D-Beam controller, a Theremin-like device that enables you to wave your hand over its infrared beam to control (distort, pitch bend, tone bend) the ensuing sound of the pad. Pretty cool, and it makes you look like a mad maestro about to spout great truths to the masses. And an onboard sequencer also lets you record real-time performances to User memory for instant playback and storage.


Musician.com found that the HPD-15 lived up to its billing. The unit is jammed with endless variations on ethnic sounds, with patterns including mambo, samba, songo, and bossa nova, to name but a few. The pressure sensitive feature made the playing surface almost like a conga head, and one touch of the various pads on the circumference of the pad changed sounds quickly. The D-Beam controller is also a successful feature, enabling you to play around with the many pre-set rhythm patterns. And if you get the urge to womp the pad with a stick, which is not recommended, the HPD-15 will respond with a staccato attack sound.


Tired of loading those congas and bongos into the van? Check out the Roland Handsonic and you may never load up the van again.