I'm a Juilliard-trained percussionist who left music as a career years ago, but continue to enjoy percussion and music for fun (and for some side income now and then). I've been involved in MIDI and digital music since the beginning (starting with an Atari 1040ST computer and C-Lab's Notator back in the late 80's).
About 4 years ago—unaware of the Zendrum at the time—I discovered the Roland HandSonic (HPD-15) and went nuts over it! I bought one immediately and played the heck out of it for 4 years, including a live performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Even knowing about the Zendrum, the HandSonic is an incredibly capable device, with the obvious benefit of having great-sounding world percussion samples from Roland. (And I don't think there is a better "electronic tabla" on the planet than the HandSonic!)
But over the years, one thing really bugged me about the HandSonic: it just looked dorky. I never liked Roland's "Flash Gordon" silver plastic design, and frankly always felt a bit embarrassed by the thing. Though, interestingly, nobody but me seemed to care...fascinated audience members were constantly coming up and peppering me with questions about the HandSonic. (As an aside, if Roland made the HandSonic with a hand-finished wood case, it would be a lot
I wanted something with the same degree of expressiveness in a hand controller...and an instrument which just looked cooler and had more of the qualities we appreciate in a finely-crafted musical instrument. I found out about the Zendrum a couple years ago and thought "Wow, this looks great!" But for some stupid reason didn't buy one right away!
Instead, I picked up a used TrapKat off eBay. The Alternate Mode gear has a good reputation and is certainly high-quality, and I figured I'd enjoy getting back to playing with sticks again (heck, I had 15 years of world-class training and performing experience using sticks, so why not use 'em?) Long story short, I never took to the TrapKat. It was just too much of a hassle to configure, and it was way too big and heavy to easily carry to gigs. I know—it's probably no bigger than an average drumkit...but I've gotta tell ya, after decades of hauling around timpani, marimbas, and other gigantic instruments...I'm OVER hauling big stuff around!
Flash forward to today...and I just sold my HandSonic *and* my TrapKat on eBay...and Monday morning, I'm ordering a Zendrum! (WOOHOO!) After all I've seen and read and heard, I really think this is "it," the ultimate hand percussion instrument I've been wanting for all these years! (You hear that Zendrum? Big expectations! LOL)
Like everyone else, I can't get one soon enough. I really want to get back into live performing again—I think I've subconciously been avoiding playing live for the past year because I didn't like any of my live instrument options. I'm hoping with the Zendrum, I'm gonna "bust loose!"
Regarding my choice of instrument: I studied (and watched video clips) of both the ZX and the LT...and for me, the choice is obvious: the ZX is just FAR cooler-looking than the LT. The LT—though a fine instrument—just has (for me) too much of the "HandSonic Dorky Factor" against it. (No offense to LT owners!) The ZX on the other hand is an instrument that ranks right up there with electric guitar, bass and acoustic drums with the "cool" factor. I'm not obsessed with appearances (after all, it's what you do with it that counts, right?)...but after years of playing the decidedly un-cool HandSonic, I want to look cool!
All that's left is to decide on a finish (but I won't let that delay my Monday morning order! LOL).