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Synesthesia has announced Mandala™ 2.0, a new version of the popular high-def drum and synthtesizer, co-developed with professional drummer Danny Carey of the progressive rock band Tool.

Now a computer peripheral—its USB cable plugs into PC or Mac—the Mandala 2.0 is the only electronic drum that truly emulates an acoustic drum. It offers drummers and musical explorers the only drum pad that knows exactly where it's hit and how hard, across seven assignable zones—with an immediate trigger delivering the fastest-traveling sound possible.

A new kind of synthesizer, the Mandala 2.0 packages a musical range so wide it simultaneously offers players the top of the line, most accurate model of a physical drum (via 3,000 professionally created, proprietary samples of the Black Beauty Snare Drum)—along with a library of sounds derived from more than 100 other instruments. In all, the Mandala 2.0 features four gigabytes of sound samples. It's a synthesizer with drumsticks, with a drum pad so sensitive it responds even to a fingertip touch.

"The Mandala helps people find their rhythm—whether it's the beat of a drum, or of a sound they haven't yet created," said Vince De Franco, Synesthesia founder and CEO, and inventor of the Mandala. "Use it as a compositional tool, or to create any sonic reality your heart desires. It's got percussive sounds down cold—and that includes percussion instruments like the piano, the vibraphone and the triangle. Its range gives people a rich, satisfying way to experiment. It literally will be a different product for everyone who buys it. It's the smartest thing you'll ever hit with a stick."

Whereas most electronic drums have one zone in the middle that detects the strike, Mandala's creators invented and patented a technology that enables the drum pad to detect the exact location and strength of every point of contact across the entire pad. With 128 concentric rings from the center to the edge—each offering its own sound variation—the Mandala offers unprecedented musical breadth. This high-def drum and synthesizer is bringing to percussive music-making the same kind of high resolution experience that HDTV has brought to viewers.

Other key features:

  • The accompanying software lets players synthesize a host of new sounds and expand their drum kits and sample libraries at will. The software automatically accommodates up to five separate drum pads. It's also designed to inspire and facilitate composition—along with the included instruments, players can add their own samples to the library, and use the effects to mold and create their own sounds.
  • The Mandala 2.0 works seamlessly with most major music software, including Apple GarageBand, Ableton Live, and Native Instruments Battery and Reaktor.
  • Mandala's easy-to-use software comes with more than 100 presets for out-of-the-box functionality. Players also can create their own configurations as they explore and discover its astonishing audio range.
  • One pad can accommodate from one to seven different zones of sound—each of which can be configured as a separate instrument, with an array of specialized settings. Players can have a snare, a bass and a cymbal (or a harp, marimba or organ, or any other instrument)—all in the same drum head, all at the same time. One Mandala can act as one drum, as an entire drum kit, or as an eclectic combo.


The Mandala 2.0 retails for $349, and is available November 1. Each Mandala is hand-crafted and thoroughly tested before it is shipped.

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