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#2921622 - 04/15/18 09:44 PM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: Zalman Stern]
David Fahrner Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Rural Oregon
Key feel is an advantage for the Xylosynth, too...its hardwood keys look to be thinner than on the Zendrum mallet controllers, which is probably why the Xylosynth weighs a lot less...hopefully, Keith McMillen has designed a good key feel into the malletSTATION, too...the key feel on the Marimba Lumina, (with those giant soft foam mallets!) was completely different...

If the Zendrum mallet controllers are used by marching bands, then marching percussionists must not have to carry their own instruments these days...if they do, those 30-40 lb. Zendrum mallet controllers are going to start losing sales to the 16-lb. malletSTATION...

"Expensive and quite boutique" probably applies to the Zendrum mallet controllers, too, and to the Malletkat and Xylosynth as well...now the malletSTATION may be different...

df

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#2921631 - 04/16/18 12:18 AM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: David Fahrner]
Zalman Stern Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/18
Posts: 77
Originally Posted By: David Fahrner

If the Zendrum mallet controllers are used by marching bands, then marching percussionists must not have to carry their own instruments these days...


I thought they ran the heavier mallet instruments, like vibes and marimbas, on wheeled frames.

Quote:

"Expensive and quite boutique" probably applies to the Zendrum mallet controllers, too, and to the Malletkat and Xylosynth as well...now the malletSTATION may be different...
df


Zendrum looks a bit more reasonable on this front in that they've been around a fair while and provide replacement parts. E.g. John Emrich has a video where he says they sell user replacable keys for ~$25. (That's the piece of wood with the sensor electronics.) He advises having an extra or two if you travel with one and it gets played by lots of people. (In that section of the video, he's cautioning that the wood can get little dents if played with hard rubber mallets, but I doubt that has a significant effect on playability.)

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#2921671 - 04/16/18 08:30 AM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: Zalman Stern]
David Fahrner Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Rural Oregon
Marching bands with wheeled carts for mallet instruments: that's probably how it's done now, I've been out of school now for 50-some years...

The Wernick Xylosynth has been around for quite a while, too, and they also sell spare keys (a key change is relatively easy and doesn't take too long), and they can repair failed keys...I would think that you would always use very soft yarn mallets with a mallet controller for minimal wear, since the type of mallet doesn't have anything to do with the sound...again, Wernick really tried to make the keys and key mounting feel like a "real" mallet instrument when played with soft mallets; I don't notice any difference switching back to my Deagan vibes...

I don't have any experience with the Malletkat about these issues, and we'll just have to wait and see how the malletSTATION does...

df

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#2921756 - 04/16/18 02:27 PM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: David Fahrner]
omvibes Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 69
Wow, never heard of Zendrum before, their mallet controllers look great, but ouch, expensive and heavy...
Regarding the Malletkat, its feel is definitely not 'real' compared to a xylosynth (I tried both), I own a malletkat mainly because when I bought it I needed onboard sounds and software wasn't as good for me at the time, but now things in that area are changing (thanks partly to the generosity of Dave Fahrner :-)) the mallestation, and also perhaps the xylosynth, are becoming more realistic as options...but in terms of feel, I suspect the malletstation will have the same 'plasticky' feel as a malletkat.

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#2921800 - 04/16/18 06:32 PM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: omvibes]
RABid Offline
10k Club

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 12567
I have not played their mallet instruments but I have two Zendrums. Top quality and very playable. Nothing else comes close.
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#2931418 - 06/06/18 08:37 AM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: RABid]
David Fahrner Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Rural Oregon
There's a 45-minute interview / Q&A session about the malletSTATION with Matt Jordan of Pearl and Jeff Phipps of Steve Weiss Music at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoDduVUZ7Jk

Matt answers most of the questions raised here, and gives a lot more detailed information about mS capabilities, setup, included software, etc...it looks like Pearl is actually getting ready to ship units; the video was made on May 24th, and Matt is talking about shipments in "30 to 45 days", which would be the end of this month...Pearl online support says that the mS "is in production and should be shipping soon"...

df

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#2949434 - 09/21/18 09:51 AM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: David Fahrner]
David Fahrner Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Rural Oregon
(I posted this about the malletSTATION on the encyclotronic.com forums.)

Finally got my malletSTATION last month - it was a long delay between product announcement and first production shipment, but hey, it is a new and complex product...like any new musical instrument, it's taking me some time to get it set up the way I want, and to get used to playing it, but it works well...the playing feel is good, and any kind of mallet works, although mallet noise is a little greater that on a Xylosynth...sensitivity and velocity curves are fully adjustable, and mallet dampening and deadstrokes work just about like on a "real" vibe...you have to play a little more accurately than with the Xs, since the very edge of the "bars" doesn't respond, but it's not a big deal...the additional panel controls, which are programmable and can send just about any MIDI message, are big enough to use a mallet to adust them while playing (!)....the mS a little smaller and lighter than the other mallet controllers, but is very solidly built...I'm using it with a Korg KRONOS synth (with my own Deagan vibe samples) that has USB class-compliant connections, which can connect directly to and power the mS; I've also tried it with USB-to-MIDI adapters from Kenton and Hobbytronics and they work perfectly (as I'm sure the Keith McMillen adapter does, too)...

There's an article on the Alternate Mode website comparing the mS and the Malletkat, and it's worth looking at if you're in the market for a mallet controller, if you know how you're going to be using it and what features you need (although the article is clearly aimed at convincing you to buy the Mk)...you do need to use a computer to configure the mS, while this can be done on the instrument with the Mk (although not easily), you can set up four different configurations on the mS, selected by pushbuttons, and that's probably enough for most players (it is for me)...the article also emphasizes the internal sounds available with the Mk, but if you're going to use a computer or an external synth or tone generator, that's probably not important...I do have an Alternate Mode Gigkat module, which has the same sounds as the internal sounds of the Mk, but they're not programmable and the vibe sounds aren't as good as my Deagan samples...

I think that my Xs has a little better playing feel than the mS, and certainly has a classic look with the bubinga tone bars and wood ends (although the mS looks high-tech and modern, if that's what you want), but again the Xs is not as configurable and its MIDI capabilities are limited...

df

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#2949445 - 09/21/18 11:45 AM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: David Fahrner]
Mark Schmieder Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 8950
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
It's great to get first-hand reports from those who own and/or are experienced with other mallet controllers.

BTW it's not always easy to find listed, but Pearl makes a nice gig bag for it.
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#2952542 - 10/11/18 09:51 AM Re: Pearl/KMI Malletstation: MIDI mallet percussion controller [Re: Mark Schmieder]
David Fahrner Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Rural Oregon
In my comments above, I'm comparing my older Xylosynth, a Mark V model from the early 2000s, with a brand-new product from Pearl, which may not really be a fair comparison...Will Wernick points out that the more recent models (the Mark 6, and the new Mark 7) have a lot of new features including improved mallet dampening, dead strokes, octave switching, and more...see http://www.wernick.net/ for more info...

And the Xs does have a better playing "feel" than the mS, if that's what's most important to you...and the Xs has the traditional mallet instrument look, too, with hardwood bar and ends; I took the mS to a gig last week to try it out, and the first thing the other guys in the band said was that it didn't look nearly as nice as the Xs...

df

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