I’ve been trying some devices lately to start with fingerdrumming. I’ve read a lot about devices and pad sensitivity. In the end al the reading has been useless.
- Launchpad X is said to have generally good pad sensitivity with some variation depending on the unit.
- MPD218 is said to have good or bad sensitivity also depending on the unit.
The problem I’m seeing here is… how much sensitivity is “sensitive”?
Right now it’s measured subjectively like “I feel they’re just a bit more than” or “not as good as”. It is impossible to know if the unit you received is on the good side, the bad, the perfect, the awful… unless you have a lot of experience yourself – wich I don’t have, so maybe I have my expectatives too high, or too low, or… I see videos of people playing like they were caressing the pads, and I don’t know if their pads are just that sensitive or their fingers are so strong that they seem to play without hitting the pads as hard as I need to.
It would be desirable to find a measurable way to express it so I can find out if my Launchpad is trash, just a bit less sensitive but not so much as to deviate a lot from the good units or “hey, I got a good one”. This is my problem I’m facing right now.
I’ll refer just to the devices I mentioned above.
MPD218 was all over the place. I tried two units. Both of them were not what I was expecting when I read it was quite a good device. I located just one pad that had what I would call sensitive. The rest ranged from somewhat close to the good one to a pad designed for Fingerdrummer Hulk.
After that now I’m triying with a Launchpad X, spending more than I should really afford… and results are also not what I expected. Launchpad X has less variation between pads, though a row is notably harder than the rest and a couple of pads are a bit more sensitive than the others. But… I find they are less sensitive generally speaking than the good pads on the MPD218.
And all of this is subjective. Unless I have one of you try the unit I have I will never know if this is what a good Launchpad feels like but I just have to get used to it, or I have a bad unit and I should send it back.
I’ve been thinking about how a user without proper tools could find out numerical data that can be compared but I don’t know how much this approach could be trusted to compare data against. If this were at least a ballpark aproximation, well, then it woul not be really exact but it would give you some idea about what your results mean.
So… what does everybody have at hand? Something with mass. From mass you find weight, which is just gravitational force, and with force and area you can calculate pressure. The problem I can’t solve is how to measure all of this accurately enough.
Weight is trivial, surface is quite easy, but finding the vertical componet of the weight force is not. Or, in other words, depending on how you center the object on the pad, vertical force and point of pressure will vary and therefore we can measure different pressure using the same weight just depending on how we placed that object.
I don’t know how accurate could we get with a method like this. Therefore I don’t really know if these variations would be within an acceptable deviation percentage so we can at least have an approximate range to compare
E.g, I placed coins on an MPD218 pad. I needed 23 coins, 192 grams of weight, to activate the pad – placing 23 coins accurately is not that easy – so measuring coin area I could find pressure in Pascals. But maybe finding how much weight is needed could be close enough? I don’t know.
So… I’m posting this to put this idea out and see if better minds than mine can evaulate the idea and see if it can be a feasible way to compare our devices’ sensibilities – or find a better solution, of course.
PS: In the meantime… really, subjectively, how sensitive is a good Launchpad X? Caress, touch, tap, hit, firmly hit, smash, jump on it?