Apparently it’s the most advanced drum pad ever. Keith McMillen Instruments have found another use for their weird white smart fabric – they’ve created an electronic drum pad. They are calling it the BopPad because they are all groovy hep-cats down at KMI central.
It is location and pressure sensitive. You can split the pad into four regions (or quadrants) and assign different sounds to each one. This makes for a very versatile device. Although it may need a drummer to concentrate on where they are hitting the drum more than they usually would. It can be played with sticks, beaters, fingers, hands or whatever.
With it set to a single region you can play it just like a traditional drum, or split it up for more creative playing. Each quadrant can play up to 6 simultaneous notes which gives it some radical possibilities. Chords spring to mind but also layering up sounds or sample triggering
It has some additional super powers, one of which is radial sensitivity where you can strike and slide in order to change any mapped parameter. The other is in the pressure department where after velocity you can also map pressure changes to whatever you want giving it much more than a percussive focus.
Form and function
It appears to connect and function via USB but they haven’t gone into very much detail about that. It is just a controller and doesn’t have its own sounds. They claim a 2.4ms latency in the device but what you experience will depend on the quality of your audio interface drivers that are generating the sounds from your virtual instruments. In the video it looks like it’s on a stand but again there’s no information other to say that it’s 10 inches diameter, light but robust.
As with all KMI gear that white smart fabric stuff looks just kinda weird.
There will be a software editor for Mac, Windows and iOS and they are talking about a WebMIDI driven browser version as well.
They are estimating delivery for June 2017 so as a product it’s pretty far off. KMI have often taken their time over product releases. There’s still no Windows drivers for the K-MIX – I’ve been ready to buy one since it was announced two years ago. So take release dates with a pinch of salt.
So far they’ve nearly raised half of the $35,000 they are asking for and there are still some Early Bird pledges available at $175. I’m really tempted by this thing. I have an Alesis Performance Pad which I don’t use as much as I should because it’s chunky and unwieldy – the BopPad could be a cool replacement for that. Although would I miss the ease of on-board sounds…
Here’s the Kickstarter link. Go and check it out, you groovy hipster.