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Old 13th June 2009
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Drum pads- Velocity vs. Pressure Sensitivity

Drum pads- "Pressure" vs. "Velocity" sensitivity

Hey those in the know, I've been looking at getting a new midi Drum Pad controller (ie MPC-style) for composition, even mixing/daw control and possibly live performances. I've had my MPD16 forever now, and it needs replacing. I demoed the Korg NanoPad a tiny bit and was really impressed by the feel of the pads (not to mention the X-Y screen, programmability features and looks). The one thing that scares me is that its pads are apparently 'only' Velocity Sensitive, where as the MPD controllers are Pressure Sensitive as well.

I think I understand the meaning of the two terms. With both kinds of response you can express TWO parameters via your playing, instead of just one. So for a hi-hat, for example, you could modify the sample's pitch by how quick you hit the pads (velocity) and its volume by how forcefully you press them (pressure). Am I on the right track? Having both would allow you to play fast & soft, or slow & loud, which wouldn't be possible with only one expressive parameter. "Presure sensitivity" isn't just another word for "Aftertouch", is it??

So if I'm on the right track my question is for those with real-world experience to draw upon. How much does having Pressure Sensitivity really effect the use and playability of these devices?? I mainly do hip hop, so I'll be using it mostly to record drum and percussion tracks, trigger samples, etc. One thing to keep in mind in my case is that the PadKontrol actually lets you change the velocity-response curve of each pad (I believe) , so perhaps some of the lost functionality can be made up for that way?

If anyone has any advice or lessons learned by experience with this topic I'd appreciate your help.