A tale of three multipads

Monday, 29 June 2020 9:40 am

digitalDrummer  has reported on the Kickstarter campaign by Argentinian e-drum company dbdrums for its first multipad product, the nPad.

The campaign exceeded its €6,000 goal, with 33 backers pledging €8,658 to help bring the project to life. Most paid around €240 ($270) for the nine-pad instrument with an expected delivery date of June.

At the time of writing, the timeline had already blown out, with a Kickstarter update flagging shipping in “late July at the soonest”.

That’s not unusual for crowdsourcing products.

As pointed out by eDrum Workshop, what is unusual is that a suspiciously similar multipad is already on sale by UK music retailer Gear4Music for €225, with the website showing 20 units available for delivery right now.

This has some Kickstarter backers worried that they have been duped.

And to further fuel the confusion, digitalDrummer has tracked down the manufacturer of the multipads, Chinese e-drum maker HXW Technology Co. In July 2019, ahead of the Music China Show in Shanghai, HXW, which markets its products under the Avatar brand, shared details of its “New E-drum Pad PD705”.

So, this is where the saga gets complicated.

It’s not unusual for big Chinese e-drum makers to develop a product and then produce it for a well-known mainstream brand. Take the Alesis DM10 and the Pearl RedBox modules, for example – both derived from a Medeli product, albeit with minor tweaks for each.

dbdrums began talking about its new project in November 2019 and showed the product at NAMM in January 2020.

dbdrums president Julián Berenstecher tells digitalDrummer that the multipad was developed “with another Chinese company”.

He explains that under the agreement with the manufacturer, dbdrums doesn’t have exclusive selling rights to the multipad. That would explain why HXW/Avatar is marketing the product itself.

Berenstecher insists that the Gear4Music offering “is not the same product”, pointing out that the nPad has 1 GB of memory while the DD90 has only 128 MB. He says his product also has some extra features not included in the G4M offering.

“As you know, when you decide to produce a product in China, (there is a strong likelihood that you will see) similar goods,” he adds.

We previously reported dbdrums’ plans to revolutionise the e-drum market with its Pi Drum wireless e-drum solution, shown at MusikMesse in Frankfurt in 2017. That product was meant to hit Kickstarter by the end of the year, but appears to have been shelved.

Clearly, the external design of the three current multipad products is identical and all reference similar capabilities and even almost identical stats for kits and samples.

The companion software used to prepare samples for the multipad also looks identical in all three incarnations, with some minor cosmetic differences.