About this project
Sunhouse is a new kind of music tech company.
Founded by musician brothers Tlacael & Tenoch Esparza, Sunhouse uses the latest advances in sensor and signal technology to reinvigorate live performance and expand the sonic possibilities of music making. Our operation is based in New York City and all of our technology is designed and manufactured in the US.
Join us in our quest to break down the barriers between digital sound and musical performance.
Sensory Percussion is a modern take on electronic drums that captures the true expressive nature of drumming. While standard trigger systems turn your drum into little more than an on/off button, Sensory Percussion listens and reacts, responding to the essence of your performance in real time.
The Sensory Percussion system is an overlay onto acoustic drums. It’s a hardware sensor that clamps to the side of a drum (snare, tom or kick) and connects to our Mac/PC software via a standard audio interface.
Sensory Percussion understands where and how you hit the drum. It not only lets you map different parts of the drum to any sound desired (from samples and synthesizers to digital audio effects), it also lets you control those sounds in an intuitive, expressive way. Sounds follow your playing in real-time—so rather than twiddle knobs and push buttons, you can control the experience simply by playing the drums.
The result is a new instrument that let’s you control electronic sounds in a way never before possible: with the drumsticks and drums you already own and love.
Beyond being the first on the block to have Sensory Percussion, the first real evolution in digital drums in decades? You will be part of the Sunhouse family. And we mean that. Our supporters here on Kickstarter will not only be integral in how the product takes shape, but will be part of a special cohort of early backers with awesome perks.
For starters, everyone who pledges at a level that includes an SP Sensor will become a member of our Sunhouse Artists, which includes:
- Free access to Sunhouse premium sound packs for two years (estimated at over $500)
- Early access to beta software updates and new features!
- We’ll tweet out the first time you use SP at a show
- Future discounts on new Sunhouse products
- Invites to future Sunhouse events and shows
Sensory Percussion will ship with awesome presets, but soon after, we’ll start releasing premium sound packs designed and curated by some of the best drummers, producers and electronic musicians. We’ve already started working with some incredible artists to design sound kits that take advantage of our system’s unique capabilities. If you join our Kickstarter family, you’ll have access to all of those for free!
But more importantly, our early backers are supporting something new and innovative. We’re not Roland or Yamaha, we’re a group of musicians with a vision. We need your contribution and support to make this happen!
Sensory Percussion doesn’t work like the usual e-drums and triggers.
Sensory Percussion uses a combination of software and hardware to create an overlay on acoustic drums that turns your kit into an expressive controller for digital sounds. SP does trigger sounds—but it can also do so much more:
1. Assign sounds to different parts of the drum or even different drum strokes. Use the entire surface of the drum—rim shots, cross-sticks, different parts of the head and rim—for a flexible, fully responsive playing experience.
2. Blend smoothly between two or more samples. Play between samples mapped to different regions—the system knows where you’re hitting and can blend between the sounds, erasing the sonic borders common to e-drums and sample pads.
3. Apply effects to different parts of the drum. Map effects to follow your strokes—no more knobs and sliders, no more buttons and pads. You control the effects and parameters in a completely new and intuitive way… by playing the drums.
4. Apply effects controls across multiple drums to achieve higher levels of sound control. Pitch shift the entire kit, control filters to drop the bass... or use reverb and delays to make a full-fledged dub kit.
5. Use smart cross-talk cancellation to maintain high sensitivity in the presence of loud ambient noise (i.e. kick drum vibrating the snare drum).
And this is really just scratching the surface of Sensory Percussion's capabilities. Once you've mastered the basics, Sensory Percussion becomes an open platform for creativity—the possibilities are literally endless.
Sensory Percussion uses a combination of sensors to directly capture the vibrations of your drum. There is one sensor for the head of the drum and one for the rim/shell and volume controls for each on-board. It is designed to isolate your drum from ambient noise so you can use it on stage and in loud environments. Though it has multiple sensors, it operates like a traditional phantom-powered mono microphone and uses standard XLR connectors.
Sensory Percussion’s software analyzes the signal from the sensor and can tell where and how you are hitting the drum using our proprietary algorithms. The software supports one to four sensors at a time.
We’ve been working on Sensory Percussion for well over a year, and have partnered with some serious experts in audio electronics, music software, and industrial design. Sensory Percussion is a hardware-plus-software system. So let’s breakdown where we are:
Hardware sensor: The hardware design is in final phases. Our sensor is state-of-the-art, and is the first drum sensor (that we know of) that fits both snare and bass drums. It's built stage-tough. Our designs are ready for manufacturing and our suppliers are lined up. We’re continuing to test the design and will be placing our first order this summer.
Software: The core algorithms that make Sensory Percussion unique are still being refined, but are working great and already being used on stage. We’re currently in the process of building out our own Sunhouse Drum Synth and Sampler engines so that users won’t need any other software. We’re also working on refining our user interface. We expect the V1 software to be complete this fall, which will give us some time to seriously test the system before shipping.
Over the last few months we’ve been meeting with many drummers for live demos of the system. Though it’s still under development, we've had a tremendously positive response from the drummers who have played it. In our development, we’ve tackled all the new and hard problems first, and though we’re still making adjustments and improvements, the system works amazingly well. What’s left to do is completing the user interface development and standard audio software features that we’re confident we can complete on time.
The Sensory Percussion hardware and software are patent pending.
Software: Big Tick Audio Software
Industrial Design: Design Compendium
Electrical Engineering: ReFactory
Electrical Engineering: Osmisys LLC
Graphic Design: Todd Goldstein
Video Design: The Urchins
Branding: River + Wolf
Publicity: Sabrina Dax
We’d like to thank everyone who has helped us make Sensory Percussion a reality over the last year and a half: our team of talented engineers and designers, the mentors and supporters at the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and Next Top Makers, all the drummers who have given us advice and encouragement, and especially our family and friends. There is no way this would exist without all of you.
Props to all the musicians who helped us with this Kickstarter, including: Ian Chang, Kiran Gandhi, Joe Stickney, Nicholas Ley, Matt Duckworth, Sterling Campbell, Dave Harrington, Spencer Zahn, and Nicolas Jaar.
Some very special folks helped us put together the Kickstarter, they are: Todd Goldstein, Jordan Doig, Stephanie Gould, and Paul Damian Hogan.
Extra special shout out to our family for sustaining us in every way imaginable: Ashley Reeb; Jonathan Galassi; Tonantzin, Tonatiuh, Moctesuma and Esperanza Esparza; and our company mascot, Suki the Chi.
** Product photos credit: Design Compendium
*** For media inquiries, please contact Sabrina Dax: email@example.com
Risks and challenges
We feel very confident that we can deliver on time. We’ve built in a healthy buffer for unforseen delays and have fully vetted our suppliers. However, making hardware is tough, and though we’re working with experienced pros, this is our first time.
But here’s our promise to you, our backers: we will be upfront about any manufacturing or software development challenges and communicate early and often. By supporting us, you will be involved in the process and hear about how things are going.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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