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One Drum Head Triggers 100,000 Samples of a Single Instrument. Play the Drums of the Greats.
Mandala Drum
Email Verified
Los Angeles, California
United States
3 Team Members

The Future of Drums

Play any drum or kit you've ever wanted by sitting behind Mandala pads loaded with MDA instrument files containing 1000 times more samples of any instrument than the next best electronic drum. Enjoy the depth and sound of fully mic'd acoustic instruments with the versatility and control of electronics. Practice, perform, program or record.  Everyone gets the Mandala they want.

Hear For Yourself

First thing  we'd like you to experience is the sound of the Mandala Drum V3.  Here are four clips of Danny Carey (Tool/Volto) playing a full Mandala Drum V3 Kit through Mandala software loaded with MDA instrument files.  These MDA sounds and many many more are included with every Mandala Drum V3.  Get onboard!

Don't be shy about turning this up loud or wearing headphones for the full sonic experience...

And here is a comparison of a Mandala Drum V3 with the next best electronic drum available and an acoustic snare:

It made me think differently about what I was playing. And to me, that type of inspiration is priceless. -  Modern Drummer 

This is an extremely flexible creative tool that can add a whole new chapter to your musical endeavors. - Electronic Musician

Setting up the Mandala couldn't be any simpler. With its powerful software brain, the Mandala is ready for a place in your stage or studio setup.  - Rhythm

The Mandala USB drum system turns your computer into a professional-quality electronic drum rig. It is a fun product that is both physically and technically solid.


You want to participate in the musical experience. You're not just playing beats. 

Mandala Drum V3 System - Hardware, software, and the new MDA format enables unlimited creative freedom.

V3 Pads - Patented position & force sensing surfaces and rims are the core of the V3 system. 

MDA Sound Files - MDA files are a matrix of sound samples that acoustically replicate any drum ever conceived.  Choose from a huge and growing library or make your own.

V3 Module - Reliable and durable, the Module is the brain you wish you had under pressure. Link your hardware to the software for setup and you’re making music.

V3 Virtual Brain Software - Your personality will shine through into your music.  As a standalone program or a plugin it lets you create, perform, and record into your favorite DAW.

The Synesthesia Mandala Vision - Do for drums what the pickup did for guitars by offering a completely new instrument with the feel and sonic depth of acoustics AND the control of electronics.  The future of drumming is the Mandala. Developed by drummers and audio engineers, the Mandala will be your drum: at home, in the studio, and on stage.

Hybridize your acoustic kit by adding Mandala Drums. As a bonus, you can bypass using a computer and software because the Mandala Module is compatible with third party hardware via a 5-pin MIDI port. Trigger musical equipment you already have.

From a Paradiddle to a Swiss Army Triplet the Mandala will never miss a beat or false trigger. Explore the drum surface from the center to the edge and appreciate the fullness of its sound and range.

Probably our boldest claim because we think we have given you the best drum ever made. The Mandala Drum exceeds what you expect in an acoustic drum sound while providing all the controls you want in an electric drum. It's so simple that all you need to do is play.

Mandala MDA instrument files are made by professional drummers for professional drummers. The size and depth of each file adds to your recording session in every way, from providing album quality sonic realism to offering an infinite drum closet at your fingertips.

This is an instrument that was developed for master musicians and is now available to everyone.

Technical Specs

  • Pad Dimensions: W 12.5" x L 12.25" x H 2.25"
  • Pad Resolution: 0-127 Position (Center to Edge), 0-127 Velocity
  • Rim Triggers: 9 Individual Triggers
  • Rim Trigger Resolution: 0-127 Velocity
  • Rim Material: Thermoset Rubber
  • Module Inputs: 7 Pads, 2 eKick Pedals, 1 eHat Pedal, 1 Expression Pedal
  • Module Output: USB MIDI, 5-Pin MIDI
  • Module Power: Bus-Powered for USB MIDI, Power Supply for 5-Pin MIDI
  • Cables: Cat5 for Pads, TRS for Pedals

Per Channel:
  • 4 Convolution Sends
  • 5 Effect Inserts
  • ADR/AHDSR Envelope Generator
  • 2 LFO's
  • Selectable Output Bus

Data Formats:

  • DFD Streaming - MDA Mandala Format, WAV PCM 16/24 bit, AIFF PCM 16/24 bit
  • RAM Playback - MDA Mandala Format, WAV, AIFF, OGG, FLAC

Supported Platforms and Software Formats:

Windows 7+ x86/x64

  • VST 2.4 Plugin 32/64 bit
  • AAX Plugin 32/64 bit
  • Standalone 32/64 bit: ASIO, MSM, DirectSound

Mac OSX 7+ x86/x64

  • VST Plugin 2.4 64 bit
  • AU Plugin 32/64 bit
  • AAX Plugin 32/64 bit
  • Standalone 32/64 bit: CoreAudio

Perks Chart

Mounting Options

Mandala V3 Pads, as shipped, mount on all standard 8mm cymbal hardware. Additional mounting hardware, as seen above, will be made available during our campaign.

Mandala V3 Kit in the lab, tested repeatedly by professionals during development and refined to their specifications.

Our Story

The concept behind the Mandala V3 system is that you can now sit behind any kit that’s ever been played…and any that hasn’t. No other electronic drum system on the planet replicates acoustic instruments with such high strike position sensitivity. What would you rather hit with your sticks?…a bunch of on/off switches?…or the Mandala’s center to rim accurate representation of the drums of your dreams? We sample your heroes’ drums center to rim and offer you the playing experience of a lifetime, with downloadable drums to keep you going for decades.

Mandala Drum V3 System comprises a system of hardware, software, and our new MDA file format. Connect up to seven V3 pads and four pedals to the Mandala Module which will directly control our new Virtual Brain software. Exciting new elements developed for the V3 system are: V3 Pads, V3 Module, V3 Virtual Brain software, and an MDA sound file library with an online MDA store soon to follow. The basic system is a single V3 Pad with a V3 Module, software, and sound library. From there you can expand as you desire.

MDA Sound Files are the big new kicker. MDA’s are monolithic digital containers made up of multiple position specific and velocity specific instrument samples. Imagine a single file, such as “Danny_Carey_Snare.MDA” which contains up to thousands of position and velocity based samples with round robins of Danny Carey’s favorite snare. Hit your Mandala pad in a certain position with a certain velocity and you’ll hear exactly what you’d hear if you hit that same spot on Danny’s drum. It doesn’t stop there. We are building an army of drummers for our online MDA library. Just drag an MDA onto a pad and play away. You can even build your own MDA files. Imagine assigning nine separate sound effects to the pressure sensitive rim zones while using the pad surface as a vintage Supraphonic 402 snare!

V3 Drum Pads are crafted from hard rubber-like santoprene and are slimmer than ever. Each pad now includes one large position and force sensitive strike surface and nine separate force sensitive rim zones. Mandala patented membrane technology has been enhanced to include even force sensing across its entire surface as well as nine additional force sensing rim triggers. Yes you can now hit the rim zones to trigger sounds or sound effects instead of needing an entirely separate unit.

V3 Module communicates with up to seven V3 pads, two eKick pedals of your choice, one eHat pedal of your choice and one Expression pedal of your choice. A simple USB connection to your computer brings the V3 Module to life as it speaks directly to the V3 Virtual Brain software.

V3 Virtual Brain Software crosses the bridge from V3 hardware to MDA sound files. Simply load MDA files or standard WAV’s or AIF’s onto your pads and play away. With 5 effects inserts, 4 auxiliary effect sends, and 4 convolution reverb sends per channel we think you’ll be able to craft your live or studio sound any way you can imagine.  Our growing list of Impulse Responses for convolution reverb will allow your drums to sound like they are in almost any room you can imagine. Best of all, the Virtual Brain will now be offered as a standalone and a plugin: AU, AAX, VST, 32/64 bit.

The Synesthesia Mandala vision is to do for drums what the pickup did for guitars. The basic system of a single V3 Pad and V3 Module is the perfect start to drumming or the greatest introduction to electronic percussion alongside your acoustic kit. Choose the drum you want to hear and turn it up as loud as you want. Put on your headphones to practice the rudiments, or play to a full arena. The Mandala System will develop with you from beginner to the highest level of professional playing, always delivering high resolution sound samples and effects at the press of a button and the turn of a knob, letting you focus on just playing!

The Value Proposition - The Mandala Drum V3 is the best value on the market. If you are looking to hybridize your kit, the popular choice in the absence of the Mandala is the Roland SPD-SX for $799-$999 at any music retailer. It does not compare with the single Mandala pad + module on price at $499, or on performance. The Mandala's ability to detect strike position allows you to assign multiple sounds, synth and acoustic samples, to one pad…with effects. With two or three Mandala pads you are still cheaper at $649-$899, and with infinitely more freedom.

The Mandala V3 kit is a favorite here in the Laurel Canyon lab, and at $2999 it blows the rims off the nearest comparable competitor kits ($3999-$6999 - you know who they are). The V3 kit sounds and plays like a kit should and it is designed for the stage as much as the studio. 

With the Mandala V3 you get a drum that can be the instrument you are looking for and much more. 

The sounds included add greater value than any competitor. A single Mandala MDA instrument file (like a cymbal, particularly a hat) is multiple GB’s. Direct From Disk (DFD) playback only puts a small chunk of each sample into RAM and loads the rest as that chunk is playing back once it’s triggered. Barely any RAM is used, and latency is not an issue because of processing speed and power these days. All the videos we have released (in our campaign, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook) have been Mandalas using DFD streaming of triggered samples, even for the full kit.

This is the future of drums.

This is the future of music.

The Team

The Mandala Drum was invented by physicist and audio/electrical engineer, Vince De Franco, while helping create a Grammy winning album with the band TOOL. The band’s drummer, Danny Carey, approached Vince with an interesting proposition: to create a drum that could trigger sound samples with no discernible latency. Vince’s experimentation led to the discovery that he could not only create a faster drum, but also one with high resolution position and velocity sensing. The new surface membrane switch was named the Mandala and patented soon after.

Synesthesia Corp. is run by Vince De Franco and Luke Henderson – two guys who live at the intersection of technology and music. Vince is an inventor and engineer who’s worked on top selling albums and developed the Dimension Beam (Roland D-Beam) and collaborated with Danny Carey of TOOL to create the Mandala Drum. Luke is a financier-turned-adventure junkie who’s either climbed, swam, rode, sailed or traveled most of the world's natural wonders, and leads Mandala Drum in business operations.


Do you ship internationally?

Yes. Synesthesia Corporation ships internationally via the US Postal Service Priority Mail International.

International shipments may be subject to Customs examination in the destination country. For information on Customs regulations in your country please contact your local postal service or Customs agent commonly found in your local phone book.

Please note your packages may be subject to the Customs fees and import duties of the country to which you have your order shipped. These charges are always the recipient's responsibility.

How is the Mandala Drum different from other drums?

The Mandala Drum V3 System is based on a patented position sensing membrane switch. It knows where you strike the drum (position) as well as how hard you strike it (velocity). That means that we can use these two values to determine a coordinate and assign a sound sample to that coordinate. The Mandala MDA instrument file is then a structured collection of these samples assigned to their proper coordinates to emulate the sampled instrument.  Using MIDI the MDA instrument file can have 16,256 distinct trigger assignments (128 position rings x 127 velocity levels), each with an associated instrument sample. If you include 10 round robins (multiple recorded samples made for each coordinate) then each MDA could be 162,560 samples making for the most accurate sample model of any instrument ever made. With the Mandala Drum V3 System, that power is at your fingertips.

What do I need to play the Mandala Drum?

You’ve come this far so you obviously have a strong will to be amazing. We are assuming everyone has a working computer so you will be using that as well. Machines running Windows 7+ x86/x64 and Mac OSX 7+ x86/x64 or later are supported by the Mandala Virtual Brain software.  If you want to go old school and not use a computer or software you've got that option with the 5-pin MIDI Out port on the Mandala Module.

What do I get when I buy a Mandala Drum?

Everything you need is included: Mandala pad/s, Module, Software, MDA Instrument Library, and cables.

How will the sound library work?

It's as easy as opening the Virtual Brain software, clicking on the Browser menu, and dragging the drum or instrument file you like to the Mandala pad you’ll be playing. Done. The hardest part may be deciding which snare to choose for your performance!

What instruments will be available in the included library?

The Mandala Drum Library already contains over 250 original instrument files created in professional sound studios by music and film veterans, musicians and audio engineers.  These instruments include a vast array of traditional drums and exotic percussion as well as some stringed and synthesized instruments. 

In development now are five full kits being sampled in far greater detail than any drums ever recorded. With these samples the potential of the MDA instrument file format will be realized. In addition, hundreds of GB's of samples will come alive in hundreds of MDA instrument files.  Finally, Mandala Drum is signing deals with great drummers to develop sampled versions of their personal kits for distribution in our new online store.

The future of the Mandala Drum Library is limitless.  What you can expect in the future is thousands of GB's of instrument files in SD (Standard Definition), HD (High Definition), and XD (Extreme Definition) MDA instrument file format. Already existing Mandala SD instrument files surpass the ability of any competitor's drums, and with the new HD and XD class instrument files, they will be playing catchup for years. I think we can safely claim that the Mandala is the true future of drums.

Can I load my own sounds into the Virtual Brain software program?

Yes.  The Virtual Brain supports loading the following formats: MDA (Mandala Format), WAV, AIFF, OGG, FLAC

Why is your funding goal $150,000?

The Mandala Drum V3 System goal of $150K represents the minimum investment necessary to finalize all aspects of hardware, software, and content, including injection mold tools, high level programmers, and audio sampling engineers.

The Mandala team has and will continue to provide additional investment of time and money (and more time) to develop the Mandala System and finance inventory. We tell you this so that you, our customer, know that we have skin in the game also. We believe in what we are doing. We believe that the Mandala Drum needs to exist and we hope you feel as we do. 

The purpose of this campaign is to complete the development of the Mandala Drum V3 System in its entirety as a product for everyone. As the campaigns succeeds and grows, we will continue development of inventory, products and accessories that will make owning your Mandala Drums all that you want it to be.

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