Marimbists on the malletKAT
The malletKAT's rich feature set allows the percussionist to do way more than acoustic marimba emulation, but there are many musicians that use the malletKAT to replace their marimba. Here are the reasons why the malletKAT is so popular among many marimbists.
Simply put, the marimba takes up lots of room. Space is always a logistical concern when playing the marimba. In the dorm or practice room, a marimba could occupy
half the room itself. On Broadway pits when a marimba is called for, the placement of the instrument is always challenge.
The malletKAT offers a solution for tight spaces. A 4 octave malletKAT's length is only 62 inches and its width is only 11 inches. A 5 octave malletKAT just adds another 15 inches. Because the malletKAT does not have the resonators of the marimba, its' depth is only 2.5 inches. The weight is the best part. A 4 octave malletKAT weights just 19 pounds.
Often, only a small range of the marimba is required for a piece of music. A three octave malletKAT weighing just 15 pounds and just 47 inches long can do the trick!
Years ago, the marimba sound on a synthesizer sound module always sounded terrible. Today many musicians use their computers as the sound generator. There are also
dedicated machines like the MUSE Receptor that has the ability to function like a sound module, but have the vast memory,hard drive and speed of modern a computer. A "Sampler Synth" in a computer can store many thousands of samples for instant recall. The result....beautiful sounding marimba sounds. Companies like PROJECT SAM, offer libraries for both MAC and the PC that have the entire orchestral percussion sound library available. "True Strike" and "Cinema Percussion" are examples of fantastic percussion libraries that are available.
Also, the malletKAT itself can respond to gestures that you often use on your marimba. Take the dead stroke for example. When this feature is turned on the malletKAT, you can stop the sound a resonating bar simply by pressing down with the mallets on the malletKAT bar.
It is also possible to instantly transpose the malletKAT to the needed sound range of the marimba simply by stepping on a footswitch.
Taking your marimba out to a gig is perhaps the biggest problem. Traveling by air is a cost prohibitive nightmare. With the malletKAT, you can take a
two octave malletKAT Express, along with two malletKAT Expanders, put them together (pad to pad) in a Pelican 1700 travel case and check it in the airlines weighting just 32 pounds! This is legal weight even when traveling to Europe. Now you can practice and perform anywhere in the world without the worries
of shipping your marimba.
Miking a marimba onstage is another challenge. Oftentimes the quality of sound is compromised and there are feedback issues. It is very difficult to get an evenly miked acoustic marimba to sound great live. How many times have you been to a professional concert, only to be disappointed by the sound of the marimba?
Hearing yourself can also be a problem. Especially in the jazz/rock venues where the sound volumes are very loud.
The malletKAT sends its data directly to a sound module, and the sound module goes directly to the board. Having your own monitor system can be a necessity when performing in these conditions.
NEW VOCABULARY AND FEATURE SET
For me, the most exciting thing about playing on the malletKAT is that it offers a new vocabulary of sounds and gestures. Using the skill set of your marimba playing, you can literally have any instrument sound at your finger (mallet) tips. Each of these sounds teaches you to play differently. New gestures are added to your vocabulary. Things like vibrato, pitch bending, legato/staccato like you have never experienced are instantly available to you.
This is the real fun about playing on the malletKAT
As you probably know, an acoustic marimba can cost way over $10,000. The price of a four octave malletKAT (GRAND) costs under $3000.
This can be a major cost factor in a music program where there are several mallet percussionists all sharing one marimba. Four or five students could all
be practicing in the same room for the price of one beautiful acoustic marimba.
Questions? Check out the MalletKAT Sales FAQ