Self-Taught Pianist Wins Synesthesia’s Mandala 2.0 High-Def Drum & Synthesizer

Self-Taught Pianist Wins Synesthesia’s Mandala 2.0 High-Def Drum & Synthesizer

No one guessed that the piano, harp and other sounds came from a drum – but that’s what the folks at Synesthesia (, the company behind the stealth What’s That Sound? online contest, expected. “Synthesizer” was as close as anyone got, and Megan Hardman of Deer Creek, Oklahoma is the lucky winner among those who answered correctly.

A self-taught pianist, Megan now gets to experiment with drums and dozens of other instruments with her new Mandala. She loves any kind of music – classical, rock, country, Christian – and says the Mandala 2.0 “sounds like a lot of fun.” The only other thing she’s ever won was a 4-foot Snoopy – back when she was just three feet tall. Megan and her mom used to raise Chihuahuas, but she says the business was doomed – they kept more than they sold because the dogs were just too cute to let go. A disability keeps her from work, but she’s looking forward to experimenting with her new Mandala.

“We’re thrilled to award the Mandala 2.0 to Megan,” said Vince De Franco, Synesthesia founder and CEO, and inventor of the Mandala. “Anyone who’s got the gumption to teach themselves piano will love what the Mandala lets them do. It’s for people interested in music at any level. The Mandala lets creativity run wild, making it easy to experiment with sounds and create music. It looks like a drum and it is a drum – but it’s also just about any other instrument you can imagine.”

Synesthesia was behind the stealth online contest, presented here – designed to showcase the Mandala’s ability to accurately emulate just about any instrument: a drum, a harp, a guitar, a piano, a marimba… and much more. The contest ran in Q1 of this year.

Among the responses were bongos, a sitar, glasses filled with water, a wine bottle opening, a didgeridoo — a wind instrument of the Australian aboriginees — and a bouncing ball in a long tunnel. Several people answered “synthesizer,” and all were entered into the contest drawing to win the prize. Representatives of Synesthesia randomly selected one contest winner from all correct responses.

A Rich, Satisfying Way to Experiment with Music

A new kind of synthesizer, the Mandala 2.0 packages a musical range so wide it simultaneously offers players the top of the line, most accurate model of a physical drum (via 3,000 professionally created, proprietary samples of the Black Beauty Snare Drum) – along with a library of sounds derived from more than 100 other instruments.

It plugs into a PC or Mac with just a USB cable, and its easy-to-use software comes with more than 100 presets for out-of-the-box functionality. Players also can create their own configurations as they explore and discover its astonishing audio range.

One pad can accommodate from one to seven different zones of sound – each of which can be configured as a separate instrument, with an array of specialized settings. Players can have a snare, a bass and a cymbal (or a harp, marimba or organ, or any other instrument) – all in the same drum head, all at the same time. One Mandala can act as one drum, as an entire drum kit, or as an eclectic combo.

The Mandala 2.0 retails for $349, and is available online at Each Mandala is hand-crafted and thoroughly tested before it is shipped.

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