This is an honest review of Senstroke, the virtual drumming product, where I give my thoughts on it, including its pros and cons.
Senstroke is a different swing on virtual drumming in comparison to the other ‘air drumming’ products out there. You need to physically hit an object such a drum pad, pillow, tablet, etc for it to work.
Before we dive into, check out my review video below (including demo and unboxing), and just below that, I’ve included a summary of what’s good and bad about the product (in my opinion of course).
Senstroke – Pros
- It’s nicely designed and pretty relatively easy to set up (at least for the default sets).
- Once you calibrate the sensors properly in the app, then the sensors are really responsive and sound really nice.
- The sounds on the app are good and pairing the devices to the app was very easy.
- I was able to successfully push firmware updates to the devices via the Senstroke app with ease (a pop-up box shows up).
- It’s MIDI compatible via Bluetooth – Great for those that want to trigger sounds from their DAW (such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro, etc)
- The ‘Improve‘ feature in the app has a Rockband or Guitar hero game style where you can play different beats, grooves and rudiments.
Senstroke – Cons
- The main drawback is the Android app, in my opinion. The default kits work pretty nicely, but I don’t think it’s very intuitive to configure your own kits.
- Sometimes while you are playing, you need to realign the sensors by pointing your drumsticks towards your virtual snare drumming and pressing the buttons together. I found that you need to have a firm grip on the drumsticks to make sure the sensors stay in place. Also, you can’t really be a hard hitter with the senstroke. If you do that, it will probably throw the sensors off quite a bit.
- The product packing is so well designed that I think they could have put a bit more effort into the instructions to make them easier to read at a glance.
- Calibration for the sensors is fairly quick, but it takes a minute or two to do before you start playing. It’s a recommended step that you do it every time you connect your sensors to the app or if you feel that the sensors are getting less accurate.
What’s included in the Senstroke Box?
Senstroke comes in different versions. There are different boxes at different price points. The ultimate box includes:
- 2 drum sticks with 2 sensors
- 2 additional sensors for your feet – You can alternatively assign the hi-hat pedal to be used as a second bass drum pedal instead.
- A nice flexible drumming pad
- A dual USB cable for charging the devices.
- You get a foot attachment. So you can attach the sensors to your feet around your shoes
- A bass drum pedal adapter
- A nice little transport bag.
Overall the packaging and design of it is very nice. Senstroke did a very nice job with this
How does Senstroke Work?
Senstroke works by pairing the sensors to your phone via Bluetooth, and they can also be used for MIDI connection to a laptop to a door such as Ableton Live or Logic Pro.
You download their app (for android or ios), and connect the sensors to this app via Bluetooth.
When the sensors are paired, you can see their battery level, which is a nice feature. You can then choose where you want to assign your sensors.
The latency is very low, with a very nice performance and response from the devices. I’m still always surprised at how responsive these Bluetooth devices are!
Initially, I needed to update the firmware on the sensors. It came up with a pop-up box and it took a few minutes for each sensor device to update, so keep that in mind.
The sensors are interchangeable, and you can play in double pedal mode by assigning your feet sensors in the sensor section.
Calibrating the sensors is very important. It’s one of the essential things that you should do before you start playing Senstroke.
I was initially about to give a very bad review of this product, because the calibration process in the app initially was stalling for me. I started playing without calibrating the sensors and accuracy was very power. However, when I restarted the app, and went to the and calibrated the sensors, it made a massive difference, and made the sensors far more precise.
So make sure to do that!
There are two types of calibrations that you need to do.
Go into the sensors tab and click into any sensor.
The first calibration you need to simply just leave the stick and sensor on a resting surface, and the second calibration you need to move the stick around in multiple directions.
As you do each of these steps, the app will tell you that it’s complete and you can move on to the next sensor.
If you think that the accuracy of your sensors are decreasing then go back and calibrate sensors.
To be honest, calibrating the sensors is a bit annoying to have to do but it’s very, very necessary.
Go into the ‘Play’ tab and just start playing to use the Beginner Kit Configuration.
Hold the drumsticks forward and press the buttons on the sensors to align them correctly.
You need to hold your drumsticks quite tight, and you need to be deliberate with your playing. If you start playing too hard, then the sensors lose context of where they are. If you play with a loose grip on your drumsticks then you will need to adjust your grip a bit.
Experience on the beginner configuration is not bad. You get a surprisingly good response from these, its really nice to play the ride cymbal, hats, and snare. Because it’s based off tactile and not air drumming, the sensitivity of the sensors on the drumsticks is better than Freedrum 1 when it comes to more subtle strokes like ghost notes, double strokes, moeller strokes, etc, but in my opinion, Freedrum‘s sensors are better when it comes to your feet (hi-hat and bass drum(s), and also Freedrum allows you to switch between hi-hat and bass drum based on the angle of your foot).
You can also record your playing when in the regular Play mode, and listen back on the ‘Recordings‘ tab.
The Senstroke app also includes a nice ‘improve‘ feature, which is a similar game-type format to rock band or Guitar Hero. There’s a bunch of different types of options, from blues grooves, coordination exercises, latin grooves, rock grooves, and snare rudiments.
For example for the coordination, you can work on triple stroke rolls, single stroke seven rudiments, etc. For rock grooves, you can work on different types of beats and fills.
Therefore, they are pushing this as an option to develop your drumming, in addition to Senstroke being a fun playing option, which is why they’re pushing these kind of features in the app.
Overall, I’ve been pretty impressed by the sensitivity of the sensors of Senstroke. In its most basic form it’s pretty easy to set up and update the sensors as necessary.
I think the instructions could definitely be better, particularly around the calibration of the sticks. Also, the Android app could definitely to do with a bit of improvement, particularly with regard to creating your own drum kit configurations.
Everything considered, I think Redison did a pretty good job of this product, and it’s available in a few different versions, depending on your budget so make sure to check out the link below for that.
For the price of this.. you could just put the money towards buying an budget electronic drum set, or some good drum practice pads, etc… However, it is a lot of fun, it takes up almost no space, and it would also be a great gift!
That’s my review of Senstroke. If I have any other updates to give based off playing this a bit more then I will update this article. If you have any comments or questions and please write them in the comment section below. Thanks!