Handpan Accessories - Video & Audio Recording, Stands & Care Products
The best handpan gear and accessories (microphone, handpan stand, hard case and care products) for your creative projects.
It's time to start creating now.
After 10 years of playing handpans and using a wide variety of equipment, I have settled on the following pieces of gear and accessories. If you don't know where to start, these tools will make it easier for you to record at home on-the-go without compromising on the quality and without breaking the bank.
XLR Microphones for Handpans (& Desktop Accessories)
My favorite thing about handpans is that they have incredible natural acoustics. This magical sounds comes from the high-pitched harmonics tuned into each handpan note. So you want to make sure that comes through in your recordings.
My favorite XLR microphone is the Rode NT4 stereo condenser microphone. Made in Australia, this is a classic mic' often found in high-end recording studios. The NT4 picks up the most subtle sounds of the handpan and it reconstructs a perfect stereo image by capturing the left and right channels from a single microphone body. As a result, your recording feels 3-dimensional. Close your eyes, and it feels like you are there.
To use an XLR microphone, you will need an audio interface to transform the analog signal from the microphone into a digital signal to your computer. I recommend the MixPre 6 II recorder by SoundDevices interface which has excellent low-noise kashmir preamps and all the functionalities you need as a handpan artist, in the studio or on-the-go.
Finally, my preferred set of headphones are the Sony MDR7506. These classic headphones are considered "flat which means they don't enhance the sound of your recordings so you can mix appropriately. Flat headphones are particularly helpful to identify mistakes in recordings.
iOS Microphones for Handpans (& Mobile Accessories)
If you are an iOS user and if you are looking for a great mobile microphone, I recommend the Shure MV88. This solid all-aluminum-built stereo condenser microphone plugs directly into the lightning port of your device and offers advanced recording capabilities on-the-go.
What makes the MV88 great, is that it allows you to record in "mid-side". M/S is a microphone configuration which captures sound from the middle (cardioid pattern) and the sides of the microphone (figure 8 pattern). This picture helps understand. It is important to note that M/S is different from stereo which is just left and right. I find that the M/S configuration works really well for handpans so it's awesome to find that feature on such a small microphone.
A lightning extension cable will allow you to place the Shure MV88 closer to your sound source and still capture the video from farther away. This will limit the white noise (or hissing sound) that results from raising the microphone's gain if you are too far away. With the Joby GorillaPod, you can setup a mobile recording studio anywhere. Hanging from a tree branch, sitting on a coffee table, now nothing can stop you from recording your next jam.
Handpan Hard Cases
A strong hard case gives you the peace of mind to travel with your handpan and to know that your instrument is safe. Simply check it in like any other piece of luggage, sip on cocktails at 30,000 ft during your flight and pick it up at baggage claim.
Of course, a soft bag is fine for small trips around town. But if you plan to travel by air with your handpan, you will need a hard case to protect your instrument because your handpan may not always fit in the over-head compartment of every airplane. If you were asked to check your handpan into the airplane cargo space with only a soft bag, your handpan would most likely be destroyed.
Panji Bags makes the most robust handpan hard case available. Made out of recycled materials and coated with line-X, this is currently the best handpan hard case option in the market. Although the Panji Bag is heavy, its ergonomic design makes is possible to carry like a backpack for extended periods of time. I have flown countless times with my Panji Bag and trust it 100%.
Hardcase Technologies also has a great bag called Evatek Fly that has a hard outer shell that protects your handpan. This waterproof bag comes with straps to carry like a backpack. The Evatek is one of the most popular hard cases in the market.
While I typically prefer playing with the handpan directly on my lap, owning a handpan stand offer great advantages. A handpan stand makes it comfortable to always have your handpan at the proper height. It avoids the risk of having your handpan slide down when sitting down on a tall chair. And it can allow you to play handpans while standing and to move freely around your instrument.
Two companies have made handpan stands specifically for handpans but you can also use a generic snare stand, or even a cheap tripod camping stool. These all work well to store or play handpans and you can fold them for easy storage or travel.
Pantam Stand is a metal frame that is adjustable for playing when sitting or standing. Pantam Stands look professional and are simple to use. These cost around $250.
Sounds Inspiring Stand is a beautiful wooden frame that also works well when playing handpans sitting or standing up. Check out the sitting, standing and sitting/standing adjustable models available. These range from $210 to $260 (180€ to 230 €).
A regular snare drum stands also work well for playing handpans while seated. These cost between $50 and $150 and you can buy them on Amazon or at Guitar Center.
The budget option is a camping stool. Tripod camping stools are lightweight, and only cost $20. I find the Oversized Quest Camping Stool because is tall enough to sit comfortably and allows me to play multiple handpans at once. It's a great hack at a fraction of the price of other handpan stands.
It isn't surprising that drones are so popular these days. After all, the footage you can now get on a $500 drone used to cost tens of thousands of dollars because it required a helicopter, a pilot and a cameraman. Drones are now better and cheaper than ever before. Not only is it fun to fly but it can take breathtaking videos for your music videos. The DJI Spark has all the features you need to start: GPS, a high definition camera on a gimbal with 2-axis stabilization which records in 1080p, and 15-minutes of flight per battery.
Handpan Care & Maintenance Products
A handpan is an expensive and meaningful possession so you should take good care of it. Care and maintenance products can help you extend the lifespan of your instrument by protecting it against rust, dust and grease.
For all handpans, you should wipe your instrument using a micro-fiber cloth after every time you play. It will remove skin oil and dust from the surface of the instrument and keep it looking good.
Handpans made out of nitrided steel and raw steel (especially) should be lubricated every few months as needed. Left unprotected, steel will rust. And while small amounts of oxidation can be removed, extensive rust will damage your instrument. Spread a few drops of Froglube across the surface of your handpan using a clean rag. Handpans made out of powder-coated steel and stainless steel are less susceptible to rust and do not need to be lubricated.
If rust appears on the surface of your handpan, scrub the steel with a piece of Miracle Cloth. According to Felix Rohner (who invented the instrument), you can also use the green side of a clean kitchen sponge.