The manufacturing process of the Spacedrum is the result of many years of study, research and gained experience. An exciting and complex drum to produce, our initial objective was the combining of the following 5 parameters:
For more than 25 years, Philippe Maignaut has been researching the machined manufacturing of steeldrums, complimented with traditional methods for producing ‘Pans’. This gained experience is now used in the design of the Spacedrum. We offer two Spacedrum ranges, designed and entirely assembled by hand with the greatest of care and attention, from selected steel sheets and only partially transforming by machine. Our craftsmen invest in the quality of each instrument over mass production, thus explaining ourreasonably long production and delivery time. The tuning of handpans is an art within itself.
We have 2 distinct lines of handpan : The Spacedrum Evolution® made from stainless steel and the Spacedrum Nitro® manufactured of nitrided mild steel.
How our Spacedrum are different from other handpans?
Most handpan manufacturers buy the already formed/treated shells direct from the same suppliers, such as Ayasa or Shellopan. It's an easy and practical solution for production, but the acoustic result is uniform and standard at best. These manufacturers have little scope to apply their own unique sound signature, having no control on their materials and forming from the start.
For Metal Sounds the uniqueness of their handpan comes from the materials in its production. If the shaping of the shells and the heat treatment contribute to the sound of the instrument, it is therfore equally important to define and adhere to the technical specifications of every batch of material (giving the exact mechanical and vibratory characteristics desired) to give the handpan its own sound identity and be able to perfectly replicate it each time.As a matter of fact, Metal Sounds, as the first handpan maker in France, takes advantage of a know-how learnt on the long run that helps us to build high quality intuitive percussions, very reliable and with a remarkable sounding quality.
To your average person, the making and tuning of handpans seems easy enough, all you need are a few steel sheets, some tools and a bit of patience! While in reality Metal Sounds, follows twenty four individual steps to fabricate each crafted handpan. Explaining some main steps in this process will help you better understand the creation and production of this versitile instrument.
It all starts with the choice of quality materials, an essential step, which ultimately effects the rest of the process and the final quality of the handpan. Once we’ve carefully selected the raw steel plates and their thickness defined, we manually stretch the base (bottom shell) to their perfect proportions and surface finish. After forming and pressing we then proceed to the thermic anti-corrosion treatment process. The remaining forming work is carried out by pressing and manual hammering (shaping notes etc..) before the first tuning commences. The dome (top shell) in turn undergoes the same heat treatment and tuned again. Finally the two shells (dome and bottom) are joined together by either welding or gluing depending on the model (Evolution or Nitro). After all these stages are completed, we do our final tuning, product valadation and quality control.
The Spacedrum is then packed in its proctected customized box to be shipped safely and without risk, worldwide to our customers.
We make our handpans in France because we want to keep control on our process and the monitoring. We actually control every single stage of our handpans manufacturing, from the purchase of the raw-material to the shells shaping, passing by all the heat treatment steps, until the handpan finishing. We have then more flexibility to modify and improve our work in order to reach the best quality as possible.
Each handpan is a unique musical instrument, a fully handcrafted sound sculpture. That is also why we can respond to specific requests, like custom scales for instance.
Producing the Spacedrum in France, ensures the highest quality control and constant supervision of our manufacturing process. The full process is easily monitored and inspected, from the purchase of materials, the heat treatments and the forming of the shells to the final drum being finished and shipped. Attention to all these steps help us to continue striving for the optimal quality attainable.
As each Spacedrum is an unique handmade and tuned sculpted instrument, our craftsmen can at any stage alter or modify the drum to our customers desires.
To ensure the Zenko production in France is to ensure the quality control and the monitoring. The full manufacturing process is easily controllable, from the purchase of raw materials to the finished instrument. Each Zenko is unique, fully manually granted, so this home-made work permits us to answer to special queries. We carry out specific tunings such as in 432 Hz.
Until 2011 the Steeldrums were completely hand made in our own workshop by Metal Sounds, in a constant quality preoccupation. Today we're missing time to build the Steeldrums and the Spacedrums in the same time, that's why we decided to import the Steeldrums from Trinidad and Tobago where we've been personaly to settle all the details with our partners, among the best manufacturers and tuners of the island.
Regarding the number of existing patterns we have decided to make choices. We propose what we consider to be the best formula regarding the visibility and the acoustic quality. Our patterns choices are a result of research and several experiments. All the "Classic" patterns can be done and we can also realize custom instruments (after a study).
All the Steeldrums are tuned with precision and very carefully and they're all checked when we receive them. They're all checked with a stromboscopic tuner that analyzes all the frequencies. The ear of the maker added to that technology give a reliable result. Thanks to more than 15 years of experience we can tune and re-tune almost any steelpan or handpan.
Our workshop in France also guarantees our customers efficient and fast service, with adapted tools to repair and/or re-grant any instrument. Re-granting a Steeldrum or a Spacedrum costs between 70 € and 200 € maximum. We will do a specific study and an preliminary estimate for each case, we start the work after your validation.