Senstroke sensors in the test: drums without drums, but on pillows and bananas

Senstroke sensors in the test

The manufacturer Redison has had a virtual drum set on the market for some time, which consists of sensors for the drumsticks and the feet as well as a suitable Senstroke app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

I recently had Senstroke presented here in a post, but since Redison gave me a Senstroke Ultimate Box for a test, I would like to go into more practical use today.

Transparency notice

The box was free of charge for me, but that's not why I write according to the manufacturer's mouth, I want to convey my experience with the set unadorned. The manufacturer also had no influence on the article and could not see it before it was published.

The Senstroke Box looks pretty, but the sensors are also very valuable (photos: Sir Apfelot).

The Senstroke Box looks pretty, but the sensors are also very valuable (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Senstroke - bad reviews on Amazon

If you look at that 30 ratings for the Senstroke Kit on Amazon on, you will be surprised that the product has received rather mixed reviews. I contacted Redison's press agency and asked about these reviews.

The feedback was that the support basically takes care of the people with technical problems so that they can be fixed. As a rule, however, it is users with Android devices who hit the support. Due to the different device models for Android smartphones and tablets, it is particularly difficult for developers to assess which hardware their app is running on. At Apple, on the other hand, there is a manageable number of models whose hardware cornerstones are known.

Optimizing the app is therefore probably easier with Apple devices - which is why the app runs problem-free for most users. If you have a current iPhone or iPad, you can sit back and relax and look forward to it.

Another point is that the sensors keep receiving firmware updates. As a result, the reliability and the function of the sensors are also continuously improved. It may be that the reasons for bad reviews have long been eradicated, but of course the reviews remain.

Playing the drums on bananas, drinks cans and bags of chips - the Youtuber COOP3RDRUMM3R shows how it is.

Playing the drums on bananas, drinks cans and bags of chips - the Youtuber COOP3RDRUMM3R shows how it is.

Playing the drums on bananas and pillows

With the Senstroke sensors and the appropriate app, you can make a drum kit out of anything: bananas, bags of chips, pillows, chairs or - gently - sleeping pets. How this works (not the one with the pets!) Can be seen on some YouTube videos from Senstroke or Youtubern. I have put together and linked a small list of videos that are worth seeing and listening to:

Here you can see everything that is included in the scope of delivery of the Ultimate Box.

Here you can see everything that is included in the scope of delivery of the Ultimate Box.

What Senstroke is not ...

If you get a Senstroke set because you think you can use it to replace a drum set, you won't be happy. No matter how good the sensors are and what the app has to offer: It will neither feel nor sound like a real drum pad.

You can't hit the metal edge of the snare to make a different note, and you can't feel the sticks bounce off the drum kit when you drum on a cushion. And of course it doesn't sound 100% like a real drum kit either. But it's as close as sensors and an app can be.

The French start-up Redison, founded in 2017, describes the motivation for developing Senstroke as follows:

When we created Senstroke, our goal was to make a complex and impractical tool accessible to everyone. What guides us today is the expansion of this idea to other areas. The drums and music are the first steps that anticipate many future innovations.

The Senstroke sensors are designed so that you can play with a drum kit on the go (or at home) - without having one. You only need the sticks, the sensors and a smartphone with the Senstroke app, Logic Pro, Garageband or another digital audio workstation. Ok, headphones or speakers would still be good, as the sound on the smartphone is rarely convincing.

By the way, how to use Senstroke with Garageband will be explained in this tutorial by Senstroke.

With the Ultimate Box you have everything you need to play the drums with your hands and feet.

With the Ultimate Box you have everything you need to play the drums with your hands and feet.

What is in the Senstroke Ultimate Set?

  • 2 drum sticks with 2 sensors
  • 2 sensors with Velcro for the feet
  • 1 flexible drum pad
  • 1 dual USB cable for charging two sensors at a time
  • 1 adapter for a bass drum pedal
  • 1 transport bag
In the home office you strap the sensors to your slippers and use them to trigger the bass drum or any other part of the drum kit - after all, you have two sensors for your feet and two for the sticks.

In the home office you strap the sensors to your slippers and use them to trigger the bass drum or any other part of the drum kit - after all, you have two sensors for your feet and two for the sticks.

How the Senstroke sensors work

The Senstroke system works via Bluetooth, with the iOS app doing the coupling itself. You don't have to go to the bluetooth menu like with bluetooth headphones. To pair, you start the Senstroke app on the iPhone or iPad and then switch on the individual sensors.

The sensors appear in the app and if you tap on the icons of the sensors in the app, they are paired. In my case, all sensors wanted to do a firmware update first, which took a few minutes and was also installed via the app. The whole process is relatively self-explanatory and works reliably.

The sensors can be connected with a tip via the app. The battery indicator is also visible there.

The sensors can be connected with a tip via the app. The battery indicator is also visible there.

Calibration of the Senstroke sensors

The accuracy of the sensors is not given without calibration. Inaccuracies are shown when wrong notes are played because Senstroke "thinks" you have played a different part of the drum kit. This can even go so far that hits are not recognized and remain completely without a reaction from the app.

So calibration is important so that you can have fun with the Senstroke set and not throw it in the corner in frustration because it doesn't do what you want it to do.

Before each session you should calibrate the sensors on the sticks and feet.

Before each session you should calibrate the sensors on the sticks and feet.

How does the calibration work?

There are three types of calibration in the app. The first, which is asked more often, is to point parallel to the middle drum with both sticks and press the buttons of the sensors. This calibration shows the sticks their current position again.

For the second calibration (for the gyroscope) you place the sticks on a flat surface (without vibrations) and trigger the calibration in the app.

The third calibration adjusts the magnetometer and is carried out by rotating the sticks (one at a time) around themselves in all possible directions.

Calibrating the magnetometer is more complex, but you don't have to do it as expertly as shown here. I just twist the sticks in my hands and that's how it works ...

Calibrating the magnetometer is more complex, but you don't have to do it as expertly as shown here. I just twist the sticks in my hands and that's how it works ...

While the first two calibrations are actually relatively quick, you have to invest a little more time in calibrating the magnetometer. It takes me about 30 seconds for each sensor and I've thought several times that the app has crashed or I'm doing something wrong. A progress bar would be great here so that you can see that something is happening.

Latency? Not to be felt!

The point at which a virtual drum pad stands and falls is the latency that passes between the hit and the playing of the sound. If this is too high, the whole game is not fun.

With Senstroke, although I was seriously worried about the connection via Bluetooth, it is surprisingly low. I couldn't feel any latency when trying out the Senstroke app, but it will probably be measurable. However, I've read that Apple's devices are better here. For users who use Senstroke with Android devices, a small proportion may have to contend with noticeable latency and connection problems.

Everything went smoothly on my iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you are playing with a DAW, Senstroke says you should choose GarageBand, as this has the lowest latency. I suppose Logic Pro - which is also from Apple - should do just as well.

The Senstroke sensors are not permanently attached to the drum sticks, but can also be plugged onto other sticks.

The Senstroke sensors are not permanently attached to the drum sticks, but can also be plugged onto other sticks.

The "Learning" area in the app

The "Learning" area is particularly good for beginners and advanced users. There is a kind of game here, just like you know it from Guitar Hero. The corresponding "notes" are flown towards you on a bar and you have to play them at the right time. The exercises have simple and also quite complex rhythms and you can also freely adjust the speed. So you can slowly approach difficult exercises.

With the "Learn" mode you can improve your drumming and even take a small exam using the "Exam" button.

With the "Learn" mode you can improve your drumming and even take a small exam using the "Exam" button.

Suggestions for improving the Senstroke app

In my opinion, technical changes do not have to be made to the sensors. They work reliably on both the feet and the drumsticks and pass the signal on to the app incredibly quickly.

With the app itself, I already have a few ideas about what could be improved. I'll briefly list them here and maybe someone from Redison will read about them and pass my ideas on to the app developers.

  • The magnet meter calibration takes significantly longer than the gyroscope calibration. A progress bar would help that the user knows that something is still going on.
  • In the “learning” area, it would be great if you could listen to the exercises played properly. As a user, I would be interested in how it should sound. I have to correct myself: there is a small play button next to each exercise. So you can listen to the exercises.
  • Again in the "Learning" area: The BPM value has to be readjusted again and again. It would make things a lot easier if you could set the value "globally" lower or if the app remembered what you had set for the individual exercises.
  • "Learn" again: with complex exercises you may only want to practice certain parts of the drum set individually. This could be achieved by fading out individual tracks that then do not appear in the exercise.
  • "Learn" again: It would be helpful for an overview if you could save exercises as favorites or if the last exercises were available in a list. Currently you always have to click through the categories to get to the corresponding exercise.
  • In the "Play" area: It is not possible to change existing drum set configurations - or I did not understand how to do it. Instead, you always have to create a new configuration. Overall, the process doesn't seem very intuitive to me.
The Senstroke app is quite sophisticated, but there are a few little things that could be improved - I'm sure the team will keep on working.

The Senstroke app is quite sophisticated, but there are a few little things that could be improved - I'm sure the team will keep on working.

My conclusion on the Senstroke sensors

I'm not a drummer - although I always wanted to learn it. This is why I was so fascinated by the original report on Senstroke. Ultimately, the size of the drum sets and the associated noise nuisance in the environment made me fond of keyboard or ukulele. Why do I mention that? Because I certainly can't deliver a test report as well-founded as a "real" drummer can.

I can give an assessment of the latency and the setup of the sensors or express an opinion on the app, but whether you can actually work with Senstroke as a professional is beyond my assessment.

It is therefore good that there are already some opinions on YouTube from such "professionals" and they are very good for Senstroke. Only the Android app is criticized again and again.

All you need to play the drums is your iPhone, the Senstroke set, and things to hit.

All you need to play the drums is your iPhone, the Senstroke set, and things to hit.

There is little to complain about with the iOS app, because it works very well and is also quite intuitive. The “learning” area offers exercises from simple to complex and ensures that even beginners - like me - can use it to get a taste of the “drums” instrument.

The bottom line is that the Senstroke sensors and the kit are well-rounded. On various Youtube films you can see the set in the hands of drummers and here I was impressed by the ease of use and the good sound that the set already delivers with its own app. If you then use Logic Pro or similar programs, there are no limits to the sound, because then you can also choose other drums or completely different instruments.

If you don't have space for a drum set, but would like to try out the drums, Senstroke is just as good for you as a professional player who would like to practice again in the hotel room in the evening. I find this flexibility and the fact that you are even independent of a power socket particularly remarkable.

If you're interested in Senstroke, I would give you the Ultimate box recommend, which contains a total of four sensors and thus also includes two for the feet. A drum pad and two sticks are also included, as well as a small transport box, an adapter for a bass pedal and a suitable charging cable.

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2 comments

  1. Tobias says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot
    Many Thanks . I was able to restore my iPhone using iTunes thanks to your instructions.
    Thank you thank you thank you

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello, tobias! That was the right comment in the wrong post, but I'm still happy if the instructions helped. : D

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