Alright, after taking unprecedented abstention to heart I went ahead and got a 218 to test the waters.
For 85€, I can’t say I’m disappointed.
The device is the perfect size. Small, slim, fairly big pads (easily fit 3 fingers)
It’s very intuitive, fairly easy to tap undemanding grooves (much easier than using a piano keyboard), acceptably dynamic for this type of playing.
Endless potentiometers (not encoders) work pretty well in Cubase assigned to quick controls. I thought it would be more of a hassle.
Banks are easy to operate and set up.
Editor software allows for complete remapping of the device.
Not very sensitive. Very light taps either don’t register at all, or trigger multiple instances of a note, depending on the pad of course, because…
It’s not equally responsive across all pads. Not all pads exhibit the same response, others are pretty sensitive and linear, others are more insensitive and ramp velocities faster or slower. Thus, for very soft and detailed playing, some setup is required for assigning special velocity curves, and playing soft parts louder. (so that the pads register better, and then velocity response curves bring them down to the desired dynamics)
That’s the bill. Now, would I pay 200€ more, to have more sensitive pads? Well… I don’t think so. If a project required very detailed drums I could always make it a special occasion and arrange to track a performance with my laptop & e-kit (sans BFD) and then bring it over to BFD, or track real drums (that’s what friends are for, right? )
So, all in all, pretty ok, I expected much worse out of this little controller, but at this price, I can’t blame it in the slightest.