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Crosstalk and activation: optimizing the sound of your Handpan

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Handpans impress with their unique, spherical sound. But sometimes there can be an unwanted side effect called crosstalk. In this blog post, we'll explore crosstalk and activation and help you get the best possible sound from your handpan.

What is crosstalk?

Crosstalk refers to the negative influence of notes on each other. Simply put, the sound of one note can be disturbed by another. This is particularly pronounced in handpans with octave sounds, for example a low C and a high C. If these notes are played at the same time, they can muffle or distort each other, resulting in an unpleasant sound.

Understanding activation

Activation refers to the ease with which the octave tone field of the thing on the handpan is addressed. Depending on the intensity of the resonance of the tone field and the ease of activation, "activation" can become an unpleasant companion when playing the Handpan.

Minimize crosstalk

There are several things you can do to minimize crosstalk or activation and achieve a cleaner sound:

  • Handpan sound quality: First and foremost, pay attention to the quality of your handpan. High quality handpans usually have fewer crosstalk problems. If you are unable to resolve crosstalk issues despite your best efforts (see the crosstalk troubleshooting guide), you may want to contact the manufacturer of your handpan.
  • Playing technique: Pay attention to your playing technique. Avoid hitting notes with increased activation too hard, as this can exacerbate crosstalk. Practice light and controlled playing.
  • Damping techniques: Experiment with different damping methods to minimize unwanted overtones. You can use your hands to mute certain areas of the handpan while playing other notes.

Eliminating crosstalk

To eliminate crosstalk, a slight modification of the tone fields on the inside of the handpan is required. This is what you need:

  • stickers
  • magnets
  • Cork tape

It is necessary to determine the area of strongest activation on the handpan and then use one of the materials to dampen the sound fields. Detailed instructions for eliminating crosstalk and activation can be found here.

Conclusion

Crosstalk and activation are natural phenomena in handpans, which are desirable but can be undesirable in extreme cases. By paying attention to the quality of the handpan when you buy it, selecting your handpan according to your playing technique and using our sound optimizer set in an emergency, crosstalk and activation should not bother you any further.

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