(!) This post may now be out of date - but has been left published for archive purposes. It may still prove to be of interest, but some (or all) details may now be out of date (!).
There’s been some confusion for a while now surrounding the differences between what is generally known as ‘The’ Disco Armonico, as produced by Marco Della Ratta, and the Disco Armonico frequently (at time of writing) offered for sale on eBay - by a guy named Jose Greenbeach. With questions generally falling within the realm of: what are they, who makes them, and are they a scam?
Unfortunately, as is often the case in the world of HandPan, due to their artisan nature, it can be difficult to pin down hard facts. But the following is what we know about them (or at the very least - what appears to be fact). For the benefit of those seeking more information.
* The Disco Armonico sold by Jose are not made by Marco Della Ratta.
* At some point in the past it is believed that Jose Greenbeach was a reseller of Marco’s Disco, but differences have severed that relationship, and Jose now produces his own pans.
* 'Disco Armonico' means ‘Harmonic Disk’ in Italian, where both Marco, and Jose hail from. And to some degree is used in the same way as ‘HandPan’ is used. As a generic name for Hang-like instruments. So that while Jose is often accused of attempting to cash-in on Marco’s work (with even Marco stating ‘this is a fake! i hope no one buy this fraud’- regarding one of Jose’s pans being sold on eBay), this is not necessarily the case (even PANArt Hang were sold in Italy under the name of Disco Armonico in their early days).
* It is believed that Jose now makes, and tunes these Disco Armonico himself.
* on eBay prices can vary but they are usually sold ‘Buy-It-Now’ for around $1000 (though at time of writing, prices seem to have risen).
* The Disco Armonico produced and sold on eBay by Jose Greenbeach, are generally thought of as being considerably overpriced - when comparing the quality of their sound with other HandPan of a similar price-range.
* However, despite the questionable ‘voice’ of Jose’s HandPan, his eBay feedback is (at time of writing) 100% positive. So as always, listen to the videos carefully, and decide for yourself if the sound is something that ‘moves’ you (we’re all different!), and judging by his feedback (surprisingly, some might say), he has had nothing but happy customers.
* Jose generally provides accurate sounding videos for each of his HandPan listed for auction, and it is known that one customer who received a damaged pan was fully refunded by Jose, without issue. Which leads to the summary of this post essentially being that sound-wise, Jose’s Disco Armonico do not come close to the refined sound of, for example, the Hang, or the Halo (or even the Marco Della Ratta Disco Armonico - currently). But, Jose Greenbeach, with the provision of honest sounding YouTube clips, and a refund policy (for damaged pans at the very least), seems to be an honest seller, and an option, if you find yourself attracted to that (much) rawer sound.