I have written extensively about the Handpan Mafia and their various rackets which they run to make exorbitant profits off the backs of the overwhelmingly gullible, uninformed Handpan buyer's market.
This latest KaribPAN exposé will now widen our focus and shine our spotlight on the laughably overpriced, dull, essentially untuneable "Pantheon Steel Nitrided Shells".
Judging by the brisk sales volume of these Pantheon Steel Nitrided Shells (they are often listed as 'sold out'), it appears that the word about the poor quality of these shells has yet to be spread!
Here at KaribPAN, we decided to see for ourselves whether the all the hype surrounding this particular Handpan Mafia outfit's blank shell racket was justified. Now, after incurring personal financial losses to the tune of roughly $1700, we are here to spread the official word to aspiring Handpan tuners/makers!
Let's begin with the numerous instances of false advertising on Pantheon Steel's website in relation to their shoddy shells:
"Our shells give builders and tuners (novice and experienced alike) a consistent, high-quality blank canvas with which to experiment, practice, refine skills, and make their own instruments."
If Kyle Cox and co. had any shred of integrity, he SHOULD have said,
"Our shells give builders and tuners (novice and experienced alike) a consistent, LOW quality, DULL, DEAF, canvas with which to experiment and RECEIVE MIGRAINE HEADACHES due to endless hammering, and make their own instruments which will most likely NOT SING regardless of the skill level of the tuner/maker. If you are a novice tuner seeking to refine your skills, our nitrided shells will frustrate you to the point of wanting to QUIT learning how to tune a handpan altogether."
Kyle Cox and co. then begin to pile the lies on top of each other in their ad by stating:
"Available both heat-treated and raw; this is the RAW version, suitable for exploring the art form less expensively, or, for experimenting with one's own heat-treatment."
To this I say, explore the art form less expensively than the $150/shell $300/pair you charge for your Pantheon Steel Nitrided Shells?
A novice is better off nitriding his own shells anyway since Kyle Cox and co. obviously have NO CLUE how to nitride shells!
I would like to quote the priceless words of Felix Rohner, who said to me recently,
The Pantheon shells we got from you are bullshit, wrongly nitrated. Why did you buy shells from Kyle who has no idea of a good material?"
More on this priceless quote later on in this post!
The Pantheon Steel ad then goes on to falsely advertise their racket by stating:
"Note: bare shells require a lot more hammering than heat-treated shells to acquire an adequate hardness for tuning! (When professional heat treatment options are applied, there is less need for such hammering.)"
As Kyle Cox has absolutely NO CLUE how to apply "professional heat treatment options", be prepared to do A LOT of hammering and receiving little to no positive results for your efforts if you get hoodwinked by this Pantheon Steel hard-shell Racket!
Kyle Cox is surely laughing all the way to the bank with all of the suckers throwing money at him trying to receive some scraps at the feet of the "Handpan gods" on Mt. Olympus!
Kyle Cox then goes on to top off his ad with a slyly worded disclaimer that states,
"Note: this is the same steel used to make a Halo, but it is NOT a Halo shell; the dimensions and treatment are different."
And there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth! In other words, "Pantheon Steel keeps the good stuff for themselves and sells the crap to the public" in the words of a German tuner friend of mine who took a crack at making an actual instrument out of these Pantheon Steel cans for shells.
In undertaking our unbiased trial of these Pantheon Steel cans, we bought 8 shells in total (4 pairs) and individually they passed through the hands of 3 established tuners/makers, two of whom shall remain unnamed for confidentiality purposes.
My German tuner friend had this to say about these Nitrided Pantheon Steel cans in addition to the above quote in the preceding few paragraphs;
" The shells are DEAD, dull and DEAF. They do not sing and they are not nitrided properly. For people like me tuning them, they give me a HARD (no pun intended) time."
Here is a picture of what my German tuner friend created with these Pantheon Steel Nitrided cans:
If I posted a video demo of the actual sound it would be a literal waste of bandwidth!
The second tuner/maker who received a pair of shells and who will remain anonymous, is from a Caribbean background and he echoed the sentiments of the German tuner/maker by saying,
"Bwoy, the shells dem HaAd! Mi find dem difficult fi work with!"
He has yet to complete tuning these shells as it is apparent that tuning these shells in order that they may sing is next to impossible!
Even my German tuner friend took months before he gave me a dead, dull sounding instrument as it is clear that these shells are quite simply a pain in the ass and absolutely NO FUN to work with.
Now the last tuner/maker to receive a pair of these Pantheon Steel cans was Felix Rohner incidentally, who no doubt bought them from is in order to test our integrity as a business from a consumer/competitor perspective.
The irony of these reject Pantheon Steel Nitrided cans that no one wants to tune ending up in the hands of Felix Rohner via KaribPAN is quite humorous indeed!
Out of the 8 shells/cans we purchased from Pantheon Steel, we sold 4 through eBay at below cost w/ premium Fedex shipping at a loss just to get rid of them with a clear conscience!
Felix Rohner apparently bought 2 of the 4 shells we listed on eBay through a proxy no doubt, in order to protect his identity. However, we knew we were under a microscope with his purchase as his proxy asked us for the actual invoice from Kyle Cox after purchasing the shells/cans from us, in order that we may prove that the items we sold him were authentic!
Haha, it doesn't get any better than this folks. I wasn't surprised that the proxy of Mr. Rohner failed to leave any positive eBay feedback for us on that transaction!
But the above is a true story of some shoddy, overpriced Pantheon Steel Nitrided Shells/cans that no one wanted!
We burned a $1700 hole in our pocket just to expose the racket and get the word out there!
Now it's up to the BUYERS to BEWARE!
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Who then? Does the consumer turn to buy a respectable Trustworthy Quality making handspan from? and how do we trust them before we buy one?
This is definitely not a satirical blog as everything here consists of verifiable facts.
Love the fact that the handpan world now has a satiric blog online. Thanks for all the laughs, Karibpan!