I have certainly played better congas than the Latin Percussion Matador Congas, at least briefly. However, I can't afford to pay half of what they cost. These congas certainly feel a lot more expensive than they are, and as such, are a great deal. They are made out of a nice oak, have great rawhide heads that feel really nice. The rims are specially made Soft Strike rims that absorb most of the impact and do far less damage to your hands. The studio that I worked at used these congas, and their client list featured a lot of local Latin American Jazz acts and percussion ensembles. Many if not all of the clients were pretty impressed with them as far as I could tell. Having tried them, I must say I enjoyed them more then most, mainly because of the sound and comfort. I am not the greatest conga player or percussionist in general, but I can do enough with them to tell that they are great, even with my limited skills. I felt as though I could get a solid sound out of them, ranging from short and punchy to longer, more spacey tones. The rawhide skins are pretty dynamically sensitive as well. These big congas reverberate to sound pretty enormous when really slapped hard, which makes recording them a real treat. I was really sold when I actually worked on a session with one of the groups and recorded them with less-than-stellar mics. Regardless, it definitely sounded pretty fantastic. I would highly recommend these congas for studio owners as well as for live performers, as they are affordable and pretty excellent. They are also sturdy and can withstand a decent amount of wear and tear.