These inexpensive, small-size maracas are adequate for a lot of specialty applications such as drum circles, kid's rhythm bands, music therapy and even isolated tracks on recordings. They speak with a crisp, upper register "chick", and respond to various maraca techniques (eg staccato finger taps and circular "swoosh") although their small size limits volume and sustain. They are not ideal for high-volume live performance situations or most professional applications where multiple techniques are employed. I made the purchase for my GI JAMs project at the VA Medical Center where we encourage all patients and bystanders to participate. Almost Everyone can shake a maraca, regardless of skill, and they are certainly more effective than most of the various "egg-shakers". They are solid black with the subtle RhythmTech crescent logo in white. Bottom Line: You probably won't see Steven Tyler or Mic Jagger using these, but, if you need something inexpensive for a small group or one-time application, you could do worse.