As avid readers of these pages will know I am a huge Arturia fan, and when given the opportunity to review one of their new hardware additions for Garnish Music, I jumped at the chance.
The Drumbrute is a 17 voice all-analog sequencer and drum machine that has some neat performance and sequencing capabilities and integrates nicely with eurorack modular.
Arturia aren’t just known for their excellent software and are by now seasoned hardware producers with controllers, audio interfaces and of course a plethora of neat synths.
There has certainly been a recent trend for companies to rerelease their old time keepers, with Roland, Elektron, Akai, Korg, Dave Smith Instruments to name but-a-few, releasing contemporary drum machines.
And it’s not as if you can watch FACT TV’s critically acclaimed Against the Clock without realising half of Berlin owns a mint condition 808 or Oberheim DMX.
Full disclosure; I am not a keen collector of drum machines. In fact I own precisely one, which doesn’t even belong to me and is a cheap-o Yamaha RX-11.
Anyway, to sum up my thoughts on the machine and have a quick peek at some of the features, here’s a video I made for Garnish Music Production, where I work.
While this perhaps doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s a powerful unit that I used all over my recent sample pack for Sample Magic, ‘Modular Electro’ (more on this soon).
Importantly the internal sounds are good, and doubly so when run through some beefy compression. The kick(s) have a wide pitch range and the clips and hats are decent for what the unit is trying to achieve.
I wasn’t as convinced by some of the percussion but through some sample & hold resonant low-pass filter and spring reverb it produced some spooky sound effects.
This is not a Machinedrum-like unit, and if that’s what you’re after you’ll likely be disappointed.
In terms of sequencing within the unit it’s simple enough but honestly not a feature I’d utilise that much. Building simple one bar beats was a lot of fun and the swing and randomise functions are fantastic sounding.
What I struggled with were some of the wider song sequencing and turning simple beats in longer portions, where I had to constantly refer to the manual. Perhaps with some more time it’d become second nature, as much hardware does, but I’m not really a drum machine dweeb.
The shift button is obviously a space saver but took away some of the more intuitive nature of the unit.
For sequencing eurorack it’s definitely a winner, a LOT simpler than using MFB sequencer or similar (that said I’m having a lot of fun with using logic gates, euclidian sequencers and clock modulators so that’s not a biggie).
Perhaps the most fun I had with the device was recording long Plastikman style jam with my pal when working on the Modular Electro sample pack.
The advantage of hardware over software is rarely about sound quality for me (but that can come into it) it’s about usage and how you interface with knobs, slider and buttons compared to a mouse and keyboard.
Using a drum machine doesn’t give you a lot options you can’t already do inside your DAW, but it does lead you down different paths that would be less obvious compared to staring at a screen.
The Drumbrute retails at €450 (roughly £400 at time of writing). Buy Now.
If either of the topics on syncing with Ableton or Logic were skated over too quickly or you want to bone up on the eurorack trigger stuff then the below links are well worth a read. Enjoy!