Canadian Musician - July/August 2017 - Page 20

ROAD TEST Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine W ith the resurging interest in ana- log synths, there has been an outpour of products to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for sonic nostalgia. Arturia, the French software-turned-synth company, has responded with many affordable analog synths in its “Brute” line, including its latest instrument: the DrumBrute analog drum machine and synth. First Impressions Housing 17 analog drum sound generators (one for each part of the drum kit) and a 64-step sequencer, the core of the DrumBrute is reminiscent of most classic analog drum machines. As such, the DrumBrute is relatively simple by modern, computer-driven drum machine standards, but by no means does this reflect negatively on the instrument. Like its indirect ancestors, the DrumBrute is mono but with two individual audio outputs: one main and one for the headphones, which conveniently accepts both 3.5 mm and 1/4-in. plugs. Each has its own volume control, as does the onboard metronome. The DrumBrute has been designed to inte- grate into an all-analog workflow with the ability to sync via analog clock, but also through DIN MIDI or MIDI over USB. In Use The DrumBrute’s sounds are well chosen and the range of each sound provides an impressive palette in spite of the few controls. There are two kick drums, snare, clap, closed and open hi-hats, rimshot, clave, cymbal, reverse cymbal, zap, high and low congas and toms, maracas, and tambourine. The congas and toms share a pad, as do the maracas and tambourine. Each sound can have its own individual patterns; however, their controls are more limited than most of the other pads. All of the sounds are familiar, having obviously been inspired by the best – think archetypal Roland. Some of the sounds are close enough that most won’t know the difference, but even still, the DrumBrute is indeed its own unique instrument.  When programming, accents can be applied to any step of a pad within a pattern, but this is a rudimentary equivalent to what we now call velocity. Even still, when used well and in conjunction with the global swing, the DrumBrute really comes to life. For those who are musically daring, there is also Polyrhythmic Mode, which allows for odd time sig- natures that can be applied per pad. Each pad has its own mono 3.5 mm output, which cuts the sound from the master output. These outputs give the DrumBrute a true op- portunity for uniqueness. Users can transform the sounds away from its inherent vintage character into something more distinctive or modern. The signal path here is 100 per cent analog. You’ve got four banks of 16 presets and the ability to record in real time. I immediately reached for my outboard equipment and guitar ped- als, running the snare through my beloved Free the Tone Red Jasper pedal for some added saturation and drive, then into their Ambi Space 20 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N reverb. The snare instantly became something else, something edgy with a new depth to it. For those of us who remember programming and making music before computers, there’s a wonderful comfort in this kind of tactile experience. For me, this is the antithesis of “preset music”; this is real sound design. The DrumBrute is not competing with ɽՍ́9)ѥٔ%յϊd5͍ݡȁɱ䁥єѥ̰)ѡ͔ȁ́́ɽՍѥɕͽչ́)ѡյ єѥЁѡյ єፕ́Ё)Qɔɔ͍ɕ̰ͽչ̰ԁ٥)%͔$݅́ѼЁЁЁչݥѡ)ѕ̸ ɅѥͽչݥѡѡЁх́ȁݼͼ)ͥ́ե丁$݅́ɥ͕ЁѡمɥѡЁͥ)ձɥѼѡͽչ$ѡɥ͡ձ)Ѡѡͽչ́ѡ䁡͕ٔ́ݕ́ѡͽɅѡЁ)ЁѡЁɽ٥̸)́ѥѡͽչ́ɔɕЁȁѡ͔Ѽɔ)ͥմͽչ$չѡ́ѼͽݡЁ͠)хѡ՝Ёչͅѡѥ)Q՝$ɽѡյ є́ѽȁѡՑɥ)݅ѕЁѼٕͅѥ՝ȁ͔ٔ́ݕЁх䁥)хȁѡ͔ݡɔхɽɅٔɅѡ)ѡͥѕ͕ՕȰѡɗéٔɕɑչѥU͕)䁑ɕЁѕɸ́ȁͽ͕ѥ́)́չ٥Յѕ́ȁѡݥɅ)ɕ͕́Ѽمɥѥ)QЁչѕչѥѡյ є́ѡѕɕ)ѽՍɥݡɕѕ́ɕѥѕȁɽ̸)䰁ѡMѕȵAɭȁЁѕȁͥ䁕)͕ɥəɵ݅́ͥȁ́ȁܴ)́ѕȁݕ̸Qѕȁѽ́ݕ!A1Aͼ)չչѕ͕́eЁѠѕ́Ѽɕє́ѕȸ)Mյ)Ѐ ѡɥѡյ є́ɥͥ䁱܁ȁݡЁ)쁕ٕѥѡ͕ձ́ѡյ єݥɕ䁉ͽ)ͥȁɔͼѡѡȁեЁѡЁ'e͕ٔ%Ёɕ)́ݸѼѡ͕ˊéمՕ́ձѥѕ䰁ѡȁݽɭܸ)Q͔ݡɔѥѼɸݽɭ܁ȁѡЁeЁ͕ѡ)ЁѼхѥ́䁡ٔձЁѥѕɅѥЁѼѡ)ɽՍѥ̰Ёٕ役͔'eɔѡeٕ䁥ɕ͕)I典5 ɥ́ɕɽՍȰɥѕȳ ȁݡ͔)ɕ́ՑI͠ ɑ́Q弰́Qȸ!́х՝)ͽչͥɽՍѥЁݽɭ́͡չٕͥѥ́́ѡ)ɽѵ ȁ ͥ ȁɔɵѥ٥ͥ)ܹ典ɥ ܹɍͥ