DJTechTools Nov 21, 2016

One of the best things about having outboard gear in a studio is being able to step away fromthe computer and focus more on your ears, and the moment. It just sohappens that the hardware often sounds great as well. That’s why so much analog, standalone gear keeps hitting the market. The Arturia DrumBrute is a new drum machine that packs a punch at a budget-friendly $449. Keep reading to watch Mad Zach take it through the paces in this hands-on first look.

Arturia DrumBrute Review

Gear: DrumBrute analog drum machine
Out now


Mad Zach’s Thoughts on the DrumBrute

Birds Eye View: The strongest features ofthe DrumBrute areits workflow and functionality. It was fun to play, anddelivers a number ofinnovative performance features. I thought the mute groups were cool, and liked being able to sequence quickly either by playing in patterns, or step sequencing. Also, very cool that you can run each sound out individually. Personally I was slightly unimpressed by some of the sounds, for example the main kick and hats at long decay. However I did like some of the other sounds, like the shakers, and toms. Overall I felt the unit would sound very nice paired with some analog saturation.

Build Quality:The DrumBrute is very similar in quality to a lot of other Arturia products (like the Beatstep Pro, MicroBrute, etc). If you’ve felt the knobs on those other units, you’ll know what to expect. It is designed in France, made in China.Yet despite some aspects of the construction feeling a bit cheap, it does deliver fully on functionality, which at this price, is the best one could ask for. The step sequencing buttons left a bit to be desired (rather smooshy and cheap feeling) but ultimately served their purpose as well, and made quick work of some relatively dirty beats.

Sounds:The kicks are bothfairly simple; one is punchy and the second is more of an 808 sub. The hi-hat sounds metallicwhen you open it up – which might be desirable to some users, but also unique. Some of the drum slots have the ability to alternate between two different sounds that are sequenced independently – adding an extra set of sounds without needing more physical controls. The downside of this was that the same knobs control both sounds together, so you cannot tweak the two sounds separately. The filterswere functional but not distinguished.

Sequencing Workflow:You can program beats in a few different ways:

  1. Select an instrument and then program it into the step sequencer in the top section
  2. Hit record and playlive with the pad at the bottom of each slot. Depending on how hard you hit the pad, it is either an accented note or not.
  3. Hit the record button, select an instrument, and hold down the step repeat touch strip at the top to record patterns in – it’s quick and fun.

Connectivity: The DrumBrute can be synced viaMIDI cable, USB MIDI, and click. It features a dedicated headphone out, as well as individual outputs (1/8″) for the sounds, and a full mix output. It also comes with an editor, which connects to your PC via USB and allows for preference adjustment, as well as pattern management and editing.

Want to see more of Mad Zach’s DJTT content? Check out all of his past articles here.


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