French synthesiser and controller company Arturia first caught our attention with their V Collection software, recreations of classic synths. Their Brute range of hardware synths and the DrumBrute entered them into the world of drum machines. Now, with their new DrumBrute Impact, there’s a nasty little beast of the loose.
DrumBrute Impact packs a punch. It’s got attitude, can be nice if you want it to be, but it can be truly nasty. It’s delicious yet fearsome.
Upon taking it out the box we’re surprised by its size – we expected it to be bigger but for portability and studio desk space it’s just perfect. The orange edges are a nice cosmetic touch. We couldn’t wait to power it up and hear it in action.
DrumBrute Impact is a fully analog drum machine with 10 drum sounds, each with loads of flexibility. The kick has a wide pitch range and a huge decay, and the snares – yes, two of them – are heavy. Just what a drum machine needs.
Some of the sounds share a channel such as high and low tom, which is totally fine.
They have included an FM drum which can be used in a percussive way or a melodic manner. This is a tough of genius. The FM drum can be tweaked to create something wild.
Finally, a drum machine which can have nice 808 or 909 type sounds but with some real flexibility too. It’s worth getting DrumBrute Impact for its sounds alone.
The sequencer is set to 16 steps once you create an empty pattern, but it has up to 64 steps. It’s very easy to extend the length by holding shift and right arrow. Polyrhythm is easily applied – consider that you have a sequence of 16 steps and want the cowbell to play a length of 7 steps and then repeat. Enable polyrhythm and this can be done. In fact, each instrument can have its own polyrhythm.
Distortion and Color
Arturia has managed to put a distortion on the master, something difficult to do because there are so many sonic ranges and levels to deal with. It adds a nice lo-fi effect when turned up slightly, or a full-on dirty distortion when turned up just after half way. Techno producers are going to love this.
Where Arturia really gets clever is with their Color function. Let’s use the kick as an example. If there’s a sequence playing with a kick, push the Color button and enter a step that already has a kick note assigned to it, it plays a ‘secondary layer’ sound, so the kick has ‘drive’ and snare 1 has ‘body’, snare 2 becomes a ‘clap’ and so on. Very nice.
It looks like Arturia made DrumBrute Impact to be used stand alone, with audio outputs on the master and 4 individual outputs too. These can be used to take the kick, snares, hats and FM drum into external effect units (now, where are all those old guitar FX pedals). There’s USB, MIDI, and clock connections too.
The song mode lets you chain patterns together for expanded compositions, Swing and Random along with unquantised recording mode and individual note shift means human sounding beats are easy to create. The roller is superb for live performances, and also entering notes. Try using a timing division from the roller on one step entry to have a ‘roll’ on just that note.
This is the best sounding analog drum machine we have ever used. It could be sweet, but it truly comes to life when its pushed. The sounds are full of attitude, the distortion and Color adds a grit not found in any other drum machine, and for the price it’s a no-brainer. Get one now.
- The sounds! Each instrument is spectacular
- The size! Fits nicely on the studio desktop
- Colour and Distortion gives it attitude
- Cost – $349 is just crazy cheap
See more at https://www.arturia.com/drumbrute-impact