Sonic LAB: Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine

Affordable analogue rhythm box      26/07/18
    MP4 21:56 mins    

The new Arturia DrumBrute Impact  is the affordable sibling of the original DrumBrute. Both are analogue drum machines with a BeatStep Pro style sequencer (and some) at it's heart.

The voicing of the Impact has been completely redone, giving it a tougher overall sound and a different palette to work with. There are 10 voices in total - Kick, Snare, Clap, Toms (Low/high), Cymbal/ Cowbell, closed hat, open hat + an FM voice with a carrier and modulator.

Additionally, there are four discrete outputs, Kick, snares, hats and FM voice - plugging in will remove it from the main (mono) output.

Another difference is the swapping out of the resonant filter of the DrumBrute with a distortion which ads some nice whack and burn to the overall sound.

The sequencer offers 16 songs and  four, 16 banks of (up to) 64 step patterns. There’s a global swing control which can also be applied to individual tracks, and a randomize parameter - global or per track. Another neat feature is the polyrhythm - which allows for per track step lengths.

The roller/looper is also present with the ability to ratchet individual tracks, or loop the overall pattern. Ratchets can be applied to single or multiple steps, for notes in-between the steps in the sequence.

There’s still no parameter recording, but that’s the nature of analogue I guess.

As well as step recording, (select track and press corresponding step), real-time recording is also available as well as an un-quantized record feature for more human feel. Individual steps can also be shifted forward or back in time - for macro editing of steps.

Clock in and out ports, mean you can sync to and from other devices, with a dedicated Korg Volca format, (2 pulses) though you can still use maybe the FM voice out (with no decay) to trigger external gear with pattern based triggers rather than the constant of the clock out.

The USB connection gives MIDI (no audio), as well as a MIDI In and Out on full size connections. Master output is 1/4 jack plus there’s an 1/8th inch headphone output.

Overall, the DrumBrute Impact offers a lot of bang for the buck, the sounds are certainly tougher than the DrumBrute, and the features are impressive for something of this price which is £279/$349.

I would perhaps have liked to have seen a little more analogue sound manipulation, but that would have meant more controls, and presumably a higher cost.

Certainly, it's hard to find much fault with this at the price, it's capable of some tough sounding beats and the flexibility and familiarity of the sequencer (assuming you know the Arturia way) make it a pretty compelling machine. Nice work Arturia.

Arturia DrumBrute Impact will be  available in a a couple of weeks.

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