Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Continuing on as one of the leaders of the analog synthesizer resurgence, Arturia; who ironically were one of the originators of the VST-based computer composition market, return here with a revision to their widely successful Drumbrute. With the Impact however, the company has created something even more interesting, and so we are gonna talk a little bit about why this particular machine is very innovative for the drum synthesizer market.
In a world of AIRA's and boutiques that aim at re-creating classics from days of old, Arturia; who spent a long time doing the same in the software industry, pushing the envelope of VST plug-ins that re-created old classic machines such as the Moog Modular and the like, has now been at it alone in many ways since the resurgence of hardware-based composition and production, attempting to bridge old and new by designing innovative, yet rich and classic analog instruments that really invite the musician and listener into purely original concepts.
Designing a drum machine that will really catch the attention of the public however, is no easy task. While many companies have had great success with different models, only a handful have truly gone on to revolutionize the music industry and many musical genres for years to come in the way Roland's 808 and 909 have for example. A drum machine at its core, must be tuned to have a very specific neutral sound, one that alone gives a song lots of character, but throughout many different productions must also adapt well to the use of different effects and techniques, so as to have a very varied sound throughout in general. Nobody likes a one-trick pony these days!
A unique beast to say the least! © Arturia
The Drumbrute Impact, in its small size and affordable price, delivers a really clean analog sound, while giving users some features that make this little guy stand out from the crowd. With options such as Polyrhythms, where each drum track can be its own set length you desire, you can begin crafting complex beats, whereas the unique FM Drum track for example, can add a layer of menace to your rhythms. Here you have parameters like FM amount, pitch modulation, decay, and an independent carrier pitch knob.
Going even further, Swing and Random allow you to further stir things up, also giving you a color option for each track, and perhaps most importantly: distortion at the output, which on this little guy is super clean and really can create absolutely devastating drums. This is the Minibrute of drum machines without a doubt! Aside from that, 4 independent outs let you record snares, kicks, hi hats and the FM track individually, while the 64 pattern/64 step sequencer gives you plenty of room not just to create complex rhythms, but also trigger fairly complex sequences via other gear that the Impact can potentially work with. Unfortunately though, once again we see a lack of Thru...am I missing something here? This seems particularly essential in today's growing hardware studios.
Overall however, the Drumbrute Impact is an incredible treasure trove of opportunities at such an incredible price! For a machine half the size of its predecessor, this gentle giant can deliver some serious grooves for really any style you are looking for. For me personally, I found the Drumbrute to be quite beautiful, both in look and sound, but I did not think the organic sound itself was neutral enough to really allow you to dive into many genres and styles. With the impact however, I feel Arturia really hit the nail in the head right on!
This may well be a drum machine we look back on one day and see how pivotal it actually became for Electronic music. It's very refreshing to see not just another remake of an old classic, but an innovative step forward to further challenge the modern day Electro producer.
For a more in-depth review, take a look at the video below featuring Alex Scott from Consordini Musical Instruments: