June 21, 2024, 10:00:48 am
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Author Topic: Next time you design a drum machine some features to consider.  (Read 2914 times)

Ab Wilson

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I'm speaking as the owner of a DrumBrute, a TR909 and a TR606. The DrumBrute is a great machine and I can understand you weren't trying to copying the classics, but still there are some things you can learn if you ever create a new drum machine.

Number one is dynamics. The 606 only has overall accent, but the accent level is adjustable and it has much more range. The difference between accented and unaccented on some of the drum brute voices is minimal. As a result I find the humble 606 is better for programming busy snare patterns. So feature one is a control for the accent level. I don't mind at all if this is global. In fact I prefer it as it becomes a useful performance control. On a 606 for instance you can program a pattern that changes from 6/8 to 3/4 as to change accent level.

Still on dynamics, the 909 has overall accent and individual accent. A lot of people don't realise how powerful this is. The accent level actually controls the proportion of accent coming from global accent versus instrument accent. If set to 50% then global and instrument accent sound the same, but set to 33% or 66% you have 4 distinct levels, unaccented, local accent, global accent and both. Plus the method of entering accents is quicker and more intuitive - repeat presses just cycle through off, on, accent. So give us a global accent track, with a level control that interacts with instrument accent.

Hi Hats - I really like the DrumBrute hi hat. It's very crisp with a good range of sounds. But I like programming the hats on the 606 more, for the simple reason that the interaction between open, closed and accent is more musical. I think you really missed an opportunity on the DrumBrute by not having open and closed together produce a half closed, or accented closed sound. I could program beats into a DAW with infinite expressive possibilities but it's a drag. I like hardware because it restricts my choices in a creative way. The 606 is a great example of this.

Ideas to steal from other products.

One idea from the Cyclone TT-303 that I really like is the ability to take 4, 16 step patterns and copy them into 1, 64 step pattern. This makes it a lot easier to work on long patterns. What the TT-303 can't do - but would be really cool - would be to copy 1, 64 step pattern in 4, 16 step patterns, mess with the 3rd pattern for a while, then copy them back. I think this would be a good solution for editing complex patterns. Another thing I like with the TT-303 is the use of colour. You can assign a colour to a pattern, so when you arrange a song you can see by the colours the order of the patterns.

Super cool extra features - trigger outs and mod inputs. Even if they were available as an expansion option this would be great.


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