Software drum machines aren’t kingmakers the way hardware is. So Bram Bos of Eindhoven is not a household name the way, say, certain hardware makers are. But back in the 90s, Bram’s HammerHead Rhythm Station was one of the first pieces of software that showed what a drum machine in software could be.

Flash forward to 2016. Bram is here with an iOS app that’s all drum synth – no samples. And while that puts it in a category with some other apps, it takes a slightly different approach.


First, Bram advertises it as “the most hands-on” option for iOS. The UI is designed like hardware – and that means literally. Bram was already prototyping hardware with a Raspberry Pi as the guts. So what you get in the iOS design is something that is, on screen, laid out and sized in the same way as hardware would be. That makes it very much unlike a plug-in to use, because you don’t just use the touchscreen as a window to a bunch of software parameters.

Second, though, it is really a plug-in. While there are other great instruments on iOS, like Elastic Drums (also a drum synth), Ruismaker operates as an AU plug-in. So that means you can drop it into software DAWs like Steinberg’s Cubasis or Apple’s GarageBand (each now pretty powerful options). I really hope Bram uses AU cross-compatibility and makes a desktop version, too, as I really like the idea of projects being portable between mobile and desktop. (Like the iPad as I do, sorry, the laptop is where stuff gets finished.)

Third, and actually the reason to use it, Bram has taken a very particular approach to sound. There’s a separate synth model for each instrument type, modeling the analog circuitry you would expect out of a drum machine. So you get a combination of models that’s particular to Bram’s own vision of how such an instrument should sound – and that’s good.

All of this comes together in a vision that’s really playable. Bram says he’s made it very efficient, so you can run lots of plug-in instances on your iPad, and still get low-latency audio.

If you’re curious about that hardware project and where it went (plus where it’s going), that’s covered in an elaborate blog post that I think will be interesting to developers.

Ruismaker — What’s happening [Medium @brambos]

But right now, this is another excellent choice for the iPad. And it’s just US$4.99.

  • Alessandro Automageddon

    HammerHead is one of the reason why I ended up making electronic music, even if this app were shit, I would owe it to the man.

  • mercury

    HammerHead Rhythm Station is how I began my software music excursion! At the time, it seemed so futuristic! Thanks for that Bram (if you see this), you may not realize how many people probably enjoyed this!

  • undgnd-tv

    Nice take on the iOS drum machine. This has in turn got me checking out the videos for Modstep. Wow! I think I need to get modstep installed on the iPad, especially for holidays!

    • Polite Society

      it sure would be nice to have a drum machine that actually works with modstep.

      • Alessandro Automageddon

        My Nord Drum 2 works like I charme…

  • Dev79

    Hammerhead (along with Stomper) was def way influential to my early productions, gonna have to scoop this up. I’m hype to try Ruismaker!

  • Gustavo Bravetti

    Great tip Peter, instabuy!

  • BennyFromXXX

    Ruis is a Dutch word. It means noise.

  • Doug Gough

    Hammerhead and Tuareg, along with Audiomulch are the apps that got me in to creating music on my computer back in the late ’90s. I hope he makes a version of Ruismaker for the laptop. I’m just too fumble-fingered to be able to do anything creative on my iPad.

  • Spankous

    I can`t get it to work on an ipad 4 with ios 9. Always crushes when i try to open it in Garage band.

    • Spankous

      And also no answer from customer service

      • Bram Bos

        Hi @spankous:disqus. I’m sorry to hear about the issue. I did not get an email about this on our support address. Can you please resend your message to info [at]

      • Bram Bos

        Thanks for helping me track down the issue. With your help I have managed to work around the Garageband bug and implement a fix. Much appreciated!

        • Spankous

          me pleasure!

  • SevenEyeballs

    Versatile, or exclusive hardware controllers for iOS apps = take my money