Boom! No, that’s not the sound of a kick drum – it’s the sound of the analog drum machine getting friendlier and cheaper the same way analog monosynths have. Arturia’s DrumBrute is US$499 (449€), and it’s loaded with hands-on sound controls and extra features. At that price and with all this stuff to play with on the front panel, this is guaranteed big news.

The sound DNA come from Arturia’s other Brute instruments – so expect edgy sounds and, naturally, another Steiner-Parker filter. (That particular filter design has shown up on the whole family.)

Here’s a demo video sent to us by Source Distribution:

Now, the fact that it’s “analog” I’m sure will mean fodder on forums for people to bash certain recent digital offerings. But that’s of course not the point. It’s a matter of whether an instrument sounds good, and whether you get the kind of control over the sound that makes it fun to play. And on a drum machine, it’s also increasingly whether sequencing and other production features make a satisfying package.

drumbrute-1

Love them or not, the Brute has always had loads of personality, so I’m already intrigued by the availability of a drum machine in the line. Still more promising, it seems the folks at Arturia have given us lots of goodies in the box.

  • 17 instruments: two kicks, snare, clap, open & closed
    hats, high & low toms and conga, maracas, rimshot, clave, tambourine,
    zap, cymbal, and (interesting) a dedicated reverse cymbal. And each of those has loads of parameters onboard, as well.
  • Two-mode Steiner-Parker filter on the main out.
  • 64 steps per sequence, up to 64 sequences, live programming.
  • Swing, Randomness, Step Repeat, Roller, Looper.
  • Lots of connectivity/sync: MIDI, Clock, 1PPS, 2PPQ, DIN24, and DIN48, for connecting to anything, basically analog or digital, vintage or new, modular or desktop.

drumbrute-aplats-4

DrumBrute_Top_WebResolution

I’d like to bite my tongue, but of course I have to compare to the TR-09 from Roland. Again, those forum kids are likely to complain that the TR-09 is digital – but that’s not really the issue, as the thing sounds terrific (and it sounds like a 909, which this won’t).

But what’s blatantly obvious looking at the DrumBrute is that it’s made in 2016. It’s got pads and performance features we’ve come to expect (since even looking back to the 1980s, we’ve all seen MPCs). It has more hands-on controls of the sounds – and presumably a greater sonic range, for anyone bored with the 909.

Here’s the thing. I don’t think the TR-09 is competition for the DrumBrute, and I don’t think the DrumBrute is competition for the TR-09. People who want 909 sounds will still turn to the TR-09. And even though the TR-09 does far less, to some, that’s going to be a selling point – it’s a simpler instrument dedicated to doing one thing that a lot of people want. On the other hand, for people looking to get as much bang for the buck as they can, the DrumBrute is going to be naturally appealing, because it does so much.

The real competition for the DrumBrute to me is stuff like the MFB instruments – and devices costing a lot more. And I think it’s incredible what Arturia have done for this market, not only making analog instruments affordable, but connected ones – with onboard CV and with lots of controls.

And most importantly, the DrumBrute isn’t a reissue of anything, or a clone of anything. It’s at last a serious new entry for entry-level drum machines. And that means it’s worth forming an opinion about.

Hmm, now … let’s see, DrumBrute + TB-03 + MeeBlip and I can really leave my laptop at home. Stay tuned.

Shipping soon, with dealers due to have stock in November. Stay tuned for a review.

Sounds

www.arturia.com/products/drumbrute

Videos

Obligatory launch video:

Perhaps more interesting tutorial video:

Bonus video. Here with … a lot of distortion. Excellent.

  • djkm

    Such a French video.

  • Freeks

    How would you sequence meeblip with that setup?

    Yeah, comments like: I cancelled my “TR-09 preorder” and “I allmost just bought 707” mean that those ppl didn’t know what they were buying in the first place. Cymbals are samples for a reason. That’s why this could not be my main drum source.

    • B.C. Thunderthud

      I’m kind of on the other side of that. The main reason to go analog is the hats, the 909 is ably replaced by samples. I did buy a TR-8 a couple weeks ago because the MFB stuff seems to have a lousy interface, I probably would have held out for this instead but I was largely after the 606 sounds and not the 909 so I can’t really disagree with your comment..

  • Alien Blip Machines

    @Peter Agree with most of what you said, but with some reservation: “People who want 909 sounds will still turn to the TR-09”. Not quite: there are actually *many* places you can get the 909 sounds from. But only one place to get the DrumBrute sounds and experience.

  • blacktrope

    All good and all but I really don’t get the product design from so many companies these days. Wood, wood, why oh why. That’s the beauty about the Elektron boxes, proper box, well crafted.

    • People love the retro touch, because the (fake) wooden end cheeks make the synths sound warmer. 😉

    • SyntheticJuice

      I used to think that, until i used a DSI Tempest, and while in a middle of deep thought, placed my hands down on the sides to rest them and realized, oh this feels nice. So i kinda “get” wood ends now.

      • blacktrope

        Haha! Congratulations on the epiphany!

        Honestly I wanted to purchase the Tempest because I really like the sound but come on, the design!? They didn’t even bother to give the surface a proper paint job and just slabbed a sticker on top for all of the labelling. It feels so cheap for that premium price. Glad that they changed with the latest synths and finally are printing the labels on the chassis. Would love to get the without wood though. I think that is where the Jupiter 6 and 8 really excelled, having steel/aluminium sides.

    • evo_9

      Because it’s ‘analog’ and that means you need wood to let people know that you are cool because you are using analog gear. Duh.

      • heinrichz

        haha touché..but i love this box because the price is right.

  • Looks rather handy and a step in a good direction 🙂

  • Very Nice- Was not thinking of getting the TR-09 as my TR-8 is more than sufficient for that 909 sound. However this thing sounds like it has a great tone, no menu diving, and many of the features I wish were on my TR-8 like polyrhythms, individual outs, 64 steps and song mode it would be a great complement to it. And the Price! Totally doable.

  • Looks like a massive piece of gear to have on your studio desk…

  • Nagasaki Nightrider

    Not sure why the TR-09 needs to be mentioned other than it was recently released. The obvious comparison in that price range is the MFB Tanz- family, as you mentioned, because they they have similar features and are analog. You could also argue that the Drumbrute is a budget alternative to the much pricier Jomox Xbase. Again, similar features and both analog. The Drumbrute also appears to embody what the Akai whatever-Wolf should have aspired to be. Anyway, looks great and I’m sure they’ll sell a boatload.

  • Will

    I was initially put off by the sound of the Arturia demos but other demos show the versatility. Not entirely my cup of tea but it’s definitely a ‘full’ sounding machine. This and a bass machine could bang out a lot of music.

    Couple of other features exposed in the Sonic State video: 1) you can adjust each step forward and backward in time like the BSP and 2) you can record with quantize _off_, 3) there are only two levels of ‘velocity’ captured to the internal sequence—it’s more like an accent per part.

    Would be delightful if some of the newer sequencing features found here could be back ported to the BSP. In particular, swing and sequence length per drum part.

    • Elastic Drums

      I was also not attracted by Arturia’s demos, they sound kind of clean and uninspired. I think the real magic happens, when you work with the machine and get “into the flow”. Like the guys in the Sonic State and the Distortion Jam videos …

  • richard conrad

    sounds like a boss dr110 alittle bit .. yummy

  • Elastic Drums

    I love that Distortion Jam video 🙂 A wonderful piece of modern hardware again from Arturia with a very moderate price. Funny that a former “software company” shows again, how hardware should look these days, Roland seems to have no idea apart from reissuing itself. But I really miss the storage of the parameter settings, it’s almost a disqualifier for me. Some effects on top would have made it even more complete, but also more expensive though.

    • Velocipede

      Parameter setting storage (and automation)! Absolutely key advantage of apps. This sounds great over the Internet, especially with distortion, but I think only in person will I be able to tell if it sounds “better” than a good app or plug-in. The interface seems very usable, but I wish Arturia would spend a little more money on their knobs. (Does the DrumBrute have any panning? Are we going to need a 12-channel mixer just to set panning?) Still, I guess this will be great for a lot of people.

      • The mix output is mono, so yes, if you want to pan instruments, you’ll need to use the single outputs.

  • Look ma, no cowbell!

  • Tim Brierly

    this looks great! although… no trigger output? that’s a shame… there’s always something missing eh?

    looking forward to hearing the videos on my studio monitors

    • Neil

      Probably use the zap output, the classic electro zap sound is the 808 trigger out after all.

    • Polite Society

      I bet the individual outs would cross 1v, if you wanted to use them in that way.