Overshadowed by the proliferation of VSTs, ours is a golden age for hardware, with small synth workshops going head-to-head against technology giants. The expiration of patents and overall simplification of manufacturing processes has lead to fierce competition drawing down prices dramatically from the ’90s.
Case in point: the simple, compact and powerful Arturia DrumBrute Impact, an analog drum machine available for just $300. A total redesign from the somewhat contentious DrumBrute, the DrumBrute Impact has focused on just being a drum machine and becomes the best lil’ drum machine that it can be. The big, deep kick (the measure of any drum machine) is huge, and its pitch can be altered using a dedicated knob.
The cymbal has a bit of the sizzle of the 808 to it and overall the 10 sound palette is adequate to superb – there is no cheesy or awkward synthesis in these analog generated drums. The sequencer (taking after Arturia‘s BeatStep controller/sequencer) is powerful and relatively straight-forward, which can never be taken for granted with drum machine programming, and the pads are fun to hit.
This is a tremendous bargain, though it’s been overshadowed by Behringer’s rollout of their TR-808 clone which will retail for the same price (given that an injunction from Roland doesn’t stop it). But this is certainly one of the low-cost drum machines that should find its way into professional studios and performance kits.