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IDEA: Customizeable "modular" drum machine
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author IDEA: Customizeable "modular" drum machine

Just had this cool (or not so?) idea while trying to find a drum machine that fits my needs. Every single DM I came across has some sounds that I like and some that I don't, and I always wish "this one had a a 808-style kick instead" (that's a random example, you get my point).

So why not creating a drum machine offering a set amount of customizeable/interchangeable voices in the fashion of a modular synth?

Ok, I can see at this point some of you pointing out I could simply design a modular rack specialized in drum sounds and picking the modules I like. Fair point, but I don't want to have to patch anything, and anyway wouldn't something like that be just awesome?

You buy the "drum case" (containing all you typical DM functions like sequencer, pads etc.), and then you decide "ok, I want voice 1 to be a 808 style kick, voice 2 a "909-style kick, voice 3 a digital game&watch snare, what not...". Voice modules are sold separately and you can then just buy whatever you want. Modules could go beyond your typical analog/digital voice, you could have things like a simple monobass synth voice, collection of perc samples, a simple sampler where you can load your own sounds, etc...
The case itself could be coming in different sizes, holding 6,8,12 or 16 voices.

I did some research and I don't think anything like that had been designed yet, but correct me if I'm wrong (you'll actually make my day because I would like something like this so bad!)

If someone out there decides to build upon this rough idea, please do. I won't ask for any royalties, but if your product gets successful, maybe you can send me one for free then! Mr. Green Mr. Green Mr. Green
Ultimately what makes a good drum machine (as opposed to a drum module) is the sequencer and this is where most of them fail.
The Drumbrutes are good on that front but don't sound too good. I have wondered about whether someone can hack them to replace the voice circuits with better sounding stuff...
Panason wrote:

The Drumbrutes are good on that front but don't sound too good.

Agree! I bought a DrumBruit and while its fun to sequence and program, I just can't bring myself to like the sounds.

I am seriously looking at the Analog Rthm Mk II. More than I'd like to spend, but what I've heard out of the thing is impressive. Going to go to a local shop and play with one for a while.

I also acquired a Social Entropy Engine some time back. Not as intuitive as the DrumBruit is (to sequence) but FAR more flexible and - once you get your head around the menu structure - its really quite good. I wish Elekton (or anyone for that matter) made a drum sound module with the features of the ARMkII but without the sequencer.
Yes Powder
It's a pretty cool idea, but I'm not too keen on starting another module format just for this. It would be prohibitively expensive to develop and produce a line of modules for this specific format, so unless you have a monster company like Roland or Behringer behind it— or several smaller companies who agree to prduce for it, it would be hampered by a relative lack of available modules in the beginning which would lead to not as many early adopters which means not as much revenue to develop further modules, etc.

I think it'd work better just as a Euro housing with a drum sequencer. There are plenty of Euro drum modules that are already available, which customers could mix and match.
XXXEsq wrote:

I am seriously looking at the Analog Rthm Mk II. More than I'd like to spend, but what I've heard out of the thing is impressive.

The MK2 is still too risky... too many machines with hardware issues. (check elektron forum ) The mk1 is a good deal on the second hand market. The 1.31b OS is very stable.
The added sampling feature on the mk2 is a gimmick not worth the extra money.

Both machines have what can be a major issue which is that they make it very hard (or impossible) to synchronise pattern changes with other sequencers.
I've been thinking of that idea too.... I was thinking of euro modules for each sound with a sequencer module, and some kind of system to connect them up round the back so that you don't need cables all over it. Would still have connections on the front from doing extra modulation etc.

Even if you made a custom sequencer / case, there's no reason why they shouldn't be Euro modules.
By the way, Simmons used to have stuff like this where you could put in say, 3 toms, a snare, 2 cymbals and a kick or whatever.

You'd need an SDS-6 to sequence it though smile

i think it's a great idea. i haven't really tried sequencing drums with the modular, but from the options i've seen it looks expensive and space consuming. then you need each voice. having a standalone programmable sequencer saves space money and probably makes it a bit more intuitive.
By the way I ended up going for a Nord Drum 2 that I'm going to sequence with my Beatstep Pro. The ND2 probably offers the most flexibility in terms of drum sound design and the BSP's sequencer is both a very powerful and live-friendly sequencer, so the combo should work like a breeze.

But still, I'd love to see something like that be designed!
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