You probably know by now I don’t like reading manuals until I absolutely have to. I’d rather jump in and get a beat going. This is exactly what I did with the Arturia DrumBrute.
Out of the box, I was surprised by the light weight for something that appears to be bulky in photos. Other Arturia products, MiniBrute and KeyStep Pro, have some weight to them. The appearance of the DrumeBrute is beautiful with the gray case and wood side panels. The drum pads have a good feel to them similar to the Arturia Keystep products. The knobs look like those found on the Arturia MiniBrute but seem sturdier.
The button and knob layout is good although some might look for faders for the drum parts. Each drum part has a knob for levels. Above the drum parts, we have the step sequencer, transport control and effects to the top right. Unlike the Roland TR-8, there are separate pads for the step sequencer and performance pads.
The rear panel has MIDI in and out and clock in and out. Arturia has added individual outs for each drum part. There is a single mix output. Surprisingly, there are 3.5 and 1/4 headphone jacks. The headphone level knob is located in the rear. I would’ve preferred to see a MIDI thru port for greater flexibility.
I played the built-in patterns and went to town with tweaking the drum parts. I see a lot of potential but wish they added a Brute filter also found on their MiniBrute synthesizer. Drum sounds include the following:
I’m happy to report that manipulation of the drum part is significant and keeping sound quality good. I’ve experience other gear where changing manipulating the sound leads to poor sound quality or negligible change all together. Although the sound was more than acceptable, I’m immediately thinking of adding a compressor to thicken the sound.
The DrumBrute was introduced at an MSRP of $449 but now has been raised to $499. Analog gear is making a strong comeback at reasonable prices. Overall, the DrumeBrute is going to give the Roland TR-8 a run for its money and can be a mainstay in any studio.