255 x 16-bit sounds, built-in reverb, delay, chorus and flange, 39 drum kits, 250 patterns, 100 songs, stereo outputs plus two additional individual outputs… yessiree, my Boss DR660 was quite the weapon in the mid ’90s.
My current drum machine — Arturia’s DrumBrute Impact — has a mono output and no effects. But all is forgiven because of its 10 analogue parts.
But it does make you wonder. Surely there’s a middle way? Something that combines juicy analogue goodness with 21st century processing power.
Korg’s new Drumlogue aims to occupy that Goldilocks sweetspot. For less than A$1000 it offers four analogue parts and an innovative approach to its digital offering.
Korg Drumlogue is a fully-fledged drum machine, with lots of outputs, lots of sounds, effects and song creation capabilities.
Thankfully, it doesn’t carry the burden of my old DR660 of the ’90s. Prior to DAWs and affordable sampling, drum machines attempted to emulate the human touch of a real-life drummer to produce beats that didn’t sound like a machine. No one cares about that anymore. Anyone can call up endless loops of the world’s best drummer playing the world’s best kit in the world’s best studio with the world’s best microphones. That’s kinda passe. Drumlogue’s kits and patterns are almost exclusively aimed at today’s electronic music genre. As you’d expect.
Being a fully-fledged drum machine, it’s designed for programmers, not for MPC-style button bashing.
Its point of difference, is that it’s part analogue and part digital. Which means you get four parts (kick, snare, high tom, low tom) of analogue goodness and the rest are digital sources.
It’s a nifty middle road. It also means you can sample your own sounds into the Drumlogue.
Pull Drumlogue out of the box and you’re confronted by a stealthy black-on-black UI and chassis. It’s a tad intimidating – like unexpectedly encountering a teenage Darth Vader cosplayer in a blind alley. If you don’t power up the Drumlogue then most of the backlit buttons remain cloaked in mystery.
I like the look. It’s not attempting to be retro or derivative. It takes some inspiration from the ’Logue family and probably a bit from the Volca range. It feels modern, even with the black timber end cheeks.
It’s also built to a price (coming in at around A$900) so the oLED display is clear but isn’t big or beautiful. The buttons and pots all feel solid. The drum ‘pads’ themselves aren’t velocity sensitive (you overlay accents onto a pattern for velocity difference, like the drum machines of yore) so they don’t have to feel great. I know Drumlogue isn’t designed as a performance instrument but I still like the Roland approach on its TR-8s where you get one velocity sensitive pad for live playing — seems like a sensible compromise.