I’ve reviewed a whole range of different drum and groove apps here on the Music App Blog over the last few years. While they might all be ‘apps’, the approaches do vary and cover a wide range of musical territory. For example, you might get apps that offer drums based upon audio loops (Drum Loops HD), sample-based virtual drum machines (I guess Patterning comes in here but it is way more than that), virtual drummers (think DrumPerfect Pro here), drum synths (Elastic Drums or Attack Drums or DM2 for instance) or some things that are groove orientated but perhaps a bit more experimental (Patterning again but also the brilliant Sector).
Luis Martinez has a series of ‘drum’ apps that sort of sit between the ‘virtual drummer’ and sample-based drum machines and, in many ways, offer something that is a bit of the best of both. I’ve reviewed Rock Drum Machine, Rock Drum Machine 3, Brazilian Drum Machine, Funk Drummer and Afro Latin Drum Machine previously.
However, there is now a new addition to Luis’ catalogue; Soft Drummer arrived on the App Store yesterday. And before the ‘soft’ title gets you thinking wimpy ballads (hey, wimpy ballads might be your thing; that’s fine) then do pause for thought; Soft Drummer is capable of much much more than that. Indeed, I do wonder whether Subtle Drummer or Finesse Drummer or even Artful Drummer might be titles that would work just as well.
If you are familiar with any of the other apps in the series, the basic premise here – and many of the app’s core features – will be instantly familiar. However, as suggested my the app’s icon, Soft Drummer is dominated by brush-based drum performances. That might well suggest jazz (and those ballads) but, with a number of different brush variations as well as rods and hands, there is a huge range of drum sounds available… and, as some of the sounds have a real ‘crack’ to them, the app will cover a whole range of styles from jazz, ballads, pop and well into indie rock territory.
Soft Drummer is a 350MB download, requires iOS8.0 or later and is a universal app. Audiobus, IAA and Ableton Mink support are included, as is MIDI Clock sync MIDI control of the app is also possible. The app is priced at UK£10.99/US$14.99.
And while the app will be familiar to users of other apps in the series, each time Luis introduces a new app, the concept gets refined. In Soft Drummer, that is particular obvious in two areas. First, the quality of the sounds and the ‘feel’ of the pre-programmed patterns is even better than before; set Soft Drummer going and it really does sound very ‘real’. Second, this app sees the introduction of a new ‘Live Pads’ screen. This allows you to identify eight patterns and then trigger then ‘live’ from the pads (or MIDI) as well as adding fills or endings. These pads are great for creating a complete performance on the fly and, hopefully, it is a feature that Luis will gradually add to the other apps in the series.
This is another great addition to the Luis Martinez drum app series. I think the themed genre-specific nature of these apps has a lot to be said for it and this addition is top-notch stuff. I’ll do a full review of Soft Drummer for the Blog at some stage next week but, if you can’t wait for that, check out the video preview below and then hit the download button to find out more. Soft Drummer does, however, already come highly recommended.