Soft Drummer launched – Luis Martinez adds brushes to his excellent iOS drum machine series

Download from iTunes App Storesoft drummer logo 1I’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 MachineFunk Drummer and Afro Latin Drum Machine previously.

Soft Drummer - brushes, rods and hands create some great drum sounds.

Soft Drummer – brushes, rods and hands create some great drum sounds.

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 features all the usual options offered by other apps in the Luis Martinez catalogue including, as shown here, the effects section.

Soft Drummer features all the usual options offered by other apps in the Luis Martinez catalogue including, as shown here, the effects section.

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.

The new Live Pads options is an excellent addition to the feature set.

The new Live Pads options is an excellent addition to the feature set.

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.

Soft Drummer


Afro Latin Drum Machine 2


Funk Drummer


Brazilian Drum Machine


Rock Drum Machine 2


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    Comments

    1. These apps truly are in a middle ground between apps we have to play ourselves, albeit virtually, getting the timing spot on, and the synthetic feel of apps that are entirely programmed. Happily, Luis Martinez is getting to good at this, it’s hard for even experts to tell the difference. The sounds are very nice quality, and introducing extra variance above and beyond the ‘swing’ that so many apps offer, it a stroke of brilliance.

      I’m also loving the fact that the apps arrive with more than sufficient connectivity. No excuses. No wimpy speeches about adding an important feature sometime, maybe never. These apps are never disappointing.

      I wonder if, in future, Luis might consider consolidating all his drum apps into one mega product, so that users could just swap between styles, sometimes on-the-fly.

      • Hi Nathan,

        agreed on all fronts… and on the last idea, yes, this is something that had occurred to me also. Until AU becomes more widely adopted (including by Luis) perhaps separate apps makes more sense as you can at least run a couple of them side by side if you wish…. but in an AU format, having all the styles in a single ‘mega-app’ would be very convenient even if it might also require quite a hefty amount of storage space…. If it provided the basic engine and then allowed you to buy into the various genre-specific styles via IAPs, then I could easily see that working as a model for both Luis (in terms of an income stream) and the users (who could pick just the styles they might like)…. very best wishes, John

    2. PS – I suppose the only one left to do is Reggae Drummer. Yeah mon!

    3. Yep Reggae. There seems to be no drum app dedicated to this genre. There are some half arsed attempts on a few apps but they are quite useless. We need dub. I have RDM, find it very useful, I use it a lot and would like to see some of the new stuff on Soft drummer also in that app. The end.

    4. As a jazz lover and frustrated (lazy?) owner of several step based drum apps, that I don’t use, this is nirvana to me. I can’t wait to get it when my limited funds become available. Been hoping for something like this since I first became a wannabe musician with the iPad. BTW, Doug Woods has a fairly Indepth video at soundtestroom.com.

      • Hi Bob…. it really does sound very good…. I’m no jazz expert so I won’t comment on the included jazz patterns other than to say, to my untutored ears, they sound good…. but the app is capable of much more than that for those that are willing to ignore the ‘soft’ bit of the title…. :-) Very best wishes, John

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