(4 out of 5)
There are a couple of drum machines out there for the Apple iPhone, but so far the best one I’ve come across is DigiDrummer from Magnus Larsson. Think of this application as a drum set that you have at your fingertips, literally.
Digidrummer has at least 23 drum sounds built in to it, and probably updates more than any application I have with new drum sounds. So let’s get down to a little more in depth look at how DigiDrummer works.
When you open the application, you will see eight pads before you. Each one is named in conjunction with its respective drum. For example, you have a tom 1, tom 2, crash, ride, kick, snare and so on. All of the main components of a drumset are here. It is up to you to figure out exactly how you want to play the drums. The combination of fingers to use is completely up to you.
Digidrummer’s controls are very responsive, and very rarely do you get a skipped sound. Now this will all be based on how well you develop a finger skill for playing the drums. It will take some getting used to, but once you are able to throw together a pattern, you can find the best finger combination that fits you.
A really cool feature that DigiDrummer incorporated into it, is the ability to record the beats you play and save them to your phone. As a bonus, once you have them saved, you can select the overdub button. What this allows you to do is actually record a beat over the one you have already saved. It provides you the ability to make more complex drum beats that would be probably be impossible to pull off on a single take. It is a very simple task to apply as well. Simply go into setting and adjust the overdubbing to the on position and you’re set to go.
Except for a few skin selectors and on off switches, there aren’t too many settings to mess with. The only other option you can toy with is the drum roll pace. This will determine how fast or slow a drum roll will sound when you perform one. The drum roll pace can range between one and nine.
One of the nicest things about DigiDrummer, is the sound quality. Obviously, you can adjust the volume up and down with the button on the side of the iPhone, but the sound of each drum is solid. Each drum beat has its own unique sound, from electronic drums to your basic acoustic; and they all sound like their actual counterparts.
The only thing that would’ve been nice to see is the addition of a metronome. It’s nice to create your own beat, but if it’s not on time, then it kind of takes away from your creation. Perhaps it will be something that will be thrown into an update down the road, but for now, you will have to make your beats without it.
So you may be asking yourself, who exactly is this application for? Or, I have no idea how to play drums, will it show me? No, DigiDrummer won’t show you really any basics of how to play drums, it’s simply a drum pad, all of the creation and methods are up to you. That doesn’t mean somebody who has never played drums, can’t enjoy this. I have little to no drum talent, and still I find this a cool thing to mess around with. Another cool feature is the ability to play a song on your iPod, and then open up DigiDrummer and play along with it. That is a good way to build timing and even a little strategy. Also, if you’re not very creative, you can use this method to just jam out on.
DigiDrummer, is an extremely solid application for the iPhone. You get a wide variety of drum sounds, great responsiveness from the touch pads, and solid sound quality. The fact that you can record and save your custom drum beats is a nice little touch (no pun intended). It doesn’t give you much more than simply a fun time killer by playing drums, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at a bench and started tapping my fingers to a drum beat. Now I have an application I can actually record that drum beat to.
Digidrummer is a paid application, and runs for about $1.99. It can be purchased from the iTunes application store.
Image Credit: DigiDrummer screenshot by Magnus Larsson.