November 18th, 2020

Plugin Review: D16 - Drumazon

Drumazon is D16's take on the classic Roland 909 drum machine. The sound is pristine and authentic, but what really sets this emulation apart is the fact that D16 haven't been afraid to expand on the functionality of the original box.

The Drumazon is meticulously crafted to reproduce those classic 909 sounds; each module coded to replicate its analogue counterpart. Drum patterns can be programmed inside the plugin, much as you would have programmed the original box, or they can be programmed externally, using the midi controls in your DAW. This means that you can work in the way that is most comfortable to you. Up to 96 patterns can be stored across the sequencer's 8 banks, and these can be shared as XML files if you wish.

Drumazon has 12 outputs, and multiple drums can be sent to the same output if required – the open and closed hi-hat for example. This is an extremely useful feature in drum machine plugins as it makes the processing of individual drums so much easier. Furthermore, if there comes a point when you want to bounce each drum track down to audio, you can bounce all the drums down at once. 

There are controls here to allow you to flam drum hits, and add swing to your patterns; both features help add additional life to your patterns. The really interesting features however, are the 'creative' randomiser and the extended drum editing features that D16 have added.

The key idea behind the randomiser is that it is not, in fact, truly random! Instead, D16 have designed this feature in an 'intelligent' way that promises to actually get you far more usable results than if all of the controls were just placed in truly random positions. Our testing of this feature led to some very serviceable patterns being created!

The extended drum editing features have been thoughtfully matched to the piece of the kit being edited. Every drum has at least three editable controls attached to it and the kick, snare and toms have six controls each; really adding some nice flexibility to that 909 sound while ensuring that it remains true in spirit to the sound of the original box. Some nice additions that didn't exist on the original include 'tune depth' and 'pitch' controls on the kick and a 'reverb' dial on the hand clap.

Drumazon is available from D16's online store (€ 99) for Mac or PC in both 32 and 64 bit versions. It is compatible with applications that use VST or AU plugins. Although it is not available in AAX format, it can be run in Pro Tools using a virtual patchbay plugin such as Blue Cat's Patchwork.

If you like the sound of all this, then the good news is that SoundGym has partnered with D16 to give away their Drumazon for free to the weekly winners of our BeatRace competition! 

BeatRace is a firm favourite on SoundGym; take on other members to see who can recreate a drum machine beat in the quickest time. Each week, the BeatRace Legend who gets the most points will be presented with a copy of Drumazon!

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