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Drambo by BeepStreet

BeepStreet released Drambo, their long-awaited modular groovebox! We got an unofficial teaser for this back in August, and it finally arrived today.

I don't think any of the previews really conveyed the scope of creativity available in Drambo. There are over 120 different modules that you can assign and rearrange! I can now understand why it has been in beta for so long. It would take months to test out all of these modules. You can further expand your sound making possibilities by loading up Drambo as an AUv3 instrument.

Drambo

Drambo is an innovative modular groovebox and audio processing environment. Modular components are used to build synthesized and sample based instruments or audio effects using high-quality DSP and audio-rate modulation. Tied to a powerful sequencer, it’s an optimal music creation tool for sound design, composition, performance and experimentation.

At the heart of Drambo lies an entirely new concept that makes modular creations easy, fun and affordable. Modules are connected automatically, with no cables as you add or rearrange them. A dynamic interface creates modulation knobs when you need them. Modules may house other modules, so you can keep your patch well organized. Of course, automatic connections can be overridden. In Drambo you can focus on playing with sound and signal structure without getting lost in wires.

Use a deep and innovative sequencer to compose patterns and whole tracks, for production or live performance. Go beyond simple looping sequences with parameter locking, conditional step components, and powerful scene morphing. Drambo works equally well as a self-contained standalone app or audio unit plugin with audio and MIDI connectivity as an AUV3 instrument, audio effect and MIDI effect. No modular experience necessary to get started playing with preset sounds and effects.

You can use Drambo as

• A complete music production and performance environment

• Endless modular playground, that allows you to build, modify and store custom instruments and effects. For instance: build a custom synth, sample and resample, build a Theremin using a gyroscope module, or turn your table into a playable surface, by processing microphone input with physical modelling modules. Get weird or make functional instruments and tools.

• MIDI sequencer, that works with hardware and AUv3 instruments (e.g. Drambo sequences other instruments in an AU host app). Moreover Drambo can generate custom MIDI CC messages or modulation signals to control modular synths via DC coupled interfaces.

• AUv3 synthesizer or effect in other DAWs. (No sequencer)


Features:

• Polyphonic, stereo processing and audio-rate modulation. All signals are equal. Up to 8 voices per modular instrument rack.

• Unique modular concept: cable-less, drag'n'drop, color coding dynamic interface, automatic connections, and customizable compact, rack views.

• Directional flow makes Drambo routing and patching straightforward. Signal flows only left to right, so there are no instant feedback routings in Drambo. Delayed feedback is possible using certain modules.

• Simple and clean interface, that scales to every size and device orientation

• Custom modular racks that can be nested, with presets at the track, rack, and module level.

• Multiple modulators per parameter without additional mixer modules.

• 16-track, polyphonic step sequencer with parameter locks and step components.

• Over 120 modules available, such as: oscillators, samplers, physical modelling modules, LFOs, envelope generators, filters, audio effects, mixers, MIDI processors, sequencers and math functions.

• Morph groups: you can morph many parameters using a single slider.

• Available as a standalone app, AUv3 instrument, effect and midi effect.

• MIDI and MPE support


Drambo is an open-ended app. This is just the beginning. Many modules and exciting updates are planned.

With Drambo, you are in charge. Create the music from your vision to reality.

Ben Richards was one of the testers that helped out in the development of Drambo. He's recorded a bunch of tutorials to help you get started. I've embedded the whole playlist of 9 videos here.

Reader Comments 15

Go get this! First few minutes in and it sounds glorious. Thanks BeepStreet!
@TacticalCactus: I don't think I've mentioned it before, but that is such a great name! I don't even know what that means, but I love the way it sounds.
I’ve been watching for this since the first videos! Well worth the price tag!!!
Thanks Tim! It’s mine and an old friends Band. It was like a surviving in the desert Wastelands 🌵 idea. :)
What are the choices for "Steps per beat"? 3 & 4, obviously.

Manual didn't say. Also is that setting per pattern, or per track?
On April 01, 2020 - @stub said:
What are the choices for "Steps per beat"? 3 & 4, obviously.

Manual didn't say. Also is that setting per pattern, or per track?

Per track
Steps per beat... 3,4,5
Beats in pattern... 3-64
Been enjoying the learning experience… and my dayjob is in Learning Experience Design (LXD).

It’s quite a powerful system, which probably warrants quite a bit of time exploring its “nooks & crannies”. From the start, there are delightful little things in the examples. For instance, even something as simple as using the gyroscope for a theremin-like effect can lead to very interesting results. The Impaktor-style effects are also quite inspiring and could be adapted to other cool stuff.

At this point, Bitwig Studio’s Grid remains my favourite modular system, all platforms included. This is the first modular system we get on iPadOS/iOS which works as AUv3. Quite impressive and very well adapted to the platform.

Worth the price of admission.
I like the concept of this app, it sounds good. But after six hours with it, I hate the UI. How most of the interface is dedicated to pads and the sequencer. The pulsating pads you can’t get out of view. The stupid ways you have to enter notes into the step sequencer. No way I’m ever going to have fun making music on this horrible sequencer. I really want to like it, but the interface is infuriating. Typical sparse BleepStreet manual. Had several times where I’d tweak a knob and the sound would totally cut out and no amount of tweaking the knob in the other direction would bring the sound back. Lost a lot of work several times this way. I’ve had such a poor experience so far, I’m wondering how much I’ll actually use it. I think it would have been better as just a modular synth/effect or have an option to totally hide the sequencer part of the app on a separate page.
April 01, 2020  | person_outline JD
Thanks, @Tony

I guess if you can only have three choices, those are a nice three to have.

You get to try out quintuplets.

It is interesting how it can be both host and AUv3, send & receive, etc. I also like that you can just plunk down some chords on any step.

I'm probably going to pass though. I'm pretty sure I'd never touch it.
On April 01, 2020 - @Enkerli said: . This is the first modular system we get on iPadOS/iOS which works as AUv3.
KQ MiniSynth is one, which came out over two years ago.
Like JD commented, this app certainly needs some more TLC when it comes to the UI. Hopefully this will be improved in future releases as the developer gets more feedback.

Otherwise, this totally rocks as a modular synth, so much easier to link stuff together than other iOS modulars.
April 02, 2020  | person Charlie
@JD: my copy has been obediently bopping away non-stop since yesterday on presets. I sincerely hope app updates greatly expand the presets. Being lazy I find presets are a great way to bypass interface annoyances and just minimizing the need to have a clue in general. Before you reprimand me for my sloth I'd point out "where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise."

Moving on. Imagine if after, say the battle of Gettysburg, General Lee got on TelegraphTwitter and bragged about 'only' losing twenty-eight thousand men when, if he hadn't done such a "a very good job" of it, his army might have lost seventy-two thousand men instead. Confused? In this case ignorance is not bliss.
April 02, 2020  | person_outline Crowfly
On April 01, 2020 - @Laarz said:
KQ MiniSynth is one, which came out over two years ago.
Interesting.
Got it then, briefly tried it, didn’t remember that it was modular. Maybe because of the name. Or the fact that I haven’t heard from people creating patches for it.
Not really what I meant as “modular system”. Interesting nonetheless as an example of a modular synth with onboard sequencing features.
Displaying step-rate in steps-per-beat should always be encouraged and acknowledged. Steps per 4-beats is so... what? 18th? 19th century?
@JD/Whoever: Hmmmm. Halfway thru the manual now. Some annoying typos but nothing serious. Saving a rack was a bit of a struggle, yet, managed to not to lose work. It may have had more to due with iOS Files app being something of a moving target, rather than BeepStreet. On a few occasions when manually pressing the Drambo internal keyboard the sounds were inconsistent, as in screwy. But it didn't persist, and I think I was using the Apple Pencil, so who knows. Eventually, AUM crashed, while I was sleeping, and about half of the open apps, maybe 6 or 8 circles, were bathed in red gore, but the survivors played bravely on and still sounded pretty good too. Again, have zero idea what to blame for the failure, but, if forced, I'd put my money on APPL first. I kind of enjoyed working with Drambo so far. Luckily, being new to this stuff my preferences/prejudices have not yet calcified. Besides, WTF else is there to do these plague days?
April 03, 2020  | person_outline Crowfly
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