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FAC Drumkit by Fred Anton Corvest

Fred Anton Corvest has made FAC Drumkit available for pre-order on iOS. The wildly elaborate new drum synth is on sale for $14 ahead of its release on Friday. The way this app lets you fine tune the envelopes is quite impressive. The total freedom over the shape and character of each part is almost daunting. I think I'm scared.

FAC Drumkit

** Special Intro Price **

• iOS AuV3 - Multi Output (If Supported By HOST) - Universal (iPad/iPhone)

• 16 Voices Drum Synthesizer and Stereo Sample Player
• 2 oscillators (16 Waveforms) per voice with filters and phase modulation
• 1 sample player per voice with sample position, filters, phase and stereo control
• Advanced Pitch and Amp envelopes with multi control points and delay
• Envelopes templates, modifiers and copy/paste
• Mixer view
• Preview button to monitor the ongoing designed sound
• Includes classic drum machines presets for inspiration

Everyone agrees that the drums are a very important key element of almost every genre out there, they are the fondation of a song. We are all fan of acoustic drums and drum machines, they each have different characters and strengths. FAC Drumkit combines both world, samples and synthesis, in order to provide new exciting and unique sounds. As a rule of thumb, the synthesizer section brings the body of the sound, and the sampler the unique character. Both parts are layered together and contain essential parameters to ensure they won't clash and will sit well together.

On top of the samples and synthesizer section, FAC Drumkit brings unique Amp and Pitch envelopes with precise control points to modify the curve in a gentle or extreme way. The envelopes play a very important part in the signal path because, thanks to their flexibility, they allow designing very special transition. Indeed, the envelope of a Clap is probably the best one to illustrate the benefit of such envelopes created by points. The burst kind of sound is very hard to replicate with classic ADSR, it's not the case in FAC Drumkit. Needless to say, thanks to the control points the pitch transitions are also more interesting and precise. The value of each control point can also be altered manually, to set the root note of a kick for example.

FAC Drumkit is for everyone, as sound designer you will be able to synthesize your own drums in a fun and creative way. On the other hand, if you are looking for instant results, use the provided presets or load your favourite sample pack in the sample section of the 16 voices.

Doug Woods did a live stream to show off the upcoming app. Embedded here is a video from Fred himself.

Reader Comments 8

Love the interface.
June 08, 2021  | person_outline Kate
I agree, that interface is sweet.

I don't see anywhere if the app allows you to load your own samples. That be pretty useful.
I also can't tell if "modifiers" refers to MIDI control (i.e., especially velocity).
This flexible envelopes remind me of Seekbeats, which is an excellent synth drum tool kit too. Seekbeats allows parameters to be altered by velocity which is a great feature. I wonder if FAC Drumkit has a similar functionality?
Just listening to the Doug Wood's thing, and I really like the sound and options with this module. The envelope/modulation seems quite snappy. He confirmed you can load your own samples, even a folder of them (would that be 16 samples, one for each pad?)

There is no mention of ANY velocity or MIDI modulation-- which is a bit worrying.

I went to check the website, but unfortunately there is no email for contact. Fred only provides social media links for contacts. Alas.

Since I already kicked down for it, I'll report back here what I discover about velocity/MIDI modulation options (or lack thereof). I hope it is well implemented. If it is absent with no plans, that'll be a big miss.
FAC DrumKit dropped today. I can load it in standalone, but I don't see it in AUM in the AUv3 list.

It's a pretty basic layout. But there are a few little problems-- which may or may not be addressed in future versions.

CONS:
1. Looks the envelopes don't have a zero attack time. (Minimum 1 ms). That's not a very good "policy".

2. User samples are limited to 1 second each-- perhaps that falls outside the "style" of the instrument, a 1 second crash cymbal isn't really that useful.

3. Though the envelope segments are curved, you don't have any control over that curve-- apart from moving neighboring points. Not bad, just takes more time to get a shape you want, when a curve could work better.

4. Though it looks like you can use AUM automation for a few parameters-- I don't know if that is limited to CC's or if Velocity is possible. The app really does need to let you scale filter cutoffs and amp with velocity.

As of right now, it's not a very glowing first impression. I hope there is a road map to make this better.
After a little more time with it, I'm less bothered by the 1 second sample limitation. Takes me back to my "roots" (about which Tim and I were ruminating in another thread). The old Roland D-50 had an similar approach of tacking a sampled attack onto a synthesized sustain-- which was quite effective.

The 1 ms minimum env attack time is like the old SoundFont spec. I had these clicky sounds I made, and spent an hour troubleshooting why I couldn't hear them in a bog-standard SF player. Zero attack times weren't possible. For a percussion synth, it is unforgivable. Perhaps the developer will be responsive.

I think the envelope segment curve behavior is weird, but the envelopes are quite responsive, so I think that's just a matter of how the math is being done. It's ok.

Velocity control is probably going to be a bigger ask, since this is a decidedly minimalist UI-- and that would easily require another page. I'd rather have a straight-up amp/pitch/cutoff control via velocity (as opposed to using velocity to scale the envelopes).
@stub

Thanks for letting all know what you have found out. Yes velocity control would make this above super. So let's hope this thread is seen and considered.
After playing with it a bit more, I realized the feature set is a bit too limited for me. The UI doesn't click with my sense of order. So I requested (and was granted) a refund. I immediately deleted the app and it was done.

It's really rare that I request a refund. And it's not that this app was "bad". It's features just aren't a good match for my needs/tastes.
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