It’s no 909 or 808…but it’s a beast itself. Or, perhaps one should say, a brute itself.

The DrumBrute is not what I’d call a “flexible” drum machine: it’s analog, so it has one sort of sound which can be edited/adjusted significantly, but it’s still just one sound. It’s great for hard electronic, and maybe certain sorts of pop.

But it’s still one of my favorite analog synth machines that I’ve ever used.

What is the Impact?

The Arturia DrumBrute Impact is a compact analog drum machine that packs a punch in both sound and functionality. As the smaller sibling to the original DrumBrute, the Impact offers a more streamlined design and a more affordable price point. We’ll take a closer look at the DrumBrute Impact and see how it performs in terms of sound, features, and overall value.

Starting with the design, the DrumBrute Impact sports a rugged and compact build that is perfect for both studio and live performances. The front panel features 8 touch-sensitive pads, which can be used to trigger the built-in drum sounds or to create patterns and perform live improvisations. The layout of the controls is intuitive and well-organized, making it easy to navigate and tweak the parameters on the fly. There are also 16 pads in the sequence section with which you place your sounds in patterns.

In terms of sound, the DrumBrute Impact delivers a wide range of analog drum sounds that are rich, punchy, and full of character. It features a total of 10 drum sounds, including kick, snare, rimshot, clap, hi-hats, toms, and cymbals. The sounds can be easily tweaked using the onboard controls, allowing for quick and easy customization. Additionally, the Impact offers a versatile “Color” control that adds various character and tone-shaping options to each drum sound, adding a level of sonic flexibility that sets it apart from other drum machines in its class.

And the sound gets dirty, fast. In a good way.

On top of the “Color” option, you can also add “Accent” on certain notes and turn up the distortion feature for some seriously industrial grungy beats.

The DrumBrute Impact also offers an array of performance-oriented features. It includes a built-in sequencer with 64 patterns and up to 64 steps per pattern, allowing for intricate and evolving rhythms. The sequencer is intuitive and easy to use, and offers real-time and step recording modes. Additionally, the Impact features multiple accent levels and a “Roll” function, adding dynamic variation and creative possibilities to your drum patterns.

The roll function can be triggered with a smooth, touch sensitive section repeating 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 or even 1/32 step repeat loops. Great for building up to live drops.

In terms of connectivity, the DrumBrute Impact offers a variety of options. It includes individual outputs for each drum sound, allowing for independent processing and mixing. It also features MIDI in and out, as well as clock sync options, making it easy to integrate with other gear in your setup. The USB connection provides MIDI over USB, allowing for seamless integration with your DAW or MIDI controllers.

I’ve had issues syncing the drum machine to Logic, however: compared to other machines like Korg or Sequential that I typically use, configuring MIDI is not intuitive or easy in any way.

Overall, the Arturia DrumBrute Impact is a powerful and versatile drum machine that punches well above its weight class. The combination of its compact design, intuitive interface, and rich analog sound make it an excellent choice for both studio and live performances. The extensive performance features, including the sequencer and dynamic controls, allow for endless creativity and exploration. At its affordable price point, the DrumBrute Impact offers incredible value for anyone looking for a high-quality and portable analog drum machine.