Clipmode pursues a rather unusual idea with DRoOM! What if you could create sophisticated beats without using any effect plug-ins? Clipmode says that the answer lies in its so-called “DIY Drum FX System”. That caught our attention and we’ve put DRoOM! to the test in our first look review.
Note: This article by Dirk B. first appeared in German on gearnews.de.
Building beats with sonic variety, texture and spatial depth usually requires a lot of effort, intricate automations and a well-stacked collection of plug-ins. And even if you don’t mind putting in the work, sticking to the same set of tools can leave you with similar-sounding results over and over again. Not to mention that it’s easy to lose track of what you’re doing when you’re dealing with countless plug-ins. One possible solution is to prepare samples with built-in effects and then use those as building blocks for your beats. This method has the advantage that your mixer doesn’t get overcrowded with too many plug-ins and you can approach beatmaking in a more playful way. However, creating your very own sample library takes a lot of time and a good deal of equipment and plug-ins.
DRoOM! builds on this idea and provides you with a library of source material for creative beatmaking. It’s technically a sample pack, albeit one with a very specific purpose. The developer calls the included sounds “RSRRC samples”, which stands for “Room Sound Response Recording Clips”. They’ve recorded drums, percussion, and a bunch of other sounds, and then played them in different rooms and re-recorded them again. The resulting samples are intended to be combined with each other to create new sounds, but they can of course also be used individually.
This approach explains why Clipmode calls DRoOM! a “DIY Drum FX System”: it’s essentially a construction kit that lets you create effective and creative beats with lots of sonic variety, but without having to build each individual sound using a plethora of plug-ins.
The DIY Drum FX System
DRoOM! consists of a total of 500 sound files, all in stereo and at a resolution of 24 bit / 44.1 kHz. The files are divided into five categories: High, Wide, Deep, Tight, and Add-ons, which consists of Drum FX, Sound FX, Noize&Dirt, and Atmoz. All in all, you get 250 DRoOM! files and 250 extra add-ons that you can use to add variations to your beats and make them more interesting. On top of that, there are 60 “pure” drum samples, which give a taste of the developer’s upcoming next product (named DDEK!) and work very well with the other samples.
The categories are based on the frequency content of the corresponding drum type. For example, the samples in the Deep folder are used for kicks and bass effects, while High covers hi-hats, cymbals and similar sounds with lots of high-frequency content. The files in the Wide and Tight categories are great for building snares or percussion. The add-ons section contains plenty of effects and additional textures, and some sounds could even provide inspiration for your next track. Instead of coming up with more or less creative names, Clipmode has simply labeled the samples with the name of the corresponding category and a number.
The main idea behind DRoOM! is to combine and layer these audio files with each other and with other sounds from your sample library. Even though the individual sounds can certainly stand on their own, it’s obvious from listening to them that it’s all about creative layers, stacks, and combinations. I really like this approach. It’s a refreshing alternative to traditional sample libraries, which tend to contain heavily processed sounds that can only be used in a certain way and are somewhat limited to a narrow scope of genres. Instead, Clipmode DroOM! delivers lots of raw material, which you can assemble in many different ways. While you can certainly use the individual sounds without further processing, that would be a bit of a missed opportunity. The real fun begins when you start to layer and edit the sounds (for example by adding envelopes or modulation).
But vertical stacks aren’t the only way to use the samples. You can also arrange them sequentially, one after the other, thereby creating new sounds and dynamic envelopes. The video below includes a good demonstration. A kick drum is refined by adding a second sound, which follows immediately and results in a very dynamic foundation. While experimenting with the samples, I also found that it can be very effective to add additional sounds (such as the add-ons) very quietly, so that they’re just barely perceptible.
If you prefer sample packs that contain ready-to-play samples sorted by genre, chances are that DRoOM isn’t for you. But if you like to experiment with creative layers and unique combinations, this “DIY Drum FX System” might be just what you need. The included sounds are definitely geared towards electronic music, but wide enough in scope that they can be used to make house, techno, dubstep, hip hop or whatever.
I like DRoOM! for what it is: a construction kit for drums, effect sounds or even a whole track. Sort of like Lego for beats – and it can be just as much fun, especially if you combine it with other samples from your collection. My only criticism concerns the price. The regular price of 97 Euros is a bit too high for my taste – but you can always wait for a sale. How convenient that there’s one going on right now!
Specification and price
Clipmode DRoOM! is available from the developer’s website for EUR 97. The current sale brings the price down to EUR 47, so right now is a good time to pick it up.
More information about Clipmode DRoOM!
- Clipmode DRoOM! in Ableton Live: Gearnews