by Adam Douglas | 4,5 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums official

Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums has classic drum machine styling.  ·  Source: Erica Synths

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[Update 7 June 2024] Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums joins the Bullfrog educational ecosystem. Richie Hawtin: “It only makes sense to add a drum machine”.

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First shown at Superbooth24, Bullfrog Drums seemed to be a sample-based drum machine with classic, TR-style step sequencing. And that is, in fact, what it is. Erica Synths has made an official announcement about the new drum machine, and while they did confirm some things there’s still lots we don’t know.

What we do know about Bullfrog Drums

Erica Synths are again partnering with techno maestro Richie Hawtin as the company did with the Bullfrog and Bullfrog XL. In keeping with the Bullfrog aesthetic it will have an educational focus “to teach drum programming and the basics of sampling”, said Erica Synths.

The drum machine will feature seven sampled drum voices, as we guessed, each with sample manipulation in the form of tuning, start point, sample length, attack, decay, overdrive and stereo panning. It will also have a CV/Gate sequencer so you can pair it with the Bullfrog synthesizer – or any other CV/gate-compatible instrument, I imagine.

“As a producer who’s created many percussion-only tracks under my Plastikman moniker, it only makes sense to add a drum machine to our developing Bullfrog ecosystem”, said Richie Hawtin in the press release. “This exciting development will allow both novices and pro’s a new way to learn drum programming and enjoy some fun new capabilities that we plan to feature on our new machine!”

Erica Synths plans to make Bullfrog Drums available “by the end of 2024”.

What we don’t know: everything else, including price and whether it’s sample import only or will have a sample input jack.

[27 May 2023] The latest amphibian-themed instrument from Erica Synths is the Bullfrog Drums, a sample-based rhythm box with 909-style buttons.

Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums

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Towards the end of Superbooth24, Erica Synths showcased another Bullfrog-monikered device. No, not the education-focussed Bullfrog XL (which is giving me giant flat panel MS-20 vibes). This one is a drum machine: the Bullfrog Drums.

Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums: Sample-Based

There admittedly isn’t much information on the Bullfrog Drums yet. What we do know is that it’s a prototype, like the other Bullfrog instruments it’s made in collaboration with Richie Hawtin and it’s sample-based.

Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums
Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums · Source: motobor

According to a video from motobor (below), the new drum machine will have seven tracks of sampled drum sounds. It has a TR-909-style 16-step sequencer across the bottom with possible live recording as well. You can adjust parameters like volume, pitch, attack, decay, drive and pan on each of the seven sampled sounds. There may also be FM although it’s hard to tell from the video.

In terms of sequencing, there appear to be controls for shuffle, accent, ratchet, probability and odds, among other things.

Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums: Knobs and Buttons

The look of the machine is fairly simple in keeping with the overall Bullfrog aesthetic. The knobs are large and easy to grab, while the buttons are old-school adding machine-style a la the TR-909.

We don’t know about connectivity yet although given that there’s a pan knob hopefully it will have at least stereo outs.

There also appear to be two speakers on the front panel.

Thoughts on the Bullfrog Drums

This is a prototype and Erica Synths has yet to release any information on pricing or availability. It sounds pretty good in the demo video (below). While it’s not the most exciting device to look at, if it is indeed intended for educational uses then the aesthetic fits perfectly. Will it be limited to internal sounds or does it also sample? We’ll let you know as soon we hear more.

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One response to “Erica Synths Bullfrog Drums is an Educational Sample-Based Drum Machine”

    die beastie boys 😁😁 says:
    3

    The two speakers might be one mic and one speaker.

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