Drum Designer is French audio software maker UVI’s September comeback. With a concept that harkens back to Native Instruments’ Drum Lab Kontakt instrument, Drum Designer is an elaborate tool for layering synthesized and sampled drum sounds into hits as subtle or as monstrous as you’d like them to be.
Running inside the free UVI Player or the commercial Falcon platform, DD presents four drum synths (kick, snare, clap, cymbal) with custom wavetables, an 8-part sequencer, a library of nearly 6000 drum samples, over 2000 presets covering 316 kits… and as the French say, ‘zere is mor’!
As part of its workflow, Drum Designer is able to break down individual hits into discrete slices and layers with control over both via filtering and additional processing. The drum engines can be adjusted in a reasonably detailed manner without being too complex for novice producers to get into. If you want to get your hands dirty, though, Drum Designer lets you throw Transient Designer, Soft Clipper, Stereo Width, EQ, and Convolver modules onto them for good old fashioned sound design fun.
As for the sequencer, you get eight “engines” – 1 kick, 2 snares, 1 clap, 4 cymbals – with Volume, Pan and Pitch sequencers which support patterns up to 8 bars at resolutions up to 1/64t. The resulting sounds can be finalized with traditional bus effects like Compressor, EQ, Delay, and Reverb. Also, the sequences you create can be exported straight to MIDI via drag and drop. Neato!
A product that seems to make the most out of both sample packs and drum synths’ strengths, Drum Designer looks like a job well done for UVI. The user interface is clean and modern, there’s plenty of content for your money, and judging by the video, the sound is on point. Taking the complexity out of drum synths without overly simplifying them is always a challenge, but UVI seems to have found a balanced approach. Mind you, though, the samples are limited to 44.1kHz sample rates, which I don’t think is that big of a deal but audiophiles among you may believe otherwise.
Price and availability
Drum Designer is currently sold at an introductory price of EUR 99, down from the regular EUR 149. That’s a solid discount. The plug-in runs inside UVI’s Player or Falcon AU/AAX/VST/standalone host software and is compatible with Windows and Mac systems. Drum Designer is protected with an iLok account (no dongle required) and UVI allows three activations per license, which ought to be enough for most users.