midi-drum-m2

In the box, inside the world of the computer, sound has few limits. It’s clean, it’s pristine; mimicking perfectly-miked drum kits or high-fidelity sounds is as easy as dialing in the gigs of samples you’ve assembled.

But … wait a minute. It’s too clean. There’s something beautiful about a digital circuit, screaming and crunching as it cranks out every last bit. Those bits … hurt. There’s some personality to a peculiar machine that seems like it crawled out of a heap of circuit boards, staring back at you, blinking – winking?

And in that world of anthropomorphic alien sound machines, Austin, Texas’s Dr. Bleep has stood apart. We admired the digital grunge of his creations before. “Rad-fi,” he calls it, in marketing speak. Now it just got a whole lot more useful, because of the brave new wonder of MIDI. Now you can live in the post-digital fusion of 80s-tinged, pushed-to-the-bleeding-edge digital microcontroller sound with clip automation in Ableton Live, or what have you. (Or, better yet, plug it into some other MIDI find on eBay. I’m not a hipster, I swear, though I might dress up as one for Halloween or play one on the Internet.)

The result is a drum machine that doesn’t sound like other drum machines.

US$75 if you like to solder. $110 if you want to get playing right away. Shipping mid-November.

And, here’s a win for digital: you aren’t limited to the sound a particular analog circuit happens to make. You can use the nice samples included, or hack in your own – see the hacking guide.

drum midi assembled

dam-drum-3-laptop

If you’re reading this and you were an early adopter of the Dam Dam or original Bleep Drum, the same hacks work, and there’s even a kit to retrofit your previous board with MIDI. I have to admit, MIDI is what held me back from craving one of these before. Now that you can use it in a rig, I’m sold.

But let’s run the specs again:

- Four sounds, two with pitch control
- Four selectable sequences
- Record patterns just by playing them
- Tap tempo
- Reverse mode
- Hypernoise 30XX mode
- Stereo 1/8″ output

Good stuff.

http://bleeplabs.com/store/bleep-drum-midi/

MIDI-Bleep-Drum-schematic

  • Yermom

    I still have my original Thingamagoop in custom colors. It doesn’t get used a bunch, but it does look cool and people who don’t know much about synths are always drawn to it when I have guests.

  • Jordan Tendai Justice

    Looks awesome. I’d like to explore the possibility of modifying this to create an 8 voice version. Looks like a fun project.

  • Devin

    A few months ago these boutique DIY instruments really interested me, but at only $40 less than a Korg Volca, the value just doesn’t seem substantial enough, even for the tinkering geek factor.

    • Jaybeeg

      I’d much rather support a tiny American company than buy a cheaply made mass-produced device assembled by poorly paid workers in Vietnam. The kit is only $75, and don’t forget that Korg will charge you an extra $26.95 for a Volca power supply.

  • thoughtswondersandthelike

    Give it a couple more sequences and I may purchase one. Also it looks awful but that means practically nothing.

  • RajaTheResidentTroll

    This thing looks dope! Very tempting.

    But also, re this:
    “But … wait a minute. It’s too clean. There’s something beautiful
    about a digital circuit, screaming and crunching as it cranks out every
    last bit. Those bits … hurt. There’s some personality to a peculiar
    machine that seems like it crawled out of a heap of circuit boards,
    staring back at you, blinking – winking?
    And in that world of anthropomorphic alien sound machines, Austin,
    Texas’s Dr. Bleep has stood apart. We admired the digital grunge of his
    creations before….”

    It deserves to be said: Peter has a very thought-provoking writing style :)

    • thoughtswondersandthelike

      I must’ve missed that. Call me lucky.