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1837 posts since 9 Dec, 2011, from falling

Postby billcarroll; Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:06 am

Sendy wrote:Attack is still a force to be reckoned with. Apart from those damn fiddly knobs!

Sure, it has no sequencer, but then, I'm going to be loading it IN a sequencer, so that solves that problem.

And what is up with that stupid default sound in Tremor? Something inbetween a kick and snare would have been helpful, sometimes that clang almost makes me feel like giving up right from the get-go :hihi:

I got the free version of Waldorf Attack and it does everything I need. I really only use it to create a kick or percussion sound and then bounce it to audio. With you on the fiddly knobs though.


Attack stands the test of time :)
756 posts since 8 Jan, 2012

Postby ChiTown24; Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:53 am

I'd "start" by buying Microtonic. It's a classic, exceptionally well developed imo {really is a labour of love for the dev, imo}. between scripting, free updates and community initiatives like the patternarium it is hard {see: impossible} to go wrong. with pattern chaining the step sequencer isn't as limited as you might think though, granted, it only shows 16 steps per pattern. Incredibly CPU efficient, and with any drum machine you're going to want to be routing individual sounds to other tracks in your DAW for processing with your own fx chains - microtonic is great for this given it's cpu efficiency.

pair that up with Drumspillage, and you should have no sound design 'ceilings' imo.

only after picking those two up would I recommend Tremor {after extensive demoing} if you're still thirsting for drum machinery. Though you may find you'd only be using it for the sequencing additions, and there might be better options in that respect...like Numerology by Five12, or the forthcoming Epoch by Loomer audio. Last time I checked, using Tremor solely for sequencing still used up DSP for the sound sources even if muted. That may have been optimized since, I haven't booted it up in a while. Also, Tremor is an absolute CPU pig. Of everything suggested you must demo this one the most before purchase. I won't say I regret buying it, but it doesn't get anywhere near the usage of microtonic + drumspillage.

as for keeping a clean computer, it's a good ethos to live by, but don't forget you can partition your hard-drive and have one installation as your "testing" setup for stuff like OS updates, demos etc, and then another partition as your workhorse setup - kept clean, lean & mean.

hope that helps, above all else demo properly "in real life usage" circumstances before buying :)
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1060 posts since 19 May, 2011, from North Carolina

Postby JoeCat; Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:44 am

ChiTown24 wrote:...pair that up with Drumspillage, and you should have no sound design 'ceilings' imo.


(you may still have GAS though).
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3581 posts since 1 Oct, 2006, from Um! Where is this?

Postby Resonator63; Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:27 am

Xfer Nerve and Microtonic are my favourites.
The Patternarium for Microtonic is great when you're stuck for some inspiration.
1573 posts since 18 Aug, 2004, from Toronto

Postby allofdrab; Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:58 am

I own Microtonic and Tremor and use both, often at different times, but sometimes together.

Some things that haven't been mentioned:

Microtonic's 8 drum synths can be set to Pitched Mode; allowing you to play each of them separately with the full range of MIDI notes; essentially as though each drum is a typical keyboard playable mono synth. This is done by assigning each drum to the MIDI channel you wish to use or simply using the default MIDI channel assignments.
This can be a fantastic way of getting movement and variation into your drum programming; provided you have a sequencer to do it with.
I make my own step sequencers using Bidule, which work great for my purposes and I'm happy to share them with you if you (the op) or anyone else is interested.

As well, all of Microtonic's 176 or so synth parameters are automatable, and no setting up is required. The same cannot be said for Tremor; as it is limited to 32 automatable parameters which you have to choose via the MIDI Mapping section. That said, you can choose any of the synth parameters, but you can only choose up to 32 for some bloody reason. So; to be clear, that's 32 for ALL 8 of the drum synths; NOT 32 for each one. This, as you may be able to tell; annoys the hell out of me. Nevertheless; the drum synths in Tremor are freak'n beautiful (in my opinion); so I use it despite my frustration with the automation. Actually, in a way, the limitation can be interesting and forces me to really think about what I want to tweak, but I'd prefer more freedom. Also, it's likely worth repeating that Tremor's built-in automation is quite good, and you may have no desire (depending on how you like to work) for external automation.

For my part, I often use AudioMulch's Metasurface for sweeping between different synth configurations, and find I usually want to be able to go between configurations that require changing all or close to all of the parameters of the synths I'm using. So; Tremor doesn't get as much use in this context.

A BONUS I've discovered (among it's many) of Tremor, is that my purchase also included a standalone version; which has been hugely inspiring to my 12 year old cousin. The standalone version of Tremor is actually a great place to start with learning about synthesis and step sequencing; as it's a fairly clean; intuitive interface, without a lot of distractions like a DAW might give him. Put some drum pads under his hands and away he went with it. Cool.

Also, I freakin LOVE the drum roll parameters in Tremor and use them a TON. Microtonic doesn't have that. Though I could probably approximate it using the MIDI Echo or MIDI Buffer effect in Bidule.

Actually, if you're interested in using an external step sequencer; I'll be posting a Bidule module pack in KVR's Modular sub-forum today or tomorrow; so check there for that if you're interested. You can test out my sequencer using the standalone beta of Bidule. It will work the same in the plugin version of Bidule.

One more thing, if you're interested in trying other drum synths/machines, I recommend giving AudioSpillage's new Elecktroid a spin.
1573 posts since 18 Aug, 2004, from Toronto

Postby allofdrab; Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:20 am

One more thought; if you're looking for a recommendation; my suggestion is I'd go with Microtonic and use the extra cash that would have gone to Tremor to buy Bidule. The advantage of having Bidule in your arsenal is that you can build your own 32 step sequencer (or use one of the user-made ones; like mine) and customize it just the way you want. AS WELL, ANY THING made with Bidule can be FULLY automated. So; for example; all the note on/offs, loop lengths/positions; and individual pulse measures (1/4, 1/16, 1/24, etc...) for each sequencer FOR EACH drum can be automated from your host (or Bidule for that matter). The same CAN NOT be said for either MicroTonic's or Tremor's step sequencers as they are not automatable.

Note: just remembered that Tremor's sequencer does give you 4 graphs (stepped envelopes) to play with (automate synth parameters with), but this as well is FAR more limiting than what you would be able to achieve using Bidule. Again though; I'll post my Bidule module pack today or tomorrow and you can see for yourself.
6038 posts since 25 Mar, 2004

Postby BERFAB; Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:10 am

I got Tremor in a recent sale (may still be available?). I have Geist/Guru (and all the major 'real drum' emulators - BFD, AD, EZ, Studio, etc.) but never really thought I needed or could even use a synthetic beat maker. Wrong. Love it.

Even without programming it myself, there's enough included content with the various sounds, kits and beat presets (all nicely organized) that you can very easily mix and match to come up with some very unique things.

I never owned Microtonic, but I did demo it quite a bit. I thought then (and still do) that the most interesting feature was the Patternarium, a freely available random pattern creator with some interesting features for end-users. Definitely cool stuff.

With those two choices, my guess is that you really can't make a mistake.
So many plugins, so little time...
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3403 posts since 28 Jun, 2009, from Wherever I lay my hat

Postby ariston; Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:24 am

I have and use both frequently, they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Got to say one thing about Microtonic's Patternarium, though - it's made me lazy as hell, because I can always find something inspiring there. I think that thing is a wicked bit of programming, and is really deserving of admiration.
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323 posts since 15 Sep, 2005

Postby toitoi; Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:01 am

allofdrab wrote: I'll post my Bidule module pack today or tomorrow and you can see for yourself.

I'm eager to try your creations.
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Mister Natural
2198 posts since 28 Oct, 2007, from michigan

Postby Mister Natural; Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:50 pm

LOVE uTonic - it's super easy to bang-out an inspiring basic beat to work-up a draft mix with. I then like to simplify that beat and layer Geist over the top = perfection
"the digital photo of that guitar just doesn't have the same warmth as an analog photo for me"
996 posts since 14 Jun, 2012, from Toronto, Canada

Postby schnapsglas; Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:07 pm

As a drum machine fanatic, I find both lacking.
End of the thread? :D

Well, let me explain from my personal perspective. Microtonic is a much better designed plugin. But Tremor does things that you could make use of. But it's annoying. Very very annoying to program.

Punch is... ... I shouldn't comment, but there is something with all RP products that I find really really weird.

Why did FXPansion not give Tremor same capabilities as Geist? I will never know. Will Microtonic be updated with more functions? I don't know.

At this point it's hard to pick a winner. It really comes down to the workflow.
Skunk Mod
20559 posts since 10 Jun, 2004, from Pony Pasture

Postby Meffy; Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:29 pm

One little correction: Patternarium, the Web-based Microtonic patch creator, isn't entirely random. It uses the up and down votes on each generation of 1000 patterns to determine which traits will survive to propagate into the next generation. Patterns and sounds that the aggregate of users like most will have more descendants, then next generation more, and so forth.

IIRC most of the four-on-the-floor patterns washed out in the first few generations, giving way to interresting glitchiness and complex hip-hop rhythms.


Microtonic isn't required to play with Patternarium, just to load and reuse the patterns and drum sound kits Patternarium generates.
21384 posts since 26 Jul, 2005, from Gone

Postby robogone; Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:33 pm

Mister Natural wrote:LOVE uTonic - it's super easy to bang-out an inspiring basic beat to work-up a draft mix with. I then like to simplify that beat and layer Geist over the top = perfection

Actually something I found useful to do with it is to find something you like then export the MIDI to a DAW where it can be edited while playing back uTonic in MIDI trigger mode.
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Mister Natural
2198 posts since 28 Oct, 2007, from michigan

Postby Mister Natural; Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:47 pm

^ COOL !
"the digital photo of that guitar just doesn't have the same warmth as an analog photo for me"
1229 posts since 24 May, 2004, from Germany

Postby declassified; Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:44 pm

I bought MicroTonic a few weeks ago, so here are my $0.02:

I loved the idea of having just MicroTonic for all kinds of drum sounds from cowbell to bassdrum. So I started using it in my music. After a short time, I noticed a really characteristic sound that MicroTonic always seemed to have. It's sort of a distorted, white-noise-ish, raw sound. The distortion knob is very recognizable. MicroTonic always seems to have a decidedly synthetic sound. It doesn't try to sound acoustic. I became a little frustrated because it always had this raw, clean, almost plastic-like quality.
Then I found the patternarium.
Let's ignore the infinite amounts of inspiring rhythm ideas you can get there for a second, and remember that you can just copy and paste a preset into MicroTonic, throw away the rhythm and just use the sounds you like. Often when browsing the patternarium, I'm like "there's no way that sound is from MicroTonic". Of course all the sounds are. So I usually load the patch into MicroTonic, just to see how the sound was made. I never stop to be impressed by the variety of sounds coming out of this simple synth architecture. It's a great lesson in terms of "pick one synth and learn it inside out".

Here's a track of mine from last year (don't skip to 1:20. i mean that's where the drums start, but maybe you want to hear the whole thing, so don't skip). The vast majority of drum sounds is from Microtonic.
Last edited by declassified on Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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