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 Drumaxx by Image Line is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin. It functions as a VST Plugin and an Audio Units Plugin.
Product Drumaxx
Developer Image Line
Price (MSRP)
Type / Tags Drum SynthSynth (Physical Modeling)
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Operating System Availability
Download Released
Downloads Released
Downloads Released

The Drumaxx percussion modelling instrument gives you total control over 10 physically modelled drums that can be routed to independent outputs for external effects processing.

Great, but why should you care when the internet is awash with fantastic sounding drum samples? Image Line says: "In two words, expressive realism. Once a drum sound is recorded, the performance and modulation options are limited to filtering, volume or similar 1-dimensional filtering effects. When a single drum sample is triggered in a roll you get the familiar 'machine-gun' effect, it just sounds artificial. Multi-sampled, multi-layered drums can overcome this limitation but need multi-megabyte or even Gigabyte drum libraries, and even then, you are still limited to the sounds originally recorded."

Drumaxx is not based on samples or even commonly used 'synthesis' techniques, where oscillators are mixed and the result is 'electronic'. Drumaxx is a truly 'modelled' drum, and not just a single drum, Drumaxx can model bass drums, hi-hats, snares, realistic and yes electronic sounds too. But what about the traditional 'Achilles' heel' of synthesis, cymbals? Drumaxx models cymbals & metallic 'ethnic' percussion instruments with ease.

At the core of Drumaxx is a model of the drum-head. Here the vibrating membrane is represented in a mesh of inter-connected of points, each given physical properties, mass, inertia, stiffness, damping and all that good physics stuff. For the musician, this means Drumaxx can model the drum-head with multiple parameters such as material, thickness, tension and even shape. More importantly the parameters can be modulated in real-time as a function of velocity or external controls. The drum body is also modelled, in terms of material, size, vibration damping and shape. All this gives you multi-dimensional performance possibilities, a Matrix of variables providing the almost infinite complexity & subtlety of hitting a real drum.

Key features:

  • 10 Physically modelled drum pads.
  • Multi-output for individual effects processing on each pad.
  • Huge range of modelling possibilities covering sounds from cymbals to kettle-drums.
  • Velocity modulation matrix for detailed expressiveness.
  • Integrated Step-sequencer with trigger-key playback.
  • Integrated effects.
  • Single-pad version 'Drumpad' available for tight integration with FL Studio Stepsequencer.
Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review

Reviewed By rictheobscene
February 26, 2010

Long renowned for their innovative approach to music, the Image-Line / Maxx Claster duo has once again stormed onto the scene and kicked it in the nuts. Drumaxx is a refreshing breath of air in a field that has become a bit stale.

Drumaxx is neither a 'drummer in a box' or an emulation of a hardware classic; rather, it is a drum machine that has succeeded in defining its own characteristic and tone. The plug-in employs a physical modeling (as opposed to a sample-based) approach to sound generation and the benefits of this are quite obvious as soon as you load it up.

The GUI is well-marked, easy to navigate, and easy on the eyes. IL / MC has earned the reputation of producing GUI's that are the perfect blend between art and functionality. The pads are split into 2 banks and simple mouse click navigates between them.

The sound is the defining characteristic of this plug-in. It is not a hardware knock off; rather, it has its own unique sound that can be attributed to its innovative approach to the design of the audio engine. The modeling control portion of the unit offers the user a cornucopia of tweakability; giving it the ability to produce a wide array of sounds. Though I must admit, getting 'natural' drum sounds out of it has alluded me thus far, I have been able to get drum sounds ranging from 80's synth pop (e. g. Soft Cell) to gritty industrial (e. g. early Skinny Puppy).

Drumaxx has a solid offering of features and goodies. In addition to the modeling controls previously discussed, it offers a step-sequncer with swing control, a per-pad panner, an equalizer, a limiter, and a preset management system. The glaring absence is the lack of a solid modulation system. A fully assignable modulation matrix with a healthy assortment of ADSR envelopes and LFO's would be an awesome addition to the unit.

The documentation adequately explains the major features, but at only 8 pages it is a little bit light. If a couple of sound-design tutorials were added and the explanations were slightly more detailed, this would be improved.

Like Harmless, this plug-in offers a bank of presets that are all usable. Instead of providing thousands of presets that lack distinction and usability, IL provides a complete bank that showcases the diverse nature of Drumaxx.

I did not require any customer support with this plug-in; quite frankly, it worked right out of the gate and has not broken as of this writing. However, I have used IL's support forum and ticketing system in the past and have found it to be top-notch. I have no reason to believe that will change for this plug-in.

At a minimum price of $13.00 U. S. D., this plug-in would be a steal if it was only half as good as it currently is. However, given the fact that is as good as it is, the price makes it a super steal. You would be hard-pressed to find a better value.

As previously stated, it has not crashed or underperformed in any way. I have used it in the current versions of Reaper, Energy XT, Orion, Acid Pro, Fl Studio and VST Host without the slightest hiccup or undesired behavior.Read more


Discussion: Active
14 September 2014 at 8:56am

There is a mistake. Drumaxx has 16 (2 x 8) physically modelled drum pads, not only 10.

7 September 2016 at 6:17pm

That's true, but they're routed through the master output. If you use the output busses, only 10 of the banks can be used.

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Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review

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