The idea of all those drum boxes in one instrument is brilliant. Or let's say: it could be brilliant - if only it had multiple audio outs. That's the big drawback. If it did, I would use it all the time. Imagine opening one vsti and simply pick your favorite machine with its instruments routed automatically to individual mono outs. Or even better: Imagine you could pick a basedrum from the TR 909, a snare from Yamahas RX 11, the hihats from Rolands CR78 and so forth and have each sound under individual mixing control. And all of that with an interface the size of an iphone on your screens. Shame it does not do all of this. But then again, the miniDRUMZ are basically free (there is a paypal donation link humbly crouching in the top right corner on the download site). So there's nothing you could ask for, just hope for in follow-up versions. What it offers and at the same time demands for proper use in its present form is this: Easy selection of the included sound sets. It's nice to have the visual feedback from the display that shows a thumbnail picture of the impressive rooster of vintage machines. But since the volume of the individual sounds of each instrument are not very well balanced and you certainly would want to apply some (very much needed) eq'ing you will want to open multiple instances and record your drum midi patterns on individual midi tracks. On track per instrument, base, snare, hats, brass, percussions - you could easily end up with something between half a dozen or a dozen tracks. And these tracks would be stereo. Unnecessarily, though, but I don't know if that does any harm in terms of recources or performance. Utilizing not the vsti's but your DAW's mixing ddesk it is easy to come up with some good sounding results that can be fairly reminiscent of the old days - remember Phil Collins "In the air tonight"-intro? Go for it, if you volunteer to spend some time and have some fun fiddling and tweaking. If you're production is streamlined and time is money - stay away from the miniDRUMZ, you've probably got more potent vsti ready anyway. To round things up: - Appearance: Nice and small interface - Documentation: None, but it is self-explaning - Ease of use: gnrmph! But it could be the go-to-gadget with multiple outs - Sound (all presets, but filters to tweak): Well it does not sound pristine, just as the old machines didn't. Call it authentic. - Money: free, great! - Stability: no probs under cubase sx, very light on the cpu even in multiple instances I've enjoyd playing around a lot.
The concept of this plugin - to reproduce the drum sounds of various well known drum machines - is something that I wished someone would do for a long time. For the most part I think this has been done relatively well, but there are some elements of this plug that perhaps fall short of the mark.
Not much is required of the interface - the user simply dials in the drum machine that they want, and the drums are set up. That's it. There are options to apply filters, but these filters are very basic in nature. Other than that there is a volume knob.
The sounds are accurate, but problematic. There is no consistency of volume between them, and even differences in volume between various sounds for the same machine. This is pretty irritating, as you can't vary the volume of individual drums, so the volume levels need to be much nearer than they are. The problem with each machine being different in volume is not good either - the difference is very pronounced in some cases.
One other problem is the mapping of drums to keys on a keyboard not being consistent either. For example, from one machine to another the snare drum may move so you can't program MIDI then change machines as the drum in the kit might change.
Overall I like the idea but feel that there are some problems in execution - this software really needs to have the drums resampled to better volumes for the next version. As is, it's not that usable.