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Reviewed By elxsound [read all by] on May 1st, 2009
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
BlackMagic’s interface is simple on the surface, and optionally complex as needed. This approach allows users that are solely interested in using the many presets, or users solely interested in using the randomization options, to remain focused on creating rhythms quickly or allows user interested in maximum tweakability, full control in cusomization.

Moving deeper into BlackMagic unfolds the various sections for Sequencing, Mixing, saving/loading Kits, and sections for FX, Soundscaper, Modulation, Sequencing, LFO and more. Most of all these sections have their own randomizing options, at every step of programming you can control just how much randomization you want or if you want it at all.

BlackMagic comes with over 1000 samples to use, but one of the best features of BlackMagic is that the sound library is completely expandable, allowing users to use their existing sound libraries (not available in the Lite version).

The samples can either be triggered by sequencing them, or they can be played through a midi-controller. The sequences can also be triggered by midi-controller or by mouse (either individual instrument sequences or all 10 at once).

This has a number of built in features such as Filter, Delay, Reverb, Phase, Drive (distortion), Compression and a Limiter. This has pitch control, which can either be controlled by one of the knobs on the interface or can be controlled through a midi-controller, by playing the keys of a keyboard raising in semitone per each key. This also has a humanization control and swing control, as option incase the user doesn’t want that heavily syncopated sounds often associated with drum machines.

Manual and support are available easily through the BlackMagic device. Clicking on the Info section offers direct links to both the manual and to the hgsounds website.

This is an extremely stable build. Having participated in beta testing, I’ve had considerable time to break this in any way possible, but even the last beta releases were also extremely stable. Multiple instances are not a problem and general CPU consumption is low, even on my modest setup.

It is important to note that because of the pitch control options, and the pitch control via the keyboard… BlackMagic should not be thought of as being limited to a drum machine. This can easily allow a user to create any number of possibilities beyond that.

Lastly, one other strength/feature is that BlackMagic has a record option built in which allows a user to record the sequenced rhythm and when saved, it will automatically be named along with the BPM that it was recorded in. This quickly reduces time for all who record loops to use at a later time.

Overall, BM is an extremely deep and versatile instrument and it’s very deserving of the high marks I’m giving it.