Razzmatazz overview: A pleasant (and delightfully pink) drum machine | Engadget

Earlier this 12 months 1010music launched the Lemondrop and Fireball, two surprisingly full-featured synths in unbelievably tiny packages. The firm’s Nanobox lineup covers a whole lot of floor between these two devices, however neither was significantly properly suited to dealing with drums. So the corporate took the identical core {hardware}, put a percussion-focused FM engine in it, together with a sampler, gave the entire thing a playful pink paint job, and dubbed it the Razzmatazz.

The newest member of the 1010music household is a wealthy sounding drum machine with a easy 64-step sequencer. While it might lack some trendy facilities you’d count on from a $399 instrument, it makes up for it with a sturdy set of sound design options. And sure, even 10 months later, the Nanoboxes are nonetheless shockingly small.


Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

I gained’t spend an excessive amount of time rehashing the {hardware} since I’ve already lined it in my overview of the Lemondrop and Fireball, however right here’s a fast recap. The entire factor is 3.75 inches broad, 3 inches tall, and 1.5 inches thick – sufficiently small to slot in even the tiniest of luggage or a big pocket. There’s a two-inch touchscreen on the entrance, plus 4 navigation buttons and a pair of encoders. Around again you get ⅛-inch MIDI in and outs, ⅛-inch audio ins and outs, a USB-C port for energy and a microSD slot (pre-populated with a 32GB card) for storing samples and presets.

The solely notable exterior change from the earlier Nanobox entries is the colour. There’s no purposeful benefit to the Razzmatazz being scorching pink, however I find it irresistible. As I discussed in my overview of Cre8Audio’s East Beast and West Pest, synths must be enjoyable. I’ve nothing towards the Korgs, Elektrons and Moogs of the world. But their devices typically take themselves fairly significantly. And I, for one, assume the synth world might use a splash of coloration every now and then.

The Sound Engine

1010music Razzmatazz

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

At the core of the Razzmatazz is an eight-voice engine that mixes FM synthesis and pattern playback. Each pad will be both or each, which is pretty distinctive. I can’t consider one other inexpensive {hardware} drum machine that lets you mix FM tones and samples in fairly the identical means. You can merely layer the 2, however you may additionally, for instance, use a pattern of an precise timpani for the assault, then let the synth fade in after.

It’s a extremely enjoyable impact and just like what you discover Roland’s late ‘80s Linear Arithmetic synthesizers like the D-50. The only issue is that figuring out how to achieve it isn’t instantly apparent. Since the 2 envelopes listed here are easy maintain / decay affairs, you possibly can’t simply soften the assault and be finished with it. Instead you need to assign the envelope to manage the quantity of the digital oscillators, however set the mod depth to unfavorable one hundred pc, at which level the decay acts just like the assault.

Another key distinction is, the Razzmatazz can’t be performed chromatically. So you possibly can’t craft a room shaking bassline to accompany your drum sample. You can also’t pull the trick of utilizing the modulation sequencer to manage pitch, like you may on the Lemondrop and Fireball. In truth, there isn’t a modulation sequencer, simply two LFOs and two envelopes. And pitch isn’t a modulation vacation spot. You can change the tuning of particular person pads and create one thing melodic that means, however that’s it.

The sounds themselves are wonderful, although. The assortment of 120 preset kits have a tendency towards the glitchy and electro facet of issues. Since there’s a sampler, along with the FM engine, nonetheless, you will get convincing actual drum sounds too. Most of the included samples don’t lean into the acoustic realm, however you possibly can simply load or file your personal should you like. The one factor to notice is that there’s no technique to chop up samples on the Razzmatazz. So if you wish to slice up a breakbeat, it is advisable do this earlier than you import it as separate information. Same for loops.

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