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James... 09/08/2011

Arturia Spark : James...'s user review

« One of my favorite drum machines »
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Totally independant unit. Tons of drum sounds. This unit is very much its own thing. I'm not sure I can compare it to any other drum machine. The capability is well on par with the price point. The stock content is actually very good. 808 drums. 30 kits. I could talk about this thing all day but I won't get too deep into the features yet.

The interface is a bit tricky at first. I would describe it as slightly futuristic. But after you get the swing of things and maybe read the manual it becomes quite easy to use. It runs like a mixing board almost. You can run 16 tracks with 64 steps. You select the tracks via the circular dial. It's quite a unique system. Each track has a preset loaded from your bank. You have a number of onboard effects to pick from and they are surprisingly really good, just like the samples. Using it like this it's not too complicated but be warned that's just the surface. You can get very deep with the Spark. Personally I never get too crazy with it as I basically stick to some classic sounds. I use the effects sparingly but not because they are bad at all.

The sounds are kind of a vintage meets modern style. The 808's are of course more in line with newer stuff, while the linndrum sounds do the 80's thing. Honestly there's just a lot of great classic sounds here and no matter what your style of music you can probably find your kit. I use them all at one time or the other. It definitely does lean more toward the vintage sounds though. It's not quite a hip hop sounding unit at its core. The effects are good, although you need to have experience dialing them in.

I really like the unique interface. It's what originally drew me to the unit. This was actually my first drum machine so at the time I didn't realize how weird this thing was. My initial concern was the kits quality but admittedly these are some of the best kits out there even in the computer realm. Especially the linndrum and the 808 stuff. I think the value is amazing considering the quality you get here. Highly recommended unit especially if you do vintage stuff.