Modular Drum Loops is a collection of 225 Eurorack drum loops, sequenced with our massive modular (10 years in the making), and lovingly processed through our favorite outboard gear. More than just blips and boops, these are club-ready rhythms centered around 120 BPM, ranging from clean and tame to strange and deranged. With a wide array of analog, digital and FM textures, impossible drumscapes, modulated FX sequences and syncopated polyrhythms, these loops are an immediate way to inject the off-kilter funk of the modular drum world into your next creation (without emptying your bank account).
One of the most appealing aspects of a modular rig is its diversity in sound. Because we're dealing with so many different forms of synthesis, brands, electronics and devices simultaneously, the tones we get cover a much wider range than say, sampling a drum machine. And yet they are still cohesive and work perfectly together:
Each module has a life of its own, which can be flipped on its head in an infinite amount of ways depending on where it is in the signal chain, and how it's connected to another module. We chose a wide variety of analog, digital, and hybrid sources (both traditional and drum-based), and then processed those with various filters, drives, and FX. All of this, including filter and FX parameters, was then sequenced to create the loops. Here are some of our favorite modules:
A modular rig is deeply complicated and potentially paralyzing for those just starting out - and, like most things, it's not the size that matters, it's what you do with it! Particularly when synthesizing drum sounds from non-drum sources, it's important to have a few tricks up your sleeve.
For instance, we had no tom module. So, we ran two frequency modulated waveforms into a low-pass gate and modulated it with a tight envelope, to create Buchla-style bongos and toms:
Sampling one shots is like taking a single snapshot in time, whereas loops are a chance for FX and modulation to really shine. And as opposed to a classic drum machine, a modular system like ours will have no shortage of modulation options (LFOs, envelopes and highly advanced sequencers) to breath life, depth, and unexpectedness into an otherwise stagnant drum loop. This can be achieved by patching oddly timed LFOs into filter or VCA inputs, or by using a sequencer to modulate bit depth, distortio, or reverb size. You can also go old-skool and just use your hands 😃
It can make a world of difference, especially on hats, cymbals and tops:
One of the only things the Eurorack format can't do is process these loops with Class A studio weapons like an API console, parallel compression and EQ. Luckily, we are no strangers to these tools, and jumped at the chance to breath a little more life and "doneness" into these drum sequences.
So we ran the drums through our API console with a little EQ, and into an Overstayer Saturator, an Overstayer Modular Channel, and a touch of API 2500 compression. This was actually done live on instagram, so follow us there if that's your thing!
This toughened up the loops, and added some sustain and pump that, in my experience, is unachievable with plugins. This processing definitely took the loops over the top, and made them record-ready straight out of the box.
Putting this pack together was a blast, and above all else, the loops themselves are FUN. With full beats, tops, stripped down patterns and individual drum grooves, this is an immediate way to inject that big modular drum energy into your productions.
While loops may be more limiting than one-shots, they sound more authentic. It's quicker and easier to drag a modular drum loop into your track than to try to program one from scratch with one-hits. That said, we've created meticulous REX files, so you can easily export one-hits (MPC Programs, anybody?) to your hearts delight.
...And even though these loops are techno-leaning, they can be used in ANY genre - in fact, that's where they might shine the most.