The DrumBrute Impact offers completely analog drum synthesis, and I found the sounds to be powerful and versatile. You’ll hear elements of both 808 and 909-style instruments in there, and maybe the former more than the latter (particularly the deep kick with long decay). I absolutely love that you can control the pitch of the kick drum with a dedicate knob on the dashboard – this is a feature sorely missing from the original 808 and many clones thereof. Unlike so many budget drum machines where entire instruments and features are completely broken (think Volca Beats’ snare; or Akai Rhythm Wolf’s…just about everything), all of the sounds on the DrumBrute Impact were good, if not unique or re-inventive representations of what they do.
The sequencing options and user interface of the Impact are, in a word, excellent. You can store dozens of patterns across multiple banks, and then punch in lengthy pattern sequences in song mode to play them back. My drum machine prior to this was the Roland Boutique TR-08, and while it sounded good and was high on nostalgia, it was a nightmare to program compared to the DrumBrute Impact, and I don’t miss it one bit having traded it in.
The features that impact sound – ranging from a “Color” variation on each of the 10 instruments, to a step roller/looper, to a randomization knob, and a distortion circuit – are too numerous to cover in comprehensive fashion here. But suffice it to say that I felt like the DrumBrute Impact could cover many of the analog drum machines sounds of the 80’s, plus some more modern-sounding ones.
The connectivity options are robust – you get DIN MIDI IN/OUT, click pulse via 3.5mm cable (which can sync to other devices like Volca or Pocket Operator), and USB MIDI. You also get individual outs (3.5mm jacks) for four of the instruments, plus a 1/4″ master output and headphone jack.