We’re back with the next in our series of custom built free Drum Racks, recorded at Studios 301. This time round, Ableton Certified Trainers Anthony Garvin and Adam Maggs have taken a Vermona DRM1 MKIII and run through, you guessed it, more of 301’s mouth-watering gear.
The Vermona DRM1 MkIII is a true analog drum synthesiser that went into production in the early 2000’s. Much more a drum synthesiser than drum machine, the DRM1 features 8 “sounds” to work with: some tailored to achieve dedicated kick, snare, hats and so on, and others like the Multi which is, in essence, a three oscillator synth in itself and can pull some pretty crazy sounds. Overall the Vermona has some very snappy envelopes, unique parameter dials per sound, and a good deal of punch.
What makes the DRM1 MkIII a drum synthesiser and not a drum machine is it doesn’t have an internal sequencer and instead requires a hardware step-sequencer box or a software sequencer like Ableton Live to create patterns and trigger the sounds. The best of both worlds comes courtesy of Ableton Push, because it provides the hands-on playability of it’s drum pads, pattern programming via it’s step sequencer and the deep integration with Ableton Live itself for recording and more detailed post-production. In essence this all combines to be one big, very powerful instrument.
During the recording phase it simply made the studio workflow a lot easier, but the studio jam afterwards with Vermona / Push / Ableton / Studios 301 gear… Just wow.
Using the per-sound outputs on the Vermona, each sample was passed through a series of outboard gear suited to that sound. As with our 808 Drum Rack, some these samples were recorded via Studios 301’s very rare (and very valuable) Fairchild 670 compressor. Going beyond the Fairchild this time, we took advantage of more of 301’s outboard gear, and customised the signal chain for each new sound.
For example, a couple of the snare samples were recorded from the Vermona straight into an API 512c Lunchbox preamp, EQ’d with a Pultec EQP1A and then compressed with the Neve 2254, captured back into Ableton Live with an Apogee Rosetta 200. One of the Cowbell samples? Straight into the API 512c Lunchbox preamp, run through a channel of the SSL9000k console for some slight compression and EQ, then further EQ’d with the Pultec EQP1A and compressed with a Focusrite Red. Phew!
For the full nerds out there we’ve listed the full chain of each sound inside the sample download pack.
The Drum Rack
Things are kept relatively simple on the surface of the Drum Rack, which was put together by Ableton Certified Trainer Adam Maggs. There are 7 macros on the kit available for customisation and one pre-assigned dial for switching between plain and modulated/effected versions of the entire kit.
For all drum pads there are 8 controls pre-assigned for customising that sound, divided into 3 colour-coded groups: the sample selector (white), effect controls (pink), and common controls that shape both the effected and un-effected versions (blue). Similar to the 808 Rack, each dial changes multiple parameters which often interact with each other – and the intention behind the set-up and sound design was to add a musical feel to the tweaking even when making extreme / not-so-musical sounds.
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