Audialab's AI-powered drum machine plugin Emergent Drums gets public release and new features

A few months ago, we told you about Emergent Drums, an AI-powered drum machine plugin from Audialab that's capable of generating infinite amount of unique drum samples using machine learning technology.

Using a deep neural network that's been trained on an extensive database of existing drum sounds, Emergent Drums creates new, royalty-free and totally original drum samples from scratch. The plugin's capable of generating entirely novel sounds that can be sculpted within the plugin or exported for use elsewhere.

When we last reported on Emergent Drums, the plugin was only available on an invite-only basis. Today, Audialab have officially released the plugin to the public. 

The latest version of Emergent Drums is bolstered with new features, including multi-output functionality, so each drum can be shaped on its own channel. Version 1.5 also benefits from a new generative model that produces drum sounds with a crisper, cleaner feel. Users can now choose between Creamy, the new model, and Crunchy, the original model.

Emergent Drums' interface is based around 12 drum pads that include the usual sounds you'd expect in a drum machine - kick, snares, claps, toms and hi-hats - along with slots for glitchy, noise-based percussive sounds. Each slot contains an AI-generated drum sample, that can be re-generated by hitting the Generate button. 

We're working towards building the DALL-E for sound design

Audialab co-founder Berkeley Malagon

Using the slider above the button, the user can determine how similar the new sample will be to the previous one, creating a slight alternative, or an entirely dissimilar, randomly generated new sample. Each sample can be shaped using an individual envelope, along with an onboard filter, and controls for pitch and panning. The user can group the best samples they've generated into new kits made up of their favourite sounds. 

We spoke with Audialab's co-founder, Berkeley Malagon, about his plans for the development of the technology behind Emergent Drums. We're told that soon, producers will be able to drag in any sound they like into the plugin, and have it create hundreds of different variations that are similar to their chosen sound. 

Further down the line, the company's plan is to create a tool that can generate sounds in response to text-based input. For instance, the user would be able to describe in words the exact type of sounds they're looking for, or ask the plugin to generate samples that are similar to a given artist's work.

The technology is set to expand beyond drums, too. "We're currently working on a model that will generate instrument sounds, vocal chops, and things like that." Berkeley told us. "We're working towards building the DALL-E for sound design. This is a paradigm shift in sound design and music production - a fundamentally new way to create." 

"Music producers often spend hundreds of dollars per year on sound packs and subscriptions to get the sounds they need to create their music," Berkeley continued. "But what if you could buy one tool and have all the sounds you ever need? That's the idea behind Emergent Drums. And drums are just the beginning." 

Emergent Drums is available now for Mac and PC in AU, VST2 and VST3 formats. The plugin is priced at $149. 

Find out more on Audialab's website.

emergent drums

(Image credit: Audialab)
Matt Mullen
Tech Features Editor

I'm the Tech Features Editor for MusicRadar, working on everything from artist interviews to tech tutorials. I've been writing about (and making) electronic music for over a decade, and when I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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