Arturia Spark drum machine to updated to v1.5

Arturia's Spark "beat production centre" doesn't quite seem to have caught fire in the way that Native Instruments' Maschine has, but the company is giving the product some fresh impetus with the launch of a v1.5 software update.

Thanks to the new Tune feature you can now create melodies using the hardware's pads and sequencer step buttons, while the inclusion of choke groups means that you can specify which samples will cut each other off when triggered.

There are new sample layering modes, too, while the FX pad now includes the Oberheim SEM V filter from Arturia's Oberheim SEM V soft synth.

Finally, Spark 1.5 adds 28 new kits for you to play with.

Find out more in the press release below, the video above or on the Arturia website. The software update is free for existing users, while the full Spark package can be purchased for £420/€499//$599.

Arturia Spark 1.5 press release

Upon its June 2011 release, SPARK Creative Drum Machine revolutionised hands-on beat-making by cleverly combining analogue synthesis, physical modelling, and samples with the intuitive workflow of a hardware drum machine, as well as offering in-depth control over the sounds of the 30 classic analogue and digital drum machines it so successfully captured; now, with the introduction of Version 1.5, Arturia has taken the art of creative rhythm programming and performance to a whole new level with a dazzling array of new performance-orientated features and a truly heavyweight library totalling 118 kits/1,800 instruments!

New to Version 1.5 is the Tune feature, allowing users to easily compose melodies on the MIDI controller's hardware drum pads and sequencer step buttons; the sample engine now enables Choke groups, so users can creatively specify samples that will cut each other off when triggered — perfect for emulating a hi-hat 'choke', for example (whereby triggering an open-hat sample first, followed immediately by a closed-hat sample will authentically cut off the open-hat prematurely), and also offers creative modes for layering samples (circular, random, stack, threshold); finally, the flexible FX Pad now includes the famed Oberheim SEM V filter featured in Arturia's acclaimed Oberheim SEM V soft synth namesake, bringing unique warmth and depth to those still-sought-after synth sweeps.

Last, but by no means least, Version 1.5 sees SPARK Creative Drum Machine's library considerably expanded to include no less than 28 new kits exploring the current span of electronic and urban music stylings — from euphoric EDM synths to almighty analogue dubstep kits, as well as the latest in alternative hip-hop, Arturia has teamed up with the world's most in-demand sound designers to bring professional perfection to any production.

Thanks to Version 1.5, there has never been a better time than now to ignite your rhythmic creativity with SPARK Creative Drum Machine… beat the future!

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.