As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on the year in hi-tech music-making gear, asking you to vote for the best new hardware and software products to have been released over the past 12 months.
Now it’s time to bring you the results of our polls. We drew up the shortlists, but the rankings and overall winners in each category have been decided exclusively by your votes.
Over the next 5 slides we’ll be revealing what you’ve decided are the 5 best new drum-related plugins of 2016, counting down to your number one. We’ll start with XILS-Lab’s flexible StiX drum machine...
We said: “A multi-faceted drum machine that combines ten virtual analogue and sample-based sound sources with a ten-lane x0x-style sequencer, a ten-channel mixer with three send effects (Delay, Reverb, Phaser), and distortion on every channel.
“Even with a few notable things missing, StiX is a highly creative virtual drum machine that comes bursting with quality sounds and encourages experimentation.”
D16 Group PunchBox
We said: “PunchBox mixes a synthesised layer with three sample layers, then processes the result with effects, to create sonically rich bass drums of all kinds.
“If you're happy enough using prefab kick samples, it could be considered overkill, but there's quite possibly no conceivable kick drum sound for electronic music that PunchBox couldn't create.”
BUY: D16 Group PunchBox currently available from:
We said: “Geist2 is an MPC-style pad-based 'groove DAW', complete with sampling, sequencing and song construction, that runs standalone or as a VST/AU/AAX plugin.
“Version 2’s new interface and TransMod system are worth the upgrade price alone, but independent pattern length, more pads, improved effects and Sampler Assign modes join them to make Geist2 a dazzlingly powerful tool for any dance, urban and electronic producer - both in the studio and on stage.”
BUY: FXpansion Geist2 currently available from:
Sample Magic Stacker
We said: “Expanding on the current hot theme of the dedicated bass drum generator, Stacker is yet another 'synth-and-three-samplers' plugin instrument, but this time one that’s aimed at delivering percussion sounds of all kinds.
“With its excellent source sample library, flexible synth engine, impressive effects and classy modulation system, Stacker sounds superb, whether producing the smallest of hi-hats or the most epic of drums.”
Winner: Sonic Academy Kick 2
We said: “The original Kick was a simple yet effective affair, essentially letting you combine a sampled 'click' transient with a synthesised 'sub', then tweak the results in a fair amount of detail in order to design and refine characterful kick drums for your electronic productions.
“Kick 2 is a far more flexible animal, based on a much cleaner synth engine that exhibits less aliasing distortion - basically, generating a purer sound than that of the previous Kick synth. It’s a powerful, flexible multilayered kick drum design system that's easy to use and sounds great.”