IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5 review

With some of the most expansive tone-shaping control we’ve ever handled, IK has augmented an already unparalleled drum workstation

  • £250
IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5
(Image: © IK Multimedia)

MusicRadar Verdict

Another win for IK, MODO Drum 1.5 excels at being a multi-layered drum sample library that goes above and beyond what was previously thought possible.


  • +

    Unprecedented kit and beat editing via modal synthesis.

  • +

    Great playability/humanisation options.

  • +

    Simple UI and easy to use.

  • +

    Deep room shaping, kit-mixing scope.


  • -

    A real disk-space hogger!

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5: What is it?

Beats. Everyone needs them, everyone tackles them in their own way and it’s widely agreed that when it comes to mixing, they’re more often than not the most awkward thing to get right. IK Multimedia’s MODO Drum aims at serving all needs via its holistic, genre-neutral approach to kit control. 

Though the emphasis here is clearly on giving you the sound of a live, in-the-room drum kit, the sheer level of tonal shaping, FX, groove-shaping and real-world nuance that you can control here, results in perhaps the only piece of beat-building software you’ll ever need. 

From the outset, IK offers a smooth, straightforward experience, a quality for which the company is well known. MODO Drum brings the same multi-page, visually entrancing approach as MODO Bass. V1.5 brings three more kits to the original ten, all realised with IK’s detailed physical modelling drum synthesis.

IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5

(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5: Performance and verdict

The kits on offer here range from the six-piece Rock Custom, aimed at the vest-sporting, long-haired, seasoned kit vet, to the genre-neutral new kit for v1.5, Silver, which could be used across pop, country and rock. Then there’s the cutting, razor sharp tones of the Djentleman, a kit directed at a particular niche of metal, but whose biting quality works well in a variety of other contexts. 1.5 also brings in other new kits not previously available: Brit Custom and a tasty Metal kit. 

Also consider...

Toontrack Superior Drummer 3

(Image credit: Toontrack)

Toontrack Superior Drummer 3
This powerhouse was previously our top pick for versatile kit-shaping and control.

XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2
While a different approach to MODO, it’s still a solid kit handler.

Actual kit selection is swift, with an image of each kit selectable via the Model page, which shows a depiction of the kit in all its splendour. MODO Drum’s array of seven core pages is neatly displayed at the top of the UI. 

While the kits have been assembled to fulfil specific objectives, within the Customise page you can mix and match drum elements from other kits, and build your own Frankenstein kit to better suit your needs. 

That’s not all though: each constituent part can have its virtual skins swapped, be retuned, have the buzz dialled up or down, and re-define the shell profile. This is all down to the mind-boggling synthesis technology that certainly trumps the conventional approach to capturing samples. 

This flexibility is further evidenced by the breathtaking effect of changing your virtual drum room via IK’s deft use of convolution, and effect-soaking certain kit elements in the Mixer. 

Well beyond that seen elsewhere in the ‘virtual player’ domain… quite frankly the sculptural scope is astounding

While the kit’s sound is highly malleable, MODO Drum is also loaded up with a range of playability options. Going well beyond what we’ve seen elsewhere in the ‘virtual player’ domain, MODO Drum’s Play Style option allows for the precise choosing of sticks, exactly where on each drum element the sticks are hit, and just how accurate this digital drummer’s impacts are. 

Quite frankly the sculptural scope is astounding. The Grooves section is the easiest way to hear the results of all of this in full flight, with a pyramid of pre-determined drum patterns. As with MODO Bass, these samples are super easy to slot into your project.

IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5

(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

Simulation theory

Some of MODO Drum’s most extraordinary abilities, such as the option of having infinite round robins, is thanks to the real-time modal synthesis technology used to create these virtual kits. 

Unlike traditional sample capture, this innovative tech mathematically models the physical parameters (dimensions, skin, materials, durability etc) and all the in-between variables including play style, stick-type etc and room vibration to swiftly produce what is, in effect, a very real model of the kit within your CPU. 

You can affect it in real-time, without any processing lag or having to settle for approximations of what certain changes ‘might’ sound like. In effect, it’s like tiny virtual engineers are shifting mics, swapping drum elements and more instantly within your hard drive. 

It’s a technology that IK has been working on for 11 years, and the first version of MODO Drum, released back in 2019, marked IK’s first commercial deployment of it.


Using MODO Drum to build up a series of demos results in a rewarding experience, and while we find it very easy to get entirely comfortable with the surface-level offerings of the library, there’s a veritable ocean of possibility beneath the surface. While size might be an issue, thankfully you’re able to download only those kits you need. 

While other drum libraries trade off on bringing you accurate, playable recordings of premiere kits in world-class locations, IK instead hands the keys to you, with the player, room, kit and character entirely at your control.

MusicRadar verdict: Another win for IK, MODO Drum 1.5 excels at being a multi-layered drum sample library that goes above and beyond what was previously thought possible.

IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5: Hands-on demos



IK Multimedia MODO Drum 1.5: Specifications

  • Mac (64-bit). Minimal: Intel® Core™ i5 with support for AVX instructions. 8GB of RAM (16 GB suggested), 20GB of available hard-disk space, macOS 10.9 or later. USB port (3.0 suggested). Runs natively on Apple’s M1 processors.
  • Supported Plug-in formats (64-bit): Audio Units, VST 2, VST 3, AAX.
  • CONTACT: IK Multimedia
Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.