Swedish company 2Box’s DrumIt Five may not have particularly earth-shattering technology (e.g., physical modeling for changing drum size), but it’s a fast, responsive, cost-effective instrument with great sounds, excellent playability, and Flash RAM for loading your own samples.
Roll Your Own Sounds DrumIt Five’s 44.1kHz/24-bit sounds are masterfully recorded—the majority with deep layers of multisamples—and populate most of the 4GB onboard Flash RAM, with more free sounds available on the web. But the ability to load your own sounds is a unique, standout feature. A free Mac/Windows kit editor makes it easy to load new sounds into the brain, which appears on your computer like a flash drive. You can drag up to 128 samples onto a drum pad, translate these files in DrumIt Five’s proprietary format, then save them to your computer and the brain via USB.
Brainiac The brain features 10 trigger ins with TRS 1/4" inputs that handle one, two, or three zone pads or acoustic drum triggers. The inputs share 15 internal drum sound channels, so using more than the standard five-piece kit with hi-hat and two cymbal pads requires distributing the channels accordingly. The 12" snare and 10" tom pads can be single- or dual channel, and the cymbal pads can have 1–3 zones (bell, top, and pad edge). The hi-hat also uses three channels. The unit has six individual mono outs and one stereo headphone out (switchable to line level, like the other six outs).
Each of the 100 kits can have its own sounds, groove sample (triggered by a button on the brain or input jack), and mix. You can even program a metronome to count in a click. Each kit also has global EQ and compression settings; a simple echo or chorus teams with an independent send for each drum.
Customizing kits is simple, however in my opinion, almost all of the kits need the cymbals turned down, and some ride cymbals have a crash on the edge that I can’t adjust independently of other sounds on that pad. The company says this can be changed in the future if other drummers feel the same way.
Variations on a Pad The pad body has an orange metal ring; the pads are only about 1.5" deep, with drum-style screws to adjust the head. The rim has a hard rubber covering, and a secondary trigger for rim or other sounds.
The pads are available with mesh heads (I really like their feel), regular drum heads, and an upcoming rubber head. The bass drum pad is a 14" mesh; the provided hard foam beater is much softer than an acoustic kit type, with the combination providing a wonderful kick drum feel. Cymbal and hi-hat pads are made of rubber over hard plastic. Triggers can snap onto your acoustic drums for triggering the brain.
Ready to Rock DrumIt Five comes ready to play with a lightweight rack and connecting cables. The hi-hat stand and bass drum pedal don’t have legs; this limits their placement, but anchoring the bass drum to the rack ensures it won’t move. Though I’ll be swapping out the pedals for my DWs, the included pedals are very usable. The tom arms and cymbal arms both lack tilters so the only adjustment is from the ball joint in the mount. However, the standardized 2" rack allows for third-party mounts and expandability.
Minor shortcomings notwithstanding, this kit plays like a dream. I like the mesh pads (unlike some of the others I’ve played), sonic realism, and musicality; add ongoing software development and a free sound library (the new Pete Lockett samples are some of the most playable percussion samples I’ve ever used) and for me, this is the electronic kit to get.
Reek Havok is a four-time Platinum record recipient, a drummer, a sound designer for various instrument manufacturers, and an interactive exhibit designer.
STRENGTHS: Amazing dynamic response. Great sounds, and can load your own samples. Very playable. Additional free sounds available online.
LIMITATIONS: Proprietary rack lacks some adjustability. Cymbal arms don’t have tilts for adjustment.
$3,999.95 MSRP $2,899.99 MAP