PreSonus Blog

Introducing Ari Ahrendt’s Pure Synthetic Drums

Photo: Matthias Baumgartner

Hi,

My name is Ari and I’m the creator of Pure Synthetic Drums. In my day job, I’m a Quality Assurance Specialist at PreSonus Software in Hamburg/Germany. My job is to ensure the quality and stability of our software products. In my free time – and when I’m not hiking in the woods, cooking over an open fire or swing my sword – I immerse myself in audio technology, music production, and synthesis. This all adds up wonderfully.

As a percussion oriented Sound Set for Impact XT, Pure Synthetic Drums perfectly augments the already existing products “Analog Model Machine” and “EDM Synth Classics” for our Mai Tai synth. For many years, I’ve been interested in sound design and sonic exploration in order to better understand their structure and quality. Splitting up a sound into its components, then reconstruct it is absolutely fascinating! This was one of the core concepts of Pure Synthetic Drums (PSD).

With this Sound Set, musicians and sound designers are able to create all-new sounds from combining individual components. The underlying model is always the same: all sounds have their roots in synthetic waveforms. That’s the “Pure” part of the name. The idea came up when creating sounds on the Eurorack modular. For example, to create a type of 808 kick, you need a snappy envelope and a self-oscillating filter. Once you created such sound, it remains intact for as long as you don’t tweak any knobs, so you have to destroy one sound in order to create another. Which led to the idea of sampling these sounds in Studio One and make them available as part of the library.

Photo: Matthias Baumgartner

Here I went one step further: instead of just sampling complete sounds, I also included their individual components in the library. This way you could combine the “click” portion of one kick drum with the “boom” portion of another. Or you could enhance the attack sound of a snare with filtered noise from an analog synthesizer – then extend the sound with an epic long release, more than any analog drum machine could ever deliver. The possible combinations are endless. As a user, you’re able to work with drum sounds and their raw components as if you had all of these analog synths and modular systems in your studio. Every single recorded sound is a direct output of a synthesizer—raw and unprocessed. No EQ, no compression—just “Pure.”

Over the course of two and a half years of conception, development and sound design, I’ve constantly drawn inspiration from drum machines, my own synthesizers, and even domestic and natural sounds. You wouldn’t believe how close the crackle of a campfire sounds compared to the filtered attack of an 808 kick. It’s all about finding the right filter parameter settings. So I went back and forth between the campfire and my modular synth lair—don’t worry, the fire was never unattended. Fireman Sam had an eye on it at all times… 😉

The result is a fully-modular product, made from modular synthetic components for creative use by musicians and sound designers. However, if you’re not into tweaking knobs, there are a total of 30 complete, ready to use Impact XT kits to play with, covering the full spectrum of available sounds. I’m an electronic drummer myself, so I made sure to follow the GM-standard key mapping. I’m able to play every kit from my e-drum kit instantly. My neighbors weren’t always pleased… If you’re tired of drumming, you can choose from a variety of included Musicloops representing each of the available drum kits. These include further freestyle grooves and pattern ideas.

Photo: Matthias Baumgartner

Stylistically, the library is covering a variety of musical styles: electro house, minimal, hip-hop, R&B, trap, EDM, psy trance, synth pop, chillout, electronica. For the first time, the integrated step sequencer of Studio One is used here. That’s a lot of source material to choose from to build your own analog drum part.

Combine it with an ATOM and your next track is born.

 

Pure Synthetic Drums is available now from shop.presonus.com. 

 

  • <> That’s pretty clever! It reminds of back when memory was really expensive, so the Alesis SR-16 attached reverb samples to drum hits, rather than sample the drum with reverb. For example there could be one or two “snare” reverb tails that worked with all the different snare drums. Of course what you’ve done is “deconstruction” for a musical goal, not an economic one, which is even cooler.