dRambo

A personal experience


dRambo was released on the 1st April of this year.

Up until then I thought it was an in joke of the AB Forum 

which I didn't quite get and the only way I would be able to be in 

on the joke was to wade through a few thousand comments.


When I saw the amount of comments I thought to myself 

,'hhhmmm, I couldn't be bothered with that', and 

carried on perusing threads, looking for recommendations 

for the various apps that I needed for my configuration.


After years of of freelance production and sound exploration

I knew what tools I needed for a mobile production rig and that 

was what I had accomplished right up until dRambo was released.


I needed one more good reverb, another good compressor,

I already had a really good sampler, the best DAW

that was on the iOS platform at the time and 

I was well on my way exploring the DAWless capabilities of 

AUM and a good solid looper.


So along came the announcement for dRambo.

What was dRambo?

I thought it was a joke.


'Oh, this is interesting , it's a groovebox, sampler thingy'.

Well, I've got everything else for the mo,

might as well have a little play...


I had some spare left over from my 

iOS budget and thought hhmmmm.

Why not...

Let's have a looooook...WTF!!!!


Four weeks after playing around with dRambo and seven or so videos up?


I decided to get serious...


Eight months later I'm still serious...


On route I've learnt about modular synthesis,

how to build a compressor, a multiband compressor, 

multiband eq and variations of multiband processors,

a delay pitchshifting sequencer thingy of my own design,

adding, subtracting, dividing, rectifiying, log, signals.

An m/s decoder of all things...

Is this a cv signal or a cc signal or can I use them as both.

I hadn't even reached the sound synthesis section yet.


I clearly remember rs2000 commenting...

'The graphics shaper is your friend',...

' Graphics shaper???',

'WTF is a graphics shaper when that's at home???


He was right by the way...

It's very useful.


I sat for a week listening to one oscillator with an env module

connected to a filter before I placed an ADSR on the end.


At one point I was so, 'zen', with dRambo that I entered a deep meditative state.


Taking into consideration the recent events of a global nature

that we've all had to face dRambo has been and continues to be a boon, 

a blessing as it where.


I've learnt about modulations in way that I hadn't approached before.


Sending signals to trigger sequencers that

tell other modules to roll, swoop, spin and whirl.


I built midi machines that harmonised the arp module

that was in turn harmonising the notes that I played in.


Imagine being able to sequence the harmonies of the harmonies 

that you've played in and being able to play those in any key.


Well, that's what you can do with dRambo.


At one point I started looking at the synths that I already 

had trying to figure out how the signals flowed so that

I could recreate them in some way like a jazz musician 

would take a piece and perform it in their own way.


I'm a jazz musician and composer so it is a natural state of

being for me to approach synth design like this.

A synth is much akin to a piece of music.


I've played around with all of the sound generating modules in dRambo.

The possibilities and combinations are endless.


Though I love the integration of the auv3's and being able to

play the rest of my synths in dRambo, there is a distinct pleasure

in being able to design ones own synths from scratch

and to listen to the results of ones own labour.


This in some small way must be how the synth developers 

must feel when they design their synth apps etc.


I've designed about 87 synths so far not including the ones tucked away inside my projects.

Some are mere woodblocks, some are so intricate I've already forgotten why 

I started them in the first place but the thing is they make sounds which I enjoy.


dRambo can be made to sound like an h'ordeuvre or a full on orchestra

now that it can host auv3's, it all depends upon what you have in mind or not.


It can boom bap or be full on gabba.


It can....



I haven't had a piece of software impress me so much since Cubase came out on Atari.


I had been looking for an app that brought all of my main iOS apps together.


dRambo was the missing link.


On this note...

I think I've completed my basic training as a dRambonaut...

Whether you be a beginner, an intermediate or advanced?

There will be something inside dRambo for you.


Fly straight.


Fly true.

Comments

  • Well said, and thanks for the inspiring read.


    This whole “build your own groovebox” thing has me putting together music for live performances with far fewer compromises. Also, my hardware units are getting a bit less love lately. Before COVID, I used to only take an iPad if I just needed to do some DJ style live remixes combined with Grooverider stuff. I saved the hardware setups for the full originals shows.


    Once lockdown is over, Drambo and a controller or two (like my Akai MPD226) will likely cover what I’ll need for a live rig in the future and I can leave most or all of my hardware in the studio. I have a great setup of tracks up and running already with some sequenced stuff, some generative stuff and a couple of synths for live playing, spread across abou a dozen tracks. But there’s still quite a bit of work ahead of me to get this all configured and rehearsed for spontaneous live performance.


    The fun here is that I don’t seem to be running into the usual “Oh, you can do A/B/C with this groovebox, but not X/Y/Z.” limitations of other apps. With Drambo, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  • edited February 23

    Thanks for sharing. I kept waiting to get to the bit where you explain why you spell it "dRambo" rather than the correct spelling. Is it an inside joke meant for one?

  • Thank you @Gravitas for the enlightening read πŸ˜ƒ

    Indeed, D must be something like the adult electronic musicians' dream playground.

  • edited February 23

    Weren’t you around when giku posted a video of a piece of paper glued to a moving fan?

    it went bang bang bang like a Maschine gun , it was a hint at Rambo apparatus πŸ˜‚

    drambo is tongue in cheek, like the publishing day was first April


    I find this amusing. Don’t you?

  • That was in the pre-release Drambo mega thread on Audiobus that I think has been merged with others since so good luck finding it.

    Talking about this makes me feel like a member of a sect or a secret society. πŸ˜‡

  • ^^

    i tried to google for it but I just get dyson fan advertising ^^

  • lol. oh yes I do remember that. Does that really merit spelling it with a capital R forever? It's like telling the same dad joke over and over. It only gets less funny.

  • @djspacep

    "With Drambo, where there’s a will, there’s a way"


    From your description it sounds like you're having fun.

    @rs2000

    Indeed, it is an awesome playground. πŸ˜‡

    @lala

    Agreed. 😁

    @supadom

    The best Secret Society is one that doesn't know it's a Secret Society. πŸ˜‚

  • Great story! I put iOS music making on the back burner a couple of years ago. There were some great synths and apps available, but it seemed I would always hit a wall with making various apps work together, or just getting things to work the way I wanted them to. Felt like my music making somehow always ended up with me putting my tech support hat on.

    Imagine my glee when I stumbled across Drambo recently! It changes the game for me.

    Can’t wait to see how Drambo continues to evolve!

  • @Gravitas hey, sorry.. reading that back I realize it probably came off as rude, I was genuinely curious.

    Anyhow, as a fellow jazzer, I find that Drambo scratches an itch that few electronic instruments get right. You can put ideas down quickly enough that the process of building is part of the improvisation. Shaping sound in real time. Endlessly inspiring.

  • @palms

    No offence taken.

    I’m a dad, I do dad jokes. 😁


    In regards to the jazz aspect, well stated.

    Once a flow gets going, one can grab the modules to shape the sound on the fly.

    It’s brilliant. 😁

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