Drambo's built-in PADS/KEYS could include an "Audition" ON/OFF toggle for clean live step recording

As an avid elektron Digitakt/Digitone user, I've grown very familiar with the components involved in order to be able to build a groove without ever triggering an unwanted note or having to stop the beat.

One of these crucial components is the capacity to be able to effectively configure all the information relevant for a given step on a given track, including its pitch (or pitches if it's a chord), without having the step's pitch(es) be audible until all of the step's parameters have been configured to the user's preference including but not limited to:

- velocity

- pitch

- timing offset

It is very apparent that Drambo is heavily inspired by the workflow refined with the elektron machines and that's awesome. With that said, considering that close to all of the elements of this workflow have already been put together to enable Drambo as a live musical instrument/system I do not understand why a button to disable note audition hasn't been included.

Even though it would be ideal, my request is NOT even about adding functionality similar to elektron's "Trigless Trigs".

Instead my goal is simply:

[WHILE THE SEQUENCER IS PLAYING] To be able to tell the step sequencer at least the pitch that I want for a step that I intend to to add subsequently (whether it's a single note or a chord) without having Drambo systematically/invariably play whichever note I happen to be pressing on the keys/pads to define that pitch, as my KEYS/PADS presses will generate unwanted audio that will ruin the flow of music.

When I'm using the step sequencer, I'm in a programming mindset, not in a "live performance unquantized recording" mindset. In that context it is not appropriate for notes that are not synchronized to the beat in a deliberate manner to be heard UNLESS I'm using Drambo typically by myself in a manner where I explicitly want to audition pitches in real time to choose relevant ones without having to wait for the sequencer to cycle to the step that's going to have the pitch I'm configuring.

I really hope it's just me that hasn't found the option and that someone can enlighten me on how to do this, but I went through the manual, tried Google searches and couldn't find anything conclusive.

If I remember correctly though I DID find information somewhere on what appeared to be an older version of Drambo with a button named "TRIG" that I can no longer find in the current version, perhaps that was the magical button that did what I've been looking for?


  • Velocity, pitch and timing offset can all be adjusted, added and removed freely in the piano roll.

    If you don't want to audition the notes you edit, toggle the little speaker icon in the piano roll's toolbar.

    When working with the step sequencer, the current behavior seems to be the best because unless you have perfect pitch, choosing pitches without hearing them sounds like a hard thing to do.

  • @rs2000 Thanks for your reply 😊 I'll fully recognize that your reference to perfect pitch really took me by surprise! (and I'll develop on that)

    *********SHORT VERSION (aka TLDR):*********


    1. someone knows how to build a scale

    2, someone has some level of ear training (which most people who make music do)

    that is sufficient to "qualify as a user" to make an 'audition toggle' button incredibly useful because:

    It allows the user to experience the growing of a musical idea out of nothing without ever having to experience a note that is not in time or having to stop the music, which would make Drambo so much more musical to use.

    In case of any confusion (for anyone):

    This topic is NOT about muting a track's recorded midi, it is simply about having the option of disabling the triggering (or audition) of audio strictly when pressing on Drambo's built-in keyboard, as the keyboard also doubles as a polyphonic pitch selection tool for steps that are then added manually in the step sequencer grid view (NOT the Piano Roll View).

    *********BIG BOY VERSION (for people who care!):*********

    On what you said about needing to have perfect pitch for the 'option of disabling note audition' to be useful:

    In my view that is not a necessity at all because:

    It is completely reasonable to expect that given enough time and practice a moderately capable musician would be able to construct a common scale (example: C Minor - Aeolian) and would be able to have an internal sense of "hearing" easy intervals such as a perfect 5th, minor 7th or octave UP/DOWN based on of having heard the pitch of a root note that they've chosen just seconds ago.

    For anyone who doesn't know, the capacity to internally extrapolate (or hear internally) pitch intervals based off of a reference pitch is typically referred to as having "relative pitch". It is a fundamental skill for musicians playing conventional instruments such as keyboards, guitars, etc. This is a skill that people can develop through practising with their musical instruments, it is not set in stone.

    Typically most people making music have a natural sense of what the root note of their musical idea is whether it is conscious or not. Often this internal sentiment happens after fiddling with instruments for a little bit at the start of a musical process, as the user is setting up the sounds they're going to use in their session. Once the pitch of a root note is heard and brought in the user's short term auditory memory, that pitch information is going to feel persistent internally for the user for about 10 seconds (a conservative estimate). Naturally this can vary greatly from person to person and is something that can be improved with ear training. This internal awareness of the root pitch is reinforced whenever the user hears the root pitch again, which is very frequent in loop/pattern based music.

    Once the user has the information of the pitch of a chosen root note in their auditory memory and knows how to build a scale off of it, it is unquestionably viable and often desirable to be able to program steps in the step sequencer without needing to audition their pitch beforehand. Again this becomes especially true considering that once a sequence is looping with recorded content it constantly reinforces the chosen pitches in the user's mind, making the audition process necessary much less often. The question of being inexperienced vs experienced, or having a trained ear or not shouldn't even matter here really, because my functionality request is just about having the OPTION of toggling the audition of keyboard presses ON/OFF, as Drambo's built in keyboard also doubles as a polyphonic pitch selection tool for steps that are then added manually in the step sequencer grid view (NOT the Piano Roll View).

    On what you mentioned about the Piano Roll view :

    While I'm aware that the PRV enables the programming of notes optionally without the notes "triggering" right at the moment they're added by the user, from a musicality standpoint being "forced" down this route still causes a significant problem:

    In PRV, only 1 pitch can realistically be added at a time as it needs to be written as someone would with a pen, so for adding chords in all likelihood the sequencer will end up cycling once or twice triggering the step the user intended to add without it containing all the intended pitches from the get go.

    In Conclusion:

    Drambo prides itself as a polyphonic step sequencer, setting it apart from the pack. In that context, why not go all the way when it's literally 1 feature away?

    Hopefully I've convinced you! Thanks to anyone who cared enough to read this far, I'm well aware it's a dense read but I hope you got something good out of it.


  • I would use this so I could hold a step and tap a note in without hearing it.

  • Yep that's exactly the goal! It could also be a chord by pressing multiple notes simultaneously, or by using the built-in "hold" function if you want to add multiple pitches with subsequent 1 finger presses for chords that are more difficult to press.

  • One possible way to make this function available would be to add a toggle in this sub menu:

  • edited December 2023

    @rs2000 While it would definitely be better than nothing I wouldn't recommend it. In my opinion, because it would be a "high impact" feature it would highly benefit from having dedicated UI visual feedback.

    Having to menu dive in that context would be highly impractical and I'll use an example scenario to show why:

    I start a fresh session, load up an instrument rack preset on a track (without having the sequencer running), immediately I'll want to audition the sound. From a design standpoint there's already a potential problem:

    1) If the option is persistent (meaning that its state is remembered in a saved project or based on last user configuration) and doesn't provide permanent visual feedback it implies that whenever the user would want to audition audio they'd potentially get caught in the following:

    a) figure out why no sound is triggering from keyboard presses and feel confused (if they previously disabled the audition in a previous session)

    b) tap the hamburger menu

    c) scroll down to the option in the sub-menu that appears

    d) switch the option ON

    e) close the menu

    [ causes at LEAST 5 events + user confusion/frustration]

    2) If the option is NOT persistent (meaning that its state is NOT remembered between sessions) and doesn't provide permanent visual feedback the user would have to potentially go through the roller-coaster of toggling audition ON/OFF whenever they would need, which would require 5 components each time :

    a) identifying that the state of the keyboard is not the one the user wants for a particular task

    b) tapping the hamburger menu

    c) scroll down to the option in the sub-menu that appears

    d) switch the option ON

    e) close the menu

    The solution that I would recommend and prefer for the implementation of the option strictly from a UI standpoint would be:

    1. To recuperate the "speaker" icon button visible in the Piano Roll View top right
    2. To add that button to the left of the "M" mute button (visible top right of the keyboard section)
    3. To slightly adjust the respective widths of the "M" and "undo arrow" buttons to allow comfortable use (they still could be wider than the speaker button)
    4. To make that "speaker" icon have a green background when audition is ON, or a dark background when it is OFF.

    Alternatively and equally viable (but not my preference) could be to have a similar scenario to what I just described above but instead use a modified speaker icon button including a superimposed "anti" sign "( \ )" , where the button would have a DARK BACKGROUND when audition is ON, or a RED BACKGROUND when audition is OFF.

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