Molten Drum Machine from developer One Red Dog Media is a versatile and easy to use 8-track sample based synthesis engine and drum machine built exclusively for the Apple iPad. The power and programming flexibility of Molten lies in the familiar grid based layout, flexible time signature and dividable step sequencer, allowing for tuplet-based (irregular) rhythms.
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As you can see from the above image you can have as many as eight instruments running at the same with as little as one beat on one page through sixteen beats over four pages in a pattern. What’s more, Molten even allows individual beats to be subdivided into as many as nine pieces for more complex sounds beyond music in common 4/4 time.
It comes bundled with a raft of sample percussive sounds and rhythm sequences, or ‘Patterns’ as Molten calls them, that can be played and then edited or altered with the integrated controls. As well as the sample sounds (totaling 42 on our machine) you can load and store your own then process and share them with your friends.
The controls range from simple shaping effects such envelopes to track effects (Tremelo, EQ, Filter and Bit-crusher) through to higher-end global stereo master effects including reverb, EQ and compressor for real polish.
So with the simple to use interface,flexible timing options and wealth of effects, Molten is an intuitive and handy beat maker, but what else does it have to offer?
Well there’s more under the hood, if you care to look. Molten’s support for MIDI and in particular MIDI beat clock means this synthesizer can be synced with a number of hardware devices over WiFi or the USB port (using the iPad’s Camera Connection kit). And Molten users can leverage the iPad’s support for audio clipboard technology to swap beats between other iPad apps, adding value if you think you really need justify the price.
Are there shortcomings for a pro-worthy beat maker? Well, maybe the global master effects aren’t quite as flexible or customizable layout-wise as they could be. And, it’s only human nature to want more patterns and factory samples to choose from, perhaps as a download from the developer’s site rather than bundled. It’s certainly compelling enough for serious users and even if you’ve never been inclined to dabble with a drum machine before Molten’s beat making abilities will have you enthralled for hours and hours. Definitely recommended.