The RMIV is a flexible and easy-to-use drum machine that combines analogue-style percussion synthesis with a full featured, intelligent percussion sampler. It has 18 velocity-sensitive drum pads that can be used to trigger its Audio Generator Modules. There are ten percussion synthesis modules and a fully featured percussion sampler.
The synthesis modules can create anything from classic analogue drum sounds to the cutting-edge sounds of contemporary music. The sampler module provides single-sample, multi-sample, velocity-layer and velocity-crossfade support, at up to 32-bit resolution. The instrument also includes an AHDSR-controlled multimode filter; a fully featured compressor designed specifically for percussion sounds; a flexible Humanizer; and a 6-x-6 Modulation Matrix.
It’s clever, too: unused processing modules such as envelopes or effects are automatically switched off when not in use to conserve CPU resources. I particularly liked the preview in context feature. This lets you browse through kits and samples even while the RMIV is playing back – great when things need to be done fast. Click the RMIV logo and the back of the drum machine is revealed. Here you can change the basic settings for each sound at the click of a mouse and choose how many audio outputs to use.
To get you started, the RMIV comes with 170 sample-based and synthesized drum kits. You can also load in kits in RM2, RM III, LM4 and CM-505 formats, or load samples in WAV or AIFF format. I was able to use the RMIV right away on a version of a Marshall Jefferson track that I’m currently producing. I used a combination of TR808 and TR909 type sounds on this.
The rimshot sounded a little different from, but even more interesting than the real TR808. The bass drums weren’t as convincing, but several of the other sounds were. Then I tried some congas – and was impressed by the quality, realism and range of the samples provided.
The RMIV isn’t available for RTAS or AU, although an AU version is planned – so it’s only for VST applications at present. VST users have a lot of choice, such as Steinberg’s LM-4, Yellow Tools Culture or Native Instruments Battery.
The RMIV’s library of drum sounds is decent. It has a better choice than the LM-4 and is more on a par with Battery. But Culture has a better selection of more natural-sounding percussion samples. Nevertheless, the RMIV compares very well – scoring heavily with its super-friendly user-interface. And it’s worth every penny of the very reasonable asking price.