Everyone needs drums. That does tend to mean that everyone has drums, though – and as drum collections get bigger and bigger, it’s refreshing to see a new drum synth to put the power of getting fresh sounds back into your hands. We went a few rounds with Rob Papen’s Punch to see what it was made of…
Windows XP/Vista/7 or Mac OSX and a VST/AU/RTAS compatible host
Version Reviewed: 1.01
|Price at Review: €149/$179|
Capable of throwing the full range from jabs to hooks and full blown haymakers, Punch’s command of the bottom end is devastating. The sequencer’s a bit weak, but for creating drum sounds Punch is superb.
To actually generate its drum sounds, Punch combines two approaches: modelling and sampling. There are a variety of generators on offer for each of the main drum sounds in Punch, as well as some more general ones which are good for percussion and sound effects. In addition, there are over 250 samples, which are taken from classic drum machines and Rob Papen’s own sound design library. The two approaches complement each other really well, as there are some classic sounds that just never get old and some that just don’t measure up to the real thing – claps and rim shots especially – but on the other hand well tweaked synthesised drums (especially the bass!) will leave those of a milder disposition trembling in the wake of their sheer sonic power.
well tweaked synthesised drums will leave those of a milder disposition trembling in the wake of their sheer sonic power
There are two spaces for kicks, two for snares, two for claps, two for hi hats (open and closed), three for toms, and three user spaces. We’re not entirely sure why this is forced on you rather than just allowing any pad to be any sound, but in general it’s enough. There are also eight sample pads – each allowing two layers – which for ease of use can be dragged and dropped onto the pads.
Regardless of what’s loaded into it, drum pad has two distortion dials, which do something slightly different depending on which of the 19 distortion effects you use. Yes, we said 19. Each has a sound of its own, although if you tend towards super clean drum sounds you may find the majority of them a little too exotic.
The effects are a lot more well featured than we were expecting, with four banks and 27 on offer in total
The effects are a lot more well featured than we were expecting, with four banks and 27 on offer in total (on top of the the 19 distortion types in each sound) and representation for distortion, dynamics, filtering (including phasing/flanging), delay and reverb. All of the effects are very usable – should you want you can route the outputs of Punch to external effects but we found internal provisions to be more than satisfactory, with the distortion types adding thickness rather than taking it away and the HQ reverb is as good as any synth ‘verb. The filter effect has various dB/octave models and has a distortion dial which, when combined with the brilliant resonance effects it’s capable of, can make some really exciting noises.
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