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DrumGenius: A Look at the Drum Loop App for iOS

DrumGeniusI was recently turned on to DrumGenius by NoTreble’s own Kevin Johnson, and I’m glad that I was.

In essence, DrumGenius is a simple library of drum loops in various styles – 201 loops in all. But it is really much more than that. The app is more like an encyclopedic collection of classic jazz grooves and some quite modern variations. In fact, many of the grooves have a brief explanation with information like “as heard on…” and “as played by…”, so we have some real references here (a nice touch, I thought).

The free app comes with three free loop downloads, and there are in-app purchase options available to download more loops (10 loops for $0.99, 50 loops for $2.99 and $9.99 for the full monty – all 201 loops).

DrumGenius - all loops screen exampleThese loops sound fantastic! They are real drum loops – not midi or sequences – and they loop flawlessly. You can also adjust the speed of the loops +/-10% and adjust pitch by +/-12 semi-tones.

Clicking on a new loop immediately brings up the download window (only the first time, of course) and, once downloaded, all clips play immediately.

You can also save a list of favorite loops for quick acquisition although they are quite easy to navigate either by name or style, as it is.

My one wish is that there a way to preview a loop before you download (purchase) it. This isn’t a problem if you’ve paid for the full package, but if you only have one credit left, you have to roll the dice based on the descriptions.

No loops are downloaded automatically until you click on them, but once you’ve downloaded it, it’s available on- or off-line, so this program won’t eat up much space on your phone unless you manually download every loop in the collection, which is still a moderate file size. I haven’t downloaded all 201 yet, so I’m not sure exactly how big it would be.

In addition to being a fantastic groove reference for drummers (or musicians of any kind), I think this app would be fantastic for groove development as a bassist. We now have, at our disposal, a fantastic collection of Bossas, Boogaloos, brush patterns, swing patterns, Calypsos, Mambos, Mozambiques, and so on to practice with! We even have examples in 15/8 with Clave, Afro-Cuban grooves and swing patterns in 7. This is a very thorough collection!

Many of the grooves also include clave patterns which can be turned on or off. Another very cool addition.

I’m very impressed by the app. Aside from the inability to preview loops before downloading, I can’t think of a reason not to download this app. Very well done. I love finding apps that will continue to live on my phone and this didn’t disappoint.

Note: This app is not universal so, while it technically is compatible with iPad, know that it will only work as an iPhone app (2x zoom).

DrumGenius is available for free from the App Store (with in-app purchases for additional content), and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 (optimized), iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. The app requires iOS 5.0.1 or later.