Softube’s Heartbeat is an innovative software drum synth with comfortably familiar, yet special sound characteristics. Heartbeat draws inspiration from the best ‘80s-vintage analogue drum machines without emulating any in particular. It uses Softube’s proprietary analogue-modelled synthesis engines… it’s a Softube, so it gonna sound good, right?
The core consists of eight individual instrument channels. Here Heartbeat users will find two different bass drum channels — perfect for producing punchy, deep kicks, but also capable of creating snappy and hard-hitting woody textures. Tonal adjustments abound, with several dedicated controls for both. The two dedicated snare drum channels (Snare/Rim and Snare/Clap) have several identical parameters associated with each of them — Wave Synth sliders, plus two Type, Pitch, and Decay controls — to achieve anything from edgy rimshots, soft and whispery snare rolls, to machine-like claps. Correspondingly, those same flexible parameters are also available for the adjacent Hihats channel. There are two percussion channels that can be used to model ‘80s-style toms to cowbells, while the Cymbal channel has its own synthesis engine with dedicated Decay, Rign and Pitch parameters. There’s a dedicated FX engine, including versions of Dyna-mite (with it limiting, compression, gating, and side-chained ducking) and TSAR-1, Softube’s well-regarded reverb plug. The all-new Filter Echo with its adjustable Cutoff and Resonance parameters.
Pushing further onwards and upwards, each and every instrument channel has a dedicated mixer channel with Pan, Ping (ping-pong/ auto-panning), EQ (adapted specifically for each instrument), and volume controls, together with FX sends to the Rev (reverb) and Echo (delay) effects.
Heartbeat also packs something called Auto Layer Machine. Its four channels can each be used to layer sounds or let the output of any of the eight instrument channels trigger a chain of events. Examples include creating new sound textures or automatic fill patterns in up to four steps. Should things get too predictable then moving the Chaos sliders adds an element of randomness for each trigger, ranging from subtle variations to mayhem. Price: US$199.
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