IK Multimedia UNO Drum REVIEW

Back when we tested the original UNO Synth, we immediately started jonesing for a drum machine to complement it. And to our surprise, IK delivered the news to us that the UNO Drum was on the way. So, naturally we had them send us a unit to test out, and let’s get right to it: it’s as easy to use as the UNO synth, it sounds great, and it’s priced stupidly low. Plus, it plays nice with the UNO Synth over MIDI – so you can keep sequences in time with your beats. 

Head to our YouTube channel for a full video demo featuring our friend and New Orleans musician Nick Ray, but here’s the skinny. UNO Dum is EASY to program. Even if you’ve never touched an 808 before, getting up and running with the front-panel knobs and membrane pads and buttons is a breeze. We didn’t even have to crack the manual to begin making beats straight away. You’ve got a grid of clearly laid out drum sounds on pads, sitting just about the step sequencer. The sounds, at this price, are pretty impressive. You get a half-dozen rich analog sounds, and dozens more sample-based elements to choose from. The overall sonics are pretty wide-ranging, and cover everything from traditional electronica, techno, house, to modern EDM, trap, hip-hop, you name it. You’ve even got 100 slots of  memory to store all your beat patches, and 64-steps with which to work.

There are some built-in effects, as well. And while they might not totally replace your external stompboxes, they are pretty usable out-of-the-box. The compression is nice to even things out, and to really create those traditional kicks, and the drive was fairly useable, as well. 

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Overall construction was pretty solid, especially given the price. One of our biggest gripes in the $100-300 market is wobbly knobs, and cheap plasticky feeling toys. The Korg MS-20 is a prime offender when it comes to questionable build-quality that may or may not stand the test of time. But the UNO Drum (like the UNO Synth) offered up no such issues. We can see this going out on tour, or being a permanent part of a studio rig year after year.

The fact is, this thing is so feature-packed (and mobile, to boot) at such a bargain-basement price, that our biggest fear is musicians not taking it as seriously as they should. We had the same issue with the recent Yamaha Reface series, where they were offering a lot of value in a small package, and ran the risk of going overlooked. But we don’t think that’ll happen here; there’s already too much buzz building, and with the success of the UNO Synth last year, the new drum machine is sure to build on that momentum to become the next “must-have” kit for veteran producers, beat-makers and first-timers alike. 

PROS:

easy to use, great sounds, super affordable

CONS:

none

STREET PRICE:

$249

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