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orDrumbox review

For a free and easy to use drum machine, orDrumbox is the software to get you started.

orDrumbox review
(Image: © orDrumbox)

Our Verdict

orDrumbox is a free to use open source drum machine builder that's very useful and features some automation options to help new users.

For

  • Free to use
  • Great automation
  • Rythms and sounds database

Against

  • Not the most refined finish
  • Learning curve

orDrumbox is a free to use drum machine that is easy to use and features automation to help creation of new beats. Since this is free, you can't expect all the fancy interface features and refined looks of a paid for DAW. That said it does have an intuitive layout that will be familiar to anyone that's used audio software before.

There are automation features as well as drag and drop functionality which makes this easy to use. While it might take a little learning for very new users, there is enough functionality to work for more complex tasks as well as basic beginner beats. It features among the best beat making software because it's a great place to start for newbies who don't want to pay for something too complex.

orDrumbox: Features

orDrumbox allows you to build beats and create songs by dragging and dropping audio devices into patterns, with bars falling into each pattern, with up to 24. This breaks down into steps per bar which allows for the polyrhythm capabilities.

Loop points can be added to save time and automate longer tracks. These tracks can then be pitched and mixed as well as panoramized and solo or muted with the interface. 

orDrumbox

(Image credit: orDrumbox)

Automatic composition is a great feature which allows you to use an auto fill engine or a random engine. It's a nice option for beginners which allows you start working from something other than a blank sheet. This is done using designed scales and only requires you to create a few rules to be up and running.

Drum kits can be created from scratch, imported and modified allowing for a tremendous amount of creativity and freedom. That import tool is good for adjusting gate and pitch as well as allowing you to add BP or LP filters. 

orDrumbox: Performance

The automation of this software is impressive and supports creativity well. If you create your own instrument and name it, say "Bass drum", the natural language processing of the software will recognize that and place it with the nearest instrument available in the current dum kit. 

That makes for super fast organization and future access without any effort on your part. Well, aside from the whole creating it part, of course. 

orDrumbox

(Image credit: orDrumbox)

MIDI import and export is possible but don't expect too many frills here with a standard recording option. This supports MIDI by playing using an internal GMkit.

Exporting of songs is really user friendly. This is done in 16 bit, 44 kHz, stereo at CD-quality. These can be saved, or loaded as XML or ORSG files, making them usable in other audio software too.

The interface is dated, for sure, but then it does what you need and runs very quickly meaning you don't need to worry about lag. It also makes for quick automation and exporting of beats you build.

Should you buy orDrumbox?

orDrumbox is free to use, simple enough to pick up and offers automation features which not only improve workflow speed but also allow for easy creativity for beginners. The software does look dated but graphical interface aside this does a lot for a free software option.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.