Gear Reviews

Korg Drumlogue Review: Endless Beat-Making Possibilities

Korg first announced that the Drumlogue was being created back in January 2021, so the anticipation leading up to its release has been real. It sits alongside their Minilogue, Minilogue XD and Monologue, only with a greater emphasis on percussion.

Like many Korg devices, including the ever-popular and loved Volca Beats, Drumlogue is, excitingly, a meeting of worlds between analogue and digital. Several of the percussion synths are analogue, then combined with its multi-track sample engine and ‘Multi-Engine’. These offer up an open-source digital oscillator. It’s a beast, in other words.

Regarding aesthetic first impressions, it’s not as big as you might think. While being bigger than the aforementioned Volca Beats, you needn’t worry about the Drumlogue eating up a huge amount of your space, if that’s a concern. It’s slightly smaller than the other sibling ‘logues mentioned above.

Nonetheless, there’s connectivity galore, with six routable outputs along the rear panel and a headphone output, along with an audio input, MIDI in and out, analogue sync, and two USB ports. The controls are relatively similar to the other drum machines in this range, meaning they are a nice size and built solidly. You may find, however, that the track volume levels are a little more akin to the Volca controls, meaning they’re much less substantial.

But most importantly, the Drumlogue is a little powerhouse when it comes to its sound. If you’re looking for big beats for techno or house, it can give you those gargantuan kicks and snares. But, conversely, if you’re after a more lo-fi sound, this drum machine can equally do the lowkey grooves. That’s just how tweakable the sounds are.

And it’s the Drumlogue’s harnessing of both the analogue and digital worlds that makes it so sonically flexible. Unless you’re religiously an analogue fan or the opposite, it’s worth getting excited about combining the two on one device. In the analogue corner are its kick, snare, and toms (high and low), which you can shape with decay and tuning. Plus more individual edits for each, for example ‘snap’ decay on the snare, you can detune the toms, and have fun with the drive on the bass drum.

The sonic possibilities are pretty huge here.

Over in the digital corner are the hi-hats (open and closed), clap and rim shot, plus the two sample slots. Similarly, you can tweak the decay, tuning and attack on the front panel controls, but when you dive in there are further exciting options that include bitcrushing and drive effects.

Each of these presets are pretty fantastic. The kick can have that techno bite or be a lo-fi cushioned pillow thanks to all the editing you can do; your snare can sound as commercial or as quirky and fascinating as you so desire; you can go for piercing hi-hats or a more calming, fluttering sound. The sonic possibilities are pretty huge here.

Then there is the Multi-Engine, and it’s a beast offering three modes, which include its variable phase modulation, aka VPM. If you haven’t the foggiest what that means, it’s relatively similar to things like phase modulation and FM synthesis. Second up is the noise generator, with plenty of tweaks including the resonance and frequency of its filter, a lovely bonus to the seven types of noise. Last but not least is user mode, giving you access to an open-source SDK, allowing you to host sound generators. All very exciting.

If you’re wondering whether you need to attach an array of guitar pedals to the Drumlogue to get your dream effects, hold your horses. It comes with three digital effects sends for you to play with. So be sure to initially see how you get on with the Drumlogue’s built-in reverb, delay, and master effects section before you start poking it with guitar cables. That said, if these sound too limited and you’re not a big pedal-head, that open-source SDK once again allows you to dive under the hood and tweak things more deeply.

Drumlogue’s sequencer can be a maximum of 64 steps, which can be controlled partly via the front panel controls, and then largely within the system of menus. You can add swing and groove, and even set up triplet rhythms. There are templates for this based on grooves from around the world, some being more syncopated than others.

With pricier rival products coming from the likes of Elektron and Roland, Korg have created a little beast of a drum machine with huge beat-making possibilities at its very fair price point, considering all the things on offer. Expect to wile the hours away with this genre-fluid experience, where you can create UK garage, house, IDM, or whatever type of drums you can conjure up. If you love making beats, the Drumlogue could be a compact-sized source of joy in your life.