Arturia Spark Drum Machine Now Shipping – The Best Of Hardware & Software?

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Arturia has announced that it is now shipping the Spark drum machine, which combines the power of ‘analog’ synthesis, physical modeling and samples with the workflow of a classic hardware drum machine.

Spark is a hardware/software combination, designed to offer the benefits of software with the hands-on feel of hardware.

Spark offers the sounds of classic drum machines, through analog modeling and sampling, acoustic kits based on physical modeling and sampling, and presets for modern musical styles.

Here’s another demo of Arturia Spark in action:

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Features:

  • TAE Analog synthesis, Multi layered sampling delivered by reference third-party companies, Physical modelling
  • 480 Instruments / 30 Kits :
    • Vintage drum machines : Analog emulations of the TR-808, TR-909, Simmons SDS-V, and Eprom based LinnDrum, Drumtraks, DMX, and more*.
    • Electronic kits covering the most popular modern music styles : Dub, House, Techno, Hip Hop, RnB… as well as experimental fields thanks to the physical modelling engine.
    • Acoustic drum kits mixing physical modelling and samples for high audio realism.
  • 16 key – 64 step sequencer
  • 8 velocity & pressure sensitive pads
  • Touch sensitive FX Pad with Repeat, Tape, Reverse, Strobe, Pan, Mix, Bit Crusher, 3 mode Filter and Roller
  • Advanced Loop mode with divide and move functions
  • Real-time automation on all parameters
  • 16 track mixer with 9 high quality effects : compressor, reverb, bit crusher, multiband EQ, chorus, delay, distortion, phaser, plate reverb
  • Song Mode with up to 64 patterns by song
  • Shuffle and Shift modes to humanize grooves
  • High precision rotary encoders
  • Aluminum enclosure
  • Works as a universal MIDI controller towards any third-party software

Arturia Spark is priced at US $599.00 / EURO 499.00-.


24 thoughts on “Arturia Spark Drum Machine Now Shipping – The Best Of Hardware & Software?

  1. Disingenuous. It is virtual analogue, NOT analogue.
    Nice bit of kit though, no doubt

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  2. I got the new Arturia SPARK drum machine last week. After trying it out for a few hours I can say that I am impressed with what this thing can do.

    Also, I discovered that when I am not near my SPARK physically I can still use the software on my MacBook – pretty cool.

    Arturia just released an expansion pack called “Classic Drum Machines – Volume 1.” This contains stuff from the DR-606 and the DR-707. It’s free until July 1st for early purchasers of the SPARK. So, it looks like they are going to make this thing very expandable – me like. :)

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  3. As someone deeply familiar with both synthesis- and sample-based hardware drum programming, I know that my needs for a drum machine are simple, while my wants are less so.

    It really all comes down to the workflow and integration. A glance at the Quick Start section of the manual (page 21) reveals a lot about how this is designed to work. I highly recommend you read that to get a real feel for this thing. I read a bit further; here's my take:

    I wish the accent was more flexible than just sending velocity as OFF=64 ON=127, but this is a rather minor complaint.

    It seems like the Spark can do any time signature, at least they don't list any limitations.

    Why in the world are there only two AUX buses in the mixer section? I understand that Spark can assign each instrument an individual output when you're using it in a DAW, but I don't see anything about whether the FX returns can be routed this way.

    Automation editor looks capable enough, but I'm surprised there's no one-time or per-measure randomization features as found in Audio Damage's Tattoo. And there's no way to copy automation between instruments or even between parameters?

    MIDI seems… Well, the basics are there, but the tab edit view looks terribly cluttered. Way too much clicking around necessary to customize everything. Also, couldn't there be a more elegant way to use the X/Y pad instead of just assigning different CCs based on which of the three X/Y pad effects buttons is pressed? Couldn't MIDI in general be more elegant?

    The two sets of software MIDI ports is interesting. As they say about the "private" port, it "is used for internal communication between SPARK and the Controller. This MIDI port SHOULD NEVER BE USED by the user; doing so would impair the efficiency of the controller." I wonder what the implications of snooping on this port will be for hackability.

    Well, there's some of my initial, scattered impressions. I actually love the idea of hardware controllers with unique and focused workflows, and I think this is going to advance the concept in a lot of minds. It's a bit light on the features I was hoping for, but as Maschine has shown us, things can change a lot in a year.

    P.S. The MSRP is $599, but this is $549 street.

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  4. Interesting gizmo. Part of me isn't interested because it's already so easy to make beats on a computer/control surface, but another part of me really likes the idea of having just one software/hardware pipeline for everything. I can see how people who would use it for gigging would have an extra dimension of interest in it that I don't have.

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  5. Does anyone know if it has modeling similar to Xfer Record's Nerve machine? It'd be nice to have a mix of the Maschine and Nerve, combined into one, since I've had problems deciding which I want…

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  6. This would be really cool if you can import audio samples like vocals and other found sounds and then you the controller as your sequencer/effects device, a la Ableton LIve. Can this be done or are all the samples software only? If so, no thanks.

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  7. I have looked at the info on this machine and where are the audio outs? and how many does it have? can its audio outs be expanded?Like the akai samplers allowed you to do, for individual, channels on a mixer? It seems like a great idea but if you can split the audio outputs, then its like a toy!!!

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  8. midiboy

    You can run Spark as a plugin within your DAW and route 16 audio outputs to individual tracks.

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  9. I also would be interested in a side-by-side comparison with Maschine. I have Maschine, and it is daunting, but at the same time, very deep. The software, with it's scenes and groups, etc. seems very sophisticated and is an interesting way to arrange. Well worth the time spent learning it. It would be nice, however to have a more "at-your-fingertips" drum machine. The Spark is priced to take on Maschine head-on, it looks like.

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  10. The hybrid concept on Spark and Maschine seems to diverge when you look at what each is inspired by or trying to emulate. I think Arturia's concept with Spark is classic drum boxes like Roland's XoX series while also incorporating features seen on Korg's Electribe's. Maschine's groove box inspiration is most definitely more in line with sampling boxes like MPC's and SP1200's. I doubt that Maschine's sampling, slicing and sequencing will be matched by the features of Spark. But again I don't think Arturia is trying to directly compete with Maschine based on it's feature set, it's just natural for people to see the controller/PC hybrid and see them as direct competitors.

    I've been a hardcore Maschine user for a while and I think anybody would be crazy to not spend $50 more and get Mashine, based on features for the money. Had Arturia got this out at $399 I'd already have one.

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  11. When Maschine was introduced, i was hoping that it would be something like this. No, it wasn't. Now that Spark is out, i see that it is exactly what i was waiting for. Bye, bye, Maschine!

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  12. Daws are great for people who are computer based and happy with that. Some of us use hardware , and only use midi , to sequence. It seem to be a bit of false advertising has it says its hardware but it is only useable via, computers? It has no physical audio outs? There advertising seems to skirt any detail of its outputs!! It is hilarious that things get advertised has hardware ,when really it is not a stand alone machine. Good on them for another product, but its another waste of energy for those into hardware gear.There has been a huge increase in hardware, synths etc. Hardware works ten times more reliable!!
    It's hardly the Palistinian Israel debate, but there are some serious dead ends when you pay attention to the detail of the machine. Roland where doing that 25/30 years ago……..I wonder if people who buy this machine, still enjoy their Tenoris?

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  13. Around the back it's got MIDI In/Out, USB, PWR and an On/Off switch.

    They should do a better job of making clear that this is really a MIDI controller for a software app.

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  14. I think Spark and Maschine are different animals, I see Maschine as an awesome drum sample library player and I am hoping Spark is more like a drum synth (ie: drum version of an Access Virus) where it's easy to tweak the actual sound rather than a sample of a sound. I have Maschine and I love it but I know what it's lacking too and I am planning to get a Spark to COMPLIMENT my Maschine rather than replace it.

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  15. Xfer Nerve is way more powerful and comes with way more sounds. though no hardware, its only 200 bucks, i can make beats so rapidly now.

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  17. Ciao, ho preso un ARTURIA SPARK da pochi giorni. Io uso Logic Express e utilizzando la Spark mi da un errore “out of memory”…
    Sapete aiutarmi a risolvere il mio problema??

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