MOTU BPM Software Drum Module

2009 Winter NAMM Show: First up, let me state a pet peave: it should be against the law for software makers to advertise their software with awesome 3D models.

All the ads for MOTU BPM make it look like it’s an killer piece of hardware, not a virtual instrument. This seems to be a favorite trick for companies trying to make a virtual instrument look more awesome than it really is.

Other than that, it looks like BPM will be an interesting new app.

Here’s the official description for BPM:

BPM unites drum machine-style operation with advanced virtual instrument technology to give you the ultimate rhythm programming experience. Combine drum kits, sequenced patterns, sliced loops and instrument sounds to realize your rhythmic vision, mixing and matching any playing style with any drum kit. Or plug in your pad controller or MIDI keyboard to capture your live, groove-quantized performance directly in BPM.

Let me know what you think of BPM in the comments!

19 thoughts on “MOTU BPM Software Drum Module

  1. I completely concur regarding the 3D models. These things fool me all the time (if only temporarily). Bastards.

    Audio Damage is a huge offender.

  2. How can you be a Beat Production Machine and not slice samples
    From Motu – If you load a sliced loop or REX file, BPM will map out the slices to different keys. If there are no internal slices in the loop, BPM loads the loop as a single sample. If you need software to slice up audio loops, that is a feature found in MachFive 2.

  3. Lets be smart marketing majors here…

    NI Macshine will be sick there is no question about that..The price tag is hefty but is shall we say native to native instruments (insert chuckle here)and you get a hardware piece of kit out of the deal.

    But if Mark of the Unicorns’ BPM was indeed Beat Inc. it has been in the making for quite sometime and leads me to believe there has been a lot of thought put into this program to really “brand” the software MPC.
    Something I believe NI lacked in the creativity department but made up for in the MIDI controller bonus. But really what gets me is MOTU’s sly Marketing on the Advert of BPM looking like a Roland Groovebox from hell. Sure it is one of the oldest tricks in the book but NI took the idea and ran with a way to sell hardware that could completely overshadow the work put into BPM, hence the reason for the 3d modeling not to trick you but to create the image that just because it is software does not mean the stuff under the hood is not just as killer.

    We shall see , I doubt I will buy Macshine as I just bought a MPD32 to cure the itch Ive had for years with the pad-style midi controller onslaught.

    But I just confirmed the price on BPM of 279.99 and a Feb March release and I have my eye on it really strong at this point.

    Can anyone confirm the MOTU BPM is in fact Developed by Beat Inc.?

    Just my long winded two cents..


  4. Thanks for calling this out, synthhead — I think it’s cool to think about a future interface involving tactile, flexible materials that reshape themselves into different controllers as you manipulate onscreen elements (or the device itself), but in the meantime, besides the letdown of “LOOKS AWESUM IN 3D! Oh wait… just another soft synth”, it’s important to be aware that what you see… isn’t necessarily what you get.

    In MOTU’s case, it’s especially deceptive because the 3D model isn’t just extruded: it shows it has an optical drive and headphone outputs the “real”, er, “virtual” thing doesn’t actually possess.

    It’s a curious psychological bridger, tho, how it makes something feel more real if it’s advertised like that. This is one of those pro audio phenomena the wider marketing world should report more about, but hasn’t yet.

  5. Seriously, I checked out the Native Instruments Maschine and it looks pretty nice. It looks like a new super Battery 4 !! Now The MOTU BPM is something that caught my attention. I don’t own a Mpc and this thing seems to act just like one. 15 GB of sounds and load your own custom drum samples. You can sequence within the BPM which is cool !! Like I said before this app. looks very interesting, for real !!!

  6. That’s a lot of samples & grooves for $280.00. Forget the software, I’ll just take the audio files & use them with Maschine. Now if BPM was hardware & software….That might give NI a run for their money.

  7. This is aimed at guys like me with a software setup, controller keyboard, and no MPC. I’ve been looking at the MPD32 to provide the missing sequencing capabilities and this doesn’t quite fit the job. It’s missing a “roll” or “note repeat” button. No reason not to have one there since it can run standalone or sync to host.

    With a DP setup and Stylus RMX already in my setup, the big deal here is the sounds and ability to work drum machine style without learning the horrible (my opinion) drum editor already provided.

    Drag and drop to the pads is nice. It would also be nice to be able to map the pads to DP tracks which would give me easier access to the sounds in other plugs.

    I’ll probably get this at some point but it’s not bumping anything off the top of the wish list.

  8. I searched for a page where BPM was pitched against Maschine and i came up with this so here’s my two cents:
    First, NI definitely scores extra points for the cool controller with the even cooler rythmically lighting pads….and the fact that you can use the controller with pretty much everything is a plus…unfortunately,I think the controller is the only thing in their favour right now. BPM reportedly ships with 15GB of content mastered at sterlingsound which is worth the $280 on its own…Maschine ships with 5GB of content and will definitely benefit from NI’s extensive expertise in synthesis and sound design so you can be ‘sure of the 5GB you’re getting’ but I frankly think the controller should have been optional (like guitar rig) and I think they’ll do that eventually.
    Second, the controller is nothing more than that….ok, well with the excepion of the fancy display….both programs sequence in a similar fashion,have internal mixing and effects capabilites and can work as plugins…so right now i need to know WHAT WILL MASCHINE GIVE ME THAT BPM AND AN MPD 32 CAN’T? If you can answer that please….i’m waiting.

  9. CK One – Maschine is probably the better choice if you want no-brainer integration and want to treat the hardware as your controller, rather than the computer.

  10. My main question is around the quality of the 15Gb samples…

    I have (what some people would consider) a lot of gear… I’m beta testing Ableton 8 (i got lucky!) and am a huge ableton-head. Though recently I turned to my MPC1000 running JJOS 2XL to be the sequencer brain where I am slaving a Virus Polar and Virus Snow to it… Still have to figure out how Ableton will work it’s way into this new setup.

    I love the MPC it’s tight, easy workflow, and fun. Sometimes I can’t get into software and I have yet to feel like Ableton is as tight, especially with midi. Haven’t gotten too deep into ableton 8 beta yet…

    I’m interested in BPM for 2 reasons:
    1. the samples
    2. is it an MPC on the go?

    I carry my MacbookPro with me everywhere for work. I can’t carry my MPC. So I’m looking for something with quality sounds, where I can make quality beats and patterns, and then possibly dump the samples and sequences into the MPC… OR if it’s tight like the MPC, use that to sequence instead of Ableton.

    I know I asked a lot but back to the original questions — how are the sounds?

    Any comments on the rest?

  11. OK I bought this last weekend and here are some thoughts:

    1. One of the install DVD’s had a defective write on it, so MOTU Tech Support was VERY FAST in getting me a new one.

    2. Since then I have encountered one problem: Once you assign a sampled sound to a pad, it will only play the sample for ONE SECOND. Some of the BPM samples are up to 10 seconds long! Needless to say that is a BIG problem. A ride cymbal lasts more than one second. MOTU Tech Supoort is working on this for me.

    3. Very nice effects and effects editing; routing options; processing power, importing audio, ease of use. The manual isn’t that great, however.

    I can go on and on, but let me say this:

    I have owned an MPC2000, an MPC2000XL, and an MPC500, and though they clearly out do the BPM in processing options, the PRICE of the MPC’s are 5 to 8 TIMES more than the BPM!

    So, clearly based on VALUE I am very happy, even if MOTU Tech Support doesn’t solve my above problem. AT $247 it is clearly worth it to me.

    One last note: If you are in to Hip-Hop, Trance, Rap, Old School, Urban, World… then you will LOVE BPM’s giant sample library and preset patterns.

    Anything else then you will need to load your own samples…

  12. To answer Mossh’s question above:

    Quality sounds? YES.

    Quality Beats? YES. (But really a “quality beat” is totally up to your imagination.) The mapping features are there… yes.

    Tight like MPC? YES.

  13. First of all MOTU has just released BPM’s 1.01 update which allows you to slice any wave form and spread it across the pads and you can sample from your sound card or USB audio device so there you have and I’d rather have an MPD 24 or 32

  14. i got it and its very nice to work with
    doing music for about 15 years now,it has nice features
    i love the export directly the loop in your daw 🙂 🙂 very clever,
    nice and easy to program and not just for r&b but house and other styles,no doubt a killer software for rythem
    thank you motu ,


  15. I done some research it seems to me that buying a midi interface from $60-200.00 US with BPM is more cost effective than NI Mascine for $600.00. Six hundred dollars is alot of money. As for the deception with the 3D pic that’s not cool. Then again maybe MOTU will release a hardware version to compete with Native Instruments.

  16. Main point for me, that is continually being missed in all discussions I've seen, that Maschine and BPM were built for different genres. The sound engines and fx sounds are so different. Maschine is great for electro, house etc. Sharp, clear, thin, polite. BPM is built for hip hop. Thick, layered, driven, banging.
    I'm into the later, Maschine feels like the wrong tool for the job. Whereas BPM is made for that.

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