Different Drummer Review

Here’s a user review, via thesoundtestroom, of Different Drummer for iPad – aka “your secret weapon in the quest for innovative beats that make sense yet defy the status quo”.

Different Drummer has a unique feature set, but was met with skepticism on its release, because of the developer’s equally unique approach to pricing and marketing the app. (It was originally priced at $300, now $49.99).


  • 8 Drum Tracks with 5-wave Cyclophone Controls
  • Stereo audio recording. Export via Drop box or iTunes or AudioCopy or General Pasteboard (to GarageBand for example)
  • Control drum pitches, rests, ties, dynamics and panning using complex waves
  • Instant Capture in case you hear a killer beat you want saved
  • Save Wave Sets to Wave Library
  • String Wave Sets together in saved Sequences
  • Export Wave Sets or Sequences as MIDI Files (via iTunes or Email)
  • Over 90 drum samples with more added every update
  • Add your own samples via iTunes (WAV or CAF) or AudioPaste
  • Over 70 musical scales to assign drums to as well as key
  • Reverb effect and mixer
  • Set Key, Tempo, Swing and Time Signature
  • Automation for randomizing and morphing playback
  • MIDI Sync Out
  • Up to 8 Channels of MIDI Out
  • Core MIDI lets you play other synthesizers and drum machines on your iPad such as Animoog and NLog Pro

Different Drummer is available for $49.99 in the App Store.

If you’ve used Different Drummer, let us know what you think of it.

15 thoughts on “Different Drummer Review

  1. Does anyone else actually own this thing and can speak to it?

    I can admire that the developer went for a totally different approach with this thing, but in the end I haven’t heard any sounds from it that make it worth the money.

    They do have a money-back guarantee which is smart, but it doesn’t work when the app is on sale for more than 50%. So yeah… watch out. =)

  2. The only comments on articles I’ve ever seen from people who say they own this app come across as sponsored, and/or very spammy in their content. They’re *ridiculously* OTT about how good it is, and come across as very insincere. I’m glad there are now a few decent demos to watch on Youtube, and I must admit I’m a little tempted by it for this price (mainly out of curiousity, but also with a hint of masochism). I know what Are We Not Men means about not seeing anything eye-popping about this, though. I too would love to hear some comments about how it performs, just not from people who appear to be directly connected with the developers (not that I’ve got any evidence whatsoever that the comments I’ve seen are from sponsored/connected people, but it just really seemed that way to me thanks to overly gushy language).

  3. There’s a rather large thread on the AB forum, where the developer has been active in the discussion.
    Another thread on Discchord has also had a fair amount of activity.
    My personal opinion is that it does have some features setting it apart from anything else in the store, unfortunately I’ve not been that impressed with the results so far, whether that be because users haven’t had long enough to learn and exploit the features, I can’t say.
    Regarding the price, I’d have no problem paying that or more for something I’d use a lot – I laughed like a child having bought Lemur for such a bargain price, and I’m not saying this isn’t worth the price but I need more information as it stands.

    1. Yeah. I mean, for $50 the thing better wow me. Animoog does a good job of justifying that at its $30 price and I agree about the Lemur, but I haven’t heard this thing justify its price tag yet.

  4. I’m really interested in stuff like this, but from limited videos I have a hard time seeing any functional difference between this app and apps like Stochastic, or even the “smart drums” in GarageBand iOS. Looks like the same kind of randomized generations going on under the hood of all three of these apps, with various levels of complexity at the user interface end. If you know how to use a tool like this it could generate some awesome results, but if experimenting instantly gets you into non-musical territory it’s no good.

    Also, $300 was too absurd to even comment on, and $50 is still way to high for an iPad app. The argument of “developer time is valuable” doesn’t apply when you can get something that gives a similar result and is easier to use for a fraction of the cost. And it especially doesn’t apply when you can’t demo the product yourself. This guy should use the freemium model… put out the basic app with a small set of sounds so people can try it and wrap their head around what is possible (or not!). Then sell expanded functionality with in-app purchases. But even then, a total cost of $50 is way to high. Moog represents the top of the food chain, and even they can only command $30 (and even then is on sale a lot of the time).

    It’s an interesting concept though. I hope someone else makes an affordable app so we can all experiment. Or maybe a gizmo in Max4Live or Reaktor.

  5. This developer needs to learn that you’ll catch more $$ with a $5 price tag than with a $50 one. Especially when something like DM1 does pretty much the same thing or a tenth of the price.

  6. So many people seem preoccupied with assigning a price to apps. People without any experience writing them. I would be interested to hear from any iOS music app developer that honestly feels they have received enough sales to cover the cost of development. Someone who doesn’t consider their app just a hobby project.

    1. You can’t fall into that trap of thinking. It’s not about what the developer’s time is “really worth”, it’s all about what a consumer will pay for a product. If you can’t afford to make a profit for your time you don’t make the product, or you figure out how to lower your development costs, or automate parts of the process, etc. This is how business has always run, and how it always will.

      1. Which is exactly why I think most of these apps are hobby projects, not full-time projects. I think most developers come to your conclusion that, “If you can’t afford to make a profit for your time you don’t make the product.” I also think most of the big players in the industry (Moog, Steinberg, etc.) are only putting out iOS apps for the we’re-in-the-cool-crowd factor. I doubt they expect to recoup the development cost and consider it a ‘marketing expense’.
        I’m not trying to discount the quality of these apps. I just think that the whole marketplace is unsustainable for 95% of “serious” development. I am honestly interested in hearing from developers who have make it work.

        1. I’ve heard that Garageband for iOS has been incredibly profitable and made Apple a lot of money (more than they make from selling Logic). Considering what the app does, they could have easily justified a higher price point of $10 at least, but by making it $5 it became more accessible and they were able to sell way more than they would’ve at the $10 price. That’s probably the exception to the rule though.

          While there are some pretty great games on the app store currently, no one is charging $50 for a game like you would normally pay. No one would buy it, it’s just how it is. However, there have been games that use a freemium model that have made tons of money. It’s a different world.

          I too would be curious to hear how the developers of programs like DM1 or Nanostudio view the app marketplace.

          1. I do think Garageband, being an Apple product, is an exception.
            I have read quite a bit from various game developers. From what I’ve gathered a game developer simply should not invest a lot of resources (time and money) when developing the game initially. One should make something very simple, very quick and put it out there. Only if it catches on should one then invest resources to bolster the game experience.
            I don’t see this working for music app developers though. Every new app I see announced on this site is criticized for omitting a laundry list of features. I just feel like there is this disconnect between what developers can deliver at a price that iOS customers in general are willing to pay without the app being more a labor of love than a product.

            1. Garageband is far from the exception. If a music app is useful and exciting it will sell and it will sell more at a lower cost. This is something Microsoft were never able to understand when they priced windows at 200 or 100 for lesser version. Apple and linux are free. It’s better to sell more at a lower cost than less at all inflated price. That shouldn’t be rocket science and here we are a few years later and this app has dropped to a price the developer can sell in higher numbers.

  7. From my experience, you’d be amazed how much money a $2 app can’t make too, unless you call $2k a lot of money and it invites hundreds of less serious users to bash away at every flaw with no investment or guts in the game. Given that on average it takes around 20 and up to 100k worth of qualified dev resource to make a decent app, not counting any training, licenses or marketing, it’s darn hard to turn a profit that will pay very many bills. It might be great pocket change for a high school or college student, but not much of a sustainable business after college. This is an interesting thread and always great to get all sides of the story. The fact is, both pricing models are legit…one is based on volume and non-exclusivity (“GarageBand”, a crazy good application also owns the distribution channel and doesn’t add up to a drop in Apple’s overflowing bucket) and another is based on patents and exclusivity and lower volumes, yet delivering unique product (and DM1 can’t do what DD does or what would be the point?). Someone above suggested someone else rip our app off to make it affordable. Why would someone want to risk getting sued for either patent or copyright infringement and have all their profits taken away and pay fines (up to 150k) to satisfy your need to not pay what’s still less that what musicians used to pay for decent software anyway? Moog is not a great example either because they have no need to profit from their app (which is great) since they have guitars and keyboards selling for thousands of dollars in every music store in the world…it’s just a marketing tool and the app doesn’t touch the real thing for a serious performing musician. The market gets to decide and right now we love our customers and they like us so ALL we want to do is make our program kick more musical ass so our customers get their next FREE update and are happier each time for a long time. Don’t forget…we don’t charge for upgrades to 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, etc. For 2 bucks that’s like 50 cents per version which is business nonsense and loss. Don’t be fooled by the lottery winners like Instagram and Draw Something, that’s fantasy land. In the real world it’s hard to make a decent living as a dev or a musician. Thanks.

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