aFrame Electrorganic Frame Drum Hands-On Demo

This video, via Rhythm Traders, takes a quick look at the aFrame – an ‘Electrorganic Frame Drum’.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

The aFrame enables performers to organically express their musicality just as if they were playing an acoustic instrument—the player controls the subtlety of the performance. ATV’s proprietary “Adaptive Timbre Technology” responds to the acoustic percussion playing techniques of striking, pressing, and friction. With nuance, the player can produce sounds that have tonal variation and effect controls not possible with existing digital percussion.

For a natural feel, the playing surface of the aFrame is made of a hi-tech material with excellent bounce and friction characteristics, yet it has the familiar feel of headed acoustic percussion. When playing the aFrame, its organic feel is instantly recognizable. The natural bamboo frame comes from a renewable resource and has properties that technically contribute to the playability of the aFrame.

Here’s a video exploring a variety of sounds on the aFrame:

Here’s a performance demo, featuring Masaki Yoshimi:

The aFrame has a street price of US $1,599. See the aFrame site for more info.

19 thoughts on “aFrame Electrorganic Frame Drum Hands-On Demo

  1. I like the concept, though the cost is pretty intense. The unusual drum-head shape means that replacing the head might be a little expensive, as well. I wonder if they will release the hardware module separately. That way you could mount piezo film sensors or mics, and then put whatever kinds of pressure sensor will work on your own round frame drum– this will allow you to pick a size and form-factor you like and replace heads more economically.

  2. I enjoy playing frame drums. I love synths. I’m not convinced this combines the two very well.

    I have a Korg Wavedrum which is sort of hit and miss in terms of feel/sound — sometimes it seems natural, other times it seems like a terrible gimmick. This is probably about the same. But the Wavedrum cost about 1/4 of this… and I rarely play it and honestly should just resell it.

    Though now I want to mic up one of my frame drums and use it to trigger Rings…

  3. Obviously, based on my screen name I dig all things related to synth playing that involve hitting shit. I sooooo wish I could get a crusade going to get more companies to do more percussion based interfaces for synthesis. NOT JUST DRUMS. The only decent player left in the percussion controller world is Alternate Mode. I’ve got a DrumKat and soon will have my TrapKat. Their stuff is amazing, yet they seem to also be stuck in the idea that just because it’s played by hitting it, it needs to be percussive sounding.

    Kieth mcMillian is doing that BopPad on Kickstarter that looks promising. Soooo long to wait though.

    I’d argue, and I’m trying to get good enough so I can demonstrate, that playing synths via percussion, with the inate ability to have fine control over velocity, and thus use it as a powerful modulation source, is very, very underutilized. At least I have not found anyone that could be considered the Vangelis of percussion synths. 🙂

    It’s kind of embarrassing as it was really just a video setup test, but this is kind of what I’m talking about.

    It’s Analog Rytm + DSI Evolver + TC Electronics vintage verb/delay thing.

    Making use of sustain pedal plugged into DrumKat deals with inability to hold notes. I’ve got a Behringer midi foot controller I need to get built into it as well

    Ultimate set up will be TrapKat+ DrumKat+ Analog Rytm + Analog Keys…

    Anyway, enough rambling! ????

    I wish these guys a ton of luck!

    1. @ DruMunkey – Thanks for the heads up on the Keith McMillan BopPad; that does indeed look like a great controller. A good drummer friend of mine had a DrumKat and I was impressed by how responsive it was to both sticks and fingerdrumming. Playing Software samplers like Battery and BFD was actually lots of fun with that thing.

      His was used from ebay and had to go through repair before he could use it, so any new quality products with more recent technology are desperately needed IMO. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Keith McMillan BopPad in that respect.

      Regarding your idea re non-percussive sounds, I could imagine a setup in which you trigger the sounds on a pad with one hand and alter the sounds continuously with the other .. So for each hand you’d have a controller suited to the purpose, and you could of course switch ad lib. You could also automate a number of parameters with really slow LFOs, so your sound keeps constantly evolving. I think there’s some great potential. Go do it! : DD

      1. Hey Roland, the Alternate Mode stuff also works for holding notes. I.e. You can press and hold a pad, so that’s cool too. I’ve started experimenting with MidiDesigner as a side controller. I should have a video up “soon” demoing controlling an AnalogRytm.


  4. Not my thing. Wavedrum sounds better.
    However, my only concern that is tension of the playing surface and whether you could adjust that to either retention or customize to your tastes

  5. What does “to organically express their musicality” mean? Express something using your organs? You’d rather use laxatives for that purpose.

  6. To the people offering YouTube caliber comments on price and comparing it to a Wavedrum, I suggest you read this:

    It’s not just a controller. It’s a complete instrument. Vs prices for premium synths, geetars, etc… Also considering the R&D expense, and the fact it’s not going to be mass-marketed… this price is a freaking steal. Look at the price of something like the Continum Fingerboard. That’s a perfect comparison… highly expressive instrument for keyboard player vs highly expressive instrument for percussionists.

    In that kind of apples to apples comparison, again, I offer that this is a bargain.

    1. “It’s not just a controller. It’s a complete instrument.”

      So is the WaveDrum — in fact there is no trigger/MIDI/anything out, just audio. And the WaveDrum really is quite expressive. Sounds very different when you play a snare on it with hands vs. sticks vs. brushes, etc.

    2. I read the story and it’s cool and all. But, the WaveDrum is also a ‘complete instrument’ also, it is not ‘just a controller’. It operates under similar tenants, it has a responsive head and creates sound based on how it is struck, just like this one. You could even argue that the WD is more advanced, since you can have TWO algorithms/sounds at your disposal at one (rim and head). So, i like this instrument, but doubt that i’d ever buy one at the price point that it’s currently at. Bring that down a third or a half, and i’d look at it more seriously. That’s just me…..

  7. I love synths and controllers and I play guitar but Ive always been good at hand drums and using my fingers plus velocity, etc. All Ive used is regular pad controllers with velocity but I feel like something like this would be prefect for both percussion and melodic stuff.
    @Drumunkey. Thanks for all the suggestions. I’ll def be checking out some of that stuff! I may end up selling a lot of these controllers I have to fund something like this!

  8. Love the idea and concept, but it doesn’t appear to be much different from a WaveDrum, which i play all the time. It’s got some additional features (power, USB, maybe some editing from a computer?) that might justify it being a bit more than the cost of a WaveDrum. If the cost were about HALF of what it is reported to be, i would absolutely check it out, but at that price point, i wouldn’t really consider it at all.

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