DM1 The Drum Machine App Review: ParadiddelyDANG!

Review based on use with iPad 1.
Updated October 17:
Fingerlabs confirmed that audio copy paste functionality is NOT coming soon. I asked via email last month after the expected update they mentioned of “early September” in the comments of this very review, came and went, with no new date or time frame for ACP given. Well. Disappointing. I’ve said it countless times, a mobile music app without ACP is as useful as a car without a steering wheel. If I’m out at a park, or where ever, how am I supposed to use this? I can’t. No one can, unless hooked up to some other hardware to record with. Forget that, iOS music is about mobility and freedom not wires and restrictions.
DM1 gets a star back at 4 since they at least added iTunes File sharing and full FX support for both iPads. I like the improvements and DM1 is excellent, but I don’t like having to wait this long for ACP.

Well, I’ve seen a lot of drum machines, but this is pretty nice. DM1 is designed for fun, ease of use, and for the professional.
Usually apps with that claim don’t deliver very well, but I gotta hand it to the guys at Fingerlabs, this really is all that.

It has the best graphic design (from my eyes) and a clear style inspired by vintage machines. This is a look I find quite appealing. I cant explain it, but I just love looking at the various screens. It is functional and artistic. Not to mention pleasant.

DM1 is laid out in 5 sections
It has a multi touch step sequencer that is very responsive, and intuitive.
A drum pad section for playing and recording your beats with auto quantize, which is nice for non drummers like me. Selectable BPM from 30-240
A Mixer section to make adjustments to volume, pitch, sample length, mute, solo and custom drum kit element for each channel. Oops, no pan?
FX track pads section for adding some real time FX like overdrive, and delay…more under development. Also if you have an iPad 2 there are Phaser, Texturizer, and Robotizer.
The last section is the Song Composer. A drag and drop system for placing beat patterns you make easily into the timeline. Quite simple. The interface, lay out, functions are just superb across all sections. This is a fluid design many developers could learn from.

DM1 has some of the highest quality sound design I have heard in any iOS Drum Machine. The included drum kits in DM1 sound great! Various vintage and production kits that vary in some cases drastically from one to the other. My personal favorites are The TR 909, Melodic, and Glitch. They all (34 since last updated) are faithfully recreated and mastered. You can see a lot of love went in to creating DM1. You can feel just how serious Fingerlabs is about delivering the best drum machine possible to iOS. It is quite a marvel, and joy to see and hear.

All these goodies, and there’s more to come. I asked Fingerlabs about the FX limitations specific to the iPad 1 (which is what I currently use) and was assured that more FX for both iPads are in development.
Maybe Pan will be added as well?
I really really want to start using DM1, but can’t because there currently are zero sharing capabilities, not even midi yet, but I don’t care since I don’t use midi at all. However they are in development, I’m just not very patient. I hope it won’t be long before we see DM1 mature into a fully functioning drum machine to include in our music. Once Fingerlabs does add all these things I mentioned above, DM1 will be a big time contender, and for me a new favorite go to app for my drumming needs. For now, it’s just really cool leaving me drooling for more.

4 Stars yearning for 5.


  1. Hi,thanks for the great review. Coming up with next DM1 1.1 update (planned for early September) :- Stereo Panning- CD quality audio Export to iTunes sharing folder and mail- AudioCopy Export- more FX – selectable FX per channel- faster sound engine- drum kits categories- more drum kits (including acoustic kits)DM1 is a young application and we have been very pleased with how well it was received. We intend to develop it to a full professional level. Stay tuned.Regards,The Fingerlab Team

  2. Ahhh, September? I feel like a kid waiting for his first trip to Disneyland…Well thank you Fingerlabs for that great news! I'm excited, and can't wait. Who could ask for anything more?

  3. For Luca's benefit here are the kits:CR-78TR-808TR-606MinipopsFarfisaMT-80DRM-15PolarisMXRLinn 9000RXNanoTR-909There are also a bunch (16) kits seemingly created by the app authors and not based on existing hardware.Very impressed with the sound quality. Very punchy! I await ACP and MIDI so I can start using it in a studio setting.

  4. Thank you for that Chris! Very nice of you! I echo your eagerness for ACP. It's pretty useless as is without that to me. When they do update this with the features necessary to use it properly, I will reinstall it and with great enthusiasm! I can't wait.

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