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Arturia Spark Reviews

5.0 stars based on 7 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    You need this in your life immediately, if not sooner. Arturia Spark brings all of the vintage drum machines you want and need into one software/hardware hybrid instrument that is easy to use and fun. I own a Linn Drum, Machinedrum, TR-808, Maschine, and an Electribe - and love them all. The Linn brings a classic sound and workflow to my music, the Machinedrum has the best sound quality, the 808 is an essential piece to any electronic producers studio, Maschine is the most advanced and the electribe is the most fun and easiest to use. Take the classic sounds of the vintage machines, merge the capabilites and hybrid nature of Maschine, and add the absolute ease of use and playability of the Electribe, and you have Spark.

    When I first started using it, I didn't even look at the computer screen to navigate to sounds or to adjust the FX or sequencer. It operates very much like the Electribe except with EVERY vintage sound you need for drums. If you don't have hours to devote to learning software, you do want a basic sequencer with great pads, and if you also want a drum machine that has the best vintage sound library, Spark will suit your needs.

  • from Boston, MA July 5, 2012Music Background:
    Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Bass Guitar, Singing, Student, Hobbyist

    Only a Month and Still Exploring!

    This drum machine by Arturia is actually a universal midi-controller, but that's besides the point -- it comes with the Arturia Spark software, which is a drum machine simulator packed with tons of sounds and drumkits that I'm currently still having fun trying out! This hardware/software combo really hit the right note for me (pun intended).

    So let's get into the details:

    I mainly play piano and guitar, but I wanted to delve into making some drum tracks to play along with, so I was searching for a drum machine. At the time (May + June 2012), Arturia was having a promo that if you bought the Arturia Spark, you would get free Arturia software (in this case, the V-Collection). Sweet deal! So I HAD to jump on it. Needless to say, I still have yet to explore each of the individual instruments in the V-Collection, but I'm sure it'll enhance my Arturia Spark even further to allow for unique drumkits/soundkits that I can shape to my heart's desire.

    The hardware is sturdy in and of itself. The drum pads are VERY touch-sensitive and respond very well to light vs. heavy hits. Very nice for distinguishing between the sounds you may want and their intensity. The knobs are the usual kinds of knobs that you find on these kinds of instruments. Unless you're throwing your drum machine around, I don't see how they could break off as easily as some reviews I've read in the past have said.

    As for the software, it's definitely going to take some time to learn, but I'm having fun doing it! I know I'm going to be keeping this drum machine for years to come because every time I come back to it, I remember why I bought it and it's always fun again. There have been some instruments in the past that I've bought and ended up selling or trading in because I forgot the enjoyment that I had when I first got the instrument, but this in not true for the Arturia Spark (for me anyway).

    TL:DR version:

    Great drum machine that's actually a universal midi-controller (but that's okay!). Hardware/software combo works well and makes the creative space more accessible that trying to use a mouse. Hardware is sturdy, drum pads are touch-sensitive and instrument overall is well built. Software has hundreds of sounds and drum-kits that will take lots of time to go through -- but that's where the fun of this instrument comes from!

    Go get one!

  • from Indianapolis, Indiana July 3, 2012Music Background:
    Composer, Hobbyist

    Spark is a Revolution in Drum Controllers

    So easy to use and very intuitive. Great Automation controls, great sounds, great everything! * 808 input and MPC inputs pads! So Awesome. Again very easy to use. Has some great performance features too!

  • from Spring Arbor, MI USA May 26, 2012Music Background:
    Mr. Muckabout

    Boom Bappa Boom Boom!

    A lot has been written about Spark, but little has been said about how much fun this machine is. As a fan of old Roland and Korg drum machines, I've found this to be a terrific writing tool and a load of inspiration. It's easy to get around on and sounds great.

    What it isn't is a substitute for Maschine. It is a DRUM MACHINE; albeit one that's software based with a hardware controller (which is obviously why so many people want to make the comparison). Having used Maschine for a long time, I have to say that Spark is much easier to get up and running on. It doesn't try to be everything to every one and that's its strength! While I miss some of my old machines (and have attempted to replace them with samples, etc.), Spark gives me sounds as close as can be, but with a fun, intuitive way to program and play. I really dig it!

  • from Bellevue, Wa September 12, 2011Music Background:
    Composer, drummer, sound designer

    GREAT Hands on control

    I was excited to get my hands on Spark and. As a heavy user of drum machines from the mid 80's, I've missed having a cool drum machine to play with for quite some time. As we get more and more into virtual instruments and away from hardware, the hands on experience is always sorely missed which sometimes leads to a far more more static performance. Arturia's Spark gives me a great drum machine with a surprisingly rich feature set and a hardware layout that is not only incredibly well designed, but brings unprecedented usability and intuitive control right out of the box.
    Real time control of preassigned controls like pitch, decay, freq shift are always available and a fast assign mode provides you more in-depth parameters for aux sends, cut off, resonance, panning and volume. On the fly pattern select and sound swapping is fast and simple.
    Iíve been a fan of the Korg Kaoss pad for a long time and the built in X-Y touch pad on the Spark controller is very reminiscent of that. Quick access to Filter, Roll and Slicer make Spark very dynamic and playable instrument and provides the ability for some great creative patterns.
    The hardware controller is beefy, rugged and feels great. Iím a drummer and so the way a pad plays is very critical for me and the Spark hardware controller does not disappoint. 8 illuminated and very playable/assignable pads are on the front and the heavy control itself help keep it in place regardless of the real-time beating.
    Another cool feature is the pattern loop section. A simple button push jumps you into a mode where you can cut your pattern in 1/2, 1/4, 18th. 16th or 32nd and the move knob lets you move that selection all around the pattern making the pattern dance around creating all kinds of wild permutations of a pattern without ever switching away from that pattern. Itís easy to and fun to hit the on/off button of the loop mode to pop in and out of this mode.
    I can sit and play with Spark for hours and have so much fun. Bringing back the tactile feel of a drum machine thatís been missing from my arsenal for so long, but adding features that are very cleverly thought out and making them easy to get to.
    Spark ships with a great array of sounds and as I mentioned, itís easy to change banks or individual sounds within a bank and add your own sounds.
    Probably the most amazing thing about Spark is the price. I had to look a couple of times to realize that at $599 retail, the hardware controller comes with Spark. How Arturia does this with such a great piece of hardware is nothing short of incredible.

  • from Murfreesboro, TN June 3, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist/Semi-Pro

    My first drum machine, a unique one!

    The spark is a great forward thinking idea put forth by Arturia. I wasn't sure what to expect considering this was Arturia's first walk in the park with a drum type machine and it was to be my first drum machine, but I have been very happy with the results. At this price point, I am very pleased with my purchase. The spark boasts some big time features as well as emulations of the famed 808, 909, and more. I wasn't expecting much from the content that came with the machine, since I already have so many sample drum packs, but I was floored by the quality of the included samples. The 30 kits with the Spark are of pristine, highly crafted character. I really wish they would have made more kits even though 30 is plenty. The quality of the samples caught me off guard. The interface looks a bit tricky and confusing at first, but within minutes I was jamming. The way everything integrates is very easy to understand which was a concern of mine. Spark is a unique instrument and approach to building drums but it is also a very straight forward and easy to understand instrument. Basically, you can create up to 16 tracks, each with up to 64 steps. These tracks are numbered 1-16 and placed in a circle. Each track contains sounds selected from a preset or custom built sound bank, and can contain up to 64 steps. Each sound bank consists of 16 samples that can be modified using onboard FX (which are surprisingly very high quality, and I'm a UAD fanboy) and time based envelope editors (attack, decay, etc) until you get the sample sounding just how you want it. After that, you lay it all out on up to 16 different tracks with up to 64 steps for each track. That may sound simple, and it is, but there are a ton of features along the way to edit so you can get everything sounding and sitting perfectly in your mix. The only reason this doesn't receive five stars is because of some confirmed bugs that rarely pop up that make the machine start showing random letters and numbers and also causes chaos regarding all editing abilities, requiring a reboot of the system. Dennis with Arturia has acknowledged this and it will almost certainly be fixed by the time you read this. This is a must have for anyone in need of "drum help" as well as professionals looking to bang out productions in a quick and high quality manner. Big thanks to Mike Hammond who steered me towards buying this puppy!!

  • from Melbourne, Australia May 23, 2011Music Background:
    musician

    Spark - another alternative

    Spark is a nice and refreshing alternative to the other beatboxes/ groovethangz on the market. Its build quality is excellent and software very intuitive. Physical modelling and great sounds compliment the machine. Step sequencing ala 808/909 is cool. I think this will evolve nicely over time.. Midi it up yo my analogue Laboratory is fantastic. I get all the moog, jupiter emulations to go. FX touch pad is a nice touch.
    I feel the luckiest dude in my country as they weren't getting Spark for another month or two.

    Once again my sales engineer Dennis Konicki got it to me in world record time . Come on !!!! 2 days from Fort Wayne Indiana to Melbourne Australia via priority Fedex is incredible.

    That's why I keep coming back to Sweetwater. I put my faith in there service and they just keep on delivering.

    Cheers

  • from USA May 17, 2011Music Background:
    Multimedia Web Designer, music consultant, and producer

    The Analog drum Maschine is back and fun again!

    Right out the box the Spark brings back the sound of the 80's and 90"s vintage drum sounds. It also has a fast learning curve, nice feeling big pads. Even though there are only 8 pads, you have 1-8 and 9-16 so you have 16 drum sounds to sequence your beats. Drag and drop your own samples to the on screen pads and easily build your own kits. I also like the large jog wheel which allows you to scroll through you kits and/or individual drum sounds. Very solid and durable as a midi controller for DJ's, producer and playing live.

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