The Polish software company D16 Group has developed a bass drum synthesizer plugin named PunchBox that combines the best of two worlds. The developer of this plugin combines the bass drum channels of its popular Roland drum machine emulations with three sampler modules. That promises complex layers.
There are also five effects to refine the bass drum sound. We took a closer look at this hybrid. D16 Group Punchbox consists of one hand of the sound generator, there are four modules.
Click is responsible for accenting the drum and creating an initial click. With tops, the (higher frequency) decay behavior of the accent is set. Tools can be used to add additional background noise and rumble to the primary root. These three sections are additional options with their own preset management for each module.
With the Kick, you determine the basic properties, the body of the drum. The kick section features sine wave-based synthesis as well as dedicated 909, 808, and 606 synthesis models from their other plug-ins. Alternatively, any other sample can be loaded into the kick module.
The Sine synthesis engine is very straightforward. The sound is determined by nine parameters. Attack, hold and decay determine the volume progression, with ‘hold’ being adjustable between 1 ms and 1 s. Oscillator control includes the start frequency between 5 and 8,000 Hz, the end frequency between 5 and 115 Hz, and the sweep time between both points between 1 ms and 1 s.
Finally, there is the shape of the volume envelope. Because the volume change between the attack, hold and decay points can either be linear, concave (exponential) or convex (logarithmic). The sample engine also offers nine parameters. At the beginning there is the stereo positioning of the sample, the panorama can be enlarged or reduced here. Pitch corrects the pitch of the sample by +/-4 semitones.
The start position within the sample is set with Sample Start. A hi-cut/low-pass filter limits the spectrum between 2 and 22,000 Hz. The attack, decay, and their curve parameters are identical to the sine engine. You can also use your own samples.
This is followed by the effect modules with a bit crusher, distortion, equalizer, and filter. The special thing here is that these four modules can now be sorted as you wish. If you want the filter before the bit crusher, that’s no problem. The closest competitor would be Rob Papen’s BD-Punch, which is a bit cheaper and comes with 6-fold drum stacking and features that can hardly be surpassed. Vengeance Metrum, Sonic Academy Kick2, or the AIR Drumsynth 500 are also pushing.
But I don’t think any of them have struck the balance between immediate access and sound-shaping possibilities as well as D16 Group Punchbox. Full MIDI mapping of virtually every parameter makes it a more expressive instrument than the other plug-ins.
By using external samples, Punchbox invites you to the most absurd sound experiments. If you turn on key tracking, it even becomes a monophonic synthesizer. The only real gripe is the tiny interface. For the 79 dollars, you get a lot and if you already have a huge one-shot sample library, you can upgrade it with Punchbox and rediscover it from scratch.
Buy Link: D16 PunchBox