Review: FXpansion Guru Software Beatbox

What is it? It's a grid-based sampling drum machine in software. The twist is that it can take existing loops, chop them into individual hits and lay them out on the grid. (Plus good effects and simple drum synthesis). Product Page.
Does it work? Yes. But It's a drum machine, not a loop player. Don't expect it to timestretch loops, the way Ableton Live does. You can't drag in four different drum loops and set them all off together, and John Bonham loops with ringing cymbals don't really work at all. But if you've got a clean loop, it will slice it up perfectly. Then you can actually play the drums - write fills, lock them to your track properly.
What's good? It's really fun. You pull in a loop, replace all the sounds with something completely different, bash out five different versions, and you can trigger the patterns from a MIDI keyboard. It's very musical, letting you quickly structure songs. This [300k mp3] is a really basic example. You can hear: 1) The original loop. 2) The sliced up loop 3) The sliced loop with some fills 4) The loop edited and played on a completely different kit. I used the same loop in Guru on this [2mb mp3] entry for Remixfight.
What's bad? Not much. It does one thing, very well. It's not totally intuitive, and the system of control graphs is a bit fiddly. But I've used it every time I've fired up Cubase since it arrived.
Is it worth £150? A Korg ES-1 sampler/drum machine costs £100 on eBay. Guru does much more, and it definitely sounds better, but it's possibly not as much fun.

hook it up to some kind of MIDI controller, and I bet it would be much more fun than a Korg box

Built in midi mapping allows you to quickly setup GURU to work with your hardware groove box / drum triggers."
I really like that mp3 you made. Super funky fresh.
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