Somewhere between the simplicity of Hammerhead and the advanced features of Acid lies LeafDrums, an excellent shareware drum loop creation tool.
The sound is also much more customizable in LeafDrums. When selecting an instrument for a particular track, its tone, timbre and pitch can be subtly altered or warped into something entirely different. Instruments can be tuned in octaves or semitones. Tremolo, equalization, distortion and phaser effects can put a unique twist on hi hats or congas, while selecting “Stretch to Fit” on a snare drum can turn it into a cheesy gunshot or explosion effect.
After creating a handful of drum effects, entering them into the one measure Pattern is straightforward. Initially measured in 16ths, checking the “Fine Grid” option allows for 32nds and even 64th notes for rapid fills. Clicking the “Triplet” option allows for breaking up 8th notes, while holding Ctrl turns 32nds into triplets. Holding Shift converts half the selected track’s notes into triplets, saving time in long strings of them.
After creating the pattern, clicking “New” in the pattern menu brings up a blank pattern. After entering some notes, the user can switch between all the created patterns and alter them as he or she sees fit. Once satisfied, clicking on a square in the Song grid enters the current pattern into the song, with a seemingly limitless number of tracks that can be entered simultaneously.
LeafDrums also allows the patterns to go well beyond typical 8 or even 16-measure limits typical of software like Hammerhead — it’s designed for writing whole drum tracks, not just loops.
LeafDrums allows the user to set the time signature when creating a new song, a feature missing on lower-end drum programs. However, the time signature cannot be changed mid-song.
While fully functional, Leafdrums is shareware and registration costs $25. The creator has said he wants the “evaluation version” of LeafDrums to completely reflect the product. And for such good software, the price is more than worth it.
With exceptional features and a smooth interface, LeafDrums is accessible and practical for new musicians and veterans alike.