Drum kits are not a particularly portable instrument. Perhaps one of the most unwieldy instruments to move around, the packing, transportation and setup of drum kits has been the bane of drummers and bandmates alike since the inception of the kit.
In a similar fashion, practicing drums is incredibly loud, and outside of expensive electronic drum kits that can cost tens of thousands of dollars for a system that approaches the sound quality of an analogue kit, finding an alternative practice solution can be difficult.
Freedrum is a wildly successful kickstarter project that promises to revolutionize the world of practice drumming, composition, and portable jamming.
Consisting of a set of sensors that attach to the sticks and the feet of the user, Freedrum puts the user in control of what is essentially an invisible drum kit, using sophisticated motion sensing technology to sense the individual strikes of the user.
Paired with a dedicated app, the Freedrum is set to be the future of drumming.
What is the Freedrum?
Described as a “virtual drum kit that fits in your pocket”, the Freedrum has exploded onto the the online music and tech community, gaining over $340,000 in funding from thousands of eager backers, an incredible achievement far beyond the original $150,000 USD goal.
Taking the drumming experience to any location- the park, the train, your morning commute or even just your sofa, the Freedrum is perfect for both aspiring drumming neophytes or as a creative tool for composers and experience or even professional drummers.
Picked up by media and news giants such as Slashgear and The Verge, the Freedrum has captured the imagination of millions of individuals worldwide.
The concept behind the Freedrum is simple- users attach sensors to both of their drum sticks, and optionally, to each foot to simulate foot pedals.
The Freedrum doesn’t require an internet connection to operate, and with each individual sensor powered by a tiny lithium ion battery, the Freedrum is able to sustain up to a week of invisible drum kit shredding at a time.
The setup process is as easy as attaching the sensors, pairing each sensor with a smartphone, and rocking out.
At the current point in time, the Freedrum is only compatible with iOS devices, due to the incredibly low latency audio processing on Apple products.
Android products suffer from a small microsecond delay due to hardware limitations that can’t be worked around in the current generation of Android smartphones, which is small enough to not affect audio playback but is critical in high response time activities such as drumming.
The Freedrum is officially compatible with iOS and Garageband, and is recommended for use with iPhones and iPads running iOS 10.0 or later.
The integration with Garageband makes the Freedrum perfect for outlining fills, creating rhythms or composing tracks, and even playing out drumlines manually.
The official Freedrum app that deciphers the information from the Freedrum sensors provides an output in the form of MIDI information, so the Freedrum can reasonably be inferred to work correctly with any musical app that supports Bluetooth MIDI.
Design & Construction
The Freedrum is the brainchild of August Bering, a professional and passionate drummer that created the Freedrum campaign as part of a mission to devise an alternative to bulky, loud traditional drum kits.
After several years of research, development and prototyping, the first iteration of the Freedrum was finished, and the Kickstarter project began.
The Freedrum consists of tiny bluetooth sensors that are both extremely lightweight and precise.
Each sensor is powered by a high capacity LiPo battery, and utilizes a gyroscope within a PCB enclosure that detects the movements of the sticks or feet and translates them into Bluetooth MIDI standard data, to be deciphered by the app or smartphone.
The Freedrum is essentially a virtual drum kit that infers the sounds created by the user by the angle of the sticks and intensity of the strike.
Freedrum Review Summary
The Freedrum is available to preorder on the Freedrum kickstarter campaign page, and with the earlybird backer specials now filled, the lowest price available is just $89 USD for a standard Freedrum kit with two sensor units.
For the full kit experience, the Double Freedrum package with four sensors is available for $169 USD, with both expected to ship August 2017.