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Quiet Music MagicDrum 2

Plug-in Instrument By Paul White
Published April 2024

Quiet Music MagicDrum 2

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5/5 Stars

Quiet Music’s MagicDrum 2 is a multi‑sampled steel tongue drum of around 1.7GB with on‑board sound‑shaping and processing that brings it into line with other recent Quiet Music offerings. For those unfamiliar with the tongue drum, its physical format is rather like an inverted steel bowl that has been cut so as to create a number of tuned tongues that can be played by striking with the fingers. These are generally designed to produce a specific musical scale rather than being chromatic. The sound is less dissonant than a steel drum but more complex than something like a Xylophone, giving it a haunting, musical quality that works very nicely with long reverbs.

Some 81 presets are available, most being a good fit for genres such as ambient, chillout and lo‑f,i in addition to the more obvious relaxation‑style music. The core sounds, many of which are already processed in interesting ways, can be further shaped via an ADSR envelope, low‑pass or high‑pass filter with adjustable cutoff, LFO modulation with a choice of waveforms, plus overall volume, pan, and tune. Modulation can also be controlled from a mod wheel, aftertouch or via velocity. The on‑board effects comprise distortion, reverb, chorus and delay with tempo sync available for the delay times. These all have stomp‑box style three‑knob controls so no deep diving is required.

The sounds available from MagicDrum 2 range from pristine tongue drum sounds that respond naturally to playing velocity, to murky and mysterious versions of the core sound and on to sounds more reminiscent of temple gongs. Then there are patches such as Steel Sighs that almost totally disguise the source sound to produce something beautiful and synthetic. These sounds can be further customised via the on‑board effect and controls, a simple‑but‑effective useful ploy being to add a slow attack to create bowed metal types of sounds.

MagicDrum 2 is a simply fabulous instrument, especially given its low cost.

Ambient Relaxation

For anyone working in the ambient or relaxation music genres, MagicDrum 2 is a simply fabulous instrument, especially given its low cost, the icing on the cake being the scale modes, in which a few moments of casual key tapping while exploring the various scales can produce unexpected and genuinely inspiring results. If you are still not sold on the idea, there’s a free version with fewer scales and presets — and if you already own the original MagicDrum, you get a preferential upgrade price. But that’s enough talking about it, I’m going back to playing it!