leafDrums comes with only a basic drum set, so you will almost certainly want more sounds.

You can find drum samples to use with leafDrums on the Links page, or you can down- load the entire Hammer- Head drum kit in WAV format here (1 Mb).
Download hammer_drumkit.zipHammerHead Drum Kit


Note: This review refers to leafDrums ver. 1.02. A review of ver. 2.33 is underway.

leafDrums is a 16 step pattern sequencer for Windows 95/98/NT. It uses standard (uncompressed 16-bit mono or stereo) wave files for drum sounds. Unlike the other software drum machines offered on this website, leafDrums has no limit to the number of sounds (channels) that can be used or the number of bars a pattern can have.

Each channel has a number of settings: you can change the attack/decay of the sample, set the accent level or select panning and volume of the sample. One or two effects can also be applied to each sample. The effects include: Distortion, Surround, Gate, Compressor, Delay, Chorus, Phaser, Tremolo, Filters, EQ and a couple more. There's also a slider to "humanize" the pattern, which adds random timing errors. Unfortunately there is no way to alter the swing or shuffle of a pattern.

A nice feature is that a drum hit can be accented with a single click. A beat can also be "nudged" one or two steps to place it a little to the left or right of its current position (earlier or later in time).

Just like in HammerHead, a sample can be either a drum hit or a loop that shifts pitch depending on the tempo. The settings can be changed so the loop fills one, two, three or four beats (a whole measure). IMO it would be much more useful to be able to import loops that are longer than one bar...

One big difference between how HammerHead and leafDrums treat loops is that in leafDrums a sample doesn't "cut itself". If a loop is retriggered while it is still playing, the sounds will be mixed, creating a "canon" effect. Sometimes this might be desirable, but it makes leafDrums rather unsuitable for Drum & Bass or Jungle. Also, a loop will always be one bar long (or less, if you've changed the settings), regardless of the position where it's triggered. If you start a loop on the third beat of the first measure, it will continue playing until the third beat of the second measure. In HammerHead, a loop always stops at the end of a bar.

The patterns can be saved to a 44.1 kHz stereo .wav file. There are no different "stream to disk" options like in HammerHead, leafDrums always saves the entire pattern. The resulting file looped correctly every time I tried it (except for when I tried to stream to disk during playback) and there's no need to load a "fresh" pattern before saving to disk. Long samples (like crash cymbals) won't be cut off at the end of the last bar, which usually is a good thing.

My major concern with this program is the user interface. The grid where you enter the notes is a bit "blurry", and it only shows six channels at a time. It would have been nice if you could resize the program window to take advantage of a big screen. Also, it's not possible to copy and paste a single channel, you always copy the entire measure.

To sum things up: This is a really cool drum sequencer with loads of features that can't be found in any other shareware drumbox. It seems like the programmer has put a lot of work into the different effects that can be applied to the samples. Personally, I prefer to edit and tweak the samples outside the drum sequencer so I would rather have seen that more effort had been put into the user interface. But that's just me... The program seems fairly stable, but it did crash a few times during the test period.

I warmly recommend this program. The "unlimited" (depending on your CPU) channels and the ability to import stereo samples (of any sampling rate) alone makes this app definitely worth checking out.

- Download size: 1.2 Mb
- Installed size:   2.33 Mb


leafDrums is shareware. You may use the software for an evaluation period of 30 days. After that time, you must either register the program or remove it from your computer.

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