Back in the late 1980’s, I’d always sort of liked the drum sounds on my Korg M1 synthesizer. But I really thought I needed something a bit more realistic if I was going to do anything remotely professional.
The Alesis D4 was all the rage back then. It was the first professional grade drum module at a price the average musician could afford. And while no one would have been fooled by its cymbal and high-hat sounds, it’s bass and snare drum sounds, and some of it toms, sounded pretty damned good.
It also featured something called Dynamic Articulation. This meant that the drum samples responded more like real drums. Like when you hit a real cymbal. The second time you hit a real cymbal, it’s still ringing from the first hit. The second hit doesn’t cancel out the previous sound, but layers on top of it. The D4 works like this.
I only used my first D4 on a couple of recordings. The D4 had great sounds, but I didn’t have the recording capabilities to make full use of it. My frustrations in regard to my recording limitations at the time led me to dump my equipment. That D4 was one of the pieces of equipment that I sold.
I never forgot the D4, though. When I started driving a truck, I intended to get another one. Sometime in 2004, I did. I bought this D4 for about $50 on eBay. Honestly, that’s about all I was willing to pay for one. By that time a lot of cool software-based drum modules and samples had come out. The D4 was a relic.
“To the solemn graves, near a lonely cemetery,
my heart like a muffled drum is beating funeral marches.”
– Pierre Charles Baudelaire