Freedrum – A Drummer’s Honest Review

freedrum-review

Freedrum is a very interesting drum virtual drumming product that allows you to air drum by attaching devices to your drum sticks and feet. This is our honest review of Freedrum, including our demo video, as well as details and how to use it.

We did receive a sample of Freedrum in order to demonstrate and review this but our opinions are our own, and we will list out both the advantages and disadvantages of this product.

Check out our video below to get an idea of how it works, the demo starts only 6 seconds into the video!

 

Freedrum (Complete Package)

The complete package includes all 4 sensors.

I got some non-drummer family members to also try Freedrum out, and they actually started to improve their coordination when doing some basic rock beats, which indicates that this could also be a good drumming educational tool for beginner drummers. 

What’s Included?

Freedrum Sensors

freedrum-sensors

Depending on the package of freedom you go for, you can either get one with two sensors or four sensors.

The complete package includes four sensors, two for your drumsticks and two for your feet. This allows you to have the complete freedom experience. Alternatively, you can get the starter package which has two sensors only, just for your drumsticks.

foot-sensors

I highly recommend that if you want to try out the freedom experience that you just go for the full package because it’s a lot more fun. It’s much closer to what it’s like to play a drum kit.

Straps

The straps to attach the freedom sensors to your drumsticks and feet.

The straps for your feet can fit around either your socks or are big enough to accommodate shoes also.

USB charging cables

charging-cables

There will be enough to charge all of your free drum devices at once. 

It is recommended that you charge them for an hour before you start playing

Drum sticks

You can get either natural hickory or black color. These are both effectively the same drumsticks, and it’s a personal preference for you based on color.

How Freedrum works

Follow the below steps to start using Freedrum, with a few tips included:

  1. Attached the devices to your drumsticks (and feet, if you got those devices).
  2. Calibrate your sensors – place your drumsticks right in front of you and press each of the buttons once. This makes sure that the sensors know which direction you’re facing! Do the same with the sensors on your feet.
  3. Go to the free drum app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or the Google Play Store. These communicate via Bluetooth to your phone. So make sure to turn on Bluetooth and open up the app.freedrum-app
  4. Go to the connections tab. Each of your free drum sensors will show up on this screen.
  5. You then press on each of the options to connect the sensors. Then you make sure that the sensors are correctly assigned to your feet or sticks.
  6. You can then assign the placement of your drums and cymbals. For starters, just leave this as is. You can update it later when you get the hang of playing Freedrum.
  7. Now simply start playing. You need to make sure that you have a relatively tight grip on your drumsticks because the sensors might rotate around. Otherwise, if this happens.

Using the drumsticks

playing-freedrum

Have a look at the picture above to understand the placement of your drum sticks when playing Freedrum.

You need to alter your stick placement slightly because Freedrum works based on the angle of your drumsticks. You need to keep your elbows quite close to your body and move your drumsticks while keeping them plays in the same direction.

Try not to flare your drum sticks around and on a jarring motion, because this might throw off the sensors 

In the free drum up if you have added any cymbals or Toms to the second layer of your drum set, then these are placed in the vertical plane so you then move your drumsticks upwards to play these.

upper-layer-lower-layer

Using your feet (hi-hat and double bass drums)

If you’re using sensors for your feet, you need to play using the heel down approach. Heel up is not currently supported in this version of Freedrum.

In the standard configuration:

  • Your right foot will play the bass drum
  • Your left foot can play either the hi-hat or a second bass drum (A GREAT feature)

For your left foot: angle your left foot a little bit to the left to play the hi-hat. If you angle your left foot to the right a little bit more than it will play a second bass drum pedal.

This is a very neat option because it allows for a double bass drum playing as you could see in the demonstration video towards the start of this article.

Updating your sensors

There is also a second app that you can download from the Google Play store our iOS app store called Sensorware, which allows you to update the firmware on your free drum devices.

You open the app and connect to the devices to that app via Bluetooth, and this can then wirelessly transfer the update to your device via Bluetooth. You do not need any wired connection for this.

When doing this, you will need to disconnect the Freedrum devices from any other app or computer it’s connected to (e.g. the other Freedrum app, or connection to your PC or MAC if you’re using it for MIDI, more on MIDI connections below)

It’s a pretty seamless updating process. 

MIDI connectivity

You can connect the sensors directly with your computer via Bluetooth and this can transmit MIDI messages, which can be interpreted by any DAW such as Ableton Live Logic Pro Cubase Reaper, etc. 

This will transmit your strokes as MIDI notes, which you can then use to trigger sample libraries or drum vsts such as Addictive Drums 2, Drum Mic’a, etc… or anything that you can think of!

There are also a number of CC messages also transmitted. So, if you know a lot about MIDI then check out the specification for that.

Pros of Freedrum

  • It’s very fun: It’s super fun to play a free drum it’s really easy to get started.
  • MIDI capability: Pair it with your computer via BlueTooth to trigger VSTs and sample libraries on your DAW (such as Garageband, Ableton Live, etc.) This is a big plus for music producers and anyone that wants to record music.
  • Double bass drumming: A great feature that I wasn’t expecting. By default, just move the angle of your left foot and this will move between a hi-hat and second bass drum sound.
  • Very quiet: Of course, since you’re air drumming This is going to be a really quiet way of both playing and practicing your drumming skills. It’s even quieter than using a practice pad. So nobody will be able to have any reason to complain about your drumming!
  • Well designed: Everything from the sensors to the software apps to the drumsticks and the packaging. Everything is very nicely designed and you can see that free drum have put a lot of effort into the user experience of their product.
  • Support and updates: The company that makes this have been around for a few years, the product initially started as a Kickstarter campaign but this is now a successful company that has shipped over 70000 products around the world. So, You should be able to count on some good support from the makers.

Disadvantages of Freedrum

  • Heel-up is not supported: When using the sensors on your feet, you have to play with your heel to the ground. Some drummers prefer to play using heel-up, so this will be a disadvantage for some.
  • Sounds on the Freedrum app: I would have preferred if there are more sounds available on the Freedrum phone app. Of course, you can trigger a lot of extra sounds via MIDI, but it would still be nice to have some extras without having to do this.
  • Sensitivity for very fast movements: Freedrum is not great at picking up very subtle strokes, such such as double strokes, or push-pull strokes. If you want to play some really fast movements, then you may not get the level of sensitivity that you would hope for. It’s still quite good, but it’s not the level of sensitivity that you’re going to get from an acoustic or electronic drum set.
  • Bluetooth headphones: Freedrum uses Bluetooth technology, and there can be an issue if you try to listen to the drum sounds from your phone, also while using Bluetooth headphones, there can be latency. The alternative to this is simply just listening over your speakers on your phone, or if your phone has a phone input jack, then there shouldn’t be latency.

Can you learn drums using Freedrum?

If you’ve never played drums before, then you can certainly learn a lot of basic foundations and beats using Freedrum. I saw this first-hand when some of my family tried it out.

Also, even a relatively experienced drummer could use this as a nice practice tool to learn some different beats also. However, keep in mind, the point above about sensitivity, if you want to play with lots of quick double stroke rolls, etc. then it might not pick them all up as you might expect.

Therefore, if possible, I think the current version of Freedrum should certainly not be a replacement for a real drum set and a practice pad.

Summary

Freedrum is a really nice product that we have been excited to try out. It’s certainly not perfect but it is a really solid option with well-designed technology that is certainly worth checking out.

It is great as a gift for others, or as a fun accessory for yourself.

Freedrum (Complete Package)

The complete package includes all 4 sensors.

That’s our Freedrum Review wrapped up. Here is a link to Freedrum, where you can check out the options on how to buy it online. If you have any questions, be sure to ask in the comment section below. 

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