Carl Cox’s producer Davide Carbone reviews Rob Papen Punch

Davide Carbone
Davide Carbone

Rob Papen’s new virtual drum machine Punch may have been receiving some fantastic first class reviews in the music production press over the past couple of weeks but we wanted to know what the seasoned producers and DJs make of it. Cue Davide Carbone, Drum and Bass master and Co-Director of S:amplify which is an extensive network of renowned artists, composers, sound designers and DJs.

We were delighted when Davide agreed to review Punch and this is what he had to say…


In a market saturated by soft synths that manage to do everything us producers have never dreamed of doing most of them fail in the most important area of all – character. Rob Papen and his burgeoning arsenal of quality soft synths have character in abundance. Very much like the analogue days where nothing seemed to work well, or everything emitted strange noises. Irrespective of their foibles we grew to love them and never wanted to get rid of them. Rob Papen appears to have been able to recreate the nuances of yesterday but without the unreliability. Roll on the latest addition to their collection – Rob Papen’s ‘Punch’.Rob Papen Punch

To sell this as a drum machine soft synth is underplaying this little beast’s potential. Yes it’s a drum machine, yes it has an in built pattern sequencer, yes it has fx and groove settings and yes it features a vast array of presets – but it’s the ability to use the internal sounds or your own sounds and infinitely contort them with filters, effects and clever routing and of course lace them with that Rob Papen character that makes this a must own product.

I have found myself sampling my analogue synths and feeding them into ‘Punch’ and then playing with the pitch envelope, filter and fx. It really does open up the sound design possibilities. The fact that I can also create massive impact sounds and long evolving sci-fi sounds means that ‘Punch’ has already featured in my dance music production workflow as well as my film and video game composition work.

Creating sound banks is easy work yet incredibly versatile. ‘Punch’ comes pre loaded with several modelled sounds and waveforms. Each category has their own sounds. Bass drums, snare drums, claps, open and closed hats, samples and user slots allow you to create an entire keyboards worth of sounds in very little time. All with that unique character that oozes from this synth. Whereas other synths like NI’s Battery allow straightforward drum building, Rob Papen’s ‘Punch’ does it from a synths perspective. What you get here is real value for money. It’s quite literally one step away from being a must have, fully-fledged sampler. I’m sure that is what is coming next from this company.

Punch screenshotThe sequencer is also quite unique in that it gives a fresh and simplified way of creating tracks. You can easily create simple grooves that lay on top of each other. This is useful for creating several grooves that can work together on the same track or on separate projects. The groove and swing settings are extremely useful as is the human parameter. There’s also a choke feature within ‘Punch’ that combined with the groove options make this feel like a drummers drum machine.

For those that like to load up and create there are a swagger of presets included which will get you creating a whole host of genres. When I first installed ‘Punch’ I was working on a sci-fi film score. I had a quick look and within two minutes I was using the brilliant inbuilt sci-fi sounds from sci-fi preset in the filmscore & tv bank.

This synth couldn’t have been more aptly titled. Rob Papen’s ‘Punch’ is a dream come true for both producers with a sound design mentality and those with a go to preset mentality.


A big thanks to Davide for taking the time to review Punch. If you’d like to checkout Punch for yourself download the FREE demo. Click here for details

Posted by Melanie Doidge

Having worked in marketing for over fifteen years with experience in various industries, Time+Space and the world of music production continues to be the most exciting of them all. With our brands consistently pushing the boundaries of technology with their products, the terrific DJs, Composers and Producers using them and the feedback from magazines and our customers, there's always plenty to tell the world about. Musical experience? I reached Grade 6 in piano back in my school days and am currently in the throes of trying to resurrect my abilities!


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