Imaginando BAM review
- Ease Of Use
Imaginando BAM Review
I find that BAM strikes a beautiful balance between depth of features and broad sketching techniques that aid in free-flowing creativity!
– 22 engines between instruments and FX
– A versatile groovebox that can also fit into a DAW workflow
– Only 500 MB download
– Intuitive workflow once basic navigation is understood
– Built-in 256-step sequencer
– Subscription-free and affordable on iOS
– Lots of quality samples –
Active and responsive developer
– Font type/size could be improved
– Some stability and usability issues here and there (to be fixed in the next updates)
Imaginando, the Portuguese developer behind successful music apps like K7D, FRMS, and DRC, has made waves in the production software space with the launch of BAM. This comprehensive groovebox-style workstation, released in November 2023, marks the company’s first foray into a platform that can run other apps and chain them together. Since its launch, BAM has seen regular monthly updates and underwent beta testing with the AudioBus community. This thoughtful development approach has paid off with a successful product release that has renewed interest in portable music production tools.
Let’s find out more in our Imaginando BAM review…
Imaginando BAM: Groovebox Meets DAW
Is BAM a DAW? Can it replace your main software tools, like Live, Logic, etc.?
BAM is not a full-fledged Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that can completely replace tools like Ableton Live or Logic Pro. However, it offers unique groovebox-style workflows for beatmaking and music production to cater to both beginners and professionals.
At the very heart of BAM are clips. Clips are made up of individual MIDI triggers (patterns), measured by bar and beat. Control over the length, timing, and interval of these clips is determined by the user, drawing from internal sound banks and external (AUV3) sources.
While BAM does not allow for advanced audio editing features found in traditional DAWs, its clip-focused workflow lends itself better to crafting beats and song ideas. Patterns can be recorded live or entered manually via the piano roll.
BAM Structure and Layout
What is BAM made of? Let’s quickly take a look from the top down. At the very top is the device rack.
Here you can add 1 Generator/Instrument, up to 3 MIDI Effects (right now, only AUv3 midi fx but BAM will soon have its own MIDI processor engines), Modulators (currently EG and LFO), and up to 5 FX slots.
BAM offers 11 internal sound engines (Sampler, Oscillator, Drum Synth, Hofmann (a mini-Acid synth, surprisingly versatile), Noise and 808 analog modeled drum parts). Plus the ability to load AUv3 instrument plugins.
As for the FX section, you will find 11 built-in effects (Bit Reduction, Chorus, Compressor, Delay, Equaliser, Filter, Parametric EQ, Phaser, Burner, Stereo Enhancer, Reverb) plus the ability to load external AUv3 effect plugins.
Perhaps one of the nicest features I came across in my Imaginando Bam review is its ability to accurately scale plugins even down to a very small size, so that you can have them floating as windows in your workspace, and tweak them even as you jump across different menus in the app. This kind of feature is shared with AUM, and is not possible with conventional iOS DAWs like Cubasis 3 and Logic Pro for iPad, though it may seem expected on desktop.
In the middle section, you have 5 panels that each display a different workspace when selected. Matrix, Timeline, Automation, Composer, & Mixer.
In BAM terms, the Matrix is the clip launcher/editor. There are 16 channels/slots that you can edit, laid out in cross-sections, horizontal and vertical. Each have assigned clips as well, that you can further fine-tune.
The Timeline allows you to make informed decisions about each track as a whole in sequence, instead of having to go into each individual clip to make fine changes. The Automation menu allows you to individually draw in automation movements. The Composer consists of a simple piano roll that you can draw notes into. Mixer allows for gain-staging, panning, and master out controls.
At the bottom, you can find your keyboard controls, with the ability to switch between TRK & KBD view. You can use the KBD mode to play key & color-labeled notes, OR see color-coded representations of your sound via an oscilloscope of each clip in the timeline in the TRK View. In TRK view, each time your sound rings out as the timeline plays, the oscilloscope “vibrates” – & this goes for all 16 channels, making this a powerful bird’s eye of your project. The KBD view allows you to identify a single generator by color in your project and “perform” within an octave using pad-like keys.
In the top left and top right corners of the toolbar, you have some deeper menus that offer you even more control over your project.
The triple bar ≡ in the top left brings you to the main menu & settings, with access to the BAM online manual.
The File/folder icon in the top right accesses the internal sound library, which also contains Modulator (Internal AUV3) presets.
Learning BAM – Quality Presets and Sound Library
By simply going through presets, the user can start to pick apart BAM’s mechanics. Just pick one from the center-middle project selector in the top toolbar, and get swept away when you press “play”. These presets can help users just starting set expectations for what kinds of tracks they can begin creating.
The software comes equipped with a factory bank of example projects, featuring 16 full-length songs that showcase BAM’s creative potential. These projects, which span a wide array of musical genres and production techniques, serve as both a learning resource and a source of inspiration for users.
For those who love kicks, you’re in for a treat. While working on this Imaginando BAM review, I’ve discovered an impressive tonal variety to choose from on the low end.
As shown in the picture above, the Library includes 3 sections – POOL, BROWSER, and RECORDER.
The POOL is the source of samples for a specific project. All the samples listed in the pool are loaded into memory. This allows, for instance, the sample parameter of the SAMPLER engine to be automated, which means that you can have a single track playing different samples – you can even have a single track, playing a full kit of drums if you want.
The BROWSER allows you to find, preview, and load samples into the POOL. This is also where you can explore BAM’s suite of high-quality sounds (In fact, I’ve seen people mentioning that they purchased this app solely for this reason!). You can fill your Pool with sounds both from within the internal bank and from your iPad.
The RECORDER allows you to create sounds on the fly and quickly drag them into your project.
Here’s a video tutorial that shows how to make a techno track with BAM:
Imaginando BAM: Inspiring Non-Linear Workflow
As a long-time groovebox user, working on my Imaginando BAM review, its non-linear workflow appealed to my creative sensibilities. I’ve found traditional DAWs like Logic Pro and Cubasis difficult starting points for tracks, but BAM’s clip-based structure provides a fresh perspective.
I can see myself kickstarting songs by exporting BAM’s 8-bar loops into my DAW, or using the iPad version standalone to spark ideas. The color-coded clip matrix offers an intuitive bird’s-eye of your project without getting lost in customization.
Having come originally from the (admittedly truncated compared to desktop) iOS ecosystem when it comes to music production, I find that this app strikes a beautiful balance between depth of features and broad sketching techniques that aid in free-flowing creativity.
Loading instruments like the DRC synth or AUV3 plugins and improvising with BAM’s “dice” feature forms an immediate creative clay. The app best facilitates live beat-making and simple song sketches rather than final production.
BAM can also run as an AUV3 itself or in the desktop AU format for easy integration with iOS hosts like AUM or DAWs like Logic. This modular nature, coupled with its accessible matrix interface, recalls the hardware-inspired workflows of grooveboxes like the Elektron Digitakt. A pressure-free space, open-ended in musical nature, containing no “audio files” – but sequences, blocks & chains of sound that form the initial logical structure of a strong song – ready to be imported into a DAW for “professional” touches.
Here below you can find another comprehensive video tutorial. Keep an eye on Imaginando’s YouTube channel, where you will find many helpful videos on the subject.
BAM’s integration with MIDI controllers is another technical highlight, allowing for advanced control and manipulation of musical elements. Users can connect external MIDI controllers and devices to BAM, enabling hands-on control over the software’s parameters and functions. This integration facilitates a more tactile and interactive music production experience, bridging the gap between software and hardware.
For iOS users, this is a one-time purchase of 29.99 USD in the App Store, making it an attractive option for users seeking non-subscription tools. I would recommend this alongside AUM if you’re not attuned to traditional DAWs.
The desktop version is listed on the site as €149 (approx. $160). Rent-to-own payment plans are also available. Additionally, students can take advantage of a generous 50% educational discount.
This type of capability disparity between mobile and desktop apps is common.
The iOS and desktop versions are identical, apart from multi-output support in standalone mode which is only available on desktop. However, the iOS edition does support multi-output when running as an AUv3 plugin in a host environment.
Imaginando BAM Review – Final Thoughts
It comes as no surprise that Imaginando BAM has garnered praise for its creative potential, offering an expansive toolset for bringing musical ideas to life.
As a groovebox-style software, BAM strikes an ideal balance between the tactile flow of hardware and modern production flexibility. Its intuitive clip-based workflow, combined with the built-in synth engines and effects, makes BAM accessible for both novices and seasoned music creators.
For those confused by terminology like “groovebox” or “beat-maker,” BAM can readily fill the role of a dedicated beat production tool or integrate inspiringly into more traditional DAW-based songwriting. BAM’s AUv3 hosting and cross-platform compatibility further bolster its versatility as a portable music-making solution.
These are still early days for BAM. Despite some early rough edges (mostly usability/design issues that in part have already been fixed), Imaginando’s commitment to steady evolution assures BAM will only get smoother and more solid. As technology progresses, BAM’s simplicity and creativity-first ethos position it well to remain at the forefront, shaping how artists capture ideas and craft their tracks.
In an industry increasingly cluttered with complex options, BAM’s elegant focus stands out as a breath of fresh air.
Written by: C_Quin & Fab
C_Quin is a producer, playlist curator, and 1/2 of 3rdPersonProductions – a music collective from WA, US. Please visit @3rdPersonProd on Instagram for more info!
DISCLOSURE: Our posts may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.