Top 23 Drum Machines 2019 Review

We are living in the 21st century and technology is at its peak in nearly every field you see, even drums. Just a couple weeks back, I was thinking why those so called “REAL” drum machines are becoming a victim of getting extinct…Isn’t it so?

Don’t worry because the traditional drum hardware is still alive, it has advanced and got better than before.

Today, we will be going through some of the best drum machines which comes with the right technology and features that will help you produce a badass beat in no time.

23 Best Drum Machines Review

Not to mention that the drum machines have really made a huge comeback over the past few years. They now have better specifications, reasonable prices and features that will give you the best experience ever.

Best of all, these hardware lets you create your favorite beats in no time without the need of any additional gear.

So, whether or not you are an electronic musician, EDM producer, looking for a nice drum machine which might be a good alternative to a live kit or just finding a nice piece of hardware for your daily dose of playing those fantastic beats, here are some product reviews worth reading.

Roland Drum Machine (TR-8S)

One of the best and finest drum machines you will find on the market is Roland TR-8S. Though it is on the high price end but is a killer box with tons of features to help you produce a badass beat. The original model which was TR-8 was released back in 2014 and ever since Roland has made some dramatic changes for an unrivaled drum machine.

The TR-8S model has been loved by many musicians as it provides great control and makes your beats sound more realistic and professional. As compared to the older version, the new 8S has some additional keys and an increased pattern memory which is a plus point here.

We also loved the classic Roland drum sound integration and it lets you upload your own samples as well. The only thing our team didn’t like is the insane price spike. The original TR-8 costs just $200 while the new TR-8S is just under $700 which is a bit too high.

However, it is worth upgrading to the newer version and here’s why. While the sequence is playing, you can simply press any of its eight button to make any of the selected part the next one in a simple pattern. What this does is gives you real-time selection of different types of beats in virtually any order you prefer.

Moreover, it lets you press multiple buttons at a single time and above all, it will smartly play all the selected sequences in an alphabetic order. Music enthusiast who love trying new pattern, it doesn’t get easier than trying it on the TR-8S. You will enjoy playing it live along with your instrument.

If you have a list of patterns you can easily jump back and forth between different sections of the song which is pretty impressive. You will also find six additional parts, allowing you to push a button to prime up another section of the composition.

Furthermore, with the option to press multiple buttons and have those sequences play in a nice order, you can easily create patterns the way you want.

Overall, it is a durable drum machine with tons of features that can dramatically enhance your beats and patterns. It is the perfect instrument to tune up your simple beats and get the most out of your practice sessions

Pros

  • Offers eight sequence per pattern
  • Sample support available
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Easy to use along with parameters

Cons

  • Autofill feature is satisfactory

Boss DR-880 Dr. Rhythm Drum Machine

One of the finest rhythm programming powerhouse which comes loaded with top-notch drum, percussion and bass sounds along with a huge library is the Boss DR-880 Dr. Rhythm Drum Machine.

It gives you access to a never ending collection of original waveforms. There are three EZ compose buttons which helps you with original patterns and to be able to construct them with the need of note-by-note programming. This saves you a lot of time and lets you create better music.

You can easily take those patterns deeper using its Groove Modify feature. It allows to embed different groove and triplet feels live. For a much better experience you can also add ghost notes and fill. DR-880 also has an integrated guitar/bass input jack, allowing the bass and guitar players to join live in the action.

Pros

  • Helps produce an unrivaled sound
  • Guitar and bass input jack available
  • EZ Compose with multiple connectivity options
  • Groove Modify feature

Cons

  • Very old design

Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Groove Production Studio

The Native Instruments Maschine MK3 was released back in 2009. It was the first ever model presented by the company and ever since it has gone several changes. There have been several different variations of its hardware, software hybrid along with its prices.

The new Mk3 Groove on the market has undergone a core hardware controller change which has really made it great. You can use it for creating your favorite music and giving live performances on the stage.

While it hasn’t changed much in terms of its design, it still offers plenty of cool features to give you the best experience. It measures 12.6” x 11.85” x 1.61” which makes it a bit longer than MK2 but an inch shorter as well.

Since it has more features, it is a bit heavier as well but you won’t have any trouble moving this 4.85 lbs. box around the room. You will love its matte black finish with Ableton Push and with each function name properly enclosed inside a durable rubber, it already stands out from its competitors.

There has been a change in its layout as well but only a slight repositioning that won’t trouble you much. Overall, it comes integrated with the right hardware and software you need to produce great beats on the go.

Pros

  • Comes with the best hardware and software
  • 25GB KOMPLETE 11 select library with 25 pro-quality studio
  • Creative FX with 96kHZ/24-bit audio interface
  • Touch sensitive knobs

Cons

  • No drawbacks

Roland TR-09 Boutique Rhythm Performer

The TR-09 is one of the most compact recreation of the TR-909 but with better sound and features. It provides you with that analog kick, snare and toms you need and 6-bit samples for those cymbals and hats.

It has a unique hybrid sound producing technique which ensures a sound quality like no other drum machine. While Roland has upgraded their original TR-909, they haven’t missed the classical analog features.

This groove box is powered by Analog Circuit Behavior technology which is an invention of Roland itself. It really helps to deliver a punching sound which you will love. Moreover, it gives you full control over plenty of drum parameters and even lets you play while you switch between the modes.

Some noticeable features also include USB audio along with four outputs, external device control and a separate USB MIDI as well.

Overall, it does a really great job at producing a professional and high quality sound. In simple you can say it the enhanced sequencer.

Pros

  • Features modern connectivity options
  • Enhanced sequencer with the classic analog feature
  • Highly portable with robust construction
  • Built-in powered mini speaker and K-25m keyboard unit compatibility

Cons

  • No drawbacks

Roland Sampling Percussion Pad (SPD-SX)

An expensive model though but worth the money invested. This drum machine isn’t made for the beginners but for the advanced level drummers for some advanced sampling. It truly is an exceptional percussion pad with tons of professional features.

Roland claims it to be one of their most advanced sampling percussion pads ever. It has tons of sounds, three multi-FX and 2GB internal memory for non-stop six hours. Whether it be stage or studio performance, this groove box is ready to bear the toll.

There are nine velocity sensitive pads along with dual trigger inputs which allows external triggering of the onboard sounds. You can even manipulate the existing percussion setup and since the pads are backlit with a large LDC screen, you won’t have any trouble when it comes to precision and accuracy.

It doesn’t just stop here. You be able to sample the external audio a lot easier. All it requires is a signal via its ¼” inputs or even directly from USB or a laptop.

Pros

  • Offers a huge selection of dynamic sounds
  • Easy to control and modify
  • Three simultaneous multi-fx features with backlit LED
  • 2GB internal memory with 16 internal drum kits

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Only for advanced players

Elektron Digitakt Drum Machine

The Elektron Digitakt is a drum machine that, despite its compact size, proves to be quite complete! It is indeed a drum machine doubled with a sampler and based on a digital sound engine that will allow you to create all kinds of beats and other rhythms more or less complex.

A dedicated software, Overbridge Basic, is also included. This guarantees a perfect integration of the Digitakt in your DAW and will allow you to easily manage the different parameters of the drum machine.

Although compact, the Digitakt includes all the buttons and potentiometers needed to create sophisticated rhythms, all important information being displayed on a perfectly readable OLED screen.

On the program: eight internal audio tracks and as many dedicated MIDI tracks, a multimode filter, an assignable LFO and one overdrive per track, among others. On the connector side, the Digitakt offers two inputs and two outputs as well as a headphone output, all on jack. MIDI connections (input, Thru output) are also included, as well as a USB 2.0 port.

You can download the Transfer 1.1 application on the Elektron website to transfer samples between a Digitakt model and a Rytm MKII Analog for free. Available for macOS 10.9 and higher or Windows 7 and higher.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Large LCD display
  • Helps with advanced sampling and editing
  • Backlit pads for maximum precision

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

Alesis SR18 | High-Definition Multi-Sampled Electronic Drum Machine with Dynamic Articulation & Effects Engine

The Alesis SR-18 is one of the most popular drum machines on the market. It is very suitable for songwriters, artists, producers and others. The SR-18 incorporates 233 realistic drum tones that can sound naturally, but they can also be read with digital reverbs. The 50 rhythms are played by professional studio drummers. To switch from one variation to the other you select A, B or “fill” on the pedal, which allows you to create your own programming.

 

This drum machine features fifty different patterns, including Rock, Hard Rock, R&B, Rap, Techno, Reggae, Jazz Rock, Fusion, New Age, Country Rock, Country Rock, Rockabilly, Jazz, Dixie, Polka, Latin and Ballad

Pros

  • One of the best-selling drum machines ever
  • 32mb sound set with insane percussion bank
  • 500 drum and percussion sounds with over 50 bass sounds
  • AC and battery powered

Cons

  • May not be easy to setup

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Designed to take over from the revered Prophet’08 released in 2007, Dave Smith Instruments’ REV2 is offered here in its 8-voice Desktop version. Very largely inspired by its elder, it is however a model twice more powerful, that is to say a polyphonic analog synthesizer with 8 voices of very high quality.

It includes a reserve of no less than 512 factory programs divided into 4 banks of 128 programs plus 512 user slots to use as you see fit. Note that this 8 voice version can be expanded with an Expander Kit to add 8 additional voices for a total of 16 votes.

A sound perfectly under control!

The DSI Prophet REV2 is therefore based on an 8-voice system powered by two oscillators – with a sub octave for oscillator 1 – with four waveforms. A wide range of filters, envelopes, LFOs and modulations are also available.

The REV2 also features a step sequencer and arpeggiator. It is also possible to modulate the pulses of each of the proposed waveforms (sawtooth, triangle, saw/triangle mix and pulse waves).

Finally, comprehensive connectivity will allow you to integrate the REV2 into a very large number of configurations. In short, a real monster that will undoubtedly carve itself a place of choice in professional studios and among amateurs who are looking for the best in analog synthesizer.

Pros

  • The best analog drum machine
  • Analog/hybrid drum machine
  • Includes a synth
  • Tons of features to be creative

Cons

  • Very expensive

Korg ELECTRIBE Synth Based Production Station

The look of synthesizers without a keyboard is constantly evolving. Indeed, nowadays very few devices are manufactured in rack format to privilege the output of compact models become more popular.

When the first Korg Electribe was released in the 1990s, it represented a new generation of controller. The concept is still relevant, as this blue edition of L’Electribe 2 proves. This device makes it possible to produce a piece very quickly while benefiting from the latest innovations.

Generally speaking, this device is a pattern sequencer with a synthesizer or to be even more precise, it is a digital modeling engine associated with a PCM engine. With a polyphony of maximum 24 notes, you will be able to realize complex arrangements.

It has hundreds of oscillators that include conventional instruments such as percussion. The whole is entirely modifiable using filters, modulations and envelopes which make the Electribe a very complete device. But that’s not all, another advantage of this line is that it is possible to chain several Electribes!

Korg has equipped this Blue Electribe 2 with a new operating system (v2) that includes all sorts of new functions. To start, you can chain patterns, which was a popular feature for live performances by Korg users.

In addition, new bonus designs are available to help you find new ideas and stimulate your creativity, 400 copies are available for download at Korg.com. These patterns also have the advantage of working with all Electribe models, as does the upgrade to the new v2 operating system.

Pros

  • Offers maximum polyphony with 24 voices and nice sequencing
  • Offers ease of sampling
  • Comes with MIDI adapter
  • Outstanding sequencer with 64 steps for every part

Cons

  • Difficult to use for beginner

Akai Professional MPC Renaissance Music Production Controller

Building on the success of the MPC Touch, Akai’s MPC Live is a fully self-contained music production center. Featuring a 7-inch color touch screen, it offers DJs and other electronic musicians intuitive and comfortable control, especially since the layout of the various pots, pads and buttons is well thought out. Under the hood, the MPC Live features a multi-core processor optimized to run the all-new MPC 2.0 software.

Mainly designed for mobile use, the MPC Live can operate in standalone mode, but note that it can also be used as a control surface for the MPC 2.0 software!

The MPC Live includes a high-performance multi-core processor that can split calculations across cores. In addition, it has 2 GB of RAM, making it the most powerful MPC system on the market. On the feature side, the Live Model allows you to trigger clips with real-time stretch time functionality, program the sequencer step by step, record and edit live audio and MIDI, and add real-time effects.

Connectivity level, the MPC Live offers everything an artist can dream of. There is a MIDI interface with two inputs and two outputs to connect the device to your favorite synths and drum machines. Two 6.35 mm RCA and jack inputs are also present, as well as six 6.35 mm jack outputs and a 3.5 mm mini-jack headphone output.

Finally, the 2.5-inch SATA connector will add an SSD or HDD hard drive. And as if that wasn’t enough, Akai has also integrated MPC 2.0 software, allowing you to use the MPC Live in standalone mode.

Pros

  • 9+ GB of sounds with multiple modes
  • 16 Genuine MPC pads
  • XLR ¼ inch combo inputs with 16 touch sensitive Q-link controls
  • 2 MIDI inputs with 4 MIDI outputs

Cons

  • Sound quality is just ok

Novation Circuit Groove Box w/Sample Import

Yet another MIDI controller? Nothing is less certain. The Circuit is a surprising model from Novation. It is a real idea machine that acts as an autonomous synth and drum machine. It has built-in synthesizer and drum sounds, as well as a speaker. It is also equipped with 32 backlit pads and can be powered from the mains, with six AA batteries or via a USB port. So you can dial wherever you want, whenever you want!

Like the Novation Nova synth, the Circuit offers a wide range of sounds, from the most aggressive bass line to the warmest pad. Drum patches, on the other hand, make it possible to create rhythms as diverse as they are varied.

Harmonies, melodies and rhythms are programmed using a clear matrix of four times eight backlit pads. Note that you can program synth and drum patterns on up to 128 steps. Once the programming is done, you can connect the Circuit to the USB port of your PC or Mac to transfer your creations. The Circuit can also function as a controller for your DAW. Ableton Live Lite 9 is included.

Pros

  • Exclusive 2-part nova with 4-part drum machine and 6 voice polyphony
  • 4×8 grid of RGB, 28 RGB backlit function buttons with 8 continuous macro encoder knobs
  • Battery powered
  • 2-year limited warranty

Cons

  • No drawbacks

Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII White

Introducing the new version of the Akai MPK Mini, a particularly compact MIDI controller with a full two octave keyboard. The 25 keys of the latter are sensitive to velocity. You will also have a number of assignable controls for your various plug-ins, as well as eight backlit pads with exemplary response (inspired by those of the Renaissance MPC).

But this MPK Mini MK2 has a major new feature: a “thumbstick”, a kind of joystick that will allow you to control the pitch and modulation, traditionally managed by two wheels. Ideal for musicians who are often on the go or home-studists looking for a compact and inexpensive controller, the MPK Mini MK2 will come with Hybrid 3 and SONIVOX Wobble 2.0 software.

Pros

  • Limited edition with 25+ key and ultra-portable USB midi drum pad
  • Compact keyboard controller
  • 25-synth action mini keys
  • 8 velocity sensitive rubber drum pads

Cons

  • May attract fingerprints easily

Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine, Black

Don’t want to sacrifice the analog experience? You probably need the Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine which has an exceptional performance. It features 17 analog drum sound generators and user-friendly controls.

There are so many functions on this box that you can literally get as much creative as you want with it. Try that dub, hip hop, fancy style, psytrance and go crazy.

It features Steiner-Parker output filter. This really helps to deliver a smooth HPF or LPF sweeps and you can easily bypass it with a single button press on the board. Moreover, there are 12 individual audio outputs which makes it the best machine to be used on a stage or in a professional studio.

While it has 17 true analog drum sounds, it also features a whopping 64-step sequencing and huge memory for sampling. Some of its sounds include zap, reverse cymbal, cymbal, tambourine, clave, rimshot, maracas, tom lo, tom hi, conga lo, conga hi, hi-hat 2, hi-hat 1, clap, snare, kick 2 and kick 1.

In simple, you will have endless options to be creative and rock the best music ever.

Pros

  • 17 analog drum sounds
  • 64-step sequencing
  • Pattern effects and chain patterns
  • Helps create complex polyrhythms

Cons

  • 1/8” connectors for separate outputs make no sense

Roland Rhythm Composer (TR-08)

The TR-08 by Roland is the composer version and is known commonly as the Boutique Series module. This is a machine which will help you produce those spicy hi-hats, snare, rimshots and cowbells easily.

The drum bass which pops out of it is simply the best. This really makes TR-08 a badass drum machine to take your sounds to the next level. It will help you add modern touch to those traditional beats.

Its sequencer comes with 16 sub-steps per step along with a track selectable trigger out. The LED display on top is really cool and bright and there is a USB-MIDI for digital connectivity. While it helps add a lot of detailing to your sounds, it also makes it more appealing, creative and unique.

What I really love about TR-08 is that it is a vintage drum machine but made for a modern beat maker. There are not limited features and absolutely no compromise on the quality of sound that it helps to produce.

Pros

  • A vintage machine for modern beat makers
  • Used by more than 24 popular bands
  • 16-step sequencer with 16 sub-step
  • LED display with 10 separate audio outputs and USB MIDI
  • Offers hands-on control over different features like tone, level, tuning and decay

Cons

  • No Drawbacks

Roland Aira TR-8 Rhythm Performer

The TR-8 performer version of Roland Aira speaks for itself. It comes with menu-free accessibility which makes it very easy for you to use it and play around. It helps to add some great dynamics to your percussions and helps to easily transmit the note data, CCs from every knob and the slider.

While it captures the sound and style of your beat machines just like any other drum machine would do, it also adds a punch of modernism and professionalism to it with different tones, textures and performance possibilities.

Those working on pro-level music production will make the most out of this groove box. The TR8 is actually a combination of two Roland groove boxes in one. It helps to deliver the authentic TR series sound and gives you ease of control and flexibility.

You will also gain access to a massive range of tone and dynamics, thanks to the Tune and Decay knobs. Overall, it is one of the best drum machines ever made by Roland.

Pros

  • Analog Circuit Behavior technology for a two in one experience
  • Tune, decay, attack and comp controls
  • Comes with a built-in gated reverb and delay effects
  • Old-school sequencing with modern touch

Cons

  • Not better than TR-808 or 909

Akai Professional MPC Studio Black Music Production Controller

Get hands on control with the Akai Professional MPC Studio drum machine which helps you to be creative with your beats. It offers the power and flexibility that can help to produce professional level beats in no time.

You can easily integrate it with your MAC or PC and operate it via the Akai’s official MPC software. While it is easily portable, it comes with some advanced level specs like DAW and much more. It is built with knobs that are pretty short as compared to its pads.

Its simple to use controllers can easily fit in any laptop case. This means, you can carry your beat creation studio virtually anywhere you want to. The box body is made out of durable brushed aluminum material. Inside it is housed 16 backlit genuine MPC pads, MPC controls and a large backlit LCD.

Pros

  • Offers flexible sequencing and sampling software
  • Easily portable and gives hand-on control
  • Complete hardware and software integration
  • LED display

Cons

  • LED seems small

Singular Sound BeatBuddy the First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

A simple drum machine which gives you hands-free control on every function. It is compact and very innovative. The best thing about Singular Sound BeatBuddy is that you can control it with the tap of your foot.

It comes pre-loaded with 200 songs which cover 21 different styles including rock, country, jazz, blues and a lot more. If you are a ‘One-man band army’ this drum box is for you. It is also perfect for singers, songwriters and for practice purpose.

While it is easy to use, it sounds really great as it uses the recordings and loops of real drummers and not computer generated. It has a setting menu help system and allows you to run it from an external footswitch for those loops, fills and transitions while you play.

There are new accents options as well that can be used on all songs and parts. With higher polyphony and 64 simultaneous instruments gives you richer and fuller backing tracks as well. It has a bigger bass and lets you set drum fills to start 1/8th or 1/4th note right after you press the switch. This results in a smoother transition.

Pros

  • Best-selling MPC Studio on Amazon
  • USB-power port which lets you play it anywhere you want
  • Large knobs and scroll wheel
  • Features 16 original MPC drum pads along with four control knobs
  • 7GB+ of sounds

Cons

  • PC software hasn’t been updated in over 2 years

Best Cheap Drum Machines

If you are on a pretty strict budget but a crazy drummer, here are some cheap but fairly decent models to consider.

Korg Volca Beats Analogue Drum Machine

Korg Volca is from Volca Beats which was originally designed in Japan and has been built in Vietnam with full analogue signal path. It comes with control signals which are generally digital. It truly is an amazing analog drum which is great for electronic and hip hop producers.

It is very affordable and produces rich, powerful and sharp analog percussion with its Electribe style sequencer. You can easily create your favorite patterns with its unique ribbon controller and even through its MIDI directly from the sequencer. It can also give you sync I/O to easily connect with the Korg Monotribe or the Monotron.

It features six analog parts with four PCM parts and best of all they are fully editable. In simple, you can be super creative and develop some punchy and glitches out rhythms with this groove box.

Its Electribe style sequencer on Volca Beats drum machine lets you create 16-step patterns and can store up to eight of them in its internal memory.

Pros

  • Truly portable and user-friendly to integrate
  • Six analog parts with four PCM parts
  • Sync in/out which makes it super easy to play
  • Full control via onboard ribbon and MIDI input

Cons

  • No drawbacks

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro MK2 Groove Production Studio

Looking for a portable and affordable option? Try the Mikro MK2 version by Native Instruments which gives you an incredible experience of creating some outstanding beats. It is extremely powerful and very easy to use.

Mikro MK2 comes with a software and dedicated hardware controller which gives you the ease of creating music anywhere easily. Whether it be that high-tech groove sequencing or extremely powerful sampling and remixing, it has everything you need.

With its simple to use software, you can work on scene sequencing, MPC-style recording, step sequencing, slicing, looping and much more. It comes with the same content library which helps create some amazing effects, samples and combinations.

It also features plusNIS sound format browsing which offer easy integration with Komplete 8 and much more. For much reliable synchronization it features Ableton Link integration which lets you enjoy jamming, collaborative creation and even synchronized performance.

Pros

  • Easy to use and operate
  • Control and sequence with multicolored pads
  • Increased sensitivity on the pads for more precision
  • Time stretch and pitch shift features
  • Pre-loaded samples

Cons

  • Not indicated as a pad controller

Akai Professional XR20

Want to build beats anywhere? The Akai Professional XR20 is a portable drum machine which comes with slew of drum, percussion, sound effects, vocal, synth, bass and plenty of instrument hit sounds.

It has a memory of 700+ pre-loaded sounds along with integrated effects engine which helps to add some great touches like EQ, compression and reverb. If you like to add vocals to your mix, you can do so via the microphone input.

X20’s 12 MPC-esque pads are all backlit which offer you precision while you play. There are multiple built-in effects and sounds which excludes the need of loading any external sources to build you beats.

All of the sounds pre-loaded in its system are top-notch and of industrial strength drum, percussion, bass, synth, snare, vocal and instrument hit sounds. Best of all, it has sounds which are of standard and electronic drums, single hits, bass and synth. This lets you create maximum mix in less time.

Pros

  • Backlit LCD with bright pads for precision
  • Microphone input for adding vocal and a headphone output
  • Pattern play mode with drum roll
  • Dual powered

Cons

  • Some sounds feel too hard

Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine

In 2013, Korg released three Volcas, ideal devices for EDM (Electronic Dance Music): a bass synth, a drum synth and a more general synth. The Volca Sample sequencer from Korg is the new member of the Volca family.

The name says it all: this machine was designed to reproduce samples. You have 100 built-in samples to get you directly to work, but they can also be substituted. An iOS application will allow you to add new samples and use recordings from your iPad or iPhone.

The simple name of sample breeder does not define the full creative scope of the Volca Sample. In the middle of the control panel are eleven rotary knobs that change the essence of the sound – so it’s a modest synthesizer. It also has a gradual sequencer that allows you to modify and save the synthesis parameters. The effect of these eleven parameters combined with this sequencer is therefore much greater than it seems at first sight.

Pros

  • 16-step sequencer for an unrivaled sound quality
  • Sync in and out easily
  • Stutter for glitch and delay effects
  • MIDI in available

Cons

  • No drawbacks

Arturia SparkLE 420101 Hardware Controller and Software Drum Machine

The Arturia SparkLE drum machine is a more compact version of the Spark drum machine, which has been on sale for some time. The SparkLE is capable of controlling the Spark Engine software in a very efficient way. The sounds come from the Arturia software and the controller creates a more pleasant feeling and gives a better inspiration than a computer keyboard and mouse. The SparkLE is a completely modern and innovative controller (although it is based on conventional TR controllers) and allows regular SparkLE users to create schematics in two steps.

Backlit pads that allow you to create patterns are sensitive to touch and pressure.  In order to be able to refine your music ultra-fast, this controller is equipped with practical buttons and knobs, as well as an XY pad.  Despite all this, it is a very compact device, which can easily be transported, accompanied, for example, by a laptop with Arturia software.

Pros

  • Comes with a full featured spark software
  • Multiple features to be creative with your beats
  • USB input available
  • Enjoy real-time programming with pads

Cons

  • GUI is a mess and you can’t go full screen

Alesis SR-16 24-Bit Stereo Drum Machine and Basic Bundle

This drum machine from Alesis is a quality device. Indeed, the brand is expert in the field of the electronic battery. In 1990, it released its SR-16 model, still sold today, which dominated the Groovebox market for a long time.

This SR-18 model was created in the same spirit as the SR-16 model, by offering modern percussion sounds, one-shot, electronic drums, etc., to amplify your performances and compositions.

This musical device is full of effects, including Alesis reverb, equalization and compression, allowing you to create any style you want.

This drum machine has a wide 32 MB soundtrack of percussion and synthesizer. You can hear over 500 drum and percussion tones and 50 bass tones.

It is also equipped with 12 velocity sensitive pads and an LCD screen. Pattern Play Mode allows you to launch different patterns directly from the pads. As for the drum roll function, it is made for very natural bearings. The “dynamic articulation” function allows you to play a sound and modify its tone according to the striking force, which gives more realistic performances.

Power is supplied by mains, which is included, or by batteries.

Pros

  • Professional grade drum machine with over 12 velocity sensitive pads
  • 50 preset kits with over 233 pre-loaded sounds
  • Alesis Dynamic Articulation technology for a unique experience
  • Includes 2 footswitch jacks

Cons

  • Groove box quality is satisfactory

How to Choose Best Drum Machines

As I always say, buying is important but to have knowledge about what to buy is even more important.

To help my enthusiastic musicians on what factors defines an excellent drum machine, below is a short buying guide that will be make your choice a better one.

Definition

Before I start here is what a drum machine means, “A drum machine is an average box-shaped device which has plenty of button just like a keyboard. These buttons help you to produce a much realistic and appealing music. In simple it makes your music more professional.”

Size

While a drum machine is a box-shaped device but not all have the same size. Though they aren’t humungous as they used to be in the past but the size does vary. You may find some very compact and easily portable while others are somewhat large.

Choosing a small or large machine doesn’t bring you any advantage unless you know what exactly you need. For example, last year I was living in a small apartment and despite having the budget to buy a really good drum machine (because I’m a crazy drummer and musician), I had to opt for a smaller box because of limited space.

Guess what…? I was actually happy with my decision because later on I realized that a bigger machine could have caused problems and discomfort.

The only advantage bigger drum machines have over the smaller ones is that they are a lot easier to play because of the extra space they offer. Small machines can sometimes be difficult to play and you may even feel frustrated.

Sound Changing

A lot of drum machines won’t allow you to upload your own sound and play around with it. Sounds bad right? If you are on a tight budget, you may end up with such box that comes with a single set alone.

I would recommend choosing a drum box which gives you the convenience of sampling and customizing it the way you want. This will offer you limitless options to play with. You can even download your favorite beats, upload them, customize them and even alter them live.

However, if you are happy with simple built-in sounds, just choose what suites you the best. Needless to say, with more features, the price will spike.

Memory

Another very important feature you shouldn’t neglect when buying a new drum machine is its memory. By that I mean the ability of your new machine to store patterns. Your new machine must have a good memory so it allows you to easily upload and save different types of patterns.

If you just love playing inside your room or apartment for fun, a drum machine with a small memory won’t bother you.

But if you like to play in front of an audience or maybe your friends, then a big memory is required. It will give you plenty of space to store in different types of patterns in order and access them whenever you want.

Digital Compatibility

I’m a huge supporter of drum machines having full digital compatibility, else it is like buying a piece of trash. There is absolutely no problem if you love a standalone device and produce music by itself.

However, having a device which can be easily connected to your computer and other digital devices such as your  iPod, Smartphone, etc. is a big ‘YES’ here.

If the word MIDI excites you, then definitely you need a drum machine which comes with full digital compatibility.

Sound Quality

Of course different brands and models have different types of sounds. Some may be thick while others sharp and even warm. Though this doesn’t matter a lot as long as you are well-aware of the sound different music gear create and then base your decision on which machine to choose.

Own Or Built-in Samples

Hate to say but majority of the drum machines come with limited sounds inside them. If that is ok with you ignore this point but keep reading if you love UPLOADING YOUR OWN SAMPLES.

Having this feature of uploading your own samples easily can make your life a lot easier. You can easily find plenty of free samples available online and they are free to download as well. You can simply download and upload to your new drum machine.

Wouldn’t it be great being able to sample those everyday sounds inside your own room and make your beat stand out from others?

Portability

Whether it is a big or a small drum machine it is easily portable unless you’ve bought a humungous box which is even difficult to move around.

Different Types of Drum Box

Drum machines fall into two broad categories: physical drum machines and virtual drum machines.

Physical drum machines

Physical Groove boxes are traditional drum machines that allow musicians to create their own compositions.

If we integrate a synthesizer into this type of drum machine, we will be able to create what we call finite measures, also called patterns, which we can then play in a loop.

Virtual drum machines

Virtual Groove boxes are not concrete instrumental accessories, but software, hence their name “virtual”. These programs are to be installed directly on your computer, where they will do everything that physical drum machines do.

These programs can be placed in the well-known category of Computer Assisted Music (CAM). Obviously, due to new technologies always more powerful and less expensive than “real” objects, virtual drum machines are more and more popular compared to physical Groove boxes.

Price

Finally, the price and features of your drum machine depends on your budget and how much you are willing to spend. The grand models can cost a little more but there are relatively affordable models with pretty decent features.

Verdict

So, that’s it for today drummers. I hope this article was helpful and you were able to find your best drum machine. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section. Got some better suggestion which you think should be on the list? Shoot us with your recommendations and we’ll see if it is worth adding.

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