Unfortunately for us analog enthusiasts, the Best Drum Machines are slowly becoming a rarity. It is disappointing in general that we have to say “real drum machine” to open this article because we remember the days when we would make simple twofold beats on our MPC 1000 in our studio room at the university. In our opinion, however, these pieces of music are still alive. Although VST software, MIDI keyboards, and Digital Audio Workstations have taken the market by storm (rightfully the technology and music equipment that are fully operational nowadays), there are still some solid drum machines on the market. Let’s have a look at them.
Here are the Top 10 Best Drum Machines
Let’s start this manual vigorously. By one of our favorite brands on the market in Arturia, the Drum Brute is exceptional when it comes to the total package for the Best drum machine. To start the highlights, you’ll get 17 full analog drum/percussion sounds and instruments in combination with a beautiful sequencer that acts as a solid standalone for making tracks. There is also a Steiner-Parker filter (two-mode) and other performance controls in case you want to go on stage.
The 64 steps and pattern sequencing is also to take knowledge, which means that we essentially have more possibilities than we have at our fingertips. If you want strictly analog, this thing is a beast and is completely polyphonic; however, for those who also use hybrid setups, you also get USB, MIDI and Clock I/O – why not? The Arturia DrumBrute is a monster if you can afford it and in our opinion one for the Best drum machines in the world.
Korg Volca Beats
Here is a handy little machine to watch. If you were looking for a model that was very analogous in all respects, here is one of the top hits at the moment. With Korg’s drum machine you have a user-friendly sequencer, analog-sounding drums (hot and thick), active step and step jump function, a MIDI IN for kicks and a small but sturdy battery-powered construction. We recommend to grab the Korg Volca Beats if you have a smaller, more affordable (falls a little over a hundred dollars, double check to ensure) drum machine that provides you with some classic analog sounds. Overall, this is one for the Best drum machines that you can buy right now.back to menu ↑
Akai MPC Touch
Yes, we probably could have made an entire article based on strict MPC drum machines (actually we did that!), But this is their second appearance and with good reason. This is their latest MPC model so far and fades the lines of analog and digital, as it has a touch screen to start. It is quite criticized by music leaders, but that is what they want to do when something else comes on the market. To accentuate the touch, it actually brings us a computer built into your entire drum machine.
On the screen, you can configure your sequences (yes, there is a step sequencer in), adjust rpm, throw with the velocity, names of the tracks and more. By loading and editing sounds, samples and VSTs, and even tampering with the MIDI notes – it is built into the machine like a DAW. Do not forget that it also features MPC pads (backlit, RGB), a Q-Link and other buttons to add to your uses. Although a bit expensive, if you want the latest, look at the Akai MPC Touch which is one for the Best drum machines to buy.back to menu ↑
Now we are talking a bit more old school here. It is considered one for the Best drum machines ever. This thing is absolutely pretty vintage (not quite SP 1200 but it’s up the re), considering it has special pads for certain drum sounds (this brings me back to the days when I would play with my father’s Alesis SR16 in the early ’90s). Some other highlights of Alesis’ jewel are stock sounds of drum sets, electronic drums and one-shot hits, some reverb, EQ and compression for your effects needs, as well as the ability to connect plug-in instruments or MIDI controllers. It is powered by AC or batteries so that it can also be traveled very easily. The Alesis SR18 is a bit cheaper than the aforementioned MPC Studio, so if you want to save some money and want a simpler, old-fashioned drum machine, be sure to check it out. Overall, this is one for the Best drum machines to buy right now.back to menu ↑
Roland Aira TR-8
Roland’s TR-8 is highly appreciated by users in the music world. You get a modern version of their classic TR-808 and TR-909 machines (when it comes to the overall sound feeling). It also gives the user a 16-step sequencer, A and B pattern variations, 16 sets of 11 instrument types, an LED display, reverberation and delay effects, rec/play modes and more. Since the 808’s are so popular (still, even this year) in most (but not limited to) hip hop music, this might be what you’re looking for. With the Roland Aira TR-8, you also get some USB and MIDI compatibility as an advantage in case you are looking for some digital pieces in your workflow. Overall, this is one for the Best drum machines right now.back to menu ↑
Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 MKII
Here is a drum machine that looks pretty vintage. It’s a top prize, but it’s worth it if it’s what you’re looking for and have the budget: a built-in sequencer (64-steps), ability to shape sounds and tweak on the machine itself, real-time parameter change and 16 LFOs. You also get some nice effects, all synthesis, track effect and global effect parameter control on the device. It is one of the most old-school types of drum machines in this article (although it still offers MIDI in/out on the back).
You finally have six audio outputs and two audio inputs for everything you need to connect this thing. The Machinedrum SPS-1 MKII is aimed at those who know what they are looking for and have a bit more experience when it comes to drum machines in general, but even if you are a beginner and want to start with something complex, our guest. Overall, this is one for the Best drum machines that you can buy right now.back to menu ↑
Dave Smith Instruments Tempest
Dave Smith Instruments is known for their top-of-the-line analog music equipment. They made it a few times in our best synthesizer article. It is the priced model in this article, but listen first: it offers 16 pressure and speed-sensitive drum pads, six analog synths voices, an advanced built-in operating system (with which you can create, arrange, manipulate and manipulate real tunes) -time), as well as a beautiful OLED screen for easy navigation. You get some step programming if you are of course able to adjust analog effects or drum mix and to switch drums.
When it comes to some smaller additional functions, there are nice effects: low-pass filter with audio speed modulation, high-pass filter, VCA with feedback, 2 LFOs and 5 envelopes. It actually offers the most features that an analog drum machine can offer you, and more. The Dave Smith Tempest is not for a beginner at all, but if you get this thing, you have one for the Best hardware, analog drum machines out there (and that will take some time). It is expensive, but still one for the Best drum machines right now.back to menu ↑
Everyone knows that Boss name when it comes to some old music equipment and drum machines, right? Well, the DR-880 is a little gem. Standing in front of “Dr. Rhythm”, Boss’s famous old-school and gritty, technically-sounding machines got home for many uplifting musicians. If you are more new, this is definitely something to grab when you like a more vintage feel and sound. With this model (and they have a lot of them the re, you think it’s good), you get a nice collection of waveforms, drum, percussion and bass sounds, as well as a number of programming options per note. There are many reasons that make it one for the Best drum machines that you can buy.
It has something called a “Groove Modify” function, which allows you to apply some grooves or “triplet feeling” to your tracks. It has a number of inputs for guitar and bass guitarists, and the LCD is pretty simplistic (clearly not as nice as some MPCs, but you can at least navigate through – we love the old-school green and black look). a few other highlights to help you make decisions include 1,000 patterns with fillings and chord schemes, 20 velocity-sensitive pads, and built-in general 440 sounds. There are some MIDI in/out and expression pedal connections to add. The Boss DR-880 is about the middle price level compared to others.back to menu ↑
This is Korg’s second appearance in our article. The Electribe is very popular among users in the world of music equipment. It is priced around the middle layer and offers 16 nice quality drum pads, a button for adjusting oscillation, filtering, modulation, AMP/EG and insert FX and a built-in step sequencer. You also have support for polyphonic playback (best for complex chord progressions), a “motion sequence” function (record button and button operations), and some decent FX aboard.
The synth engine is quite advanced and that is what the price brings up, for a reason: it has 409 oscillator waveforms with analog modeling and PCM. You can become super creative with the waveforms, ranging from simple combinations to more complex (dual, unison, sync, ring and cross modulation). The Korg Electribe is just a new twist on drum machines, but it is more known for the adaptation and implementation of the synthesis style. Overall, this is one for the Best drum machines right now.back to menu ↑
Akai MPC Renaissance
To complete our list, we have another Akai MPC model, but it is far too popular not to include it (albeit the latter, but not necessarily for a reason). We are big supporters of the MPC community in general and have heard many times that people praised the Renaissance as The Best drum machine on the market. A plus of the Renaissance is that it is still quite popular and offers a lot of support and tutorials on the internet. You have a classic layout of the drum machine – MPC note repeat, swing, transport control and more.
Their beloved pads as seen on the photo are of course on the unit and they also contain their new “MPC software” in the package if you also want to integrate them with a digital setup. Another additive is the 7 gigabytes of sounds with 300 included instruments, so if you were looking for some sounds next to your machine, this is a good idea to keep in mind. It also has those handy nobs and switches and a relatively simplistic LCD screen for navigation aid. Overall, this is one for the Best drum machines.
A drum machine is an electronic device for creating rhythms. It brings the production and live performances to the convenience of not needing live drums or a drummer. It is a machine that is loved by solo artists and producers around the world. There are different types of drum machines with different functions. They come with built-in patterns, some allow patterns, others do not only make samples, but also accept externally made samples.
In this article, we have mentioned some of the Best Drum Machines and also looked at some important points to note when making a purchase. Hopefully, these points helped you understand what you need in a drum machine. This should make the selection process easier.