The Best Drum Machine For The Money

Drum Machine

Not everyone has the room or the money for a full on traditional drum set. If you’re looking for a traditional drum set substitute, you may want to look into the best drum machine. There are numerous benefits to choosing a drum machine versus a traditional drum set, and we’ll let you in on the benefits of buying the best drum machine, factors to consider before purchasing, and tips to know before investing. Don’t jump the gun and buy the first machine with decent reviews until you’ve seen what can come from them!

Benefits of Buying the Best Drum Machine

There are simple (as well as complex) benefits of buying a drum machine. One of the largest and more known benefits of buying one of the aforementioned is that you’re able to use it wherever you want, without disturbing your neighbors.

Let’s face it, as much as we love drumming on a traditional set, it’s just not possible in some areas. Whether you live in an apartment or a shared area with someone else, you’re going to have to substitute a traditional drum set with a drum machine. You’re able to plug in your headphones and start banging out the latest tunes you’ve learned.

Another advantage to buying a drum machine is that you’re able to customize a ton and create your own magic. Unlike traditional sets, you’re able to sample functions for customization, and add various effects as you play. Plugging into your computer allows you to save sequences that you’ve created over time and put together something magical. Saving your progress using the digital aspect of the drum machine ensures that you’ll never have to miss something you’ve put together. With traditional drum sets, you don’t exactly have anything recording you unless you setup an external recording source. Even then, it may be too close to your set (if you live in a small space) to actually grab that sound without distortion.

Let’s discuss the software aspect: traditional drum sets don’t allow you to plug into any types of software. When you have an electronic drum machine, you’re able to plug and play, along with being able to create your own samples. Depending on the software used, you’re also able to sample from various instruments, including your own, in order to create said samples. When you create your own samples, you basically can build an empire off of your drumming. Whether you sell these samples or use them for future applications in your music, having a piece of software to back you up is much more than we can say for a traditional acoustic styled set.

Benefits don’t stop at the type of software or sample you can play with, as you’re also able to switch our drum pads easier. Having this as a feature ensures a level of affordability in comparison with your standard traditional drum set. Beyond all of what we’ve mentioned already, you’re going to be able to edit your sounds and samples, work on your timing much better, and learn how to be a musician in the age of technology. While we encourage at least learning on a traditional drum set, technology has taken over, and being able to work with a variety of programs will not only open up doors for you but also able to keep your feet in the water of this industry.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Drum Machine

You should always consider your budget versus the drum machine anatomy. When it comes to the anatomy of a drum machine, you want to make sure you’re paying a reasonable price for the features that you’re offered. The standard anatomy of a drum machine comes with:

Pressure-sensitive pads: In a world where pads are everything (for drum machines anyway), you’re going to want a drum machine that comes equipped with these. Drum pads are used by almost everyone in the music production industry, as they provide a plethora of ways to create realistic sounds for songs, as well as flexibility in editing and programming. The most sensitive pressure pads ensure that you can also use your fingers to drum for very specific sounds, and you can even assign roles to pressure-sensitive pads like crash cymbals, snares, tom drums, bass, and more.

Input and output jacks: Your drum machine is basically a hunk of metal if it doesn’t come with the aforementioned. Input and output jacks are extremely important in allowing you to upload your work for sampling or editing. Input and output jacks are also vital in not disturbing others – a key reason why you would invest in one of these when you live in an apartment. You’re able to plug in your head, and get onto making beautiful music.

Programming and editing: One of the primary benefits of owning a drum machine is that you have a plethora of editing and programming features that can come with your software. Those that are hobbyists won’t really need as many as a drum machine can supply, but those who are looking into the music production business may want to dive deeper into the programming and editing features. Whether you want to entirely record by yourself (without premade samples) or combine the two for a fusion of musical beauty, a drum machine can allow you to do so. Without any type of percussion or effects, a song can be extremely boring. Speaking of effects…

Effects that are built-in: It’s no secret that drum machines come with effects built-in. Whether they’re instrument samples, exotic sounds, patterns, tones, or random sounds sampled from the subway or supermarket, you’re going to be able to achieve a variety of sounds – granted you have the imagination. No matter the genre of instrument or sound, the beauty of a drum machine lies in the versatility.

Portability: One thing that we can say a drum machine offers versus a traditional drum machine is that you’re going to have portability over anything. You’re able to pack and go with a drum machine way more than you’re able to transport a traditional drum set.

Power supply: One advantage a traditional drum set has over a drum machine is the power supply. You don’t need power to begin using a traditional drum set; however, you’ll need either batteries of a power cord for a drum machine. Either way, you can plug in and play with no problem, and you can buy rechargeable batteries so you don’t waste your money.

Tips to Know Before Purchasing a Drum Machine

Before we dive into letting you in on some of our favorite drum machines, we’re going to let you know the actual anatomy of the outside of the drum machine. These anatomy parts stem from the buttons of the machine, as well as areas you’ll need to acquaint yourself with.

  • Audio cable: The audio cable is a connection to the output of an instrument or another machine. The aforementioned is done to input a mixer or amplifier.
  • After touch: When pressing a key, a specific pressure is applied to something called the synthesizer. The act of this is known as the “after touch”.
  • Frequency: There are a certain number of vibrations per second that is called “frequency”. Most musicians and drummers know what this term is, regardless of how long you’ve been playing.
  • Jack: The receiving end of the audio cables and cords that need to be plugged in is called the “jack” area. It’s to allow the connection from one piece of equipment to the drum machine.
  • Keyboard: Also similar to a computer keyboard, the keyboard area of a drum machine is the pad that features a number of keys for playing and customization.
  • Preset: A preset is a type of sample whether a program, sound, or patch in the machine. It’s usually installed already into the memory of the machine and is a type of synthesizer sound. The aforementioned is on a number of instruments, including an electric keyboard.
  • Sequencer: A sequencer is a type of hardware that allows you to record a plethora of music on tracks. It can also be a type of software.

Now that you’ve learned the benefits, factors, and anatomy of a drum machine. Foods to lower a1c Let’s dive into some of the best that we recommend on the current market.

The Best Drum Machine Reviews

Alesis SR16 Classic 24-bit Stereo Electronic Drum Machine w/ Dynamic Articulation

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First up on our list is a drum machine that’s manufactured by Alesis. Providing a number of features that are attractive to even the standard music producer, this Alesis comes at an appealing price. Features of the aforementioned include the forthcoming:

  • 12 velocity sensitive pads
  • 50 presets, 50 user drum kits – 233 sounds that are assignable to any pad
  • Alesis dynamic articulation (exclusive)
  • 2 footswitch jacks, stereo main and aux outs, headphone jack + more
  • step editing, samples on the stereo, reverb with ambiance, sound stacking and more

The Breakdown of the Features

We’ve got to say – there are a ton of features that would cause anyone to impulse purchase on demand. With 12 various velocity sensitive pads, you’re going to have a blast trying to assign one of the 233 sounds to each of them at one point. There are 50 different presets, along with 50 different user drum kits. Being able to assign one of the hundreds to each pad is going to ensure versatility in how you play. There are also MIDI I/O included, along with stereo and aux outs (stereo main), headphone jack, a power supply, and even 2 footswitch jacks included. The exclusive dynamic articulation provided by Alesis ensures that you’re able to change the content’s tone for those that are more interested in realistic performances.

The Advantages of the Product

That’s right – the breakdown of the features was NOT the advantages section; meaning that you’re going to receive a heck of a lot. One of our favorite advantages is that you’re going to be able to assign any pad one of the 233 sounds that come with the Alesis SR16. With the dynamic articulation provided by Alesis, you’re going to be able to get realistic sounds, as well. After all, you don’t want to sound like you’re playing on a child’s toy, right? Lastly, you’re able to play with 50 different presets that come included, and you get to mess with the 12 velocity sensitive pads that have this dynamic articulation already equipped – only the best from Alesis. There are even options when buying to choose either 100 patterns of 200 patterns!

The Disadvantages of the Product

We can’t see that there are too many disadvantages, but for those picky, we think you may be able to find something that negates your personal preference. Depending on how careful you are, you may see that the cable that it comes shipped with does break easily. However, this can easily be combatted by purchasing a new one or reinforcing with some electrical tape.

Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine

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Next on our list is a drum machine that’s well-received by the public and placed at an appealing price – especially for what’s offered. Manufactured by Korg, this drum machine has a number of styles, which we’ll discuss more below. First, let’s take a look at the features:

  • 16-step sequencer, 8 memory patches
  • In and out sync for clock sync of instruments (multiple at once)
  • Stutter for glitching and delaying effects
  • MIDI in, external sync and control

The Breakdown of the Features

If you want to add a bit of depth and dimension to your versatile drum tracks, you’re going to be able to do so with ease as the stutter is available for delaying and glitch effects. There are a variety of beat styles that you can choose from before purchasing, including beats, bass FM, OKGO, keys, sample, and kick – all from Korg Volca. Because of the portability and built-in speaker, you’re also able to use this with a battery power supply to play anywhere your heart desires. There’s a MIDI In for entry of the notes you want to play, and even a control from the DAW you’re using. There’s also an external sync for maximum ease of use. There are eight memory patches with a 16-step sequencer included when you purchase this analog “rhythm” machine.

The Advantages of the Product

One of the primary advantages of this analog rhythm machine is that you’re able to transport it anywhere and use it where you stand. Because of the option for powering it with a battery, and the availability of a built-in speaker, you’re able to play where you want and do so with ease. Another advantage is how much versatility you have between stutter and glitch effects, the 16-step sequencer, along with the style options available. You won’t have to worry about getting bored or having a lack of creativity when you purchase this.

The Disadvantages of the Product

There aren’t too many disadvantages of this product, but it is an analog rhythm machine. If you’re someone who tries to stray from the analog aspect, we think you’ll look elsewhere, but those that are interested in a drum machine shouldn’t be scared of dabbling into the world of analog.

YAMAHA RX-7 Rhythm Machine

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Next on our list is the Yamaha RX-7 Rhythm Machine. Features of said drum machine include the forthcoming:

  • Over 100 patterns, 99 measures in length
  • Add three repeats of the same sound
  • Compose 20 songs (maximum)
  • Real-time write available within this machine

The Breakdown of the Features

The Yamaha RX-7 drum machine boasts a number of features, including the preset keys which allow you to assign 10 different presets from a drum kit. You can also use real-time writing and sample sounds from one of 100 sounds included within this machine. There is an effect button that allows you to use a maximum of three delays per sound (maximum of three repeats). There’s also MIDI equipment including synthesizers, sequencers, and more. With how much is included, the price is more than right.

The Advantages of the Product

One of our favorite parts about this machine is the ability to use one of 100 different patterns from the song chains creation area. Beyond this, your time signatures can have a range from 01/31 all the way to 99/2.

The Disadvantages of the Product

There aren’t too many disadvantages, other than the fact that when using the effect button, you can only have up to three delayed repeats of one sound. While this isn’t too much of a disadvantage for those that aren’t super nit-picky, it is something to think about in terms of limited versatility.

Teenage Engineering TE010AS012 PO-12 Rhythm Drum Machine

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Our next product is the Teenage Everything model TE010AS012 PO-12. Boasting a number of features and coming in the standard PO-12 or bundle, features include the following:

  • Drum sound enhancement – 16 effects
  • Integrated folding stand included
  • Knowles Speakers
  • Fully loaded drum machine, perfect for tabletop rigs

The Breakdown of the Features

Within this Teenage Engineering model, you’re going to be receiving a fully loaded drum machine that’s capable of being perfect for tabletop rigs, or for standalone use thanks to the Knowles speaker that’s onboard. You’re able to enhance the sounds of your drum kit by using one of sixteen effects (including delay, stutter, and crush). Beyond this, you’re able to pattern chain with the sixteen patterns included, and there’s also a 16-step sequencer. For the synthesized drum sounds, you’re going to be able to work with real-time parameters that include two per sample (16 samples total).

The Advantages of the Product

The enormous number of features versus the price is one of the true advantages of this drum machine. Beyond this, you’re able to use as standalone thanks to the onboard speakers, and you can also use it with tabletop rigs.

The Disadvantages of the Product

We don’t think there are too many disadvantages, but there are no known smartphone apps that it can work with. If you’re interested in integrating with your phone, you’ll have to either research more, rig it if possible, or look for something else compatible with smartphone technology.

Korg KR Mini Rhythm Machine

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Last on our list is yet another drum machine by Korg. Features of the aforementioned include the following:

  • Simplistic design, select pattern, and play
  • Chain function available
  • Footswitch option
  • 16 pads for finger drumming
  • Built-in speaker

The Breakdown of the Features

There are quite a few features, including the simplistic design that allows the user to press and play once the rhythm is selected. Speaking of ease of use, you can arrange rhythmic patterns easily and use fill-ins to begin creating your full song. There’s also a footswitch (optional, of course), that allows you to move this to a hands-free experience. Beyond this, there are 16 different pads for you to successfully finger drum with.

The Advantages of the Product

An advantage of this drum machine is that you’re able to use an onboard speaker, and use it quickly and efficiently. Being able to press and play and simply create songs ensures a better user experience.

The Disadvantages of the Product

There aren’t too many, but if you’re looking for a full-sized machine with a better onboard speaker, you’ll have to keep looking and invest in something a bit larger – instead of a mini. While not bad, it still boils down to personal preference.

The Final Verdict

We understand that we’ve thrown quite a bit of useful information at you, and we think that you should invest in something that has at least the aforementioned features in the anatomy section. Without, we don’t think you’re getting your money’s worth. In fact, if you’re still unsure, we highly suggest the Alesis SR16 electronic drum machine. Not only does this drum machine have dynamic articulation, but has a plethora of features for even the most advanced users. Affordable in price with a ton of features for even the most professional, you’ll see a lot of use out of this electronic drum machine.

 

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