Best Drum Machine Reviews 2018

As technology progresses, the creation and production, not to mention consumption, of music is becoming more digital. These advances have led to the introduction of devices such as drum machines that help musicians and producers open up a world where they don’t need a full band to create the beats and sound they are looking for. People can create music more conveniently and independently than before. Besides, drum machines help to produce what we call “modern music.” With this in mind, our team has compiled a list of five top products from some of the best drum machine brands so you can get jamming!
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Compatibility
Outputs
Patterns
Size/Weight
Our Top Choice
Alesis SR-16 Classic Drum Machine
Alesis aims to not only provide musicians with products they need to create, but help spark and ignite their passion for music while using them.
Has exclusive Alesis Dynamic Articulation™ for tonal content change in drum sounds.
Some customers complained of lack of drum intro and extro options.
Digital
Standalone
4
400 ( 200 user / 200 preset )
9.25 x 1.5 x 6.5 in, 2.5 lbs
Best Value
Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine
Korg reflects the inspiration, ideas and values from the artists that use its products in its musical instruments.
Convenient compact size. Built-in editing function to cut/slice/mix on the spot.
The keys being on the small side can make accurate entry difficult.
Analog synthesis
Not specified
3
8
7.61 x 4.54 x 1.78 in, 0.82 lbs
Arturia Analog Drum Machine
Arturia develops music software for all different levels of musicians, and represents French engineering at its finest.
Connectivity allows linking of all your studio gear. 17 analog drum sounds. 64-step sequencer.
This device is built sturdily to last, but that also makes it less portable then others on the market.
Analog
Computer
11
64
16.46 x 10.87 x 1.58 in, 5.69 lbs
Singular Sound Beat Buddy Drum Machine
Singular Sound is a young company doing big things and creating devices that “rock” the music accessory industry.
Portable, easy to use, and the most award-winning musical accessory of the last decade.
Nothing is perfect and users have reported that beats are slow to upload when changing between them during use of this machine.
Digital
Computer compatible
3
10 sets, 24 genres, 200+ styles
5 x 3.5 x 2.5 in, 1.1 lbs
Akai Professional Wolf Analog Drum Machine
From the studio to the stage, Akai Professional has been a fixture on the music scene since 1984, helping musicians express themselves.
Six MPC styled pads for finger drumming. Howl feature that kicks up the sound an extra notch.
Mixed reviews from customers say Akai took the classic analog system too far with this one, and some say it's even a bit outdated for their liking.
Analog
Computer compatible
7
16 patterns, 2 sequences each
12.4 x 8.7 x 2 in, 4.6 lbs

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Drum Machine?

Different people have different definitions of music. Basically, music is the art of combining tones to form any sequence of enjoyable sounds. Music is a vital aspect of our daily lives.

Old is not gold anymore! Gone are the days when musicians only made music with a simple guitar and a drum. With innovation and technology, the production of music has become easier. Today, you can write a song in the morning and, in the evening, your song is ready to be played on the radio. Whether you are a music producer or a musician, this where a drum machine comes in handy.

A party is not complete without good music. Music has a way of bringing people together. A DJ controller is not enough for your party; you need a drum machine to produce the best musical rhythms that will keep people dancing all night long.

With computerized effects, the music industry can magically generate music with unique melodies in any genre. Along with an audio mixer, a drum machine is a great tool to help you create new music. If you’re a producer or musician, you need to equip your music studio with all the necessary musical instruments. An electric bass guitar and a drum machine are a great combination to get those modern, catchy beats you’re after.
Price
The price of a drum machine depends on its design features, compatibility, size, and number of outputs. The best drum machines tend to be a little pricier. That means you need to dig a little deeper into your pocket to get a quality one – you do not want to sacrifice performance for price by buying a cheap drum machine.

You can get a drum machine with about $340 to $460. We know you are surprised by the price range, but you should take note of the unique performance effects of some of these quality drum machines. Cheap drum machines probably won’t have the features you need to create great music.
Features
We know you want to boost your musical career. That is why you have to be savvy when shopping for a drum machine. Here are some of the critical features you need to look for in a drum machine.
  • Type- Drum machines are of different types. For instance, they can be analog or digital.
  • Compatibility- Most drum machines are compatible with your computer, but some are stand-alone.
  • Outputs- Depending on the type of drum machine, outputs vary from 3 to 11.
  • Patterns- Different drum machines have different pattern memories for song storage and recall.
  • Size and Weight- Depending on your tastes and size of your studio, you can find the drum machine of your choice.
We want you to fully understand these specifications and their importance so that you can make a good choice when buying a drum machine.
Construction and Design
Most music studios have limited space and can’t stock too many large musical instruments. It is not like a church hall where your 100-member choir can parade across the stage before performing. So when you buy a drum machine, calculate the available space in your studio. However, a bigger drum machine has the advantage of larger knobs, meaning that you will not struggle to tweak your settings.

Most modern musical instruments use sound synthesis mode rather than digital sampling. That may sound a little bit technical to many of you. However, as a musician or producer you ought to know this. That’s why some drum machines have 11 outputs, whereas others have 3 outputs only. These outputs play a significant role in sound sampling and sound synthesis when generating music.
Performance and Ease of Use
Are you analog or digital? Whereas some people feel more comfortable with the digital style of doing things, others appreciate analog. Due to these differences, the musical instrument industry has both digital and analog drum machines for you. It is very difficult to differentiate an analog drum machine from a digital drum machine because they look alike; the only difference is in the realism of the music.

Most musical instruments today are computer compatible. There are relatively few stand-alone drum machines in the market. Imagine being in a world with no electronic gadgets! That sounds crazy to some of us.

Back in the 80s, drum machines did not have the complex patterns they do today. The memory of these machines has been improved to make recalling and recording songs easier.

Drum machines are easy to use. Just set them up carefully. After that, connect them to a power source with the right amount of voltage. Most importantly, maintain your drum machine in good shape so that you can get the most out of it.

What is the Best Drum Machine?

Buying a drum machine is a great way to surprise your music-fanatic friends with exciting music they have never heard before. Now that you know which features to look for in a drum machine, read our reviews to find the one that suits your style. Keep in mind that these brands may have other great drum machines and other musical instruments in stock.
Our Top Choice
With 233 realistic drum sounds and 50 presets played by top session drummers, the Alesis SR-16 Classic Drum Machine is the top choice for many musicians around the world. The Alesis SR-16 is an excellent drum machine with all the basic features and functions you need to start making music. However, if you're looking for a machine that allows you to add effects, we suggest checking out the SR18 Portable Drum Machine, also made by Alesis.
Alesis Classic 24-Bit Stereo Electronic Drum Machine with Dynamic Articulation – Available with 100 or 200 Patterns

Alesis Drum Machine SR16 – 100 Patterns


Features
Alesis produces high-quality keyboards, synthesizers, hard disk recorders, drum machines, mixers, signal processors, effects units, amplifiers and speakers. The company provides not only products, but experiences to unlock the creativity in musicians.

The Alesis SR-16 Classic Drum Machine has long-term popularity and dependability as a top-performing product, with an impressive selection of 233 realistic drum sounds. In addition to that, it also boasts the following incredible features:
  • 12 velocity sensitive pads
  • Alesis Dynamic Articulation™ that enables drum sound to change tonal content when played harder
  • Sound stacking, step editing, and stereo samples with reverb and ambience
  • 50 preset / 50 user drum kits
  • Two footswitch jacks
  • Stereo main and aux outs
  • Headphone jack and power supply included
    Best Value
    The Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine is a classic take on today's drum machines, creating sounds that can only be achieved by using analog. The Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine is an excellent choice for someone really looking for that old-school sound and operating system. If you need something a bit simpler but still compact, look at the KR Mini Rhythm Machine, also by Korg.
    Korg Volca Analog Rhythm Machine – Available in 7 Styles

    Korg Drum Machine VOLCABEATS


    Features
    Since its founding in 1963, Korg has been continuously creating new experiences and technology in music and performance. It produces innovative instruments that inspire professional artists but are still suitable for anyone to play.

    We are featuring the Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine due to its compact size and analog functions. This device keeps it classic, with six analog and four PCM-based drum parts. It is Electribe-style, with a 16-step sequencer and eight memory patches. The Sync In and Out feature allows clock sync of a variety of instruments with this drum machine. As if it was possible to make this system any better, there is also an instant editing feature that allows you to cut, slice, mix and loop right then and there! The convenient compact size still has a built-in speaker and even optional battery power, which means your beats are as mobile as you are!
    The Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine displays its excellent production, with high performance quality and in-depth editing built in at its very core. The Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine uses classic analog systems that are preferred by some musicians. If you are looking for a digital device with the same, well-known Arturia quality, consider its SparkLE Drum Machine.
    Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine

    Arturia Drum Machine 560101


    Features
    Arturia is equipped with a team of passionate people determined to provide musicians with the tools to share their creativity. They aim to mix advances in computer and digital music technology in their products, in order to help create unforgettable performances. Arturia products have been involved in the making of many soundtracks and beloved records.

    The Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine provides pure analog beats for the amateur or professional musician. It provides all the technical aspects of studio equipment, and has the pleasure and excitement of a playable instrument. Some of its key features include:
    • 17 pure analog drum sounds
    • 64 patterns with up to 64 steps
    • Pattern effects such as swing
    • Wide range controls
    • Song mode for chaining patterns
    • Steiner Parker output filter with bypass
    • Multiple sync options including internal, MIDI and more
    The Singular Sound BeatBuddy Drum Machine is the first pedal-controlled drum machine, leaving your hands completely free for the use of another instrument at the same time. Not in need of all the features and functions of the original BeatBuddy drum machine? Maybe the BeatBuddy Mini, also by Singular Sound, is more of the personal device you're looking for.
    Singular Sound BeatBuddy The First Guitar Pedal Drum Machine

    Singular Sound Drum Machine BeatBuddy


    Features
    Singular Sound was founded in 2012, and has since been making it its mission to create unique musical devices that empower musicians to express their individual sounds and style. This company is the originator of the BeatBuddy, a pedal-controlled drum machine.

    The BeatBuddy is the first drum machine in pedal format. It was invented after a very popular crowdfunding campaign that successfully reached its goal in 24 hours. It has won awards over and over again in the music industry, and is actually the most award-winning musical accessory of the last 10 years. This device enables hands-free creation of authentic beats while playing and performing with another instrument. It includes preloaded drum sets, genres and styles, and comes paired with software that allows you to upload over three million songs or create your own beats.
    The Akai Professional Rhythm Wolf Analog Drum Machine is a hybrid drum machine / bass synth / step sequencer that makes a “howling” addition to a musician's gear. If the Rhythm Wolf isn’t appealing enough to you, with its affordable price tag and wicked features such as the six calibrated touchpads, why not get the Akai Professional XR20 with its staggering 12 trigger pads?
    Akai Professional Rhythm Wolf Analog Drum Machine and Bass Synthesizer

    Akai Professional Drum Machine Rhythm Wolf


    Features
    Akai Professional has been a player in the electronic music industry since 1984, and has become a key fixture in music both on stage and in the studio. It has been involved in the refinement of the digital sampling technology that has become a popular foundation of today’s biggest music hits. This is clearly displayed in the Akai Professional Rhythm Wolf Analog Drum Machine.

    The Rhythm Wolf is a hybrid that combines drum machine, bass synthesizer and step sequencer into one incredible musical accessory. It boasts a 100% analog signal path, which allows you to adjust a variety of beats such as kick, snare, open and closed hi hat and percussion. The combination of the bass synth feature means selecting waveforms to get the suitable bass sound you're looking for. Along with a ton of awesome features, this drum machine has an onboard 32-step sequencer and six MPC styled pads for additional finger drumming. All of the above and more make this machine a full package deal!

    Get the Best Drum Machine of 2018!

    We hope that this review has helped you on your quest to either purchasing your very first drum machine, or getting a new and exciting upgrade! Now get out there and start making sweet, sweet music!

    Our Top Choice
    Alesis SR-16 Classic Drum Machine
    Best Value
    Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine
    Arturia Analog Drum Machine
    Singular Sound Beat Buddy Drum Machine
    Akai Professional Wolf Analog Drum Machine