Best Drum Machines For The Money | Review 2020

Posted in Drums | Last Updated on May 1, 2020

Definitively find a really good drum machine is difficult, with a dozen of offers in the market and multiple options in quality and prices existing, is a hard choice deciding which is better, and which deserves to be in our top five.After days reviewing with a professional drummer different kinds of drum machines on videos and checking user’s opinions (from analogic as Roland TR 808, up to completely digital as the new Elektron Diigitakt) we selected the best drum machines for those who want a new one.

This top five is based on different elements necessary to be considered a quality drum machine, as affordable price, a variety of sounds, the design of interface and velocity of pads to response. This selection is ideal for drummers who only want the best and not drummers who want to introduce to the drums world.


Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

My favorite by far is a true masterpiece created by two legends Dave Smith and Roger Linn, the design of this drum machine acclaim to be hit and invites you to create sounds and beats, the four digitally controlled oscillators make this drum machine very versatile. The Tempest can be seen as a drum machine, drum synthesizer, an analog groove box and a polyphonic synth, the pads are velocity and pressure sensitive, while the ribbons also respond in two plans: position and pressure.

This piece has a Six voice polyphonic sound engine, via with feedback and low and high pass filtration. It is a truly powerful tool to compose, manipulate and arrange in real time. The 16 sensitive pads can be used in four different modes: 16 Beats to select different drum patterns, 16 Sounds to edit each sound patch assigned to the pad, 16 Time Steps for sequencing, and 16 Mutes to silence individual parts in real time.A project contains 16 different beats, a disadvantage compared with others drum machines

Is pretty interesting the '16 Tunings' mode in which the pads are tuned to a choice of preset scales. Being a way to weave melodies around those percussion patterns, or produce completely melodic beats when the occasion demanded it.

In addition to the record patterns with the pad, also can be recorded remotely via an external MIDI controller. The Roll button (who provides a stutter effect with assignable ratio) and Reverse ( that provide realistic backward tape effects) provide for dynamic patterns. Both can be used in real time.

An OLED screen allows visualize all the changes and editions realized, the screen shows the oscillator pitch, pulse wave shape, the names of the sounds assigned to each pad an more options in a menu, which is easy to see. It also shows the values of parameters like the attack or LFO rate while adjusting them, features pretty useful to precise the changes.

Although the power supply is external, the supplied wall-wart is very light and unobtrusive. The Tempest includes two assignable pedal inputs, a USB port, MIDI In and Out and, a headphone socket.
Another of the pretty interesting functions is that on power-up, the Tempest instantly loads into RAM memory the project you were the last working on. Only one project is directly accessible, but there’s onboard flash storage to save individual sounds and beats.

There’s no doubt, the Tempest is the best live performance option, you’ll find everything from classic sounds to radically different new sounds. I’m pretty sure, if your fingers met the Tempest it will fall in love and you’re going to improve your finger drum skills. The principal reason why it is not included in the top five is the price tag, being a piece too expensive (it costs overdose the $1000 rate)

  • The pads respond beautifully to finger drumming
  • The user is free to choose from or create any sound and assign it to any of the 32 slots.
  • A drum machine with a colossal synth engine.
  • It has analog and digital waveforms, including many real percussion samples.
  • Can double as a six-voice polyphonic synth.

  • At the time of writing, a beat may be one to four bars in length and is restricted to 4/4 time.
  • You cannot upload your own samples, nor can expand the memory capabilities of the Tempest.
  • Just the notes are recorded; none of the panel tweaks can be captured.
  • Not for the uncommitted or beginners.
  • Only 16 beats in memory at once.

5-Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO 32 Tonic

Teenage Engineering has made a name for itself creating the unique, credit card-sized Pocket Operator synth range as well as the innovative OP-1, evolving over the years to create the amazing PO 32 Tonic. Although it looks like a strange calculator, this drum machine is one of the best on the market, either for beginners or for those professionals who want to create beats while are drinking a coffee in their favorite place.
The PO 32 Tonic coming stocked with a powerful army of sounds, created using Microtonic, which allows create and load custom sounds, switch the sounds, and arrange 64 sequences however you like. The grid doubles up as a sound selector, pattern selector, and a sequencer.
There’s a choice of 16 different effects that can be punched in by pressing the FX button and then a numbered button, and these include a lot of options like morphing, stutter, pitch bending, reverse, squash and more. They’re not labeled on the hardware due to the limited space, but with practice, you’ll soon become familiar with them. You can record effect punch-ins as part of a pattern, which makes everything even more flexible. Performing live with the PO-32 and punching effects in and out on the fly can be an unexpected experience in this tiny unit.

The two dials at the top right-hand corner of the grid vary their functionality based on what mode or section you are in and can be used for setting the tempo, the sound parameter changes while in recording mode automatically.

Also, it can be loaded with fresh sound and patterns created, using the plug-in, allowing you to overwrite and alter its sonic palette. All it is possible by the addition of a small microphone to the PO hardware itself. It also capable to transfer data from one unit to another and make transfers via a wired connection too, by connecting a computer or PO output to the Po's input jack.
On each sited of the instrument are located in and out minijacks that can be used for connecting an amplifier or a headset and sync either to other PO devices for creating a chain or to devices like Volca, iPhone or another compatible device. These options allow you to transfer pattern data and sound from PO-32 to other PO units by simply plugin in the optional cable.

The innovative incorporation of the Microtonic software, its wide range of sounds and its audio transfer function definitively convert the Teenage Engineering PO 32 into the best pocket operator that exists, which makes it worthy of being recognized as one of the best rhythm machines. nowadays.

  • It can be used to practice everywhere.
  • It allows creating songs by being able to chain 64 patterns.
    Excellent drum machine and synth, it can be used for live
    applications and recording.
  • Its pocket size makes it ideal to carry it everywhere.
  • Affordable.
  • Effects sound great.

  • Doesn’t produce high-quality beats for professional use.
  • Lock tab functionality is a little sketchy.
  • Workflow is a bit complicated and unclear.

4-Boss Dr-880

The Dr. 880 drum machine by Boss has years in the market and is still one of the best. With a reasonable price, this drum machine is suitable for experienced and not so experienced. It has great drum sounds, from the most traditional sounds to sounds riskier as country and hip-hop. Obviously, the most remarkable feature is its collection of 440 drum sounds.

Another remarkable feature, is that include 3 different ways to program the tunes you want to create. The real-time record mode, allows you to program the sounds as if you were playing real drums. The second method, the EZ compose mode allows you to pick, the drum kit, the time signature and how many notes to fit into each beat. This method is appropriate if you want to create a quick drum track.

For last is the step-by-step programming method which you can pick the exact notes to be played in the exact sequence you want.
Its Groove Modify feature, allows you to implement some grooves to your tracks. Also, it has some inputs for guitar and bass players, and LCD is pretty simple so you are able to navigate through it. Other features to deserve to be highlighted are the 1,000 patterns with fills and chord progressions and 20 velocity-sensitive pads, plus some MIDI in/out and expression pedal hookups to add.

The bad news is that you cannot upload your own samples to this drum machine, but you can personalize the sounds, adding EQ and reverb to your recordings, as well as 40 different types of bass sounds. The drum is perfect for funky grooves and rock, but I can't say the same for electronica or dubstep, it certainly lacks in this regard.

The USB connection is ideal to store patches on the computer, and quarter inch outputs so you can hook straight into your monitors.

  • It has 500 preset and 500 user patterns.
  • EZ Compose for quick and hassle-free programming.
    500 preset and 500 user patterns, allows you to make it sound like synthetic or authentic.
  • It allows you to record in step mode or real-time.
  • Digital I/O for computers and mixing boards.

  • High-hat sound stops if you hit the closed hat immediately after.
  • Lacks electronic drum sounds.
    The unit isn't incredibly intuitive.

3-Korg Volca Beats


What makes this analog machine so special is all the functions it offers at an incredibly low price, it can also be used by beginners and professionals due to the many easy options that it offers us, the sound quality is a pretty thick one so that it can be played with the acoustic drum to produce a really good beat.

One of the most attractive features of this drum machine is its combination of the analog and digital, which this machine is usually preferred by lovers of the analog. The digital control signals and 10-bit D / A converters guarantee the Stability of the Volca Beats.
Its 10 individual knobs for each function make it easy to handle to create rhythms, its design is specially created to identify when the buttons are active and when the settings have been captured in a sequence of movement.

The analog sounds of the Korg Volca Beats can be quite different, being able to create a deep bass drum that can be turned into a short sound just in a few seconds, up to a box with a sound of the conga. While PCMs have PCM Speed, ​​that allows varying the PCM tones that are usually limited to other drum machines. Also, this drum machine allows us to create effects like drum rolls, delays, the decimation of bits and more just adjusting the time and depth.

Last but not least, it brings us SyncKontrol, an App for IOs that allows you to add swing and set the tempo, a useful application because the Volca Beats does not have a swing. When referring to track-making or live performance this is one of the best drum machines that you could think of.

  • It has two In-Sync-Out connectors that make it easy to synchronize with other Volca.
  • Its size and design makes it easy to transport.
  • Use AA batteries.
  • Sounds great.
  • Straightforward beatbox.

  • Power supply not included, just one audio output.
  • Envelope times are shorter.
  • Cannot be created songs.
  • Snare not very popular.
  • There is no way to add your own sounds.
  • It doesn’t respond to entry messages.

2-Arturia DrumBRute

This masterpiece is described by several professionals as a killer drum machine, In recent years, Arturia becomes a respected brand for its real analog hardware as synths like the MiniBrute and MatrixBrute, With the DrumBrute Arturia, offers us a fairly complete machine at a pretty good price.

The DrumBrute is quite unique and incredible, it has a variety of 17 analog sounds on 12 pads. The existence of shared pads as Rim / Keys pad does not preclude the combination of these, which can be combined with each other and get them to sound in the same sequence as we need. Each pattern can contain 17 sequences randomizes, what allows to have more human sequences or simply to obtain an extra inspiration.

That each drum sound has its own synth gives it a significant advantage because it allows you to adjust the sounds as you wish to create a perfect drum kit. Its customizable threshold allows separating the normal touch of the pointed

The charm of the DrumBrute is in the controls that act in an analogical way and allows to modify sounds in real time thanks to its immediate interface. Unlike the Volca Beats, the DrumBrute allows us to make songs step by step in the Song mode, songs can be assembled while you play, they’re 16 steps long and can feature any pattern from the 64 available. If you want to play certain pattern multiple times, it will need multiple steps. You have to note that there is no step repeat, also, the track mutes are not stored for each stage.

In total, there are 16 songs that loop smoothly upon reaching their end It’s also got space for a huge 64 patterns, a song mode with space for 16 tracks and a polyrhythm allows you to create significantly more complex beats.

It has pleasant and unique sounds like the double bass drum that offers a quite different touch, and the inverted cymbal (the sound that is recommended to use in small proportions due to its particularity). It also allows us to play with the tone. Another feature that engages, is its wide range of connectivity, MIDI, Clock, 1PPS, 2PPQ, DIN24, and DIN28, which allows it to work with other synthesizers and sequencing hardware.

Also It is necessary to highlight the independent audio outputs for each instrument channel which allows multiple options in external processing and multitrack recording with 3.5 mm minijack outputs and 6.35mm jack and the fact that the Arturia DrumBrute lacks a pan function, which means that it may not be perfect if you need a true stereo output but the outputs for individual channels, make it possible panning using a mixer.

  • Sounds really good.
  • Include classic drum machine sounds like the kick 1 inspired by the.
  • Roland TR 909 and kick 2 by the 808.
  • Has a unique analog reverse cymbal.
  • A wide range of connectivity and dozen of individual output.
  • Loop/Roll/Repeat effects.

  • Not digital-lack of automation.
  • Only a brief starter’s guide comes with the product.
  • Playback tends to sound muddy lack of automation.
  • Hi-hats and snare drums are the weak point in the range of sounds.
  • The individual outputs are on mini-jacks.

Elektron Digitakt

This drum machine just have a year in the market and it’s already the best drum machine you can find by a relatively low budget, compact and very resistant, Digitakt is a drum machine and a versatile sampler. It presents a good set of functions and a careful digital sound engine, which makes the stage always ready for a fun encounter.

Digitakt contains all the necessary tools to create great beats and make the people move to the rhythm of the music. A highly flexible digital sound engine, sampling capability, direct sequencer, dedicated tracks for controlling external MIDI equipment and Overbridge support.d Demonstrating the specialty of Elektron and Digitak in the rhythm of percussion devices.

An excellent quality is guaranteed for very powerful sounds. It has all the new HD encoders and extremely durable backlight buttons (around 50 million presses). The sound of the machine breaks with an analogical tradition in the brand, it is "exquisitely digital", and provide us an amazing set of functionalities to create muted beats, 4: 4 exercise routines, polyrhythmic excursions and more all with rhythms as a goal. Even leaning on a certain degree of sampling, Elektron Digitakt aims to conquer on performances, providing a "user-friendly" sequencer that allows external MIDI equipment to be controlled through the In, Out and Thru ports on its rear panel.

The awesome ultra-clear OLED screen perfectly reproduces the clarity and optimization of the user interface, inspired by sure in the Teenage Engineering OP line.

Inside, Elektron Digitakt manages up to eight audio tracks and eight MIDI tracks; it offers eight multi-mode filters and eight assignable LFOs, as well as effects, sends for reverb and delay. It has a memory of 64MB to store samples and an internal 1GB memory.

It's incredible all the features you can find in this professional drum machine just for $730 which is a price tag very low in comparison with another hardware by Elektron. Making it the best you can find investing less than four figures sums.

  • Designed to support an Overbridge software of DRAW integration, combines the beauty of hardware with the benefits of software.
  • Capacities for sampling - even without detailing.
  • Two inputs on 1/4 "jacks and two balanced outputs on 1/4 "jacks

  • Need a deep reading of the user instructions to learn to use all its functions.
  • No direct USB or SD transfer port.
  • It is not too intuitive.
  • Just eight audio channels.