In this weeks Top 10 we are showing some love to the music producers among us by going through some of our favourite drum machines. Whether you enjoy sequencing beats, synthesising percussion, or sampling theres sure to be at least one machine in here that will tick your boxes.
1. Jomox Alpha Base
Founded in 1997, German company Jomox have always been known for making amazing sounding machines albeit sometimes at the cost of easy functionality. The machine has 11 instruments 2 of which are purely analog, and 2 loadable sample slots there is no shortage of stuff to do.
Roland are well established within the music industry and are surely a name we have all heard before. They have been providing quality instruments to musicians since the 70’s and have made some of the most iconic drum machines ever made, most notably the infamous tr-808 & 909 heavily used in house and techno. The TR-8S is one of their newer creations, designed specifically for playing live this easy to use groovebox is a modern classic for sure.
3. Behringer RD8
Berhringer as a company are regularly in the news for not always the right reasons, but despite their controversial reputation of essential copying old instruments, they have made music production more affordable for the average consumer, for better or for worse. The RD8 in particular is a recreation of Rolands classic TR-808 which is featured in many house, techno, and hip hop productions. If you listen to music often you will have definitely heard the sounds of this machine, and if you don’t earn a lot of money but prefer the feel of a real instrument over a sample pack then this may be an affordable alternative.
4. MPC Live
If there was anyone that could be considered the gods of samplers it would surely be AKAI. Founded in 1946 as an electronics company selling televisions, the company moved into electronic musical instruments in 84′ as AKAI Professional and since then have created a string of samplers that changed music production forever. From Jungle, Drum & Bass, House, Techno and Hip Hop, samplers such as the MPC have been a permanent fixture. The newest model the MPC Live is a fusion of their classic machine workflow and famous MPC swing, with DAW style functionality to create a one music creation shop that you wont need a PC to operate.
5. Dave Smith Tempest
A favourite for live performance from Techno heavyweights Karenn, Tempest is the brainchild of legendary instrument designers, Dave Smith and Roger Linn. It’s a professional drum machine that generates its sounds using six powerful analog synthesis voices. Great sound design capabilities and easy to use live performance options are the main takeaways for this.
The Syncussion is a recreation of the classic Syncussion SY-1M from Pearl in the form of a DIY kit. Now the thought of picking up a soldering iron and building a synthesizer yourself may be a scary thought for some of us, but those that are comfortable with it can enjoy a extremely versatile synth that isn’t being produced any more. Some of the sounds you can get out this thing are insane.
This 10 voice analog/digital drum computer from MFB is a successor after its popular first incarnation. the first voice (bass) is full synthesis, and the drum machine features 7 analog percussion instruments, an analog bass synthesizer, 3 digital sample voices with analog multifilters and 10 sample instruments, of which 2 instruments share a sample voice. The samples can be exchanged via a free tool offered on our website and allow everyone to have their own personal drum sound. This is definitely one to check out.
8. Moog DFAM
Moog are a name everyone in the music should have heard at least once and were instrumental in starting the synthesizer revolution that we see today. The DFAM is a percussion based machine but with enough tinkering you can essentially make any sound you want. This is also the only semi modular synth on our list. With the ability to reroute the signal flow via patching, and also the ability to patch into other instruments you can play this one on its own, or add it into your eurorack set up. This is one for the Techno heads for sure.
Native Instruments are famous for their Komplete soft synth packages but they have also made a storm with their Maschine workstations. A sampler/groovebox/workstation this has amazing integration with the NI soft synths as well as the ability to make entire tracks in the box, this one is often regarded as a competitor to the AKAI MPC. Those of you looking for a more all-in-one solution, the Maschine is definitely value for money with the amount that you can do with it.
10. Analog RYTM
Elektron are constantly praised for their well built machines and the Analog RYTM is no exception. This machine is part sampler part synthesizer, with an extremely user friendly workflow, fun and easy automation features and the famous Elektron sequencer makes live jamming a breeze. Bit on the pricey side but one of the easier ones to pick up and play. Anything from Elektron is gold.