A Drum Machine is like a must-own piece for music lovers across the world. It has been observed that since 2010, there is a rapid rise in the use of Drum Machines. These provide a means to imitate the sounds produced by various musical instruments such as drums, cymbals etc. Yes, it is true that some human sounds cannot be copied or imitated by machines and drummers change the beat as per the song. Drum Machines provide the leisure of anytime drummer. Also, it is too expensive to hire a professional drummer every time. That is why, the modern Drum Machines available now-a-days serve as a good option.
The sound of a Drum Machine is popular in younger generations and this sound is absolutely variation-free, which is obviously not possible through live drummers. Similarly, effects can be easily given in the rhythm of drumming by a Drum Machine, which may require a lot of efforts when given by an actual drummer.
It is surprising to know that some of the self-drummers are also using Drum Machines due to various reasons. Drummers like Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, and Neil Peart, all have used Drum Machines at some point of time. They have been mixing Drum Machine music with their original drumming to produce unique music.
Early Drum Machines were Rhythmicon which was created in 1930, followed by Chamberlin Rhythmate in 1957 and Raymond Scottas a rhythmic synthesizer in 1963.
- What is a Drum Machine?
- TOP 5 REASONS TO BUY A DRUM MACHINE
- FIVE FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A DRUM MACHINE
- Top 4 Drum Machine Reviews of 2019
What is a Drum Machine?
A Drum Machine is an electronic musical instrument which is designed to copy the sound similar to drums, cymbals, and bass lines, which are generally played by musicians. Mostly Drum Machines are used in house parties, studios, tourist spots, and many other places.
Not everyone can afford the cost of actual drummers. Frequent partying people may require a drum instrument frequently and session drummers may not be available at times. These modern day Drum Machines can produce different sounds and a unique composition of drum sounds as per the requirement. It might take lot of efforts by a drummer to produce some sounds, which can be quite simple when produced on a Drum Machine.
A famous musician Roland created a Drum Machine called as Roland TR-808 which was launched in 1980. It had a lot of fan-following but the only problem was that it wasn’t digital. Now-a-days, digital Drum Machines are common but it was not so earlier. The successor of TR-808 was TR-909, which was released within three years of its release. It became famous for dance, electro, house, hip-hops, because of its low cost. It created five unique sounds that were analog-generated sounds. They were hum kick, ticky snare, spacey cowbell and tishy hi-hats.
TOP 5 REASONS TO BUY A DRUM MACHINE
- Provides Rhythm: Not all can play drums. It is a musician’s art-work, which cannot be performed by everyone. But this should not stop people from enjoying drum beats. For this reason, Drum Machine is a must-one to buy.
- Time management in music: One may not be that expert or quick in music-shifting, time syncing, and quantisizing. But machines are always time-synced. Even editing can be done fast through Drum Machines. It would even be tough for the drummers to do so.
- Cost advantage: Studio drummers are always expensive when compared to the cost of a one-time purchase of a Drum Machine. People who are partying or like to enjoy karaoke often will find Drum Machine a better and a cheaper option. The only thing needed in operating drum machines is batteries or a power-plug.
- Portable: We cannot drag a musician’s drumming from one place to other as per our own free will. But Drum Machines can be taken to places as they are portable, and so can be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere.
- Labor-Saving: Machines are replacing labor in almost every field. They may not perform same as humans but are an equally a good option and sometimes better. Similarly, Drum Machine replaces real drummers. They produce several sounds and beats electronically, which cannot be produced at a time by drummers. Also, Drum Machines are quite accurate about placement of sounds.
FIVE FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A DRUM MACHINE
Purpose of buying:
The intended use of a Drum Machine must always be there in the buyer’s mind. It has got its application in a wide number of areas. One common purpose is professional musical recording sessions where a drummer is not available. Drum Machine is designed to manage and create sounds which it manages through computer-generated music. It is also used to enhance a musician’s creativity and is purposive in song-writing.
Specifications of the Drum Machine:
There are different types of Drum Machines with quite a number of features available in the market. One needs to keep in mind the specifications and own requirements before actual buying.
Option for customized kits:
The installation of custom kits which can be done to the existing Drum Machines add up to the existing kit library. Some people even go for their own custom kits. But for that one needs to take music tutorials or should have a complete knowledge of this field to select the best custom kit for themselves.
Attractive features: One should not go in for buying without looking at the accessories offered along with the drum machine. You should always look for additional features, for example:
Pressure-sensitive pads- These allow finger drumming and you can even customize song tracks as per assigned sounds.
Dual power supply- These drums can run on either batteries as well as electronic cords.
Stage requirement- These can easily be kept on stage, and one can perform with these like a perfect rock star.
LCD display- Some Drum Machines have LCD displays, which assist musicians to check for beats, rhythm, and cords etc. easily.
Features of Drum Machines vary from model to model. One needs to carefully research them and make a decision. Also, you should read the customer manual carefully. Likewise, if you think that it need not be audible to others, then buying a headset is a good option.
Keep your budget in mind: The price of Drum Machines is determined by many factors. Whether you require a high-end featured machine or you are just a beginner, you might have different requirements. One needs to get the best of one’s budget and requirement. An extremely expensive machine without the required features would be a total waste if it does not serve the purpose.
Though it has generally been observed that there is a strong correlation between price and overall features, in terms of sound, versatility, workflow, classic status or the net returns, but they should be properly researched to meet your requirements before spending money on them.
Top 4 Drum Machine Reviews of 2019
1. Boss DR-880 Dr. Rhythm Drum Machine
- The product dimensions are 16 x 13 x 5 inches.
- The product weight is 6 pounds.
- The product has EZ Compose feature for an easy and fast programming.
- It has four assignable foot-switch and expression-pedal inputs.
- It works well with individual outputs, digital, and USB ports.
- It supports guitar or a bass input, and has Composite Object Sound Modeling digital technology.
- It also supports 20 velocity-sensitive pads.
- The device comes with440 drum and percussion sounds, 40 bass sounds and COSM bass-amp.
- It has 3 insert effects (EQ and compression), TSC (Total Sound Control) and it is featuring a 3-band EQ.
- It comes with 500 preset and 500 user-patterns.
- You can add fills, chord progressions and ghost notes to create versatile music options.
2. Alesis SR16 | Classic 24-bit Stereo Electronic Drum Machine with Dynamic Articulation
- The product dimensions are 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches.
- The product weight is 2.5 pounds.
- It comes with 12 velocity-sensitive pads (with Dynamic Articulation).
- It has 50 Preset patterns by 50 User drum kits and produces 233 different drum sounds.
- The Alesis Dynamic Articulation feature enables to switch the drum’s tonal content suited to most realistic stage performances.
- Some of the other features are sound stacking, stereo samples, step editing with reverb and good ambience, to enhance your drumming experience.
- It has got 2 Footswitch Jacks, MIDI I/O, headphone jack, and Stereo main and aux outs.
3. Akai Professional Tom Cat | True Analog Drum Machine with Built-in Percussion Voices
- The product dimensions are 8.8 x 12.4 x 2 inches.
- The product weight is 4.4 pounds.
- It is an analog Drum Machine with five built-in percussion voices.
- It comes with on-board 32-step sequencer that works with a classic Drum Machine.
- It has on-board variable controls through which you can customize the tuning, amplitude envelopes, and the volume of each drum voice separately.
- It has Gate trigger in/out, for triggering the sequences via vintage sequencers, modular synths, or external sound sources.
- It produces Kick, clap and slap sounds that tunes into Disco Toms.
- It has Maul circuitry to make up your drum beats more rocker.
4. Alesis Electronic Drum Machine with 233 Professional Sounds
- The product dimensions are 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches.
- The product weight is 4.4 pounds.
- It has 16 types of voice polyphony which makes quite versatile.
- It comes with a 12 velocity-sensitive pads.
- It has 233 realistic drum sounds and rhythm samples.
- It has got dynamic Articulation which is velocity-sensitive and helps to change the drum’s tonal content.
- It has complete MIDI support to use with keyboards and electronic drum kits.
- There are 50 preset rhythm patterns with built-in rhythmic variations for plete arrangements.
- It has 2 pairs of stereo inputs and includes an AC adapter.
- It has24 bit sample with DAC resolution, 20-255BPtempo range of 4 outputs and headphone output.
People have been loving and living music from years. But with modernization and with time, our world and our choices have become more diverse. We need a blend of new and classical both. These machines available in the market not only brings music to our ears, but also create a perfect ambience. This makes people feel delighted as they can enjoy their musical hobby, even if they are not professional drummers.
Do look for some of the best machines available in the market as this will help you about what to buy and what to expect out of a Drum Machine. One should check out popular models and the multiple sound effects it can create, and whether it is ideal for stage-performance and studio settings.
If you are looking for characteristics of classical models with modern Drum Machines, there are certain options available. They might not have digital effects but offer high-quality analog sounds.
Music sounds good when it is in the hands of a professional. The style and the timing plays a major role while playing music through Drum Machines.
Drum Machines allow more flexibility in sound as compared to a drum set. A drum set comes with sure set requirement of drummer and unless you happen to be drummer, you will have to put up lot of efforts in working with it. And that also depends on your style of work and your habits.
Drum sets create loud sounds. Everyone doesn’t have studios to practice their musical passion. Thus playing drum set is quite a hindrance for people who do not have their own studios. Whereas Drum Machines can easily be used with the headsets. Hence, it does not disturb the people who are around.