The 10 Best Drum Machines on the Market Today

Drum machines have a lot of practical uses.

They help you make beats to go under melodic elements in your track.

You can control them with MIDI or use them to clock your entire setup and sync it all up.

The best machines are more than just a sequencer with a bank of stock drum sounds.

A good drum machine should have a compelling engine that allows you to tweak parameters and sculpt a cool sound.

A good drum machine should have a compelling engine that allows you to tweak parameters and sculpt a cool sound.

Some drum machines even allow you to load your own custom samples and tweak them.

To help you know what to look for, we’ve compiled a list of the best drum machines on the market today.

No matter what budget you have, or what features you want in a drum machine you’ll find something on this list that suits your needs.

Here’s the 10 best drum machines on the market today.

1. Roland TR-8s

Roland has been the king of the drum machine game for a long time, and its new TR-8s is a very modern take.

It’s a reimagined digital drum sequencer that offers a lot of drum sounds that come alongside the classic 808 and 909 kits Roland is famous for.

For complete customizability, you can even load your own samples in the machine and use them in the sequencer

Both analog and uploaded samples can be tweaked and modified with tons of synth engine parameters too.

The biggest draw to the TR-8s is its uniquely hands-on feel that makes it perfect for playing it in live settings.

The drum machine comes with a lot of knobs and a single groovebox style drum pad for live input.

To the mid to high price range buyer, the Roland TR-8s offers maximum flexibility and all the features you would expect from a modern drum machine.

2. Korg Volca Drum

The Volca Drum from Korg is the newest addition to Korg’s affordable Volca series of drum machines.

Unlike its analog companions, the Volca Drum is a digital percussion synthesizer.

While you can’t load your own samples into the machine, you can use its synth engine to create your own sounds and sequence them.

In fact, the synthesizer is the main way you’ll create sounds on the Volca Drum since it doesn’t come with a sizable bank of presets either.

The good news is that the powerful synthesizer engine it comes with offers tons of options to craft and build interesting drum sounds.

You can even set up effect automation that records directly into the drum sequence.

If you enjoy sonic exploration you’ll really love using this powerful synthesizer to build your kick, snare, hi-hats, claps, and more!

The Volca Drum is a very fun, portable, and affordable drum machine, especially for beginner electronic music makers.

3. Roland TR-08 and TR-09

The 808 and 909 drum sounds are possibly the most famous electronic drums ever used in music.

They come from Roland’s vintage TR-909 and TR-808 drum machines.

With the TR-08 and TR-09, Roland has re-issued a modern update to the original machines.

With the TR-08 and TR-09, Roland has re-issued a modern update to the original machines.

The much more compact systems still use the same sonic palettes and feeling as their vintage predecessors.

But, with a significantly lower price point.

There are of course some added functions that didn’t come with the original drum machines.

You can adjust the pitch, extend the decay on the kicks, increase gain and add compression.

For the true vintage throwback paired with an intuitive and fun interface, this is a great option.

4. Behringer RD-6

A recent addition to the drum machine market comes from Behringer with the RD-6.

This vintage analog drum machine is based on the classic Roland 606 drum machine that made acid house and techno popular in the 1980s.

The RD-6 designed to be a companion to Behringer’s analog live bass synthesizer the TD-3.

This definitely a great drum machine for getting that classic 606 sound, without having to drop a ton of money on a vintage drum machine.

We don’t know the price yet since Behringer just announced its release. But, you should expect pricing to be in the same realm as its TD-3 machine.

5. Elektron Digitakt

The Elektron Digitakt is arguably the king of sample-based drum machines.

The Elektron Digitakt is arguably the king of sample-based drum machines.

The eight-voice sample player is well-liked for its unique interface and exploratory abilities.

The Digitakt is what happens you combine a powerful sampling tool with a great drum machine.

With a groovebox-like feel, it is capable of programming complicated rhythms while offering tons of options to process samples.

There’s a learning curve to using the Digitakt, there’s just so much you can do it’s hard to explain in just a few sentences.

So, if you’re committed to diving into its unending features you’ll get a lot out of this amazing drum machine.

For the mid to high price range producer who wants to work with samples, this is an excellent choice.

6. Korg Volca Beats

Volca Beats is the analog counterpart to the Korg Volca Drum covered earlier in this article.

The major difference is that the Volca Beats includes a mix of analog and digital voices for its drums.

Volca Beats is a great drum machine for anyone who is getting into beat making.

There are plenty of ways to modulate and craft the 10 included analog sounds, and the step sequencer is super easy to understand.

This very affordable drum machine is a great option for portable beat-making and beginners.

7. Erica Synths Bassline DB-01

Erica Synths Bassline DB-01 recently dropped at the NAMM 2020 show.

It focuses primarily on booming synths, huge basslines, drones, and big drums. It’s the perfect drum machine for acid house and techno producers.

Erica Synths is known for its gritty and aggressive analog synths that primarily focus on intense electronic music.

The DB-01 doesn’t disappoint and pushes forward so heavy hitting drums and basslines.

This is a drum and bass machine for anyone who’s serious about making heavy-hitting electronic music.

8. Elektron Analogue Rytm MkII

Elektron’s Analogue Rytm MkII is easily the most comprehensive drum machine on the market.

Elektron’s Analogue Rytm MkII is easily the most comprehensive drum machine on the market.

It’s an 8-voice digital sampler, it has an analog synthesizer, a 12 channel drum sequencer, and a groovebox wrapped into one entire system.

It’s a very advanced drum machine that essentially combines everything used in beat making into one workstation.

This is the second most expensive drum machine on this list and it comes with some pretty advanced tools, so the Rytm MkII is definitely more geared towards experienced beat makers.

However, this an absolutely incredible drum machine, so its price is justified by the number of capabilities it comes with.

You would have to purchase quite a few pieces to put together something comparable to the machine by itself.

9. Dave Smith Tempest

The Tempest was designed by legends Dave Smith and Roger Linn.

If you didn’t already know, Roger Linn is the creator of the Linn Drum—a genre-defining drum machine that rose to prominence in the 80s.

The drum machine includes a great analog synthesizer with several oscillators, filtering capabilities, analog distortion, and several more effects knobs.

The Tempest is a very hands-on drum machine with plenty of knobs to play with and pads that work both as a groove box or a drum sequencer.

Aside from it’s included analog sounds, you can also load your own samples in too.

This drum machine does come with a pretty high price tag, but it’s justified considering how well it pays homage to the past while incorporating modern features.

10. Arturia DrumBrute Impact

The DrumBrute Impact is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable modern drum machine that’s still very performance-oriented.

Its similar interface to vintage systems like the TR series from Roland is what makes the Drum Brute performance-oriented.

Except, the DrumBrute is an analog machine that comes with a very powerful synthesizer, 10 physically represented channels, and 10 customizable sounds.

With all the channels, and knobs to play with the DrumBrute Impact is very hands-on and able to make changes on the fly.

It’s a very fun drum machine that is fairly priced considering several features including 10 multi-channel outputs, that put it on the same level as other professional drum machines.

Robotic beats

Drum machines are still an integral part of beat making.

Drum machines are still an integral part of beat making.

They help to speed up your workflow with a hands-on tactile feel and they open doors for creativity within the music you make.

With a good drum machine, you can even clock the rest of your synth setup to your drum beat.

No matter what price range or level of experience you have, if you’re looking for a great drum machine there’s something out there for you.

Best for beginners: Volca Drum

Best for the price: Arturia DrumBrute

Best overall: Elektron Rytm MkII

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