To find the best drum machine for metal is not simple. There are hundreds and thousands of offers from American-based and international companies. But if you can’t find a drummer in your group, or if your group is Spinal Tap, and drummers keep disappearing or worse, your only solution is a reliable drum machine. The drum machine is less demanding than any drummer.
AKAI Professional MPD218 is my personal choice. It is a lightweight instrument with expendable banks and assignable control. All the features you need are there, including the MPC note repeat. I also provide a list of competitive alternatives for you.
- Top 7 Best Drum Machines
- 1. AKAI Professional MPD218 – Portable Metal Music Drum Machine
- 2. Native Instruments Controller – Metal Drum Beats Machine
- 3. Alesis SR-16 – Standalone Drum Machine with On-Board Library
- 4. Korg Synthesizer – Best Metal Drum Samples Machine
- 5. Roland Rhythm Composer – Black Metal Drum Machine
- 6. Novation Circuit Groove Box – 4-Part Metal Drum Machine
- 7. Singular Sound BeatBuddy – Heavy Metal Drum Machine
- Metal Drum Machines Guide
- What’s a Perfect Drum Machine for You?
Top 7 Best Drum Machines
- AKAI Professional MPD218 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Controller With MPC Pads
- Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller
- Alesis SR-16 | Studio-Grade Standalone Drum Machine With On-Board Sound Li-brary
- Korg, 16-Key Synthesizer (VOLCABEATS),Black
- Roland Rhythm Composer, 10 Outputs (TR-08)
- Novation Circuit Groove Box with Sample Import: 2-Part Synth, 4-Part Drum Machine and Sequencer
- Singular Sound BeatBuddy MINI 2: Personal Hands Free Drummer Guitar Effect Pedal
This device does not make mistakes during the live records, so you can improve your music in no time. Check out my favorites.
1. AKAI Professional MPD218 – Portable Metal Music Drum Machine
This machine is packed with a pad controller of 16 MPC pads, powered by USB. There are melodic samples for any type of music, including metal and its sub-genres. You can also spice up your song with numerous effects. Controls are simple, with 48 assignable pads.
- Software Suite: Ableton Live Lite, Big Bang drums, Sonivox percussion;
- Compatibility: iOS connection, USB connection;
- Pads: 16 thick MPC pads and 48 assignable pads.
AKAI is a famous developer of audio systems from Japan. They have been providing drum machines on the American market for many years. The company was founded in 1929.
- Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable, feature-packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples, effects and more
- Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads
- Multiple features;
- Compatible with numerous devices;
- Affordable price.
- Problem with oversensitive pads.
2. Native Instruments Controller – Metal Drum Beats Machine
This drum controller may be less affordable than AKAI but has multiple amazing features inside. The integrated hardware includes a mixer, a sampler, and even an arranger. It has a wide library of samples of 25 GB great mixes.
- Interface: 96 kHz, 24-bit with 2 x 1/4 inches TRS line outputs, line inputs, mic input, headphone output, MIDI in and out, footswitch;
- Compatible: macOS, Windows, Intel Core.
Native Instruments provide this limited series for professional musicians. They offer big comfortable pads, fast workflow. There are 8 touch knobs and full-color screens.
- Integrated hardware/software system includes sampler, arranger, mixer, FX, and more
- Includes 25 GB KOMPLETE 11 SELECT library featuring 25 pro-quality studio and creative FX
- Big pads;
- Numerous features;
- Gigantic library.
- High price.
3. Alesis SR-16 – Standalone Drum Machine with On-Board Library
The machine has a classic design, which you may have seen in numerous music studios. There are 233 sounds recorded by professionals. You may also appreciate the complete support of MIDI for the use of keyboards. Among all the drum machine for metal reviews, this one contains an incredible number of ready to use records.
- Sounds: 233 professional records for versatile music genres;
MIDI connectivity: MIDI with keyboards, electronic drum kits, DAWs, and computers;
- Connection: 4 outputs, 2 footswitch jacks;
- Features: stereo samples, step editing, sound stacking, 12 sensitive pads.
Alesis is an American developer of electronic instruments. The company has existed since 1980. They offer high-quality tools for your musical performance.
- A Studio Icon - Legendary classic drum machine for songwriters, live perform-ers and remix engineers
- In Demand Sound - 233 professional sounds included, built-in digital effects for added realism and powered by Alesis exclusive Dynamic Articulation
- Multiple records;
- Versatile genres;
- Sensitive pads.
4. Korg Synthesizer – Best Metal Drum Samples Machine
This is a 16-key synthesizer from the famous Korg company. It has 8 memory patches. There is clock compatibility with all Volca instruments in the series through the sync out and sync in. This instrument provides numerous sounds effects and is great for any metal subgenre.
- Compatibility: MIDI In for the note entry, DAW, external sync, sync in and out the clock with Volca instruments;
- Extra features: built-in speaker, battery power, 8 memory patches;
6 analog parts, 4 PCM drum parts.
Korg is a Japanese company that produces electric instruments. It has been selling products since 1962. The sequencer allows editing the music and receiving professional sound.
- Electribe-style 16-step sequencer with eight memory patches
- Sync In and Out allows clock sync of multiple instruments from the Volca series
- Compatible with Volca instruments;
- Professional sound;
- There is no power cord.
5. Roland Rhythm Composer – Black Metal Drum Machine
This instrument includes 10 outputs for your convenience. It recreates the well-known drum machine TR-808 with a similar interface, character, and even sound. Besides, the new model contains extra features you may definitely appreciate.
- Control: hands-on style, decay, level, tone, tuning extras;
- New features: gain, tune, pan, and compressor for the instruments you selected;
- Ten outputs through the USB;
- Operated by the battery or the USB.
Roland is a Japanese-based developer of electronic instruments. They appeared in 1970 and quickly became popular around the world.
- Ultra-compact recreation of the legendary TR-808 drum machine
- Retains the sound, character, and user interface of the original TR-808
- Original TR-808;
- Modern features;
- Competitive price.
- Minor problems with the Windows connection.
6. Novation Circuit Groove Box – 4-Part Metal Drum Machine
This is a perfect combination of a sequencer and drum machine. This instrument has a sample import. It offers numerous samples of a wide range of music styles.
- Compatible: macOS, Windows;
- Samples: 64 drums, 128 steps of drum patterns and synth, 32 sessions can be saved;
- Battery-powered, MIDI in/out, USB, built-in speaker.
Novation digital music system is a well-known British company that develops music equipment. It was founded in 1992. It is extremely popular in the USA.
- 2-part Nova, analog-modeled synthesizer, 4-part drum machine, 6 voice polyphony per synth; Compatibility - macOS 10.12 Sierra , Mac OSX 10.11, Mac OSX 10.10, Windows 10 , Windows 8
- 4-part drum machine: store up to 64 drums, samples, and one-shots – combine up to 128 steps of synth and drum patterns; save up to 32 sessions, each comprised of up to 8 patterns per track
- Wide range of sounds;
- Compatible with numerous devices;
- Simple to use.
- The price is higher compared to the other machines.
7. Singular Sound BeatBuddy – Heavy Metal Drum Machine
This is a pedal that provides an effect on the drum machine. Since this is a hands-free tool, you can play any instrument you like, adding the drums whenever you need it. There is a limited library with 200 songs, which I consider more than enough for the beginning.
- There are 200 songs and 21 music genre;
- Comfort: hands-free pedal;
- Extra features: metronome on the screen, so you can check the rhythm;
- High-quality sound.
Singular Sound offers a wide range of electronic instruments for any genre. You can use it with the piano or guitar. There are 9 drum sets.
- A drummer in a guitar pedal format, enabling full hands-free, creative control of the beat
- Includes 200 songs (that you control) in 21 genres
- 21 genres of music;
- Affordable price.
- Not the standard drum machine.
Metal Drum Machines Guide
Drum machines are a must-have for any music band without a drummer, especially for metal bands. These instruments provide the flawless and exact rhythm that is usually hard to find. If you are wondering which of the machines to pick from my list, I can point out things to consider when buying a drum machine for metal.
I have gathered only affordable models for you here. The price varies from $100 up to $600, depending on the features, developers, and durability. The market’s average price for a drum machine is $300-$700. It is up to you, but you can always buy several affordable options together.
Patterns, voices, and flexibility
A drum machine must provide you with a high-quality sound. The instruments on my list offer versatile music genres and giant music libraries. Almost all of them contain MIDI patterns for unique sounds. It is extremely important to find your unique sound for your music, and it must be crystal clear.
Responsiveness and controls
You have to deal with numerous pads using a drum machine unless you prefer the hands-free pedal or decide to learn everything that a drummer should know. Make sure that they are not over-sensitive, and you can easily tap them during a song. Find the most suitable option for you. Some musicians prefer sensitive pads; others have to heat hard to feel the music.
Reliability and portability
All the drum machines on the list are portable. You can charge them by the batteries or the USB cable. They are all lightweight, and you can carry the instruments around in your backpack if you need them. Besides, they are made of high-quality materials. As for reliability, the Roland TR-808 is a true legend among musicians. The same goes for AKAI.
Nowadays, it is extremely important to be able to switch the drum machine to your computer or even iPhone. Check out the number of joints and whether there is a connector for your smartphone or laptop.
Drum machines for beginners
Prime instruments do not require specific musical education to use them. There are step-by-step instructions for every machine on the list. You can always watch tutorials on YouTube. Otherwise, you have to learn how to play drums.
What’s a Perfect Drum Machine for You?
I believe you should not limit yourself to only one machine if you play in a band. Besides, there are so many delicious features modern drum machines offer that it is hard to resist. It was my intention to show you the leading products on the market, so you can decide which one you really need and which you can put into your wish list. They all provide high-quality sound and a wide range of music genres.
If you have tried one of them, share your impressions in the comments. How do you like it? Which features are your favorite?