Best Analog Drum Machines

Best Analog Drum Machines

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The best analog drum machines give you unique possibilities for creating tracks with distinctive warm sound unachievable by other means tactile feel. So in this article, we’ll show you the best options available on the market.

Quick Answer:

Arturia DrumBrute Impact is one of the most popular analog drum machines in the world. With its top-of-the-line sound and portable design, it provides the best value for money both for seasoned professionals and enthusiasts who are only beginning their sound production journey.


Table of Contents


About Our Top Choices

Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine

Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

Arturia DrumBrute Impact is one of the most popular analog drum machines in the world. With its top-of-the-line sound and portable design, it provides the best value for money both for seasoned professionals and enthusiasts who are only beginning their sound production journey.

Pros
  • Top-quality
  • Colorful
  • Classic-sounding
Cons
  • None that we know of

Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine

Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

Korg Volca Beats is a great choice for someone who is looking for an extremely compact and reasonably priced analog drum machine with a great sound and reliable reputation.

Pros
  • Great-sounding
  • Affordable
  • Compact
Cons
  • Might be too small

Behringer RD-9 Analog Drum Machine

Behringer RD-9 Analog Drum Machine
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

More details…

Behringer RD-9 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a way to achieve a true vintage feel without breaking the bank. It is very capable and true to its heritage analog drum machine.

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Unique-sounding
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Knobs are pretty stiff

Top 6 Best Analog Drum Machines

  1. Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine
  2. Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine
  3. Behringer RD-9 Analog Drum Machine
  4. Behringer RD-6-GP Analog Drum Machine – Purple Translucent
  5. Elektron Analog Rytm MKII Black 8-voice Drum Computer
  6. Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 Analog Drum Machine

Best Analog Drum Machines Reviews


Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine

Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine

Pros
  • Top-quality
  • Colorful
  • Classic-sounding
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Arturia DrumBrute Impact is one of the most popular analog drum machines in the world. With its top-of-the-line sound and portable design, it provides the best value for money both for seasoned professionals and enthusiasts who are only beginning their sound production journey.

Best features and specs

DrumBrute Impact offers 10 various drum sounds, and it gives the possibility to create personal sequences as it provides 64 steps of each of 64 patterns. In addition to that, you get a unique opportunity to create any separate drum track of any length you like. Speaking of effects, DrumBrute gives you Step Repeat and Pattern Looper, which are wonderful tools for sparking up your improvisations. Finally, this drum machine has 4 individual audio outputs.

User impressions

Users say that the DrumBrute is indeed a great drum machine that has lots of truly great features, is a great-sounding and amazing tool for improvisation. Also, users praise the interface as being very intuitive and fun to play with.

What we think

Considering the price range of DrumBrute Impact, one might think that there should be some considerable flaws. But surprisingly enough, there aren’t any, which makes it one of the best contemporary drum machines on the market.

Bottomline

Arturia DrumBrute Impact is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very reliable and budget-friendly analog drum machine with a top-shelf sound and refreshing design.


Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine

Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine

Pros
  • Great-sounding
  • Affordable
  • Compact
Cons
  • Might be too small
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Korg Volca Beats is a rather cheap and extremely popular analog drum machine that offers you great sounds and a shockingly compact design. It is a top choice for most independent electronic artists who value analog sound and practicality.

Best features and specs

Volca Beats offers completely editable 4 PCM and 6 analog drum parts, which let you produce every sound of your liking, from 808-style grooves to punchy and glitched rhythms. On top of that, this drum machine provides you with the possibility of storing up to eight 16-step patterns that can later be easily recalled. Using the Stutter function, you can produce repeated triggers that make your track more vibrant. Finally, Korg Volca has a very compact form factor and can be effortlessly transported around in the backpack.

User impressions

Users like Volca Beats because it has incredible sound quality, is highly versatile, intuitive, and sounds genuinely analog. Users also praise the size of this drum machine and its price tag.

What we think

Volca Beats is a very powerful and reliable drum machine, but we would wish it to be just a little bit bigger. Sometimes it is rather difficult to operate with larger hands, especially during live events.

Bottomline

Korg Volca Beats is a great choice for someone who is looking for an extremely compact and reasonably priced analog drum machine with a great sound and reliable reputation.


Behringer RD-9 Analog Drum Machine

Behringer RD-9 Analog Drum Machine

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Unique-sounding
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Knobs are pretty stiff
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Behringer RD-9 is a modern recreation of a classic Roland TR-909 that offers you authentic 909 sounds and a nostalgic design. It is also very reasonably priced, considering the prices of the original units.

Best features and specs

If you’re looking for a thorough recreation of the classic TR-909, then you should check the Behringer RD-9. This drum machine features two modes, such as Enhanced and Authentic. Dialing in an Authentic mode, you get all the drums behaving exactly as the original unit would. While switching to Enhanced mode, you get a few additional features into play. You can easily produce new patterns with the help of a 64-step sequencer that supports polyrhythms, note and step repeats, track muting and soloing, and real-time triggering. On top of all that, you can store up to 256 patterns and 16 full songs.

User impressions

Users say that Behringer RD-9 is almost a clone of the classic unit, it sounds absolutely fantastic, has awesome build quality, and overall just wow. Also, users say that with the help of this drum machine, they can easily create truly magnificent tracks straight on from the 80’s.

What we think

Behringer RD-9 is a great way to experience the legend without the need to go bankrupt. It also gives you some extra features that you could not find on the original unit.

Bottomline

Behringer RD-9 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a way to achieve a true vintage feel without breaking the bank. It is very capable and true to its heritage analog drum machine.


Behringer RD-6-GP Analog Drum Machine – Purple Translucent

Behringer RD-6-GP Analog Drum Machine - Purple Translucent

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Not particularly versatile
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Behringer RD-6-GP is another recreation of an iconic drum machine on this list, but this time we are dealing with a 606 recreation with a couple of new features that couldn’t be found on the original device.

Best features and specs

Behringer RD-6-GP is powered by true analog circuitry and creates drum sounds that are punchy and deep. This drum machine has 8 sounds from which you can create new melodies, such as open and closed hi-hats, claps, cymbals, low and high toms, snare, and bass drums. With the help of Distortion and Global Tone functions, you can control how much bite and brightness you need to add. On top of that, you can switch between 32 patterns with ease and forge full tracks by gluing in patterns up to 250 bars long.

User impressions

Users like Behringer RD-6-GP because it’s a very intuitive machine that sounds really great, has a solid build quality, and is extremely affordable. Also, it’s a pretty solid recreation of TR-606 and is blessed by users who are in love with that sound.

What we think

Behringer RD-6-GP is, without a doubt, a mighty device, but its versatility goes as far as the original unit lets it go. So expect some minor limitations if you prefer versatility above everything else.

Bottomline

Behringer RD-6-GP is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very capable and reliable 606 recreation with a refreshing design.


Elektron Analog Rytm MKII Black 8-voice Drum Computer

Pros
  • Analog-sounding
  • Versatile
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Not very cheap
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Elektron Analog Rytm MKII Black 8-voice Drum Computer is an extremely versatile and capable analog drum machine that will shine bright in any given situation.

Best features and specs

If you’re opting for something a bit more powerful than a drum machine and aren’t afraid to spend on top of your budget, you should check Elektron Analog Rytm MKII. This device gives you 8 drum voices, an analog sound generator, and a sampling engine. In addition to all that, you can apply to each drum voice an LFO, analog multimode filter with envelope, amplitude envelope, effects sends, and analog overdrive. The Scene mode is truly work-of-the-art and provides you with tons of control over analog circuits. On top of all that, you can integrate this drum computer in every DAW of your choosing, thanks to Elektron Overbridge.

User impressions

Users agree that Elektron Analog Rytm MKII is truly a beast that has a robust built quality and is the real deal when it comes to sound design. The amount of features that this drum computer has, inspires you to be creative and explore the world of music production.

What we think

Elektron Analog Rytm MKII is as good as it gets, but at that price range, you have to make sure that it is exactly what you are looking for.

Bottomline

Elektron Analog Rytm MKII is a great choice for someone who is looking for an extremely capable and all-around versatile drum machine with its sample engine.


Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 Analog Drum Machine

Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 Analog Drum Machine

Pros
  • Highly-tweakable
  • Versatile
  • Great-sounding
Cons
  • The interface might be a bit clunky
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 is a very faithful recreation of the most iconic analog drum machine on the planet, with quite a few extra features on top.

Best features and specs

Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 provides you with the same amount of drum sounds as the original unit does. To reach even greater dynamic performances, you can add a few accents to every sound this drum machine produces. Also, Rhythm Designer has 11 separate outputs so that you can record and process all the sounds independently. This unit offers enough connectivity options, so there’s nothing to worry about. On top of that, Rhythm Designer has 64-sequencer and is mighty enough for effectively storing 256 custom patterns, and with the help of the Pattern Mode, you can shape those patterns any way you like.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with the Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 because it has the legendary 808 sound and has lots of truly amazing features that all work like a clock. Users suggest using mono output or headphones for hearing the range of amazing sounds that this machine produces.

What we think

This list wouldn’t be complete without an 808 recreation, and it’s hard to find something better than the Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 to take this place.

Bottomline

The Behringer Rhythm Designer RD-8 Mk2 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very thorough recreation of an 808 drum machine that delivers stellar sound quality and meets modern needs.


Analog Drum Machines Buying Guide

What is an analog drum machine?

An analog drum machine is a piece of music equipment that utilizes real hardware circuits to produce a natural and warm sound of drums and percussion.

Why would you need an analog drum machine?

If you’re an old timer or just a fan of tweaking everything with your hands, then you should definitely get yourself an analog drum machine. Plugins, no matter how authentic and top-quality they can get, wouldn’t be able to replace the feel and certain vibe of pushing, punching, and tweaking controls on the hardware drum machine. On top of that, if you’re looking for a sweet and cozy warm sound, then you should at least try one of the analog drum machines.

Important features

When choosing an analog drum machine, you should consider its size, audio outputs, interface, and additional features.

Size

Choosing between a small and large drum machine, you should keep in mind how much space you have in your home-based studio and whether you’re gigging or not. Because if you operate from a very compact space, surely you don’t need a large unit. And if you own a spacious studio, then the size doesn’t affect your decisions that much. If you’re a gigging music producer, you again don’t need a large and somewhat bulky analog drum machine. You will be much happier with a compact and lightweight one.

Audio outputs

If you’re processing separate drum sounds with the help of a multi-channel audio interface or mixing desk, then you need to look for a drum machine that has more than enough outputs.

Interface

Depending on how you plan to use the drum machine, you can determine whether you need an intuitive interface or you will be good with a much more complex one.

Additional features

Analog drum machines can have many additional features that may influence your choice, including the fact whether you can upload your own samples or not. If you’re a DJ or gigging musician, this feature can benefit your workflow greatly.

How to choose the right one for you?

When you are choosing the best analog drum machines, you should keep in mind whether you’re a frequent traveler and gigging musician or you’re working from a spacious studio. Each of these options greatly affects the choice of the parameters we mentioned above.


FAQs:

What is the most famous drum machine?

TR-808 is the legendary, most famous drum machine that generated sounds from white noise and synth tones, which resulted in producing futuristic sound. Also, LinnDrum is worth mentioning, too, as this drum machine, at one point, modified music, as it provided music producers with digital sampling. Roland TR-707 changed the world for those who were composing dance music. There are more than a few analog drum machines that affect music producers widely, but we will stop at those three.

Do people still use drum machines?

Yes, drum machines are widely used in hip-hop and electronic music.

What is the difference between a drum machine and a groovebox?

Groovebox is a drum machine that has barely editable synth sound included and is used vastly in dance music. The drum machine is a piece of musical equipment that does a lot of sequencing for itself or other external devices.