Drum Machine – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
A drum machine can make the difference between a simple performance and one that wows your audience. Since these types of devices made their appearance at the end of the 70’s they have not stopped evolving to adapt to the musical trends and technology of the moment. For example, the Roland TR-08 has inherited many of its functions from the legendary TR-808, but with new controls for a better user experience. On the other hand, if you are looking for something to adapt to your guitar, the Digitech 056591 model with its wide range of options may be the right box.
Lovers of electronic music know that an almost indispensable device for creating compositions is the drum machine. If you have decided to buy one, but you lack the basis to choose the correct one, in this guide to buying the best drum machine we provide you with useful information, with which you will have a better chance of success in your purchase.
Type of boxes
Broadly speaking, a drum machine will allow you to create and play sound patterns that emulate drums. Although other effects could also be added depending on the type of box it is.
It should be noted that you could find two large categories that are digital and analog boxes. They are different from each other, mainly, by the way they emit sounds. While the analog ones do it through voltage fluctuations, the digital ones generate it through binary codes. Both offer great potential, although some musicians find that current trends call for fresher, newer sounds that might not be generated with a resistor and transistor-based cabinet.
You probably think that if you play guitar or any other instrument it will not be possible to apply a drum machine. However, it is a device that has managed to transcend electronic music to apply to various circumstances. In this sense, we can observe bands that interpret very varied musical styles, which have found in this device a simple way to achieve the necessary accompaniment to sound like true professionals.
Following this line, you can choose special drum machines to connect and be used as one more pedal for your guitar. They also come with their own speaker, which can be connected to an amplifier to accompany the melody. As you can guess, choosing the one that best suits your creativity and goals in a comparison of drum machines is the basis for you to buy the right one.
It is in this aspect that the most significant differences between the models can be noticed, and that could determine how much each one costs.
If we go back to the fact that drum machines play with factors such as sound, sequence speed or beats per minute and the duration of the sound, then it is easy to understand that the more options you have to affect each of these variables, the more versatile. will be the box.
Among the most common functions we find the effects of tempo, tone, resonance, loops and accents. All of them widely used to give nuances to the rhythms.
On the other hand, we have the tone keyboards. These are very practical, because in some boxes they are similar to a piano, and if you have notions of music theory it will be very easy to create small melodies to play them later and modify them according to your convenience.
The operation of a drum machine is largely determined by the buttons you can press. Each button activates or deactivates a sequence that has been previously stored in the device memory. For this reason, more complex performances with a drum machine require a larger button grid.
Our recommendation is that if you are starting to use these devices, choose a good and cheap basic type drum machine. As you become more skillful, you will have the possibility to control a complex sound achievement without any problem and, therefore, a box with more buttons and functions. While you learn, a simple grid could give you many hours of entertainment.
Design and connectivity
Rather than focus on the aesthetic appearance of a drum machine, we will need to analyze how easily functions can be accessed and changed quickly.
At this point it is worth evaluating if you want a small box to have at home and use it when you decide to have fun and feel inspired. Or on the contrary, you plan to take it to combine with your instruments every time you perform live.
In the first case, you may not be very interested in the location of the buttons, you will have enough time to get used to them and locate them. But in a professional environment the ergonomics of the box is an important factor. For example, if wheels are not your favorite way to choose features, you will find it really difficult to quickly access the change you need. Then, it will be preferable to look for boxes that by means of buttons offer the possibility of pressing the correct combination.
On the other hand, do not forget to check what type of ports the model of your preference includes, so that you can determine if you can transfer your creations to the computer for mixing, to your sound card or to the device you need.