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Looking for Easy Drum Machine
Old 11th March 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Looking for Easy Drum Machine

Hey guys,

First post on here. Hoping to get a helpful response.
I'm a solo song writer/guitar/singer producer and I'm weak when it comes to making my own drums, so I think getting a drum machine might help.

I'm look for a something easy to learn, like the Roland R-8, and realistic sounding like the Elektron Analog Rytm 8-voice Drum Computer, at the same time portable, with hopes of obtaining a somewhat 80's sound. I make indie/emo rock. Hoping to spend less than $500. I know it seems pretty specific, but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks all!

- R

Last edited by nevertrender; 11th March 2019 at 01:38 AM.. Reason: added price.
Old 11th March 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I don’t know what you mean by realistic sounding like the elektron...

Though so much more than a drum machine, if you need realistic (acoustic?) sounds, you probably need samples...I would gravitate towards something like an MPC. Older models probably more than adequate if you can’t go for a current model.
Old 11th March 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
KickDrum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nevertrender View Post
Hey guys,

First post on here. Hoping to get a helpful response.
I'm a solo song writer/guitar/singer producer and I'm weak when it comes to making my own drums, so I think getting a drum machine might help.

I'm look for a something easy to learn, like the Roland R-8, and realistic sounding like the Elektron Analog Rytm 8-voice Drum Computer, at the same time portable, with hopes of obtaining a somewhat 80's sound. I make indie/emo rock. Hoping to spend less than $500. I know it seems pretty specific, but any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks all!

- R
Just so I understand what you're asking, do you want your drums to sound like a real drum set or more like an 80's electronic drum machine type of sound?
Old 11th March 2019
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Buy an MPC1000, then you can load real drum samples from whatever kits you like. Or buy a midi controller that is compatible with software like Superior Drummer, etc...
Old 13th March 2019
  #5
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This interests me to.
I'm also searching for device which will have most things that I need or might need in my studio.
Sampling, sequencing and making drum beats.
I'm working in DAW with superior drummer, groove agent and battery 4.
All with mouse and midi keyboard..
So I was looking to get some controller like NI Machine.
Is it good for the task?
Old 13th March 2019
  #6
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 

I looked for an 'easy' drum machine for ages - I was recommended the zoom RT series were easiest...

I didn't find it that easy tbh, I had an RT-323 - maybe I should have got one of the simpler lower models (123,234)..

I gave up - these days I use jamstix on a computer, which I fully admit to not really knowing how to work it, but still nice drumming comes out of it. It does the programming for me and sounds nice and real and varied
Old 13th March 2019
  #7
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I have several of the Zoom units. The 123, 223, 234 etc. The sound quality is exceptional even on their low end units and they are very easy to program and also have midi capability. The 123 has three hundred different beats and 100 user banks. It also has 80 different drum sets and 25 different bass patterns so you aren't going to run out of tones or beats very quickly. The 234 has some neat features which let you tune the drum pitches which can make for some interesting effects.
Old 20th March 2019
  #8
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I was looking for Akai Mpc Studio black for handling drums and other "transient" samples from my computer. I like also Arturia drumbrute for "real thing" and for sequencing option. Is this combination ok?
I'm primarily piano/keyboard player so I'm new to this. There are lot of choices and I'm little lost in all of this.
Old 20th March 2019
  #9
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Murky Waters's Avatar
 

Alesis SR-16
Old 21st March 2019
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murky Waters View Post
Alesis SR-16
we have one of those kicking around in the practice space...

does tick the box for "80s sound" for sure and it is cheap but still sounds nice - but I wouldn´t exactly call this one "easy", though it´s not complicated as well.

but I just didn´t click with the usability - and I have zero issues handling Elektron machines like the Octatrack, just to give you context of my technical ability ^^

I would also recommend getting a used MPC1000 or 500 if you cannot find a 1000.
(be aware that the 500 has some slightly annoying bugs if you want to sync it with other gear, so the 1000 is definitely better)

you´ll have drum pads to "finger drum" in your beat or you can step sequence them in, and you can load up any sound you need, "realistic" and/or "80s"

I use a NI Maschine at home, but that isn´t standalone so you´d have to bring a laptop.
Old 21st March 2019
  #11
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Boss/Rolland make tones of beat boxes too. Their pricing is over inflated, but you can name your own price once your popularity over shadows the actual quality. many of the DR and TR units were made famous being used on hit recordings when electronic drum units first came out. I've been tempted to buy one, but I haven't come across a good used one at a price I want to pay. Between that and the fact I'd have to program beats turns me off. I don't want to be bothered with all that when I'm writing music.

What I do like is being able to Turn it on and off, switch beats, and add some breaks via foot pedals which I can do on the units I have. I use the drum machine in place of a metronome and I can track Guitar, Bass, Keys to it in a semi live performance tracking both at the same time. I can of course program it for a song or write a midi drum part in a program I have then have the unit connected via midi and play the midi parts through the drum machine, then record its analog output to tracks. I'm versed well enough to write parts on a musical staff and have it sound good. I can also tap the beat into the program and have the notes show up on the staff, then go back and quantize or touch up any miss beats that might exist.

I even have a program which will take and analog wave file or an instrument or single track and convert it to midi. Its not fail safe but I could take s fixed pattern, record it to midi them modify it whatever way I wanted. I also have dozens of different drum machine plugins including Sessions drummer which came with Sonar.
Again, I have a ton of options available if I want to go through the hassle of building my own drum parts. I just find it as boring as watching the grass grow. I'd much rather simply call my drummer up and have him come over to play real drums. There is magic you get when working with other musicians which cannot be duplicated using synthetic substitutes. Of course you do what you have to, to write and record your music when a drummer isn't available, but I sure wouldn't settle on a machine or program as being your only options.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KickDrum View Post
Just so I understand what you're asking, do you want your drums to sound like a real drum set or more like an 80's electronic drum machine type of sound?
Thanks for your response. I guess I would say a 80s drum machine sound. I would like to eventually track real drums but at this moment I’m unable to accommodate a full drum set with mics etc in my home.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Have you considered getting a sampler and just loading in samples?

For <500$, you can get an MPC500, probably even a MPC1000

That would open up some more avenues in terms of styles for you, and samples are pretty much the only way to get "realistic" drum sounds
(and of course also that 80s super gated reverb monster snare we all love so much ^^)
Old 6th April 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevertrender View Post
Thanks for your response. I guess I would say a 80s drum machine sound. I would like to eventually track real drums but at this moment I’m unable to accommodate a full drum set with mics etc in my home.
I don’t know if you are just looking at hardware, but if not, Luis martinez’ apps for iOS would probably be great for you, particularly rock drummer, funk drummer, future drummer, and soft drummer. On computer, if Mac, then logic and GarageBand drummers are amazing, if on windows then jamstix as suggested earlier. Or something like ez drummer, which is intended for songwriters.
Old 6th April 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquestionoftime View Post
Buy an MPC1000, then you can load real drum samples from whatever kits you like. Or buy a midi controller that is compatible with software like Superior Drummer, etc...
This is just my .02 and no offense but IMO that's a terrible idea because I've tried it. Trying to tap out drums on a keyboard is cost effective, but it was a miserable, ineffective way to do drums.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nevertrender View Post
Thanks for your response. I guess I would say a 80s drum machine sound. I would like to eventually track real drums but at this moment I’m unable to accommodate a full drum set with mics etc in my home.
Hell for less than $500 you can get an e drum kit and have WAY more fun doing your drum parts. You don't have to become a professional drummer to do basic stuff that way. No mics required.
Old 8th April 2019
  #16
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Sybille's Avatar
 

Superior drummer is the best bang for the buck, unfortunately it's a bit expensive, but then you can do pretty much anything effortlessly...
Old 8th April 2019
  #17
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EvilRoy's Avatar
Easy = Logic X drum track. Best bang for the hardware buck = Alesis SR 16.
Old 8th April 2019
  #18
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I won't start by saying longtime lurker as if I created a account when I started reading Gearslutz I'd have a 10 year by my name..sooo..I'm unofficially on stalker status..with that being said...the guy with the Youtube video "Told me Something"...The reason you can't find a beat machine is because I am your EZ drummer...hmu to discuss details...I believe in signs and my phone literally went dead from Drink Champs and after watching Anderton's vs guitar rig build and Guitologist and several other folks your song popped back up I took the 10 second obligatory listen the firat time after a long day a glas of wine and a cell phone fail it all made sense...Post in another 10..???R.I.P. Kidvybes....and some of you are really kind some of you are really pretentious...folks won't answers..you know it just give it to them...Good Luck and God Bless
Old 9th April 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Easy = Logic X drum track. Best bang for the hardware buck = Alesis SR 16.
There is one review on Alesis SR 16 and it's not so good. It says that samples are hard to mix and it's difficult to set up midi.If that's issue it's not very promissing to have one.
Old 9th April 2019
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Look for a secondhand TR-8 with 7x7 extension.
At this moment it's cheap because the behringer remake is already on preorder and you'll have all the Roland classics.
The Behringer 808 is also a great choice I think.
Another great option is Arturia Spark LE, it has songmode, you can load your own samples on it and all the sounds of the old historic drummachines are included.
I have them both and the TR-8 is soundwise top notch but a Spark is much more fun and is way cheaper, most bang for your buck.
Old 9th April 2019
  #21
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badmark's Avatar
Volca Sample has its limitations but is fun to use.
Old 9th April 2019
  #22
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EvilRoy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AGmixing View Post
There is one review on Alesis SR 16 and it's not so good. It says that samples are hard to mix and it's difficult to set up midi.If that's issue it's not very promissing to have one.
I've only used a friend's so I can't comment on the midi set up, but the sound was fine to my ears. If someone thinks it's hard to mix, they're not a very good mixer. It's hard to find gear that at least one person doesn't hate, I prefer to decide for myself. The SR16 typically goes for around $75 on craiglist. I use Logic and have a DM5 which has many of the same samples so no need for one, but if I did...I wouldn't even bother researching alternatives.
Old 9th April 2019
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

The Alesis for sure. Easy to work. The sounds might seem a little bit dated and "zippy-digital" but it'll sure get the job done.

I run stuff like that through a hot-gain-stage-and-transformer setup. And from what I've heard it do, the Zulu would probably help in a similar way. But if you're just working up songs you wouldn't need any of that.
Old 23rd May 2019
  #24
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After little research, I've decided for Arturia SparkLe. I found it on ebay for 100$. It is on it's way to my home studio. I'll share my review when i take my hands on it.
Why did I decided for it?
1. I need fast workflow when I'm composing.
2. Since it's hybrid, it can have many sounds inside computer which I can use for creativity "sparkle"
3. It has sequencer, and great pads underneath my fingers.
4. Smaler size so I can carry it with me wherever I go.
5. Price
6. It's great for "modern" style of music, since I already have superior drummer this will be good addition to it.
Old 23rd May 2019
  #25
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SparkLe looks cool, if you want portable and simple check out a Volca Beats,wicked little drum machine for sure, and maybe even something like the digitech jam man pedals.. some cool little drum machines in some of these guitar pedals Or for something crazy, a pocket operator with one of my favorite drum machines/synths - Sonic Charges Microtonic..

Alot of good drum machines in Garageband IOS too


Happy beats
Old 24th May 2019
  #26
Here for the gear
Have a look at the Oberheim DMX...

It's very limited and I wouldn't necessarily call it 'realistic' but it works for me as substitute drummer. It's certainly very simple to use and the sounds are good. Particularly, the bass drum is the best I've heard on any of these old machines. The snare and cymbals are also good. Toms are questionable but it is possible to change them (not particularly easy... you need to change the EPROMS).

You can listen to the 'factory' sounds here: http://www.electrongate.com/dmxfiles/eproms.html

If you want realistic, go to DAW. Superior Drummer is amazing (as you probably already know). But when you want something that's instantly ready to go, the DMX is pretty great. It has MIDI so I program mine with the Arturia Beat Step Pro which is a lot easier than with the DMX itself and as pretty cheap.

OOOooops... I missed the part about $500. They're more in the $1500 range... .. sorry. But it felt like you are really looking for what I was looking for, before I settled on this.

Side note: I was blown away by the Analog Rytm when I heard it but it's as far from realistic as it gets. I think that's pretty much the opposite of what that machine is for. You can surely make it realistic with the right samples but that's not what it's for.

Last edited by Charlie_vZ; 24th May 2019 at 09:29 PM.. Reason: Misread
Old 27th May 2019
  #27
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mark1971's Avatar
 

Roland TR8, TR8S for a stand alone.

The Superior drummer is really cool , in the DAW. Kinda build the beats with blocks like Legos on the screen. Copy, cut, and paste are familiar tools. Don't even need to be able to play, buy the midi hits information for beats and grooves.

I grew up on the SR-16.
Old 11th June 2019
  #28
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by AGmixing View Post
After little research, I've decided for Arturia SparkLe. I found it on ebay for 100$. It is on it's way to my home studio. I'll share my review when i take my hands on it.
Why did I decided for it?
1. I need fast workflow when I'm composing.
2. Since it's hybrid, it can have many sounds inside computer which I can use for creativity "sparkle"
3. It has sequencer, and great pads underneath my fingers.
4. Smaler size so I can carry it with me wherever I go.
5. Price
6. It's great for "modern" style of music, since I already have superior drummer this will be good addition to it.
After I've spend some time with this "toy", I can say that it didn't disappoint me in none of points mentioned earlier. It's really, really great production tool. It's really inspiring and fun to use it.
Spark 2 software that comes with it is good for itself, but in combination with this hardware will guaranty lot of fun hours spending for searching great drum sounds and grooves. Of course, probably there are some better hardware solutions for "live" use or for "older vibe" sounds. But, in my opinion, for someone who is working in studio and searching for fast workflow, "modern sounds and grooves" and need help with production process this is fast und fun way to accomplish that.
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