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The 4 Best Drum Machines of All Time (In Our Opinion)

Drum machines have been an inseparable part of hip-hop and rap right from the late 70s. The early ones like the Wurlitzer Side Man could produce a few simple beats and sounds, but when compared to modern drum machines they were highly basic. Current ones like the DSI Tempest have tons of features and innovations. So here is a look at the four greatest drum machines of all time: from vintage to contemporary ones.

1. DSI Tempest:

You can never go wrong with this cool new drum machine. The Tempest was created by two of the greatest innovators in music production, Roger Linn, and Dave Smith. This incredibly organic drum machine uses many creative ideas to produce a huge variety of tones. For example, unlike other machines, only one synth voice is provided for kick drums, snares, toms, etc. Because of this, they all end up being incredibly versatile sounds. It is also very easy to use, and the sequencer has truly set the benchmark for future models. Added features included things like compression and built in distortion. Of course, the Tempest does not come cheap and considering the level of effort put into it; the $ 2,000 price tag seems very reasonable.

2. Roland TR-909:

The TR-909 is, of course, one of those classic drum machines that have become synonymous with electronic music production. The 909’s amazing kick, snare, and hi-hat tones have been used on countless records over the years. It was also among the first machines that could be used as an instrument in a studio or live setting. The MIDI implementation software, tone controls, and adjustable parameters make it much more than just a machine that produces beats. Most people feel that using its sequencers and controllers properly to create beats produced some amazing sounds.

The 909 as well as the 808 have inspired many modern say drum librarie sounds which are used in many modern day recordings. For example we recommend checking out this trap kit and these lofi samples as they were derived from various drum machines including the 808 and 909. It’s a good example of just how far these sounds have come over the years.

It is not for no reason that the TR-909 is considered one of the greatest drum machines of all time.
The 4 Best Drum Machines of All Time (In Our Opinion)

3. BKE Beat Thang:

The Beat Thang is an amazing drum machine for songwriters and rappers. It has over 3,000 sample packs, and the sequencing method makes it very easy to write songs. In spite of the features, the machine is very simple and easy to use. There is no need to refer even to the manual. You will be able to start using it immediately. The battery feature is also helpful, as it doesn’t need to be plugged into a power source at all. Also, the library is quite extensive with some authentic sounding drum kits. Loading of third party samples is also easily achieved with the Beat Thang.

4. MFB Tanzbar:

The Tanzbar has been designed in a way that is a throwback to the old school vintage drum machines. You won’t find any screens, touch pads or complex controllers on it. It uses a traditional set up of push buttons and dedicated circuits. But the moment you plug it in, the beautifully polished sound will blow you away. Among modern analogue drum machines; it is one of the best. In spite of the traditional look, there are many modern features to shape the sound and tone.

So there you have it. That’s our list of the four greatest drum machines of all time. Of course, a lot of this is subjective, but we do believe that all the models listed here are amazing drum machines.


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