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Drum Machine - software or hardware

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ics1974, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. ics1974


    Apr 13, 2012
    I want to get a drum machine but don't know if software or hardware drum machines are better?
    Any recommendations?
  2. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Depends what you need it for. Gigging I'd go hardware but I'm sure many people gig with a laptop too. In the studio I'm also a hardware guy but that's just force of habit and I'm a dinosaur.
  3. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    The Alesis sound great.. And I saw an SR16 in the classifieds here.. I'd go with that... I used to have an Alesis SR16 but now have the SR18 and I like the 16 better. It's a little easier to navigate.
  4. ics1974


    Apr 13, 2012
    This is for home use.
  5. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I stand by the drum machine.
  6. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    i love my (hardware) drum machines. if you have a smartphone, you should check out nanoloop (or one of the many many apps out there). it's a pretty respectable drum machine for about $3.

    the next question you should ask is whether you want a drum machine that's a synth, a sampler, or uses preset sounds. i like samplers, as you can use all sorts of fun sounds in your beats, from actual drum sounds to doors closing to wherever your imagination can tell you to record.

    nanoloop is a sampler and a synth, and i also use the korg es-1 (sampler) and er-1 (synth).
  7. If you're just getting into it and only using it at home, a software drum machine might be a little more user-friendly. A lot of the hardware units have to make compromises in the user interface as a trade-off for size and portability.

    But I guess it also depends whether you want to get into the more in-depth sequencing abilities or are more interested in preset loops/grooves.
  8. ryano


    Aug 20, 2007
    Boston Area
    You could take a look at Hydrogen. It's a free SW drum machine. I just installed the latest 0.9.6 beta 1 version and it seems to be working. It can be quirky some times.


  9. cst bass

    cst bass

    Jun 3, 2011
    +1 on the SR16. Its been around for a while, and is still very useful. I switch between that and the Zoom RT223
  10. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I have tried Hydrogen but it just doesn't come close to the SR16 or SR18. Yes, the drum machines do have more of learning curve but they're great devices. Hydrogen can come in handy though and it's nice to have on the computer. I haven't seen software drum machines as powerful as standalone devices... But if they are out there, let me know!!
  11. DeltaPhoenix

    DeltaPhoenix Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    Zoom ones are decent for cheap.

    Native Instruments Maschine is hardware and Software, super powerful.
  12. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    The SR18 is harder to use than a SR16?
    I can not imagine that. I have found the SR16 to be very hard to learn to use. I even had my 16 year old son try to help me and he gave up!

    The manual isn't much help and the YouTube vids will put you to sleep.

    All I can do with mine is use the pre made tracks. :crying:

    Is the Zoom easier to use? I have had mine for a year now and I'm ready to sell it (or smash it)

    One thing that really bothers me about the SR16 is that the display does not have a back light. It can be very hard to read the screen sometimes.
  13. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I have the Alesis SR18. Two things I really like about it are the headphone jack and the instrument input. I can plug my bass into it, put on the headphones, dial up a beat (or click) and practice in the middle of the night without bothering anyone.
  14. I own both the SR-16 and the SR-18. The SR-18 sounds better, the pads are easier to use on the SR-16.

    They both are miserably bad in comparison to a program like Steven Slate, BFD2, Superior Drummer...etc.

    In fact, I would say the SR-16 would function ok as a midi trigger, and the SR-18 has horrible pads, so it fails at everything when it comes to recording.

    I feel they are excellent to practice to, and keep your chops up, though. For real drum sounds, they both are garbage compared to the programs we have now.

    Here's a clip of Steven Slate, for comparison:


    EDIT: I see you want a drum machine, instead of a drum program? Rats....I think I was on the wrong subject!:p
  15. M Sterling

    M Sterling Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
  16. .
    +1 for the Alesis SR16.

    I've been running an SR16 for more than 20 years.
    I've used it countless times for practice and recording demos and I've also used it live several times too.

    I think it's easy to program and, in a nutshell, awesome!
    I might upgrade to the SR18 one of these days, chasing better samples, but then again maybe not. This SR16 is doing everything I need.

    Added bonus: They are dirt cheap these days.
  17. kenstee


    Oct 9, 2009
    for iDevices, Funk Box is pretty good. For something REALLY REALLY simple get the free oncalled e Back Beats...
  18. depalm


    Apr 22, 2004
    São Paulo
    Akai Mpc for me but have had fun with beatmaker 2 on my iPad and iPhone. Really nice app.
  19. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    IMHO ToonTrack makes the absolute best drum software (especially for non drummers)...you can adjust microphone bleed, microphone positions, internal mixing levels, and even diferent sounding rooms, etc., and what's better is almost all of the sounds were recorded in a real studio by real drummers. They also feature expansion packs geared towards styles of music like metal, country, jazz etc. They also have something called the humanizer feature which helps keep the drums natural sounding and non cycling. Ton of kits, cymbals, and drum sizes to choose from and the basic program runs about $100.00 bucks with the top of the line running about $300.00. They also offers deals in the form of packs if you buy two or more together..

    It's what i use at home if i want a drum pattern that is too complex for me to play on my home kit, and sometimes i mix the two on tracks..

    so my vote is for software
  20. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Thanks for all the info. The Steven Slate samples sounded awesome! So I bought the entry level pack...and.... Can't get it to work in Logic... Ugh.

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