What’s the Best Drum Synthesizer?

ragtimeadmin April 29, 2014 0

If you are looking for the best drum synthesizer available then you have come to the right place!We have compiled a nice little list of some of the best drum synthesizers on the market to help our fellow digital instrument enthusiast. Check out some of the awesome options below.

Here Are Our Votes for the Best Drum Synthesizers

Product Preset Programs Weight (lbs) Sound Quality Pressure Sensor Rating Price
Elektron Machinedrum SPS
Nord Drum 2
Korg Wavedrum
Alesis SR18
Korg Volca Beats


Elektron Machinedrum SPS-s MKI Drum Machine Synthesizer Sequencer

Best drum synthesizerThe Elektron Machinedrum Synthesizer is super easy to use and is totally portable for live shows, studio work or just to move around your home. The 64 step pattern sequencer is great and can control the internal sound engine as well as allows for control of external USB gear. The tweakable sounds, patterns and effects are very handy when trying to create a unique sound.

There are a ton of cool effects available to play with on his synthesizer along with 64 drum kits and 128 patterns stored in its memory. Some of the effects available are: rhythm echo reverb/echo, gate box reverb, 3-band EQ, Dynamix compressor. Each drum sound also has 2 independent echo and reverb send as well as amplitude modulation, 1-band EQ and sample rate reduction. These are just a very few of the cool things this drum synthesizer can do. Take a look at some more features:

  •  Polyphony – 16 voices (each voice is a single drum sound)
  •  Oscillators – sample playback and synthesis; 39 drum sounds via 4 synthesizers: TRX (12 instruments), EFM (8 instruments), E12 (16 instruments), and PI (6 instruments).
  • LFO – 16 (2 per voice); dual-waveforms assignable to various destinations
  • Filter – 1 multi-mode resonant filter per voice 24 dB/oct (4-pole)
  • Keyboard – 16 Trigger pads for triggering sounds and/or programming patterns
  • Control – MIDI IN/OUT/THRU, external audio triggering

Korg Wavedrum Global Synthesizer

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00B694N4S” cloaking=”default” height=”80″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31pD9WzjCEL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]The Korg Wavedrum Global Synthesizer is 2nd generation dynamic drum synthesizer that provides unmatched musical expression. It is an amazing piece of digital equipment with tons to offer both new and more seasoned users, especially with its new input sensitivity parameter. It is very compact and light-weight in design and can be used as an individual instrument, or mixed in with a traditional drum kit or any performance percussion rig.

There are so many sound options available for programming, although there is a bit of a learning curve for set up, but once you get beyond that point you are ready to go. The manual is great and will answer nearly any question you have from set up to maintenance of the unit.

The pressure sensor and multiple pickup features capture the subtle nuances of your strikes on the head and rim, generating expressive power and new sounds. The increased pickup precision function provides improved, dynamic range for low and high pitches, as well as enhanced response for soft sounds, making the instrument more sensitive.

You can play different sounds from the head and rim, or apply pressure effects on the head to create performance techniques that are possible only on the Wavedrum as well to create an awesome layered sound. The output level is a bit low, but the sound is awesome and clear. As we mentioned above, this drum synthesizer is loaded with features:

  • A sound engine that combines DSP-powered algorithms with PCM sounds to allow versatile and highly flexible performances
  • 200 preset programs cover a vast range of sounds from classic percussion to unique and novel sounds. There are 200 user programs available for storing customized sounds and settings
  • Fundamental sounds such as acoustic instruments have been enhanced
  • Live Mode stores up to 12 settings (4 favorite programs x 3 Banks) for instant recall
  • 140 loop phrases of various genres allow Wavedrum users to jam along or practice to them
  • AUX input allows monitoring or mixing of any audio source–CD, MP3, even a second Wavedrum

Nord Drum 2 6-part Modeling Percussion Synthesizer

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B00DCENOTA” cloaking=”default” height=”102″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NO9GS-3vL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]We really like the Nord Drum Synthesizer as it nearly the answer to all your synth needs. It is really easy to adjust the input sensitivity/threshold of triggers and create new drum sounds and it has a very large range. The low frequencies and tones sound great as well and allow the great preset drum bank to be used to its full potential.

There are 6 generic trigger inputs that go hand in hand with the dedicated Nord Pad input. The Nord Pad input supports the separate kick trigger pad that helps to create a really dynamic sound. We were also rather impressed that you can use any MIDI inputs to throw sample into the synthesizer and get right to work making your beats. The extra features only enhance the Nord Drum:

  • 6-channel drum synthesizer
  • Resonance modeling, Subtractive- and FM-synthesis
  • MIDI in/out with CC control
  • Stereo output, with pan control
  • Headphones output

Yamaha ED10 Analog Drum Synthesizer

In true form to most Yamaha products, the Yamaha ED10 Analog Drum Synthesizer is fantastic. It is super easy and even fun to use and experiment with. You can create synth pop snares, disco tom toms, analog high hats and tons of other sounds with the push of a button or turn of a dial. The parameters are edited all with the turn or a knob or two, which makes it super easy.

There are many knobs to turn: pitch, sub-sonic pitch, filter, noise, decay, bend, click, filter mode and volume. Don’t let the amount of knobs scare you away though since they are all very user friendly. You can also trigger the ED10, with one touch, to play different sounds that are not preloaded by using some of your current audio and can be used as a drum synth without hitting the pad. The Yamaha ED10 is great and here are a few more reasons why:

  • 1OSC + 1Noise + 1 ‘Subsonic’ OSC + 1Filter + 1ENV synthesizer.
  • Analog synth engine
  • All the parameters are edited with knobs –The envelope is velocity sensitive

Korg Volca Beats Rhythm Machine Portable Drum Synthesizer

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00IPWEG2I” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KT0RDgVyL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]Last, but certainly not least, we come to the Korg Volca Beats Rhythm Machine Portable Drum Synthesizer. This bad boy is the end all be all of drum synthesizer and it is just dripping in awesomeness. It is great for beginners and more advanced users as it seems to have a sweet spot for all users since it is incredibly easy to use.

The sound is so great and it doesn’t really compare to others in that area. The price is phenomenal for what you are able to do with this unit. There are some really cool analog features available on this synthesizer.  The stutter function generates repeated triggers that dramatically change the sequence and sound. Similar to the stutter function is the active step function that helps to create new bass lines by removing or inserting steps. Of course we can’t forget to mention the step jump function too.

This function allows you to only play the step you are pressing at the moment. There are powerful analog drum sounds, six editable analog parts and the PCM sound engine that expands to possibilities when using analog sound. These are unique advantages to using analog and many can be done with the turn or a knob or two.

The only thing that I can nitpick at is that it doesn’t offer much sound shaping, but that is by no means a required feature and can easily be overlooked. The Korg Volca is so packed with features and cool little tricks that I could talk about it all day, but I will spare you and let you see for yourself:

  • Loop sequencer distilled from the Electribe series. Electribe-style 16-step sequencer with eight memory patches
  • Convenient functions for incredible ease of use
  • Sync in and out allows clock sync of multiple instruments from the Volca Series MIDI in for note entry, plus external sync and control from your DAW
  • Go-anywhere analog: play anywhere with the built-in speaker and optional battery power

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