In this article, we’re going to take a look at our top 3 compact drum machines for your live DJ sets.
Drum machines have long been a staple in music production DJing, but in recent years they have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance in the world of live DJ performances. With their ability to add an additional performance element, serve as an additional controller, and integrate with other performance tools like Ableton, drum machines can give DJs an extra dynamic that can take their live sets to the next level.
Roland TR-6S Compact Drum Machine
The Roland TR-6S is a compact drum machine that packs a lot of features in a small package. It is a versatile device that allows you to create beats and rhythms quickly and easily.
- Six-track sequencer with 16 steps per track
- FM sound engine and sample playback
- Built-in effects, including delay, reverb, and more
- Compact size and battery-powered for portability
- USB connectivity for MIDI and audio
- The compact size and battery-powered feature make it easy to take on the go, perfect for live performances and jam sessions.
- The six-track sequencer allows you to create complex beats and patterns.
- The FM sound engine and sample playback offer a wide range of sounds to work with.
- The built-in effects can add depth and character to your sounds.
- The USB connectivity allows for easy integration with other devices and software.
- The small size can be a bit cramped for those with larger hands.
- The limited number of tracks may be insufficient for more complex productions.
- Some users may find the menu system and button layout to be a bit confusing at first.
Overall, the Roland TR-6S is a powerful and versatile drum machine that is perfect for musicians on the go. While it may have some limitations, its small size and feature set make it a great option for those looking for a portable drum machine that still offers a lot of creative possibilities.
Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine
The Arturia DrumBrute Impact is an analog drum machine that delivers powerful and versatile drum sounds in a compact and affordable package. It offers a wide range of features that make it a great choice for both live performance and studio production.
- 10 analog drum voices with a unique “Color” control for tonal shaping
- Four outputs for individual drum voice mixing and processing
- 64-step sequencer with song mode and pattern chaining capabilities
- Built-in distortion, filter, and stutter effects
- USB, MIDI, and Sync connectivity for integration with other devices and software
- The 10 analog drum voices offer a wide range of tonal possibilities, and the “Color” control adds even more sonic flexibility.
- The four individual outputs allow for easy mixing and processing of each drum sound.
- The sequencer is powerful and intuitive, with song mode and pattern chaining features that make it easy to create full compositions.
- The built-in effects add character and depth to your sounds, and the stutter effect can create glitchy and unique rhythms.
- The USB, MIDI, and Sync connectivity options make it easy to integrate the DrumBrute Impact with other gear and software.
- The lack of a display screen may be a drawback for some users who prefer a visual interface for programming sequences.
- Some users may find the workflow and menu system to be a bit complex or difficult to navigate.
- While the price is affordable compared to other analog drum machines, it may still be out of reach for some users on a tight budget.
The Arturia DrumBrute Impact is a powerful and versatile analog drum machine that offers a wide range of features and sounds in a compact and affordable package. While it may have some limitations and a bit of a learning curve, it is a great choice for both live performance and studio production for those seeking the warmth and character of analog drum sounds.
Elektron Model:Samples Six Track Sample Based Groovebox
The Elektron Model:Samples is a six-track sample-based groovebox that allows users to create and manipulate beats with ease. It offers a variety of features and capabilities that make it a powerful and versatile tool for both live performance and studio production.
- Six tracks for sample playback and sequencing
- Sample locking and parameter locks for detailed sound manipulation
- Built-in effects including delay, reverb, and distortion
- 64-step sequencer with per-step parameter automation
- Compact and portable design
- The six tracks offer plenty of flexibility for creating complex beats and rhythms.
- Sample locking and parameter locks allow for detailed sound manipulation and modulation.
- The built-in effects add depth and character to your sounds.
- The per-step parameter automation on the sequencer allows for dynamic and evolving patterns.
- The compact and portable design makes it easy to take on the go.
- The lack of a screen can make programming sequences and editing sounds a bit challenging.
- The workflow and menu system may take some time to learn and navigate.
- Some users may find the limited number of tracks to be insufficient for more complex productions.
Overall, the Elektron Model:Samples is a powerful and versatile groovebox that offers a wide range of features and capabilities for beat-making and sound manipulation. While it may have some limitations and a bit of a learning curve, its compact and portable design, sample locking, and per-step parameter automation make it a great choice for both live performance and studio production.
Here’s a table of the pro’s and cons and also the best prices we could find for each of them.
|Drum Machine||Pros||Cons||Check Availability|
|Roland TR-6S Compact Drum Machine||– Compact size and battery-powered||– Limited number of tracks||$399|
|– Six-track sequencer||– Small size can be cramped for those with larger hands|
|– FM sound engine and sample playback||– Menu system and button layout can be confusing for some users|
|Arturia DrumBrute Impact Analog Drum Machine||– 10 analog drum voices with “Color” control||– Lack of display screen||$399|
|– Four individual outputs||– Workflow and menu system may be complex for some users|
|– Powerful sequencer with song mode||– May still be out of reach for some users on a tight budget|
|Elektron Model:Samples Six Track Sample Based Groovebox||– Six tracks for sample playback and sequencing||– Lack of screen may be challenging for some users||$449|
|– Sample locking and parameter locks||– Limited number of tracks for more complex productions|
|– Per-step parameter automation||– Workflow and menu system may take some time to learn and navigate|
While drum machines may not be used by every DJ, they offer a unique and engaging way to add an extra dynamic to live performances. With their ability to act as both a performance tool and a controller, drum machines can take a DJ’s set to the next level, allowing them to showcase their rhythmic abilities in new and exciting ways. And with their integration with other performance tools, like Ableton, drum machines offer even more possibilities for creative expression. As more DJs begin to explore the potential of drum machines, their use will become a unique selling point for those looking to stand out in an ever-evolving musical landscape.
If you enjoyed our blog on “compact drum machines for your live DJ sets” then check out our post on “the best portable DJ technology“