Top 9 Hardware Drum Machines For Hip Hop Production Improve Your Workflow

 Drum Machines For Your Studio

You’re serious about making beats, right? Then your main instrument must be of equal good sound quality, durable design and of a tasteful price range. You are going to get the latest and freshest top list, of the most effective drum machine hardware. Here are the Top 9 Hardware Drum Machines For Hip Hop Production.

9 – AKAI MPC500

Buy From Amazon – AKAI MPC500

One of the most used drum machines, among Hip Hop producers is the Akai MPC500. This is one thing you cannot miss when working with samples and drum arrangements. 

Features:
  • 2.6 lbs and 1.5″ thick to fit easily into a laptop bag
  • Low-profile knobs and brushed aluminum body
  • USB-powered
  • LCD screen to make tracks without having to look at your computer
  • Four touch-sensitive knobs provide enhanced MPC software control
  • Includes MPC software for Mac and PC with 128-track sequencing capability
  • Incorporates MPC Renaissance data dial and more robust build quality on most used features

8 – PORTABLE AKAI XR20

Buy From Amazon – Akai Professional XR20 | Beat Production Station Drum Machine with 12 Trigger Pads, Note Repeat, and 700 Sounds

Again, when Hip Hop music production is at stake, you are simply forced to hear a lot of Akai coming from viral mouths as this company really gives it`s soul to this culture. Next in line, is small, but very impressive AKAI XR20 model. A bit more affordable, but lacking on some main features like USB port and not being able to change the sounds, still, this is one of the highly rated drum machines among Hip Hop producers, mostly used for live sessions or in duet with other MPCs`.

Great sound quality and ease of use will be your key point whether needing something extra or a quick fix, the XR20 is your right choice.

Features:
  • Over 700 sounds produced by Chronic Music
  • 99 Preset patterns and 99 User patterns
  • Backlit LCD
  • Bright, glowing, backlit pads that follow the beat
  • Microphone input and Headphone output
  • Pattern Play Mode – Different patterns can be triggered from individual pads
  • Drum Roll / Note Repeat feature for realism and expression
  • Battery Power capability and AC Adapter
  • – See more at: http://www.akaipro.com/product/xr20#features
  • 32-voice polyphony
  • One 1/4″ mic input
  •  Two 1/4″ footswitch input
  • One MIDI input
  • One 1/4″ stereo pair (main) output
  • One 1/4″ stereo (aux) output
  • One 1/4″ stereo headphones output
  • One MIDI output

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7 -ROLAND`S TR-8

Buy From Amazon – Roland Aira TR-8 Rhythm Performer

This rhythm machine falls more into the electronic production basket, do not get caught by your prejudices, because TR-8 can work as perfect in our genre of insight. Very light and having the USB connection enabling you to work with your PC, recording each sound separately to a specific channel is an awesome feature at the, well not so low price range, but still, comparing to it’s specs, you shouldn’t really bother criticizing at all.

Features:
  • Roland’s reproduction of the TR-808 and TR-909, based on the original blueprints and data sheets
  • Lifelike modelling, including Roland’s original models
  • 16 thomann Kits each with 11 instruments
  • Full-colour LEDs per pad
  • Including the “Dream kits”: Sounds of the TR-808 and TR-909 simultaneously
  • Cruise control with tap-button
  • Fine adjustment and shuffle, volume, Tune and Decay per Sound
  • Bass drum and snare drum in addition to Comp and Snappy / Attack controller
  • Effects Area with controls for Accent, thomann Reverb, Delay
  • External 6.3 mm stereo jack input with mix-mode incl. sidechain for ducking
  • Scatter controller for Realtime Groove tweaking – emulates DJ effects
  • Real Time Pattern creation with up to 32 steps
  • On-The-Fly processing option
  • Seamless switching between Real-Time and Step input
  • Real-Time Play 4 different roll types (8th, 16th, VARI 1, 2 thomann VARI)
  • Pattern Copy and randomize
  • 2 Assignable analogue outputs – in USB mode every instrument has an output channel for the DAW
  • Connections: 6.3 mm headphone, 6.3 mm (L / Mono, R) Mix Out, 6.3 mm (A, B) Assignable Out, 6.3 mm (L, R) input for external sources, USB port type thomann B (audio, MIDI)
  • Including power adapter
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 400 x 260 x 65 mm
  • Weight: 1.9 kg

6 – FLEXIBLE MPC RENAISSANCE

Back to mother of drum machines, Akai, and it`s Renaissance music center, offering passionate beatmaking with very responsive pads, puts MPC Renaissance into a spot of a serious Maschine competitor. With it`s vintage mode reign, it gives you the warmness you need for your drum sessions, but you will have to literally pay the price to get it.

Features:
  • A complete hybrid hardware and software music-creation system that’s perfect for making beats and producing electronic music of any style
  • The ultimate fusion between classic MPC hardware and the processing power of today’s computers
  • Software DAW-style environment provides you with a 64-bit sequencer and versatile MPC sampler
  • Supports WAV, MP3, AIFF, REX, and SND files
  • Full backwards compatibility includes support for samples and sequences created on any legacy MPC model
  • Works in standalone mode or as a plug-in (RTAS, VST, or AU) in your favorite DAW
  • Can host VST and AU plug-ins in standalone mode with instant mapping and real-time adjustment of VST plug-ins
  • Lets you easily record each track as an MPC drum program
  • Comes with a massive 9GB+ sound library, including all of the sounds of the classic MPC3000
  • Hardware features 16 backlit genuine MPC pads, 16 Q-Link controls, and an adjustable backlit LCD screen
  • Classic MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and MPC transport controls provide classic MPC workflow
  • Supports up to 8 pad banks – more than any hardware MPC ever
  • Vintage Mode emulates the sound of the MPC3000, the MPC60, and other legendary models
  • Integrated 4-channel audio interface with 2-port USB 2.0 hub
  • Includes 2 x XLR combo inputs, RCA turntable input, 2 x stereo 1/4″ outputs, and S/PDIF I/O
  • Fully Mac and PC-compatible

5 – SMOOTH FADERS IN MPD26

Holding on to Akai, I reserved no. 5 for it`s stunning controller pad, gaining a full attention from our fellow producers on a tight budget. Still, one glitch of a downside may be the key in your final decision on this one, and that is the increased sensitivity of MPD26`s pads. Well, take a look at the specs and decide for yourself.

Features:
  • 16 velocity- and pressure-sensitive MPC pads
  • 4 pad banks for instant access to 64 samples total
  • 6 assignable faders, 6 assignable Q-Link knobs
  • Classic MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, 16 Level, Full Level, and Tap Tempo
  • Class-compliant, USB-powered, no drivers or power adapter required
  • 16 factory DAW presets, 13 user-assignable DAW presets
  • Works with virtually any MIDI software or MIDI hardware
  • Ableton Live Lite Akai Pro Edition included
  • Large backlit custom LCD screen
  • Dedicated transport controls
  • Pads: 16 pressure and velocity sensitive
  • Pad banks: 4
  • Q-Link Faders: 6 – MIDI Control Change data
  • Q-Link Knobs: 6, 360-degree pots
  • LCD: blue, backlit
  • Transport controls: Rew, FF, Stop, Play, Rec – MMC / MIDI Machine Control or MIDI
  • I/O: USB, MIDI In, MIDI Out
  • Power: USB bus powered or MP6-1 AC adapter for DIN MIDI, sold separately

4 – AKAI MPC TOUCH

Staying in the control room, so to speak, if you can add up a bit more to your bank card, you should definitely do so, as this gamer will buy your huge amount of emotions in use. With maybe slightly larger workflow curve, yet highly worthed, MPC Touch gives you a flawless multi-touch with it`s capacitive screen. For all of you “standalone” representatives, get over your mind box and try a Touch of Akai`s cool gadget.

Features:

  • 7″ color multi-touch display
  • 16 velocity-sensitive thick, fat MPC pads with RGB backlighting
  • 2-in/2-out audio interface
  • Step Sequencer with touch interface
  • XYFX control adds effects, adjusts sound dynamics in real time
  • Phrase Looper, enables connection of any instrument to create loops
  • Pad Mixer for setting levels, stereo panning and adding VST effects
  • Sample Edit control, for trimming, chopping and processing your samples
  • 4 new, performance-ready touch-sensitive controls
  • Data Encoder knob, for push-and-twist control of display parameters
  • Includes MPC software and over 20,000 sounds

3 – THE POWER OF MPC PROFESIONAL STUDIO

The Alchemist Facing the same software make-up of it`s cousin MPC Renaissance, the MPC Professional Studio work station comes as more flexible and versatile, passing the tests from first-time users to the real AKAI enthusiast/pros who tested every one of their models. And with it`s lower price, this is the most suitable piece of equipment for your studio now. 

Features:
  • Fuses legendary MPC production with the processing power of your computer
  • Compact design is less than 1″ thin and fits easily into a laptop bag
  • 16 Backlit genuine MPC pads, legendary MPC workflow & MPC Swing
  • USB-powered with low-profile knobs and brushed aluminum body
  • Large LCD screen allows you to make tracks without having to look at your computer
  • Four touch-sensitive knobs provide enhanced MPC software control
  • MPC SOFTWARE
  • 128-Track sequencing capability
  • Massive 9GB+ sound library, including all of the sounds of the classic MPC3000
  • Instant mapping and realtime adjustment of VST plug-ins
  • Record each track as an MPC drum program, Keygroup program or VST plug-in
  • Works alone as your main DAW or works seamlessly with your current studio as a VST/AU/RTAS plugin
  • Supports WAV, MP3, AIFF, REX and SND
  • Supports samples and sequences from any MPC ever made
  • Display: 360 x 96 dot graphic LCD w/back light
  • Height: 0.73 -0.89″ (18.5-22.6mm)
  • Width: 11.2″ (284mm)
  • Depth: 10.1″ (257mm)
  • Weight: 1.96lb. (0.89kg)
  • Power: USB or 6VDC/1A AC adaptor
  • MIDI I/O interface: 1 In/1 Out via TRS to MIDI breakout cables (Included)
  • Maximum events: unlimited (based on CPU)
  • Resolution: 960 pulses per 1/4-note
  • Sequences: 128
  • Tracks per sequence: 128
  • Drum pad: 16 (velocity and pressure sensitive)
  • Drum pad banks: 8
  • Sync mode: MIDI clock, MIDI Time Code
  • Transport Controls: MIDI Machine Control
  • Polyphony: 64
  • Dynamic filtering: 1 State Variable Filter per voice (up to 8 pole, depending on type)
  • Filter types: Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass, Band Boost, Band Stop, Analog
  • Modeling, Vocal Formant
  • Number of programs: 128
  • Memory capacity: System Dependent.
  • 2GB Minimum / 8GB Recommended
  • Plug-in Supported as Host: VST (Mac / PC), AU (Mac)
  • Plug-in Formats Available to other DAWs: VST, AU (Mac Only), RTAS
  • Audio files supported: WAV, MP3, REX, AIFF, SND
  • Program effects: 4 Insert Slots per Pad, 4 Sends to Track Effects per Pad
  • Track effects: 4 Inserts and 4 stereo Sends per Track
  • Master effect: 4 Master Effect Slots
  • Over 50 high-quality effects Included
  • Plugin formats supported: VST (Mac / PC), AU (Mac)

2 – LUXURY MASCHINE STUDIO

Yes, well, I had to do it. Mixing the flavors just enough to break out of the Akai monotony. No, I`m kidding, but really, what the guys from Native Instruments did with Maschine is something not only worth mentioning and trying out, but takes the seriousness of the whole competition to another level. The Maschine Studio was dropped on November 1st, 2013, snatching the “RedDot Design Award” in 2015 and since stayed as one of the most highly priced and rated products, of course not only catching the Hip Hop industry, but others too.

Features:
  • Width: 432 mm / 17.0″
  • Length: 350 mm / 13.8″
  • Height: 58.5 mm / 2.3″
  • 3.2 kg / 7.1 lbs
  • 15V 1.2A power supply required (included)
  • Integrated stand
  • Two extra-large, high-resolution color displays (480×272 pixel)
  • 16 high-quality multi-color, illuminated pads with velocity and aftertouch
  • 8 multi-color group buttons
  • One jog wheel with LED ring (30 steps)
  • 8 endless rotary encoder
  • 1 volume knob
  • 58 click buttons
  • LED Meters
  • USB 2.0, 3.0
  • 1 x MIDI in, 3 x MIDI out
  • 2 x footswitch input
  • Kensington lock

Top 2 Best Drum Machines

I usually leave first spots for more budget-wise gigs, but when drum machines are in question, really you cannot pick the “super-affordable” ride for “super-flat” pockets. The ones that are already acquainted with Maschine MKII and Micro, will surely upgrade for another branch-long productivity, and those of us laying on a thin paper planes will have to wait for our economic class flight.

Top 2 Drum Machines: MPC  X & MPC Live

I split the golden medal in half for these two out-of-breath consoles. Akai constructed the most attractive and luxurious models that stand out greatly with their characters and produce a top-notch standard every producer dreams of. The MPC Live and are most impressive drum machine models so far at my personal choice. I simply couldn`t find the piece of a gear that is so alluring both in price and final overall outcome, so I left the architects behind these monsters grab their shine respectfully. The most fresh models on the market are burning the internet desires of many, especially crazy enthusiasts and pro-heads, living for this kind of production altitude.

MPC Live Features
  • Also acts as a control surface for MPC 2.0 software, compatible with Mac & PC
  • Internal, rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Selectable inputs: Turntable (RCA) with ground peg and stereo balanced 1⁄4-inch jack
  • 6 configurable 1⁄4″ balanced jack outputs
  • 1/8″ headphone output
  • Standalone MPC – no computer required – natively powered by MPC Software 2.0
  • 7-inch full-colour multi-touch display
  • 2 pairs of full-size MIDI inputs and outputs
  • 16GB of on-board storage (over 10GB of premium sound content included from leading sound designers including CR2, TOOLROOM, Loopmasters, Capsun Pro Audio, and more)
  • User-expandable 2.5″ SATA drive connector (SSD or HDD)
  • 2 USB-A 3.0 slots for thumb drives or MIDI controllers
  • SD Card slot for loading samples and projects
MPC X Features
  • 16 Touch-capacitive Q-Links controls with OLED displays
  • 66 buttons for direct, hardware access to all aspects of MPC Software 2.0
  • Standalone MPC – no computer required – natively powered by MPC Software 2.0
  • 10.1″ full-colour multi-touch display
  • 4 selectable inputs: 2 XLR / 1⁄4″ combo jacks with switchable phantom power, 2 instrument level; 1⁄4″ jacks, turntable RCA input with ground peg
  • 8 outputs: balanced 1⁄4″ jack
  • Dual 1⁄4″ and 1/8″ headphone outputs
  • 2 full-size MIDI inputs, 4 full-size MIDI Outputs
  • 8 configurable CV/Gate outputs enabling the analogue control of modular gear, such as classic synths
  • 16GB of on-board storage (over 10GB of premium sound content included from leading sound designers including CR2, TOOLROOM, Loopmasters, Capsun Pro Audio, and more
  • User-expandable 2.5″ SATA drive connector (SSD or HDD)

Best Drum Machines conclusion

Hope you enjoyed this thorough review and that you will keep up with “Hip Hop Savvy” on a long term ride, because we give you the best exclusive, specific reviews, you won`t find anywhere else. Salute!

tanja cookbeat

Producer/Blogger/Music Critic

32-year-old self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer)…. Certified Fitness Coach. Former Ryan Leslie`s “BPBC” member. Occasionally on a Composer Agreement with LA`s “Smash Haus Music Group”. Owner of online personal label “CoCo Beatz Music Group”. Certified Fitness Coach (has 17 years in recreational bodybuilding). Living for Hip Hop Culture.

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