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Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:17 pm
by Fearcandy666
I am new to drum machine technology and am looking for a machine I can use at home. I could really use some recommendations but I have some pretty specific requirements...

I want to be able to do block programming on the Mac and then transfer the completed song to the drum machine. I’ve found laptop apps/programs hugely unreliable.

I need to be able to program multiple tempos which will change automatically mid-song (the main problem I’ve found with laptop drum machine programs)

I need something fairly low priced (under £200 if possible) because it’s for personal projects not live/band/recorded releases.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

Re: Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:20 pm
by meatballfulton
What do you find unreliable about computer apps (and which apps do you mean)?

I can't think of any drum machine that can do what you want, let alone a cheap one. An Akai MPC (which is not a drum machine, it's a sampler with a mulitrack sequencer) might ba able to do it. Finding one cheap enough will be tough.

Any MPC experts want to weigh in?

Re: Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:30 pm
by Fearcandy666
I’ve found that as the memory clogs up they ‘stutter’ and don’t produce the right rhythm (although that was on a PC not a Mac). Also trying to work around a constant BPM was an issue when I was writing songs that would drop in tempo at given points. I would consider a reliable Mac program if it had the ability to insert a tempo marker where it would automatically adjust to that . As I said, I’m new to this. I’ve been playing guitar for years but not really recorded myself because of the inability to get reliable rhythms going.

Re: Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:24 pm
by ninja6485
Mac vs PC plays no role. Its probably coming down to how powerful and dedicated your computer is, and what else is running and taking up resources. What you need to do is "print" the rhytm you wrote and use that instead of trying to play the whole thing using your cpu.

What that means, is that you write your drum parts on your computer, then mix down just the drum parts to audio files, and use those audio tracks instead of your samples or plugins. It should take less resources to play those files than it does to reproduce the whole drum part in real time.

You should get rid of timing problems that way, and you can save a new instance of your project each time you do this, so that you can clear everything but the audio you're working with in your new project, but still have your software set up in the old project in case you need to edit anything.

Re: Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:46 pm
by madtheory
Notwithstanding ninja's advice above, I think it must've been a very low spec computer if it was unable to keep the rhythm going reliably. You shouldn't have to "render" or "print" the drum parts as audio files, normally. Was it a netbook? Did it have less than 4GB of RAM? That would explain the problems you had.

Some internal sound cards might cause the problems you described too. For example, Realtek is a popular internal sound card, and they cannot really handle this kind of thing. This is why people use external USB/ Firewire/ Thunderbolt sound cards.

Almost every DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) features a Tempo Map where you can program in tempo and meter changes. Apple Logic, Steinberg Cubase, Avid Pro Tools and Cockos Reaper are all good for this.

Re: Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:23 pm
by iowagold
16 gb ram is a min for a pc or any music computer these days...
my work horse I have 64 gb of ram... and still sometimes crashes in pro tools..

budget.... I just say no!!
save your money and get the good gear!!
one of my favorites here in the studio is korg radias!!
I use them as radias rack units...
and they will do most every thing you need!!
search that on you tube and see what other artists are doing with them...
expect price on that from 500.00 for a rack unit to 3000.00 with a larger key bed like an 61 key or 88 key.
also look at an m3-88 with the radias option... that is a killer unit!! and you can add a radias rack to that setup!!
getting harder to find the parts... and they are pricy!!
but I have found they will do tangerine dream or Kraftwerk style music well!!

Re: Help with drum machine choice

Posted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:10 am
by bradcrisler80s

Drumtraks is a good, easy to use, intuitive machine with dark/fat factory sounds. I find it very good for early 80s type funk tracks, i.e. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson Off the Wall, pre-Jam and Lewis R&B, etc. The sounds are kinda like the sound of a funky disco drummer. You can often find these machines in really good condition, they were not made very long and I reckon folks opted for other machines that were flooding the market at the time so they didn't see much use. I think it's an underrated machine and with the variety of samples on EPROMS available out there, it can be versatile. I would note that although you can get "Linndrum" samples on EPROMS for the Drumtraks, it's not like it turns it into a Linndrum. The same samples through a Linndrum sounds very very different than when they are played through the circuitry of a SCI or DMX or anything else for that matter.
I have a mint Drumtracks I paid $660 for recently and I do not regret it. They will continue to climb as long as 80s retro music is popular.
Hope that helps and best of luck,