"Spare no expense" drum machines?

I’m pondering how many great sounding modules or tone generation + sequencer machines I have and whether I ought to pare down to less and “upgrade” some in the move to fewer.

What do you think is a “spare no expense” drum machine? Sound quality, broadly excellent palette with larger sweet spots and customization / unique vision over adherence to just accurately recreating the past.

Pulsar-23 seems to be pretty pricey but respected, does anything similar come to mind that’s currently being sold? I’d consider the S2400 but I need some form of synthesis beyond samples. I know Vermona’s DRM1 MKIV looks to be some killer sound and knobbiness/trigs…

I don’t think there’s any one thing that’s the best at everything, and it’ll depend a bit of your requirements. Do you need an internal sequencer? Do you need midi control over sound parameters, or just CV, or just knobs?

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Internal sequencer good but not absolutely essential, CV control. a plus but at least knobs.

Yeah, my preferences are necessarily arbitrary :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m trying to limit my number of sound sources, space, and channels while upgrading possibilities.

Even beyond my preferences it’s still interesting to hear what people consider the height of what they’d want from a drum. machine over one that’s a fair value. Which, sure. I think i’ve bought some good ones but would like to only keep the ones that speak deeper to me like the Rytm.

There’s not much out there like the pulsar, which, although pricey, seems to be pretty good value, considering trying to build something similar in Eurorack would likely cost a lot more. It’s only good value though if you see it for what it is and not how many voices it’s got or other top trumps thinking stupidness.

There’s not much else in the way of semi-modular drum machines. There’s the DFAM, obviously, which is excellent, but not really a drum machine. There’s also the Techno System from Erica Synths, but if you think the Pulsar is pricey, best you don’t look at this.

Then you’ve got the more “classical” flagships like the Jomox Alpha Base and the Rytm.

If I had a couple of grand in my pocket and wanted a drum machine, I’d definitely be looking at the Pulsar though, it looks the business.


Right. From what I’ve played with, Nord 2 plus Blackbox would be (and is) my answer, likely (haven’t had testing time yet) supplemented with the Anyma Phi. I don’t care about sequencers (everything is driven externally), and I do care about full midi contol, plus at least some knobs, although not necessarily knob per function. Would trade all of them for an eight channel Nord 4 with at least four outputs and further developed physical synthesis like the Anyma.

…get an old fashioned mpc 1000 with jjos…128 mb ram…cv card slot…
as a centerpiece…
add a sonic portion xlr to it…erica just released a nice metal cased super small footprint plus version of it…grrrrreat machine…
and add a soma enner for all da analog flavour…
not a pulsar, though…but damn close with different approach and reasonable pricetag…

u can cover all the classics with good samples, grooved timeless swinging within the mpc sequencer and it’s fingerdrummin’ options…
xlr is THE digital drum synth with balls…and in the erica version a built like a tank realtime performance killer…
while enner is another fingerin’ weirdo to cut out all real circuity juice, to be catched by the mpc again…

if u still got headroom…an a4 mk1 will da ALL the rest…
to make u rhytmically and sonically happy forever…

cause u got it all then…sampling, digital synthesis and raw truu analog flavour…

if ur also on a laptop something…last super unique and super versatile rhytmical synthesis instrument i could think of…sonic charge’s microtoniq…


Modor DR2

This thing looks and sounds so good to me :slight_smile:


If I was in your position I’d add a Modor DR-2 to the list to check out.



You beat me to it. :slight_smile:



Rytm mk2 has a lot going for it - decent analog drum synthesis, reverb, delay, overdrive, compressor, separate outs, analog multi mode filters, performance and scenes, song mode, tons of pattern memory, sampling, CV inputs, arguably the best sequencer on any drum machine to date.


…hmmmm…still don’t see what u see, i’m afraid…

even under the headline “spare no expense” it’s pricetag remains way too expensive for what it does…digital drumsynthesis does not have to sound clinical digital only…

best example…again…erica meets sonic potions xlr…THAT’s digitaldrumsynthesis that can take u anywhere…not only flat hardcoe techno straight…right out of the box…with no additional help like the belgium storm trooper delux always needs to go beyond steril crisspers…for not even half the price and within a third of it’s footprint…supernice to have individual volume faders also included…

Nord Drum 2 would be my choice.


SpazeDrum looks deep and expensive, hmmmm

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Octa and Rytm combo. Seriously it basically covers everything, midi control from OT over Rytm performance macros, midi lfos, capturing perfect loops on OT, per track fx via OT thru machines plus all the other goodies. They are fabulous as a team.
Basically everything the Rytm can´t do, the OT does and vice versa.

Although I have to say my first thought was building a modular drum machine with joy sticks, pads, sequencer, mixer etc.


Cost doesn’t come into it for me. 'Drum machine ’ to me, means I can easily get my hands on all the controls I need instantly, and a quick sequencer to get my ideas down. And no faffing around designing sounds. Ive got synths for that, and a sampler. I want a drum machine that just does drums so I can concentrate on other things. I have that machine.

Pulsasr 23 sounds amazing to me and I wouldn’t mind one. But not as a drum machine. As a weird rhythmic machine yes. Nord drum would be the same, not really a drum machine, since it needs a sequencer to drive it, and bugger all controls on it.

Everyone has their own list of things they think are important, some want something specific some want it all in one box.

Get the thing that does the thing you want to do. Dont worry about expense.

What is that drum machine you have?

Sounds like a TR8 or TR8S to me… sometimes the best solution isn’t the most expensive.

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I’ve looked at this a few times, having owned a couple of Rytms in the past. If money was no object right now, the winner (for me) would definitely be Pulsar-23, followed by Tempest, or if both money and time were no big thing, then a full blown Eurorack system such as Erica Techno System or Make Noise Black & Gold.

I’ve got a bunch of drum machines, but if I had to keep only one, it’d be the RYTM for sure. not just for the analog synthesis but the ability to layer it with samples from any drum machine ever and run those through analog VCF/VCA makes it gold in my book.

sounds like the OP already has one though. what do you add to that if money is no object, but space is at a premium? I dunno… a shit-ton of samples?