Drum Machines - best one for ease of use

Perhaps this is way too general a question. Apologies if it is.

What in your opinions are the “easiest to use” drum machines.

For a non-drummer, let’s say you wish to reproduce a particular percussion pattern, which drum machine would be the most intuitive to quickly reproduce that pattern upon?

So ease/intuitiveness to create patterns over and above sound quality.

I’m thinking primarily of hardware drum machines, but could be swayed toward iOS/other.

Until now, I’ve mostly used either the PO-12, OP-1 or “Drummer” in Logic Pro X.


do you like step sequencing/programming or playing your beat into the sequencer? or both?

I’d prefer to listen to a beat on some track I like and then try to programme something similar (with my own twist) into a sequencer.


My favourite drum machine, without a doubt, is Patterning on iOS. It’s so easy to get a cool beat going, great probabilistic features, sounds great (although is sample based so you can go anywhere soundwise) and a lovely interface.

My favourite drum machine, without a doubt, is Patterning on iOS. It's so easy to get a cool beat going, great probabilistic features, sounds great (although is sample based so you can go anywhere soundwise) and a lovely interface.
I love Patterning for experimental stuff or some quick quirky beat. It's also nice to drive other Synths (e.g. Modular or Analog Kit) from Patterning.

If you have an iPad want to program beats consider getting Korg Gadget. While there are limits to the sounds you can get out of it it's super easy to use, integrates well with other Midi apps and you get a couple of interesting synthesizer "remakes' as well. Pair it with a Beatstep Pro and you can do some nice hardware finger drumming as well.

elektron machinedrum IMO. muscle memory builds quick with this one

Thanks folks. Liking the look of the Patterning interface. One question…would I need Audiobus on my iPad too?


Thanks folks. Liking the look of the Patterning interface. One question...would I need Audiobus on my iPad too?


I have Audiobus but TBH I never really used it. Whenever I tried the FX didn’t work properly and in the end I’ve just adjusted my levels in the respective apps and used my Mini KP2S for effects.

A good Midi app would probably be more worthwhile I think. I use Midiflow with the Conditions in-app-purchase and it’s worth the money I’d say. There’s other, similar apps as well though.

I used Audiobus all the time, but it depends on your workflow. It’s pretty necessary if you are going to be using multiple apps together on your device. I would second the suggestions of Patterning and Korg Gadget. I actually use Gadget a lot for beats - it’s more versatile/useful than what might initially seem on the surface. I also really like Elastic Drums, but mainly for the sound-sculpting and performance mangling capabilities.

If you want to consider hardware I can highly recommend the Korg Volca Sample. I end up using it all the time. Simple to program, super portable, and you can load all of your own samples.

Patterning is ace! Really cool app. Keep meaning to feed my Op1 with it. Keep meaning to try out elastic drums too.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’ve randomly decided to try Boom 808! for iPad and it feels like we will get on just great :slight_smile:


Very nice thread @cloudburst :slight_smile:
Do you know if an iphone version of Patterning is planned ?

I keep thinking about grabbing a korg es1 mkii. Seen em go for under £100 and they look pretty cool for quick/fun drum/percussion pattern programming.

Have an ipad but haven’t really checked out Patterning, been meaning to after heating a lot of good things about it. Will have another look.

Patterning looks great. I may well end up checking it out, but something tells me I will feel totally at home with this 808 which does MIDI and doesn’t scare me to death with dodgy capacitors Lol. :slight_smile:

Going back to your original post, and sorry it’s taken me so long to reply @cloudburst, I think you won’t settle until you get some hardware. For me, after using Logic and after using hardware. It is simply unparalleled. I’ve thrown money at iOS things but they still haven’t played a part in any of my productions this year. I’ve happily sat and jammed with my TR-8 for hours. I have heard people say I don’t like the green line around but I’ve been completely blind to these statements. I don’t mind it and haven’t thought about it too much because the sounds are what matters. You can’t find this type of package anywhere. I do love aesthetics so I’ve looked at an overlay or two. With the 707/727/606 update this machine kicks serious batty crease. The hands on control is fantastic and the price is accessible for a hobbyist. The sounds are all the classics. Patterns are easy to create with the classic XoXoX and the controls are super easy… Like press the dum hit once and you get the full sound, press it a second time and you get a hit with less volume… There are different types of reverb and delay (8 for each I think)… All the options for different modes are on the front at a touch of a button you can switch between playing live, recording live, changing kits, and scale.
I’m thinking of buying a second…

I also have a Yamaha RX7. Personally, this would be my choice for you. It’s cheap, it’s hardware, it’s got great sounds, and has is complex enough that you can actually build full songs on it (unlike the TR-8 unless it’s being sequenced by something else). Check out some videos on YouTube and read up on it. If you really want to find out about its capabilities then download the manual; it is GOLDEN!

Also, the hitting of buttons, their aesthetic, and the clunk they make have become of recent interest to me after owning the RX7. I really like them. I bought the Octatrack sometime after that and I like those too but the RX7’s are loooooovely. The TR-8’s feel a bit new and too sharply edged for hitting live… Having said that maybe it just takes some getting used too, I don’t use it in that mode enough.

My last piece of advice is BUY HARDWARE!!!

^ lol @ batty crease :smiley: Hardware +1 ipad music making is nowhere as tactile, cool but no match for hardware tapping beats on physical buttons/pads.

My last piece of advice is BUY HARDWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This ^^^

not for any snobby reasons, simply because interacting with stuff that gives you tactile feedback really feels much more rewarding than anything else. Honestly, if i could get the same kicks from apps i totally would!

Yes! I love my LXR!

Elektron Analog Rytm

MD rules.

Easy to use, seriously fun to tweak.
Function + any knob for mental destruction, Function + above button for instant reload makes it so easy to get crazy fills, this combo only is already worth it :smiley:

I found it’s rather easy to get convincing sounds, but you can go deep as well.

Resampling gives you access to Autechre like glitches, that can be quite beautiful…
I soooo love this drum machine !