Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Top Ten Drum Machines of all time

 Paia Paipdrset01-1There is no real news of drum machine releases by main manufacturers on the horizon. With advent of computer based recording setup hardware, drum machines have not been in the spotlight as of late. A look on ZZounds and froogle is almost barren and a closer look shows that some of the top sellers are over ten years old. Is this a testament to great drum machine hardware? Or is the drum machine of a dying breed?
With that in mind I give you the Chip Collection - Top Ten Drum Machines of all Time
after the break...

1. Roland TR-808

 Pic R Rol Tr-808 600 This was hip hop's finest find. There will never be another drum machine quite like this!

Roland TR-909
 Pix Roland Tr Roland-Tr909 Responsible for hundreds of techno dance tracks, still which are being used and emulated today. most notable is the bass and digital high-hat sounds
3. Roland R8 Mk2

 Roland Images R8Mk2 a great sounding drum machine, even by todays standards, which helped launch the career of Trent Reznor
4. Alesis SR-16

 Products Sr16 Sr16 Large I have no idea why people keep buying the SR-16. Its very old. For sheer unexplainability and long term sales, its at #4.

5. Paia Programmable Drum set
 Paia Paipdrset01-1 This was first drum machine on the market for musicians that was programmable, an important feature in any drum machine.

6. LM-1 by LinnDrum
 Pix Linn Lm1 LFirst drum machine that used digital samples. Retailed in the $4000 range

7. Roland-CR78
 Media Images Cr-78 First programmable drum machine by roland. 70s rainbow scheme
8. Korg Electribe -
 Korg Etr One of the most unique sounding digital drum synthesizers in range.

9. Machine DrumElektron
 Img Index P Sps1super expensive by todays standards, but sounds great, and is sought after.

10. Roland TR-606
 Pix Roland Tr Tr-606
(the companion to the TB-303 bassline synth) Used by many glitch techno style artists in the 90s as well.

Did I miss something? Discuss!

Also check out some more vintage drum machines at Audio Playground which include full flash recreations! Link


  1. You missed the Oberheim DMX..the fattest drum machine of all time. Some people would debate that the Linn drum (not LM-1) is better, and it's also killer...but the DMX had a MIDI mod available for it...

    Also the Linn 9000 was quite a great piece...It was a precursor to the whole MPC craze and many producers felt it had better swing mode.

  2. Notable but missing:

    e-Mu SP-12/1200: A signature 12-bit sound used on countless recordings of the 80s-90s. Still in high demand. First drum machine with SMPTE sync. I personally know of three producers today from whom you would have to pry their SPs from their cold dead hands. It really should have been included on this list. (Korg Electribe? Really?)

    Alesis HR-16: the first low-cost digital drum machine. Much more notable than the SR-16, which replaced it.

    Oberheim DMX: as Funkmeister88 says.

    Akai MPC-60: One of the best selling of all time, what Roger Linn did after his company went belly-up. It did verything the Linn9000 could do, but not break down every other day.

  3. @J  Swails- I'm sure he didn't mention the SP-1200 and MPC-60 because those were "groove boxes" (drum machine/sampler/sequencer combos.) The boxes mentioned above are strictly drum machines.