We remember our first drum machine back in High School — there’s nothing like having one of these at our fingertips to emerge ourselves in a beat making or song writing process. Nowadays computers and software dominate the setups of many, but what about some old school drum machines and step sequencers? Better yet, perhaps both? We’re looking into the best drum machines for under $200 today, and although a pretty specific budget-range, we’ve gotten some frequent questions for recommendations for a couple hundred that provide a nice balance of power and affordability.
The Best Drum Machines Under $200
Boss DR-3 Dr. Rhythm
Up first in our guide, we wanted to give you a solid overall drum machine under $200 with a lot of features that we feel are essential and what most can’t live without. It has 13 velocity sensitive pads, 120 drum sounds and 12 bass sounds, 1,100 patterns and footswitch input.
It also features 100 preset and user styles, ‘Rhythm Progressions’ 3 variations, some great bass, drum and percussion sounds as well as TSC (sound shape function and ambience). The Boss DR-3 is the most affordable drum machine full of features and sounds including BOSS’s selection of bass sounds, acoustic sounds as well as electronic drum kits sounds.
Korg Volca Beats
Korg Volca Beats is an analog rhythm drum machine under $200. This one has a solid, powerful sounding percussion combined with a sequencer similar to their popular “Electribe” sequencer. This drum machine also has 16 touch sensors that look like keypads, 8 user patterns, 10 drum parts and a built-in 16-step sequencer if you want to make an entire track on this thing itself.
The Korg Volca Beats also features six analog parts and four PCM parts that can be edited, a control using either an on board ribbon, or a MIDI input, built-in shutter effect and it can be synced to MIDI clock from a DAW or an external sequencer.
The Alesis SR-16 is a portable, studio-grade electronic drum machine with a solid built-in sound library and some digital effects as well. It has 12 velocity sensitive pads, 50 presets, 50 user drum kits, 233 professional sounds, 200 patterns and 2 footswitch jacks. Most notably it has what’s called ‘Alesis Dynamic Articulation’, which enables a drum sound to alter its tonal content, sound stacking, edits of steps, ambience and stereo samples with some reverb and easy MIDI use.
This one by Behringer comes with 8 analog drum sounds including snare, bass drum, open and closed hi-hat, and high and low tom and cymbal using 1980’s drum machine sounds but also brings us some modern features, such as USB and MIDI connectivity. It also comes with distortion effects and of course a great 16-step sequencer with 32 available patterns.
By chaining those patterns, a user can get full songs up to 256 bars long. The Behringer RD-6 is an analog electronic drum machine with a low-range price tag at $200 or less.
Singular Sound BeatBuddy Mini 2
Singular Sound BeatBuddy Mini 2 is a personal, hands free drummer machine in the form of a guitar pedal. This model is one of the best drum machines for $200 or less if you needed a different spin that the traditional drum machines we’ve recommended already.
It comes with 200 controllable songs in 9 drum sets, 24 genres, 21 genres, 200+ styles — all loaded with professional drummer beats and a visual metronome. It has an footswitch (ergonomic) for barefoot comfort purposes and decent quality 16-bit sound. The Singular Sound BeatBuddy Mini 2 works with any instrument or system and most importantly, no programming is necessary!
Korg Volca Drum
This drum machine is a lot more advanced than others, and features a ‘Waveguide Resonator’ which is a feedback delay and used in physical modeling of string plucks or wind instruments. It has 6 drum voices with dual layers per voice, audio rate modulation, and a Volca sequencer which is programmable using the 16 touch sensitive keys.
We also have waveform, wave folder and overdrive which are used to add distortion and overtones, knobs and buttons for sound design and transport controls and lastly an LCD screen useful for their DSP engine and to copy, paste or load and save functions that you need for later. The Korg Volca Drum is a digital percussion synthesizer with unique and interesting sounds.
This drum machine is a compact versatile electronic machine with good selection of effects and sound quality. It features the BeatScratch technology which will create drum accompaniment based on what the user plays via strings.
With this drum machine, you can store up to 36 tracks via built-in memory, input pattern manually with the pads on the front-panel and you can also customize your own patterns via control over grooves, intensity of sounds and of course, tempo. The DigiTech SDRUM is one of the best auto-drummer electronic drum machine pedals for $200 or less.
Drum Machines Under $200
We hope this list has helped. A drum machine, also known as the groove box is an electronic device that imitates the sound of a drum kit or percussion and it is programmable; letting you create your own beat. In some cases, best drum machines have built-in bass and synth options. It has built-in sequencer which lets users play back the beats that they created.
There are lots of different drum machines out there with different price and features. In this article, we put together the best drum machines that are under $200 but if you think any more models should be taken into consideration, feel free to leave a comment below!