Introduction to Drum Machines

A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion. Drum machines are able to emulate the sound of drum kits and percussion instruments; they can also create their own distinctive sounds. Most drum machines allow players to program their own rhythms and are able to produce a variety of sounds using analog synthesis; they are also capable of playing prerecorded samples. Drum machines can be categorized under two groups: the ones that use synthesizer circuitry to create percussion sounds and those that use sampled sounds. 

Drum machines have had a great impact over time and are very common on both the pop music culture and on electronic musical instruments. Synthesizer players have been using drum machines to create electronic percussion sounds for a very long time. Users are able to run a sound through a filter when applying an envelope generator to the filter cutoff frequency. 

The modern drum machine was launched when hardware manufacturers were able to merge a sequencer with a set of percussion sounds within the same device. This was a great step forward since it decreased the costs and challenges of the traditional recording process by permitting music producers to generate unique drum patterns that allowed them to record percussion sets using live drummers. When using a drum machine, the producer is able to plug one unit into the mixing board, press a button and start the performance. 

A drum machine is easy to use. You should start by setting up the kit, select the drum sounds you’ll use and adjust the multiple sounds. It’s easy to create your own unique patterns by simply setting up the time signature and the number of measures in the pattern. After that, you’ll be able to choose the resolution or number of steps in each measure. Before you start recording, it’s essential that you select a pattern number to record into; you might have to erase the previous pattern beforehand. It’s important that you decide if you will be recording in real-time or if you’re going to step sequence. After that, just play the buttons and let the metronome do the rest. Easier said than done, but when you are finished recording a drum machine pattern, you’ll be able to copy that pattern so that you can alter the content and make variations. Repeat this process as many times as you like and string the pattern together to assemble an arrangement afterword. 

Most drum machines have a quantize or quantization feature that corrects timing errors automatically. This feature is very helpful for both new and professional players. Quantizing can eliminate small timing variations that add personality and a special feeling to a drum part. Heavily quantized drum patterns might sound mechanical, and they are a trademark of industrial and techno styles. 

The arrival of drum machines disrupted the careers of many professional studio drummers. On the other hand, drum machines were also very helpful for beginners, since it offered them the opportunity and physical space to practice, acquire new skills and create full-sounding quality drum tracks. Drum machines are not widely accepted on live rock performances, but they appear rather frequently in live performances of rap and electronic music styles.