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Gone are the times when the only way to produce quality grooves was through a full-fledged DAW; you can now make beats with just your phone. Each of the mentioned machine apps produces amazing sounds and gives you intricate control over almost all the aspects. While most apps here cost more than a shiny buck, they are worth it. Through no fault of our own, most of the best drum machine apps are available exclusively for iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. If you are an android user, the only compatible apps in this list are the EGDR808 and EGDR909.
Here are the Top 9 Drum Machine Apps for Android and iOS
1. Patterning 2
Patterning 2 is an insanely innovative drum machine app that lets you create new beats and rhythms in a completely new manner. It has a circular interface that’s not only aesthetically unique but is very intuitive to use. It is simple enough for beginners to use but has all the features a producer would require.
You can control various parameters of each loop; you can even automate or randomize these parameters to create intricate beats. The amount of parameters you can adjust is almost at the same level as DAWs. You can create sensational polyrhythms and evolving patterns like no other app. You can also add atmosphere, noise, and various other built-in effects to your tunes. While the app is expensive, it is packed with features that you never knew you needed.
There are hundreds of free factory and user-created drum kits that you can use when it comes to sound. The quality of the sound samples are excellent, and you won’t find anything to complain about. Coming to connectivity, you can easily link this up to other instruments through MIDI. You can also export your patterns to an Ableton Live Set. You get the Ableton Live Lite 10 free with this app. Without question, this is one of the most, if not the most, unique drum machines in the AppStore. If you want further proof of this app’s excellence, it was Apple’s Runner-Up for App of the Year in 2015. Sadly, as this app’s compatibility requires iOS, you will need devices like the ipad and iPod touch if you want to use it.
2. Elastic Drums
The elastic drum is yet another iOS drum machine app that has revived plenty of accolades. While the interface of this app might seem a bit crude and “boring,” it is by no means hampers your ability to produce extraordinary pieces of sound. It has six synth channels with about ten different persuasion synth engines and around a dozen parameters for each of those engines. This gives you great control over almost everything.
The sounds included with the ap sounds crisp and clear as they were synthesized rather than samples. There are plenty of effects to play around with; you can even automate these effects if you want to. Most of the functions are quite intuitive, and you can find any setting you want in just a few simple touches. This makes the app extremely easy to use. The only thing you will need time to understand fully is the X-Y panel, which controls the various mono and stereo effects. If you want to sum up this app, it is an old fashioned step sequencer that has been teleported to the 21st century via touchscreen-enabled sound control. The Elastic Drums app requires iOS and cannot run off android.
The FunkBox is a low-cost iOS drum machine app that has a nostalgic vintage user-interface and best to use for live performance. The vintage theme isn’t limited to its aesthetic, and it features classic drum sounds sampled from the developers’ vintage collection. In total, it has about 36 present patterns, and you can easily modify or replace them by overdubbing.
The interface allows you to alter the volume, accents, and panning for each audio sample, and you can even adjust the swing. It also has a MIDI bass sequencer for those who need it. You can use either a grid sequencer or a pad to dish out your sick beats. It’s easy to share your finished work; you can even connect the app to your external drum machine or groovebox by using MIDI sync. This app is only available for iOS devices.
4. Beat Maker 3 – BM3
The original Beat Maker came out along with the first iPad. It was a simple yet cool DAW that was accessible on a mobile device. It was prevalent, and this app is now in its new version, the BeatMaker 3. If you want an excellent beat-making app, you need the BeatMaker 3.
This drum machine app now has a gorgeous dark interface that is amazing to look at and use. However, there have been more significant improvements in the sequencer department. With an unlimited number of tracks and about 14 different effects for you to use in any fashion, it’s laden with features you need. Throw in CoreMIDI support and the ability to sample inside the app itself, and you are so less likely to use your DAW once you get this.
While the BM3 doesn’t come packed with sounds, there are a few free packs for you to check out. If you are ready to spend a bit more money, app purchases give you some more amazing sounds. These will cover your usual drums, synths, and effects. The best part about this app is the Beatmaker Pads. These have incredible response times and features like roll wheels and a virtual sustain pedal that give you as much control as an actual DAW. There is even a keyboard layout for those who are into that. Overall, this is a drum machine app that a lot of musicians will appreciate. Sadly, its compatibility requires iOS.
If you are wondering how to convert your desk/lap finger-drumming into a masterpiece, then you have found the perfect app for that. Impaktor uses your device’s inbuilt microphone to convert the sound of your tapping into the sound of actual instruments. The app can replicate and simulate the behavior of so many different instruments, including cymbals, metal bars, cymbals, membranes, metallophones, and even world sound instruments like the Djembe and Tabla. There are even electronic and industrial sounds. In total, you get 42 different drums.
What makes this app truly extraordinary is that it uses physical modeling to perform intricate techniques. You can slap, slide, and even do one finger taps, and the app will be able to recognize those. You also get plenty of control over various parameters. There are also filters, exciters, and amplifiers that you can use to elevate your piece to the next level.
You can record up to six tracks on the fly, and it has a live recording mode that saves everything you do. However, as the whole system is audio-based, you won’t be able to edit the track once you are recording. The only other drawback of this app is that you need a quiet room, as any sound will trigger the app. While this isn’t the traditional drum machine app, its innovative feature sure merits its inclusion in this list. No other app will give you a more “hands-on” beat making experience. Once again, its compatibility requires iOS.
BeatHawk is the best drum machine app for guitarists to produce a wide range of music for free. It consists of UVI sounds and has over 2000 sound samples, nearly 300 presents, and dozens and dozens of loops. It even allows you to load in or record your own samples using a microphone or an external device. You can even record in real-time using the inbuilt microphone of your device. It records beats with a 16 part sequencer and can therefore save 16 parts for each beat.
In addition to the classic step sequencer, this app also has a drum-pad and a keyboard interface. It is filled with tools that allow you to edit your music effortlessly. There are pitch and time stretching functions; there are even many effects to give your sound an extra flair. Once you are done creating your piece of music, you are able to export it in multiple formats quickly. You could easily send your beat onto your DAW, or you can directly upload it onto YouTube or Soundcloud using BeatHawk. You are out of luck if you are using android devices as the app is available only on iOS devices.
7. Groove Rider GR-16
The Grover rider is a powerful step sequencer that has a unique interface that feels both vintage and m at the same time. It features a powerful dual oscillator synthesizer engine that delivers excellent notes. The synthesizer is built on the Poison-202 sound engine, which is well revered in the app drumming world. You also have plenty of PCM sound samples, 56 effects (22 master and 34 inserts), modulators, six arpeggiators, filters, and many more. There is also a vast library of about 50 rhythm patterns and plenty of drum sounds for you to check out.
The best part of the interface is that you can access almost all of the parameters you will need on a single screen. Believe me when we say that not having to switch through half a dozen windows to tweak a small setting is relieving. You no longer have to worry about your inspiration disappearing before you find that tiny button buried under a dozen other buttons. However, if you need a more minute control of editing, mixing, or automotive, there are a few buried features that take some time to find.
The TR-808 from Roland is one of the most infamous drum machines in the world, and the EGDR808 is its perfect digital emulation. Filled with the vintage drum machine’s iconic sounds and classic interface, you’ll feel transported a few decades back. You get all the original parameters and settings, but you do get a few digital updates. There is a grid-based sequencer that allows you to visualize and edit all the various tracks together. You can create original patterns in real-time or use pattern chaining to whip up songs. It has various sharing capabilities and can even connect to other devices through MIDI.
While the EGDR808 is free on both Apple’s AppStore and Google’s PlayStore, you will need to purchase the full version if you want to use features like song mode, saving, and exporting beats MIDI compatibility. However, features like Song Mode Page and Ableton Link, among a few others, are limited to only iOS devices. This is a top-rated app and is actually on the top 10 music app list in France, Japan, and Denmark, among various other countries. Considering the fact that drum machines aren’t mainstream, this is quite a feat.
The experience of the EGDR909 is pretty similar to the EGDR808. It has a similar 1980s aesthetic and features hardware from that era. As you might have guessed, this is based on the classic Roland TR-909 drum machine. It allows vintage enthusiasts to enjoy the classic machine in a new form. Like the EGDR808, this also has a free version, but you will have to get the paid one if you want to experience features like MIDI compatibility, song mode, and the ability to save and export your grooves. You can even export directly to iTunes.
The EDGR909 is also available on both android and iOS devices. The main advantage of this app is that it has updated drum sounds compared to its previous iteration. If you are interested in both the EGDR808 and EGDR909, they are offered in bundles on the AppStore along with other drum machine apps from Elliot Garage.