A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument designed to imitate the sound of drums and other percussion instruments. These machines are very useful instruments for a wide variety of musical genres, not just purely electronic music. They are also an urgent necessity when session drummers are not available.
Drum Machines offers a choice selection of classic drum machines, meticulously sampled to faithfully reproduce the original sounds. They can be easily tweaked with cleverly mapped controls, allowing users to experiment with the inner workings of the instrument and adjust to taste.
A brief history
The first commercially available rhythm machines were included in organs in the late 1960s, and were intended to accompany the organist. The first largely successful drum machine was the Rhythm Ace. It was produced by a company called Ace Tone which was later named Roland. Early drum machines were often referred to as rhythm machines.
In 1960 Raymond Scott constructed Rhythm Synthesizer and in 1963 a drum machine called Bandito the Bongo Artist. Most of these modern machines are sequencers with a sample playback or synthesizer component that specializes in the reproduction of drum timbres as well as the sound of other traditional percussion instruments.
Synthesis of drum sounds
The early drum machines used analog sound synthesis rather than digital sampling in order to generate their sounds. A snare drum sound would normally be created using a burst of white noise whereas a bass drum sound would be made using sine waves or other basic waveforms. This meant that the resulting sound may not be very close to that of the real instrument.
There are specific percussion sound modules that can be generated by pickups, trigger pads, or through MIDI. Most of these special machines can also be controlled via MIDI. Drum machines can be programmed in real time where the user specifies the precise moment in time on which a note will sound. The controls usually includes tempo, start and stop, volume control of individual sounds, keys to generate individual drum sounds, and storage locations for a number of different rhythms.
Digital sampling of drum machines
The Linn LM-1 Drum Computer was the first machine of this kind to use digital samples. It was released in the year 1980. Many of the drum sounds on the LM-1 were composed of two chips that were generated at the same time and each voice was individually tunable with individual outputs. But since there was a limitation of memory a crash cymbal sound was not available.
Drum machines are the widely used by the pop and rock musicians. Though it is rarely used in a classical concert, the demand for an expert drummer who can program their machines perfectly has almost become an imperative for the artists. These drums can be programmed to store different beats in its memory. Many modern machines are capable of producing unique sounds and it also allows the artist to compose unique drum beats and store them as well.