Posted 6th January 2023

11 best hip hop drum kits

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Hip hop drums have been an essential element of the genre since its birth and are a crucial part of creating the classic feel that many hip hop producers strive for. While there are many great drum kits on the market, some stand out more than others in terms of their versatility, sound quality and desirability. Here are 11 of the best hip hop drum kits on the market today that bring some serious sounds from high fi to lo fi hip hop beats and everything in between.

Please note: drum machine reviews are subjective and results may vary depending on the artist’s skill level and music production software used. Always try before you buy when considering a drum machine.

(All the following prices are general estimates taken from various store prices and may be subject to change.)

Happy producing!


Our list...

1. Native Instruments Maschine MK3

2. Roland TR-8S

3. Akai MPC X

4. Korg volca Beats

5. Elektron Analog Rytm

6. Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

7. Novation Drumstation

8. Arturia Drumbrute

9. Behringer RD-6

10. Moog Drummer From Another Mother

11. Elektron Model: Samples

Also see the Macdrum Electronica Pack. It's packed with amazing retro drum sounds and drum loops that will work great with hip hop. All loops and samples were created using rare vintage synths from the 1980s and 1990s. And were produced by world class sound engineer Andy Macpherson.

1. Native Instruments Maschine MK3

Around £500

This versatile hybrid controller and software package is a great starting point for any producer, with thousands of samples to choose from and easy-to-navigate layout that allows you to quickly find just the right sound. The built-in audio interface allows you to record and mix your tracks with ease.

The Native Instruments Maschine MK3 drum machine is a powerful piece of music-making hardware designed to help hip hop artists create professional-sounding drum patterns and beats. The intuitive sequencing page allows users to quickly program drum parts, while the built-in sampling engine offers an array of high-quality drum sounds and samples.

Furthermore, the drum machine can be easily integrated with other music production software for even more possibilities.

Overall, the Maschine MK3 drum machine is a great choice for hip hop producers looking to create tight drum grooves and beats, why wouldn't you? The intuitive controls and powerful features make it easy to craft unique drum patterns and give your music production a professional sheen.

2. Roland TR-8S

Around £590

This drum machine is a modern classic, combining the best of vintage vibes and modern technology. With 16 analogue drum channels, the ability to store up to 300 patterns in its flash memory, real-time triggering and over 1,000 sampled sounds, this is one of the more popular drum machines on the market.

The Roland TR-8S drum machine is an incredibly powerful tool for music makers. With its great sounding drums, drum breaks and percussion sounds, it's the perfect drum machine for any style of music.

The built-in sequencer allows you to program drum patterns quickly and easily while the Effects section delivers a range of sonic options for further sound manipulation. Plus, it's compact and lightweight design makes it great for portability.

Whether you're a studio producer or performing artist, the Roland TR-8S drum machine will give you endless possibilities to create your music. It's definitely worth checking out!

3. Akai MPC X

Around £1,400

The latest in the iconic MPC line, this flagship model offers an unprecedented level of control and integration with other software and hardware. It comes loaded with 10GB of content including samples, loops, and instruments as well as a 16GB solid-state drive for loading and storing your own samples and sequences.

The Akai MPC X is an incredibly powerful device for music production and performance. It has high-quality samples and midi files, as well as individual sounds that can be manipulated in real-time.

The large touch screen and intuitive control interface make the MPC X a great choice for both Intermediates and professionals alike, although the hefty price tag may suggest otherwise, you certainly pay for what you get.

This is a great pro synth that packed with features, is great live and opens creative possibilities when used as either a recording rig or writing studio.

The pressure-sensitive pads provide a great way to control individual sounds and sequences. The high-quality samples and midi files allow for high-level music production, making it perfect for a variety of genres and styles including hip hop.

4. Korg volca Beats

Around £140

This pocket-sized powerhouse is one of the most affordable options on this list, with a full range of classic drum sounds as well as vintage style controls. It can also be used to control external sound modules, making it perfect for live performance.

If you are looking for boom bap hip hop drum loops then the Korg Volca Beats is a great choice. This portable and affordable electronic drum machine offers an array of vintage boom-bap inspired sounds, including classic kick and snare samples, crisp hi-hats, cymbals, and more.

The step sequencer is easy to use and provides a fun way to create boom-bap beats with ease. The onboard effects and delay can add even more depth and texture to your boom-bap productions. All in all, the Korg Volca Beats offers great value for money and is perfect for hip hop producers looking for lo-fi hip hop or boom-bap sounds on a budget.

5. Elektron Analog Rytm MKII

Around £1,460

This premium, all-analog drum machine is a great choice for producers looking to combine classic sound with modern technology. It offers eight individually programmable analogue voices as well as an onboard sequencer and plenty of effects.

The Elektron Analog Rytm drum machine is a powerful drum-making device that has its own range of drum samples and sounds. It also includes several hip hop track presets, making it an ideal choice for producers looking to create their own unique beats or remix existing ones.

The drum pads are velocity sensitive, allowing you to create dynamic drum patterns and fills. The drum machine also has parameters to control volume, equalization, and panning for individual drum sounds. You can store up to 128 drum kits with 32 different sounds for each kit.

With its superb eight-voice analogue/digital sound engine, updated cool grey case and a myriad of features, like the Akai MPC X provides another fantastic high-end option across genres including hip hop.

6. Dave Smith Instruments Tempest

Around £1,400

This high-end drum machine features an intuitive 16-track sequencer and 24 velocity-sensitive pads for capturing performances. It also includes six analog drum voices, as well as access to a huge library of sample content.

The Dave Smith Instruments Tempest drum machine is a powerful tool for sound designers and producers alike. Its intuitive drum sample library offers an extensive range of tracks, making it a great choice for creating rap and hip hop beats.

The drum samples are high-quality and feature real-time control over drum sounds with the use of drum pads. Additionally, drum sounds can be further shaped through the use of it's powerful sequencers, allowing for a more unique and customized drum sound.

The Tempest drum machine also includes a range of other features such as an analogue-modelled synth engine and step sequencer, making it one of the most versatile drum machines around. Whether you are looking to create professional-grade drum beats or just have fun, the Tempest drum machine from Dave Smith Instruments is sure to satisfy your needs.

7. Novation Drumstation

Around £300

This classic drum machine from the 90s is still highly sought after today due to its unique sound, low cost and easy-to-use interface. It comes with nine ready-made kits featuring a wide range of sounds, including kick drums, snares and cymbals.

Get ready to dial-in the perfect beat with this drum source! You'll find a ton of customizable 808 and 909 drums, plus plenty of modern features for full control. Flexibility is key - distortion, front-cut edits, note-off programming are just some highlights in your sound arsenal.

It's important to note that the Novation Drumstation lacks a sequencer or any rhythm generating features. It's geared purely towards the recreation of the 808 and 909 sound which is great if that's the sound that you're after. Just be aware that what it brings in classic emulation, it lacks in versatility.

That said, within it intended sphere, assignable individual outputs give you unlimited creativity when it come to creating drum sounds - there's even 40 memory locations to store programmable kits & General MIDI Drum Mapping as well. Worth a look for lovers of the 808 and 909 sound.

8. Arturia Drumbrute

Around £250

The Arturia DrumBrute is a great piece of equipment for anyone looking for a mid priced, powerful drum machine. It has a great selection of sounds, from classic analogue to modern digital. The intuitive layout makes it easy to create grooves quickly, and the built-in sequencer allows you to capture your ideas on the fly.

It also comes with lots of useful features, like individual outs for each track and an FX section. All in all, the Arturia DrumBrute is a great choice for producers of any skill level looking to get creative with their drum sounds.

Wood adds a surprising, yet notable touch to the Arturia DrumBrute. Its elegant finish and intuitive layout draw listeners in while its analog circuitry treats them to percussion that just can't be replicated digitally, elevating potential in terms of drum production.

Experience how this modern classic brings years of heritage into every beat!

9. Behringer RD-6

Around £160

This modern take on the classic TR-606 is perfect for producers who want to recreate that classic sound without breaking the bank. It comes with 11 drum voices and an onboard sequencer to boot.

This classic TR606 style device, whilst on the affordable side, can take your drum production up a level, allowing you to layer 8 different sounds and craft beats on a 64 step sequencer. And it doesn't stop there! Connect your machine via USB for no fuss access and unleash its power straight away. Experience a highly respectable sonic aesthetic for the price, that enhances even further due to modern features added into the recreation of this timeless design! Definitely one for the beginner or intermediate producer, looking to up their game on a budget whilst learning the ropes.

10. Moog Drummer From Another Mother

Around £730

When it comes to quality synthesis without compromising on cost, Moog knows best. The Drummer From Another Mother is the perfect exemplar of this ethos - for a price that won't break your bank (even if you're running an at-home studio!), DFAM packs incredible power into its desktop package.

Two VCOs, three envelopes and classic filter provide limitless possibilities while its 3x8 patchbay makes production easy; plus with 60hp size compatibility in Eurorack cases or even one of Moog's own rack stands, setting up has never been simpler! Create deep and bass heavy hip hop drum loops and drum samples with a classic Moog vibe. This small, inobtrusive unit packs a punch much bigger than it's modest proportions would suggest.

11. Elektron Model: Samples

Around £290

This mid priced, hybrid machine from Swedish maker Elektron, combines a sampler and drum synthesizer, allowing you to create your own unique drums sounds. It comes with a full range of effects as well as an onboard sequencer and plenty of control options.

The 'groovebox' sports six tracks of sample-playback with drum machine power. Its sixteen-step sequencer, fourteen knobs on the interface's surface and pressure sensitive pads - sets it apart from it's Elektron peers in terms of design thinking - introducing a clear "knob per function" approach to operation, versus their signature pages/tabs layout.

Dubbed as white plastic hardware against traditional black metal boxes for such instruments; this makes Model: Samples an attractive option for producers who prefer tactile control over digital interfaces!


These are just some of the best synth drum kits on the market today, that fit the bill for hip hop and pop music producer of varying levels — The choices are of course varied and more extensive than the list above.

With a little digging it's possible to find a drum machine that will greatly improve your output as a hip hop producer.

Another option is to try the Macdrum Electronica Pack. This pack contains some great sounding classic drum loops and drum samples that can be incorporated into your tracks using a much more expensive and classic machine than any listed above.

There are also many free hip hop samples available online. However, free hip hop samples are unlikely to provide the punch and high quality sound of either any of the drum machines as listed or the Macdrum Electronica Pack.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making music!