Drum Machine Vs Real Drums: Do You Know Their Differences?

drum machine vs real drums

What is the main difference between a drum machine vs real drum? Let’s read this specific comparison to distinguish the two in each aspect clearly.

#1. Drum Machine Vs Real Drums: Comparison Table

Drum machine

Real drums

  • An electronic musical instrument that simulates the action
  • Allows the user to program the tune
  • Using percussion mallets or hands directly on the surface
Designed for
  • Create and edit audio
  • Performance, recording, practice
  • Save money and effort.
  • Allow drummers to learn and perform important techniques.
  • Not too suitable for training
  • It takes a long time to practice

#2. The Difference Between Drum Machine Vs Real Drums

The comparison table above has outlined the fundamental differences between drum machines and real drums. To better understand this issue, you can refer to a series of the information below.


The drum machine works on the principle of detecting the blow’s strength and position through a sensor. Because of this operation principle, some devices have a particular audio delay.

However, you are not too worried, and some current devices have overcome this error well, minimizing the sound difference.

With real drums, you’ll be influencing the instrument and creating the sound yourself. Therefore, the received sound will be free of distortion.

Another big difference in sounds that drum machines can’t reproduce is improvisation. With drums, the artist can freely create unique melodies instead of being confined to the available settings.

How to set up

To get the most out of your kit, you’ll have to spend a lot of time setting it up properly.

With a drum machine, you will have to choose the sound you want to use and determine the recording method. In addition, you can also use the playback mode of recordings to serve your creative process.

The setup for manual versions is often much more complicated. Even many professionals will have to spend hours setting up and testing.

Preparation time will depend on the number of drums and stage characteristics.

User object

The advent of the drum machine allowed the creation of quality recordings for those who had never studied drums.

In addition, this device is also a painful choice for those who lack space to practice and record.

Meanwhile, real drums will often appear in professional studios and live performances.

#3. Drum Machine Vs Real Drums: Which One Is Best For You?

The above characteristics cause the difference in the target audience of drum machines vs real drums.

Drum Machine

The drum machine is suitable for those who are not skilled in using percussion but still want to record sounds professionally.

With this device, you don’t need to know about dynamics, rhythm, and related complications.

All you need to do is a program or play back previously recorded audio samples. Drum machines often appear in rap and live electronic music performances.

At these performances, bands use drum machines to create the background sound for the music. This option saves bands a lot of effort and money.

In the end, a drum machine is excellent for recording and beneficial for your sound editing process.

With this device, you can freely adjust the volume and many other parameters in real-time. As a result, you can be creative and maintain a sense of performance.

Real Drums

Despite the popularity of other electronic percussion devices, drums still hold a place in the hearts of music lovers.

Real drums will be the first choice of professionals in the field of sound because professional producers and musicians will pay attention to the sensitivity and dynamics only found in traditional ones.

That is also the reason at professional performances, artists will use accurate versions, not with the help of drum machines.

Like musical instrument experts, audiences also love the natural sound of drums instead of melodies without the improvisations coming from devices.

In the end, if you’re serious about learning to play drums, you will have to own an accurate set of instruments.

Only with drums can you learn and authentically perform complex techniques.

For example, the hi-hat technique and buzz roll require you to master real instruments.

#4. FAQs

1. Do rock bands use drum machines?

Rock bands love drum machines. The reason is that the drum machine can excellently represent the pounding sounds; therefore, not only for rock music, but this device also pleases gothic metal bands and more.

2. Is it worth getting a drum machine?

The drum machine is still a piece of equipment worth the investment today.

This type of drum machine gives you the experience of a real drummer even if you don’t know much about percussion.

Besides, you can also complete some operations, such as interrupting and changing rhythms with the device.

3. Why do people still use drum machines?

The drum machine still offers a good recording experience, adjusting the sound quite well. This device is still useful in creating electronic music and hip hop.

So it’s not surprising that, as of now, this device is still quite popular.

4. How much does a real drum cost?

To own a drum, you must pay from $300 to $1000. The exact price for an instrument will vary based on brand, build quality, and sound quality.

5. What does a drum kit cost?

On average, a drum kit can range from $300 to $8000. The difference in the price of the product may come from the material and the instrument’s quality.

If you are just starting on a tight budget, the cheap versions will probably be more suitable for practice and familiarization.

The most expensive ones with impeccable craftsmanship will often be the preference of more professional drummers.

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