Sampler Vs. Drum Machine Vs. Synthesizer: Which Should You Choose? 

Sampler Vs. Drum Machine Vs. Synthesizer: Which Should You Choose? 

What is the difference between a sampler vs. drum machine vs. synthesizer? Let’s join us and learn how to distinguish these powerful musical instruments!

#1. Sampler Vs. Drum Machine Vs. Synthesizer

Let’s start with this comparison table. It will help you picture how the three instruments function and what composers use them for.



Drum Machine


  • A digital or electronic musical instrument that employs recordings of genuine instrument sounds, song snippets, or recorded tracks
  • An electronic musical instrument that produces drum beats, percussion sounds, and patterns.
  • An electronic musical instrument that produces audio signals
  • Low-frequency oscillators
  • Filters
  • Modulations
  • Effect units
  • Keymaps
  • Envelopes
  • Oscillators
  • Filters
  • Modulations
  • Amp/EG
  • Insert Fx


  • Oscillators
  • Voltage-controlled amplifiers
  • Filters
  • Envelopes
  • Low-frequency oscillators
  • Arpeggiators
  • Controllers
Designed for
  • For musicians to include extra layers to their tracks
  • For composers to produce music and give more depth to a live performance
  • For producers to record high-quality symphony orchestras with unique atmospheres and tones
  • For professional studio drummers
  • For people who lack percussion skills or physical pace to record and practice drums
  • For drummers to perform rap electronic music on stage
  • For major concerts
  • For creating sounds that you can’t produce with other instruments
  • For musicians to handle bass sounds, pads, leads, and percussion
  • For producing electronic music
  • Real-world sounds
  • Enormous sample libraries
  • Convincing orchestral tracks
  • Multiple sounds to play, such as organs, pianos, and even synthesizers
  • Powerful software to produce tracks
  • Excellent pre-recorded drum tracks
  • Both conventional and electrical drumming style
  • Fantastic effects, beats, and patterns
  • Ability to produce sounds from different instruments
  • Ideal presets
  • Vast sound composing potential
  • Unique patches
  • Not easy for beginners to use
  • Not suitable for live rock performance
  • Limited sound effects
  • Expensive and bulky

#2. What Is The Difference Between Sampler Vs. Drum Machine Vs. Synthesizer? 

We have mentioned all the outstanding features of the three instruments. You can guess how they affect the output.

But there are two things left to cover: the production process and sound quality.

How to use the instruments?

Now we will explain how to use each instrument. This section can let you know their working processes.

  • Drum machine

Choose the drum sounds you want to play and make any necessary adjustments or tunings. Then, pick the time signature and measures before creating your own pattern.

Decide whether you will record in a step sequence or real-time next.

Musicians often put the equipment in record mode to track in real-time. You can adjust the knobs on a metronome to follow the beat.

After recording the pattern, copy it to other memory spots. You can adjust the copy to make variations.

Now, you have multiple patterns. Try stringing them together to have an arrangement.

  • Sampler

This instrument is among the most versatile tools you can buy in this industry. You can use it as a drum machine, a piano, or even an entire orchestra.

You can use the microphone to record or play a piece of music you want to sample while connecting a device to your sampler.

When you finish recording and believe you have done it correctly, the sampler will immediately save your record, making it available for sample playback.

The track may consist of a single sample or an entire loop of samples. After that, you can use sample hardware and software to alter it in various ways.

  • Synthesizer

You will use different tools in a synthesizer to produce sound. More specifically, starting by generating waveforms and changing their pitches by the oscillator.

Then, use a filter to carve out frequencies in the wave to modify the timbre.

After that, control the signal volume by adjusting the amplifier. All you need to do now is add effects with the modulation.

Sound effect

Since each instrument has distinctive features and works differently, the sound they produce also differs.

You can distinguish the sound of a drum machine immediately. It’s simply a drum with some extra effects for more depth.

A synthesizer and sample have a similar idea of creating soundtracks. However, while the sampler focuses on real-world sounds, like acoustic instruments, a synthesizer is better at working with dance music.

#3. Sampler Vs. Drum Machine Vs. Synthesizer: Which One Should You Go For?

Three instruments can help produce sounds, but there are some cases where one performs better than the others.

  • Sampler: This tool is excellent for crafting multi-instrument loops. It also helps re-create real-world sounds and your own tones on a background track.
  • Drum machine: The dum does a great job of creating basic drum tracks with factory sounds.
  • Synthesizer: Nothing can beat this instrument in producing unique sounds and creating jazz, hip hop, and progressive rock.

#4. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a drum machine and sampler?

Drum machines have built-in sequencers and preinstalled drum and percussion tracks. On the other hand, Samplers let you record and edit your samples and may or may not have a built-in sequencer.

Do drum machines sound better than samples?

It depends on what you look for in your instrument. A drum machine is better for drum and rap sound, but the sampler sounds more genuine.

Do I really need a drum machine?

The creation of beats still depends heavily on drum machines. They promote music-making creativity and help accelerate your workflow with hands-on experience.

You may even synchronize the rest of your arrangement to your drum beat with a competent drum machine.

This video will reveal some buying tips when choosing a drum machine. Please check if you intend to get one:

What is a sampler machine?

A sampler is a piece of technology that records, modulates, and replays digital audio. Its name comes from using digital samples of genuine instruments, tunes, or sound effects to make music.

What is the difference between a drum machine and a synthesizer?

A synthesizer uses waves to produce sound. Meanwhile, a drum machine is basically a synthesizer intended to generate drum sounds. It lacks a keyboard and instead has pads.

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