Swedish company Elektron has a great reputation when it comes to making drum machines, and actually has a new one on the way in the shape of the Analog Rytm. The digital Machinedrum has been available for some time, though, and the SPS-1 UW mk2 is the most recent version.
There are four main types of MD percussion synths: TRX deals with Roland-style drum sounds (such as those found in the 808 and 909 machines); EFM is an FM-based drum synth, (great for metallic and chaotic sounds); E12 is based on samples taken from the E-MU SP-12/1200 12-bit sampler; and the PI synth deals with physically-modelled sounds (for realistic acoustic drums).
There's also the GND synth, which deals with noises, an INP machine for effecting the inputs (envelope follower plus gate) and MIDI/Control machines for controlling/sequencing external MIDI gear and internal parameters.
The percussion synths all sound punchy, realistic when appropriate, and are highly useable. The sound-shaping options are extensive, and you can sequence in real-time and step modes.
Above all, the Machinedrum SPS-1 UW mk2 has genuine character, and is an instrument that you could easily fall in love with.4 Stars
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