Replacing the machinedrum

Just woke up from a fever dream of my black faceplate machinedrum mk 2uw+ I sold years ago for 1k thinking it would be replaced eventually by elektron or other companies…

So far, no luck eh…

I got the syntakt hoping to scratch that itch and the digital engines don’t do anything for me, the FM drums were what the MD shined at imo, not the “tr” like drums.

I have the rytm and I’m mostly using it for processing samples from my rd9 and rd8. I love the rytm but I don’t really use the analog engines beyond mixing in with samples (as God intended?)

Have any of you found you could with a clean conscience replace the MD with other devices? Frankly I loved just slamming 10+ different tonal fm drum synths in a loop… It wasn’t really a 909 or an 808 but what it was - was, and still is unique imo.

Units I haven’t tried that come to mind

Modor dr2 (flexible drum engines, individual outs, hands on) everything looks solid except the price.

Perkons (different beast entirely, but still a digital based drum synth engine that’s flexible)

Erica synths lxr (everyone seems to love this unit - seems the most machinedrum like in concept and execution but it looks a little fiddly and I haven’t heard a demo that isn’t just chaotic harsh sounds.)

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Syntakt has loads of FM options, and Rytm has a few too.

What did the MachineDrum do the new ones don’t?

Get another MD? I enjoyed having one, stupidly sold it before prices got crazy.

LXR-02 is fiddly but can cover a large range of sounds. I’d like to see more smooth sounding demos, but I feel like the harsh ones get more hype and clicks for some odd reason.

I’ve been waiting on a new Nord Drum, which sadly I’ve given up on ever appearing


I still have my MD and intend to keep it until I die, but if I had to loose it, judging from the demos, I would definitely go for a Modor DR-2

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It looks like you want a machinedrum. Buy a machinedrum.


I finally replaced my MD with an MD.

Recently bought an MD MKI (400€). I also have ST, OT, DT.

I sold my MD MKII UW+ (750€) for an AR MKI (900€) a while ago. Price were very different. But I kept my black faceplate !

Syntakt can do good FM drums, more control with SY TONE machine.

PI machines

PI is the physically informed MDsynth which simulates the behaviour of acoustic drums.


Never had MD. Have DR2 and a big fan but no idea how they compare. DR2 still getting solid updates. Sounds great and easy to use. Pricey but if you keep it long enough it evens out.

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The key to that on the Syntakt is to FM anything using one of the LFOs.



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Digitakt in a strange way is a pretty good replacement. You can think of different samples as different machines.

Sound wise? Tons of VSTs in an ableton drum rack could get you most of the way there. Sequencing wise? :grimacing:

In terms of hardware I’ve heard a nord drum get fairly close but not much else sounds like a machinedrum tbh. Syntakt seems to gravitate towards a character I really don’t care for either, but I’ve seen some people coax interesting stuff out of it so it might be worth digging in deeper. If you’re primarily after the FM stuff though, why not get rid of the Syntakt and grab a Digitone? I actually like it quite a bit on drums and it would serve as good sampler food for the AR. Since the engine is a bit more open you can get pretty weird with it and the addition of a chorus is welcome in comparison to the other digi boxes. It’s the best of the digis in terms of breadth of sound for sure.

Okay so yeah, excellent point here - I had messed around with “fm” lfos on the analog four and rytm before but it sounds crazy good on the syntakt - thank you for this!

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You two should meet.

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I would if I lived in the UK! Thanks for the tipoff

Sounds like it’s road trip time!

how about 2 digitones and some duct tape.


this is so true of most gear demos. i dont understand how the demographic for harsh techno is so large. maybe its easier, thus more relatable?


I don’t completely understand how you liked the MD fm engines but then you using samples on the AR from tr8 and tr9 behringer version… Did you try every synth engine on the AR? (There are a bunch to learn)

If you looking for FM, the Cycles is a superb option but you won’t have individual outs… In any case, it is well worth a try if you like FM on the MD :wink:

As OP has a Syntakt, not sure if the Cycle would be a game changer.


Nothing will replace the MD, however I reckon the Nord Drum 2 will scratch the itch. It has some lovely FM oscillators that can be bent and shaped in very pleasing ways alongside noise and distortion and EQ. Uniquely enjoyable interface too. Truly the Nord Drum 2 is the most versatile drum machine I’ve come across (other than the MD) and so small. And relatively cheap. Pairs beautifully with any sequencer, especially an Elektron, but happy to be driven from a DAW. Grab one now before they’re £1k+