Drum Machine Vs Midi Controller: Similarities & Differences

Drum Machine Vs Midi Controller Similarities & Differences

Is there any difference between the drum machine vs Midi controller? Let’s read the article below to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

#1. Drum Machine Vs Midi Controller: Comparison Table

  Drum machine Midi controller
Features Imitate percussion instruments, making beats and similar sounds Signal trigger, transmitted to audio module or synthesizer
Designed for Beginner and person who want to adjust the sound Use in electronic music performances
Pros No need to connect to a computer Sound can be adjusted after recording
Cons Not the best choice for practice Requires connection to a computer

#2. What Is The Difference Between Drum Machine Vs Midi Controller?

Many beginners have mistakenly thought that the drum machine is also the midi controller. However, the two devices above have specific differences:


Drum machines include physical pads, allowing you to create sounds similar to electronic drum kits. The device also comprises templates so users can quickly create rhythms.

The controller is a keyboard controller that allows you to take notes on your computer or audio workstation. This device does not produce sound directly but works with music creation programs on the computer.

Mechanism of action

With the Midi controller, you will work with the keys. When you press any key, you will set up a Midi signal.

The remote sends the MIDI signal to a computer or similar external device. And these devices will convert the input signal into output audio.

To complete the above task, you need to ask for the help of DAW or specialized software. The Drum Machine does not produce sound in how a signal is transmitted. This device will simulate a kit or percussion device.

Manufacturers have built-in beats and patterns for this device. In addition to the usual sounds, you can use the device to create electronic music, rock music, etc.


A drum machine can work as a standalone tool. Therefore, even without a computer, you can still start your device.

To set up the drum, you need to synchronize the device with the DAW’s clock.

Meanwhile, the commander has a more complicated setup process.

First, you have to connect the commander to the computer. Some computer models will require you to download a driver to complete this step.

Next, you will have to connect the controller via a USB cable or cable.

Finally, you need to connect the device to your DAW. The steps taken will vary depending on the DAW you use.


The only thing in common when it comes to the intended use of the two devices is versatility. However, each product is suitable for a different musical style.

You will often use a machine to create individual melodies and beats. Meanwhile, MIDI is the ideal choice for creating melodies and chords.

#3. Drum Machine Vs Midi Controller: Which One Is Best For You?

Stemming from the above differences, the drum machine and controller have different uses. In order not to make a mistake when choosing, you can refer to some of the information below.

Drum Machine

This one comes with the ability to reproduce the sound of any percussion instrument. Some musicians, producers, or drummers come to this product.

For example, musicians and music producers will look to equipment to create the background sound for electronic music and hip-hop music. Or stage performers turn to machines to add an extra sound to their live performance.

So, why don’t artists find real drummers? Compared to hiring players, using a machine will save time and money.

In addition, the machines are ideal if you want to create sounds. With this unit, you can perform a wide range of digital tweaks, creating melodies that classical drums can’t deliver.

MIDI Controller

One of the most popular uses of the controller is to automate all the control and sound creation, playing a variety of tunes simultaneously. That is also why DJs often use this device during performances and music activation.

The commander is a great assistant in controlling any compatible device. With the device, you can influence the digital audio mixer, even the stage’s lighting.

Music producers use the MIDI Controller to find the keynotes and melodies for a piece of music. With this device, composing music is easier than ever.


Is a drum machine a MIDI controller?

The machine is not a control. This device only allows users to simulate electronic percussion, and it does not require a connection to a computer.

Meanwhile, this device can only work well if connected to a computer and is not a real self-generating instrument.

Can you use a MIDI keyboard as a drum pad?

You can use the MIDI keyboard as a drummer pad. However, it would help to make sure the DAW you use supports the above function.

What does a drum controller do?

The main task of the controller is to help you start, stop, and change the speed of the motor. The device will adjust how electrical power is supplied to the engine to suit your requirements to accomplish the above task.

Is a MIDI drum pad worth it?

The MIDI pad is well worth the investment. It has even become a must-have for anyone who wants to produce professional music.

These devices can quickly create rhythms as well as trigger samples. Compared with traditional tools like a keyboard or mouse, the pad offers a much more convenient experience.