The drummer is the backbone of the music. Novice bands can be easily spotted through poor time-keeping. More experienced and skilled musicians are able to control the dynamics of their playing while holding a consistent tempo.
Drummers need to be able to play to a metronome. This is vital for both practicing and recording. An increasing amount of drummers use metronomes for their live playing. In fact, many modern bands use in-ear monitoring systems with a shared click for each band member.
When getting hold of a metronome, it’s very useful to use one that has an input for audio. This means that you can plug earphones in (preferably noise-isolating ones) so that you can more easily hear it above the sound level of your drums.
In my experience, dedicated metronome devices are more reliable than phone apps because they are less prone to lag (e.g. when a phone’s background processes are using up CPU and interfering with the operation of the metronome).
The 6 Best Metronomes for Drummers – Our Pick
Here is our list of the best metronomes for drummers:
1) Korg MA1BL Visual Bear Counting Metronome
One of the most attractive metronomes on the market, the Korg MA1BL is a good value for money. It has a nice display on which you can see the current beat, the number of beats and the beats remaining.
You can choose from a practical range of pre-set options, such as eight drumming patterns and nine beats. There’s also a full octave of different tuning pitches that should meet most of your pitch-related demands.
The tempo can go from 30 beats per minute to 252 bpm. You can set the tempo by pressing the tempo button on the metronome, or by using either the pendulum steps of full steps.
Given that drums can be quite loud, the Korg MA1BL metronome has a headphone jack, which will help you practice your drums in various surroundings. You can set the volume in your headphones.
The design and manufacture of this metronome ensure a long battery life that can go up to 290 hours with alkaline batteries.
2) Korg TM50BK Instrument Tuner and Metronome
The Korg TM50BK two-in-one device is both a metronome and a guitar tuner. These two functions of the Korg TM50BK can work at the same time or separately.
The display is visually attractive because it’s a digital metronome with a need-like meter. Old-school drummers would like this feature.
Also, the LCD display can be adjusted to two different levels of backlight. It can be pretty handy when you’re having gigs or rehearsals in dark clubs or studios.
This device comes with the Sound Back features, which gives you the nearest tone to the one you’ve set as an input tone. Using this feature will improve and fine-tune your feel for the right pitch.
When it comes to rhythmic options, you can count on 15 different features, which contain all the major musical genres.
Together with the 30-252 bpm range, the Korg TM50BK is a practical two-in-one musical gadget.
3) Boss DB-90 Metronome
One of the most advanced metronomes on the market today, the Boss DB-90 provides a plentitude of different features for smooth drumming practice and performance.
What makes this metronome so special is the ability that you have regarding the beat control. To be more precise, there are separate volume options for the stressed beat and other, smaller parts of the beat. That way, you can learn how to play accented beats vs. off-beats.
Another practice-friendly feature is that the Boss DB-90 comes with four different click options. One of them is a human voice, which is a handy feature for further customization.
With this metronome, you can also play along with some drum machine rhythms thanks to its PCM system.
You can use the special Rhythm Coach option, which is something every drummer can benefit from, regardless of their experience.
For those more enthusiastic about composing, there’s an option to add your own beats. It’s possible to memorize up to 50 different types of beats. What’s more, the MIDI input comes in handy when a keyboard is plugged into this device.
As for inputs, you can add triggers for your guitar, bass, microphone, and a drum.
Finally, you can also plug your headphones in this metronome and not miss a single beat.
4) Korg KDM-2 True Tone Advanced Digital Metronome
Enriched with a large LCD-display and user-friendly design, the Korg KDM-2 Metronome is a nice combination of functionality and style.
The beats and downbeats are indicated by red and green LED lights, respectively and the start/stop button placed on the top of the metronome has the function of a visual indicator.
The tempo range is the classic 30-252 beats per minute. You can choose from 19 pre-set beat patterns, as well as 3 different PCM-tones.
Once you’ve set the preferred beat, tempo, pitch, and frequency calibration, you can store the settings thanks to the memory backup feature.
What makes the Korg KDM-2 metronome different from other similar devices is the authentic cylindrical resonator. It gives the drummers a clear tone and a strong, dominant sound.
If you prefer drumming with your headphones on, there’s also a headphone jack on this metronome.
5) Tama RW200 Rhythm Watch
A product of the renowned manufacturer of drummer’s equipment, the Tama RW200 Rhythm Watch is a reasonable option for different types of drummers.
For starters, it comes with a small, but practical display. Because of the large font used for the numbers, the tempo you’re playing at is easily visible regardless of the quality of your vision.
The tempo options range from 35 to 250 BPM, which is more or less a usual feature for metronomes in general.
The quick dial option on the front part of the Tama RW200 enables you to set the tempo on the go. This is a practical option for fast studio sessions or live gigs.
You can save up to 30 different tempo options on this device, which is a time-saving feature.
In addition to the large knob for tempo adjustments, there are also some smaller knobs on the front that let you set various beat subgroups. All these additions will help you fine-tune the right groove for your drumming sessions.
6) Soundbrenner Pulse / Smart, Vibrating & Wearable Metronome
Now for something completely different! The Soundbrenner Pulse Smart, Vibrating & Wearable Metronome is a state-of-the-art device that could significantly improve your timing, without having to listen to a metronome click!
The most interesting and advanced feature of this metronome is the option to set the tempo and rhythm by just turning the wheel on the display or tapping it.
The vibrations that you get from this metronome are several times stronger than the ones of an average smartphone. That way, there’s no chance that you can miss a notification or a signal from this device.
What’s great for bands is that you can connect the Soundbrenner Pulse with up to five devices to a tablet or a smartphone and experience the genuine multi-player synchronization.
You can also make your own rhythms and adapt the time signatures and beat subgroups to your drumming needs. What’s more, you can set the accents and raise your drumming sessions to a much higher level.
It’s possible to add input to this metronome via MIDI, as well as to enhance your experience via the mobile app for this metronome. That way, you can create and store your own rhythms and beats in the app and it will be ready for your sessions on the metronome.
Playing drums with a metronome might seem tedious at first. However, it’s one of the best ways to skyrocket your time-keeping ability, which is your most vital skill as a drummer.
In line with that, casual and amateur drummers can go for the Korg MA1BL or the Korg TM50BK. They both offer a fine value for money.
Those drummers who aim at more features and a higher customization level should get the Boss DB-90 or the Korg KDM-2. The Tama RW200 is also in the same group of professional, multi-function metronomes.
Finally, if you want to get ahead of the curve, the Soundbrenner pulse is a reasonable option. This smart, wearable metronome will meet most demands that the 21st-century avid drummer enthusiast might have.