The Best Software Beat Makers

Here at MusicTech we’re always on the lookout for the best tech in town. In this buyer’s guide we present the ‘magnificent seven’ software beat makers…

iZotope Break Tweaker

software beat makers

Price £189
This drum software has almost become something of a legend, thanks to its innovative ways of beat production. It has a 2GB library (plus expansion packs at £30) and an engine to morph, create and mess with beats. We said: “Tweaking the presets or building kits and patterns from scratch are exciting ways to play with this heavyweight beat-sculpting and programming tool.”

Heavyocity DM-307


Price $299
At the price, you’d expect power – and you get it. Heavyocity is known for its feature-packed collections and instruments, and this is no exception. Featuring 80 Kits, 1,200 tempo-sync’d loops and 250 multi-patches, there’s a lot more than meets the eye/grid. We said: “DM-307 more than meets the levels of excellence we’ve come to expect from Heavyocity, and may well prove to be the company’s finest and most flexible library to date.”

Rob Papen Punch

Price $149
Punch lets you create your own kits using either your sounds, Rob’s sounds, or completely new sounds – as synthesised by the onboard filters and synth from Papen’s own rather good collection of plug-in synths.

We all know these synths to be the biggest out there and Punch follows that ethic by being one of the most flexible pieces of drum software on the market.

Sonic Academy KICK 2


Price £49.95
Don’t be fooled by the name, as KICK 2 does (a bit) more than just kicks – but obviously does kicks incredibly well. You sculpt your own from groups of sub, kick and click samples and mangle them with onboard tube, compressor and drive options. We said: “A more refined palette of tools for fine-tuning your kicks and sounds, KICK 2 is an essential purchase for anyone writing music that’s destined for the club.”

Sonic Charge Microtonic

Price $99
We couldn’t place the Teenage Engineering PO-32 in the hardware category without including its new partner in crime. The two now link up so that sounds can be transferred between them, offering a distinctly ‘tonic’ experience on both. So despite the software being around for 14 years, its fully synthetic, no-samples formula is still winning it fans.

Wave Alchemy Revolution

Price £149
A Kontakt instrument with 14 classic drum machines to choose from and, importantly, every tone is covered by 41,000 samples. You get effects, 1,000 patterns and a great GUI packed with features. We concluded that: “If you like classic electronic drum sounds, then Revolution is the ultimate sampled-drum instrument.”

Xils Lab StiX

Price €179
This is almost the best of the old, the best of the digital and the best of the new: one plug-in that utilises that XoX programming we discuss in the main text and combines it with a synthesis engine, sequencer, 2,000 presets (including 15 Wave Alchemy kits) and effects to make one of the most powerful drum apps going.