New to the world of home recording, I decided one of my first stops should be a software drum machine. Although there are plenty of drum machines available, Both commercial and closed source, I decided to focus on open source, frankly because I’m broke. Although I was expecting to find at least a dozen, I really only found two. The rest were mostly for screwing around, which is fine, but not really what I’m looking for in a serious drum machines. So anyway, here are the two that I found were the best.


Hydrogen is an advanced drum machine for GNU/Linux. It’s main goal is to bring professional yet simple and intuitive pattern-based drum programming. If you are a windows user, it’s going to take some tweaking to make it work on your PC, but if you use Linux, say Ubuntu or a mac, you are in luck.

For a full review of Hydrogen, check out this Softpedia review. Find a similar positive review at Linux Journal.


The orDrumbox is an open source drum machine that works on almost all platforms. This drum machine is designed to be a creative pattern based way of drum programming with automatic music composition capabilities.

You can compose beats even with polyrhythms, bass line and complete songs using included drum kits with the audio sequencer functions.

The interface is easy to use and you can try it out online before you download it. I had a fun time playing with it, however it’s not quite as advanced as other drum machines. So if you are looking for something beyond simple, orDrumMachine isn’t for you.