Gear recommendations for finger drumming 2020

So you want to get started with finger drumming but you have no idea what stuff to get?
Here’s a list of the stuff I recommend.

My free beginner course deals with setting things up and troubleshooting when stuff doesn’t work, so check that out if you’re just getting started.

==== My current finger drumming gear recommendations ====

Latest update: June 2020

I'm working on a video giving a solid advice on what pad controller is the best buy for most finger drummers right now in 2020. It's a bit of a complicated story and I have some more testing to do before I can publish the final conclusions and explain why I chose what I chose in a clear an concise way.

Bottom line is:

  • There's one brand new contender which is the Nektar Aura, which costs about $350. The unit I tested had very responsive pads that could be tweaked extensively (or better said, they had to be tweaked before they responded well, but in the end I ended up with great responding pads). It responds 'differently' from the Maschine mk3 and Mikro mk3, which has nothing to do with its sensitivity, but rather the velocity curve of the device, which might actually feel better for some people. So, another interesting Mid Range option.
  • For the rest, recommendations from 2019 are still valid. The Maschine Mikro mk3 has gotten even better since the latest firmware updates, and therefore I strongly recommend it over the Atom if you have a little extra money to spend.
  • Also, the gap between the big Maschine mk3 and the Mikro mk3 has gotten smaller (same goes for the gap between the Mikro mk3 and any premium device that costs a lot more), so going for a more expensive device than the Mikro mk3 at this point is not often the best choice if all you want to do is just do some finger drumming.
  • For an 8x8 controller, the Launchpad X and the new Launchpad pro mk3 are great value for money. Pads are small and therefore not my first recommendation for beginning finger drummers. The pads are mostly good though. For more details on the new launchpads and a comparison in terms of pad quality, check out this video.
More will follow shortly! Below is my 2019 recommendation which is still valid.

Check out these review videos for a detailed explanation on how I came to the recommendations below.

(*) Make sure there's an option to return items and get your money back and test them soon after you get them so returning and trying something else is still possible.

(**) When everyting is working, swap your free Addictive Drums Demo for the real product ($150). They don't give refunds so demo first!

(***) At the moment I recommend Addictive Drums custom with the Fairfax 1, Black Oyster and Funk Kits. The first one just sounds nice and the other two have very distinctive Hi-Hat sounds which makes it easier to practice accurately.

Your cheapest option that's still good:

  • Presonus ATOM ($150)

    * You cannot edit the notes the device puts out. This is not a problem when using Addictive Drums because you can use "midi learn" to assign sounds to pads, but this will be a problem with for example EZ Drummer.

  • Focusrite sapphire solo (2nd gen) ($100)
  • The (best) computer you currently own ($0)
  • The (best) headphones or earbuds you own ($0)
  • Addictive Drums 2 demo software ($0)
Estimated initial cost: $250,-
After software purchase: $400,-

The slightly more expensive option which is noticeably better:

  • Maschine Mikro Mk3 ($250)

    * Midi standalone mode and note editing mode (as of september 2019) work after updating to the latest version of firmware, Maschine software and controller editor.

    ** When you buy this device second hand, please make sure the firmware is updated and you can switch midi-standalone mode on and off. When you don't own an official license to maschine software you might run into a problem otherwise.

  • Focusrite sapphire solo (2nd gen) ($100)
  • The (best) computer you currently own ($0)
  • The (best) headphones or earbuds you own ($0)
  • Addictive Drums 2 demo software ($0)
Estimated initial cost: $350,- After software purchase: $500,-

When you want the best pads available right now for a fair price:

Estimated initial cost: $600
After software purchase: $750,-

When you're an Ableton user this might be interesting:

Estimated initial cost: $750
After software purchase: $900,-

When you like the feel of Akai pads a lot and you like the idea of a standalone device that does not need a computer:

Estimated initial cost: $1300
After software purchase: $1450,-

When money doesn't matter and you just want really HQ new stuff:

This is seriously over the top though...

Estimated cost: $3850

What I am currently using: