Akai Professional XR20 Beat Production Station Drum Machine
The XR20 is a portable beat production tool that comes loaded with 700 pre-loaded sound samples of drums and percussion instruments, as well as synths and bass.
All of these samples are triggered by the unit's 12 backlit pads, which allow for real-time creation of beats and groove.
There are also a number of essential effects available, including EQ, compression and reverb.
With its focus on portability, the XR20 comes in a compact form factor and it can run on batteries. But for its size, this drum machine comes with a wealth of connectivity options, including a microphone input in case you want to add vocals to your beats.
- 700+ Drums/Percussion Sounds
- 12 glowing backlit pads
- Power Options: Batteries | AC Adapter
- 100 factory and 100 user "kit" presets
- 100 factory and 100 user "patterns"
- Backlit LCD
- Drum roll / note repeat feature
- Inputs: 3 x TRS (including mic input)
- Outputs: 4 x TRS (including headphone output)
- MIDI In/Out
Pleasing and impressive are but a few of the many positive comments that this unit continues to receive in customer reviews. The overall sentiment is that the XR20 gives you way more than what you pay for, and the quality of the sound and controls were top notch. Many users specifically mention hip-hop style of music to be a perfect match for this compact drum machine. Others rated it highly for its MPC like pad feel, reporting that it is very easy and fun to use.
Some complained on the XR20's lack of certain features, including its inability to sample sound (especially since it already has a mic input), no flash memory for storing songs and drum sets you edited, and lack of filters. Also there are some who commented that the drum samples lean towards hip-hop too much, and that it would be nice if it had more traditional drum sounds.
This affordable and compact drum machine is an easy recommendation for those into hip-hop, dance, ambient and other modern electronic music. Even if you already have a music production tool, the XR20 can be a reliable backup and a fun travel alternative in case you're tired of lugging around your main gear for smaller gigs.
NB: This was on our recommended list until we performed a thorough review of the drum machine category in March 2019, at which time we found there were more highly rated options that had become available and you can see them in our guide to The Best Drum Machines.