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Dance Megadrums is a two-CD collection of drum machine samples in audio CD, Akai and E-mu formats. It contains single hits of no less than ninety drum machines, plus many other drum sounds from anonymous sources. This is a sample CD for people who prefer to create their own rhythms. If loops are more your thing, check out XX-Large Most Wanted instead. Making your own rhythms is a much better practice, however, as they form the basis of most electronic music, so they're often at the heart of music making.

Let's be honest with ourselves and look at the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 samples first. These are probably the two most sought-after drum machines ever made, and with good reason: the TR-808 was the first drum machine to sound powerful when the bass was turned up in a mix, yet it didn't draw too much attention to itself in more laid back tracks, whereas the TR-909 practically defined house and rave.

No sample CD is going to capture the full versatility of these two drum machines, as much of their charm lies in their versatility: the musician is invited to make the machines suit her latest song's needs by tweaking their various knobs to subtly alter various aspects of their sounds. No matter how good it is, no sample CD will make these original machines obsolete. If you demand the flexibility of the originals but can't afford their outrageous second hand prices, you'd do well to invest in one of their clones, such as the Novation Drumstation.

Having said that, if you're determined to use samples to emulate these machines, then Dance Megadrums does its best to capture a good range of their sounds, featuring over thirty samples of the TR-808's kick and snare drums, over fifty samples of the TR-909's kick and snare drums, and a healthy number of samples of the rest of their sounds. Although it's impossible to capture every nuance of the machines, this sample CD makes the best attempt I've seen yet.

Focusing on just these two drum machines, however, would be a terrible waste. The main feature of this sample CD has to be the sheer diversity of drum machines sampled. These discs are packed full of vintage oddities and classics alike, from the quirky Visco Space Drums, Casio VL-1, and Mattel Synsonic Drums, to the more useful Boss Dr. Rhythm 110, Korg Mini-Pops, and Roland CR-78.

Overall, using this sample CD isn't quite the same as having the original machines to hand, but it's cheaper, takes up far less shelf space, and is a lot more convenient to integrate into a modern studio. It eliminates the hassle of tracking down dozens of old drum machines, and gives you plenty more that you probably haven't even heard of.

I'd recommend this sample CD to anyone after the sounds of rare and highly sought after vintage drum machines. Don't let the branding put you off: this CD is far superior to its synth counterpart Dance Mega Synth, and is more in league with the company's XX-Large range.

At any rate, this is probably the sample CD I turn to the most when producing techno music, which is as sincere as recommendations come. If you want a plethora of drum machine sounds at your fingertips, this is by far the most convenient way to get them.

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