UNO Drum – great value analog drum machine

IK Multimedia made their name in the software realm – most notably with their emulations of vintage hardware and their Sampletank library – before moving into hardware development. The UNO Drum machine launched in the Spring of 2019 and has since made a name or itself as a wallet friendly, capable little drum machine.

Is the UNO Drum a real analog drum machine?

UNO Drum machine features six true analog sound generators (2 kicks, snare, clap, plus open and closed hats). The other six sounds are generated via PCM samples (2 toms, rim, cowbell, ride, cymbal).

Is UNO Drum good for techno, house and EDM?

Thanks to the UNO’s sound editing controls and built-in effects there are plenty of ways to sculpt your sounds and make unique drum kits suitable for all kinds of electronic dance music genres including techno, house and EDM.

kicks can be tuned to rattle your subs and you can adjust various parameters including decay, punch, drive and snap. (See the list below for sound sculpting details.)

  • Kick 1: Level, Tune, Snap, Decay, FM Tune, FM amount, Sweep time
  • Kick 2: Level, Tune, Snap, Decay
  • Snare: Level, Tune, Snap, Decay, LPF
  • Closed HH: Level, Tune, Decay
  • Open HH: Level, Tune, Decay
  • Clap: Level, Decay
  • PCM Samples: Level, Tune, Decay

Purists will argue that something as “cheap” – and incredibly lightweight! – as the UNO Drum can not possibly compete with the likes of an Elektron Analog Rytm MK II and its dedicated sound “engines” – however while the Rytm MK II is indeed a powerful beast, the UNO drum sounds themselves are quite capable of providing the beats and grooves that can carry a professional dance track from the studio to a club system.

Can the UNO Drum import samples?

The UNO Drum machine can import sample packs from IK Multimedia’s Drum Anthology libraries which span the full history of drum machines. You can not currently import your own samples (such as .wav one shots).

Does the UNO Drum machine have built-in effects?

The UNO Drum features five effects:

  1. Analog master compressor
  2. Analog master drive
  3. Random
  4. Stutter with 10 types and adjustable amount
  5. Roll with 4 roll types and 4 fills

UNO Drum effects explained:

As well as a usable master compressor and master drive, the UNO Drum has a few creative effects up its sleeve:

STUTTER: Creative looping tool offers adjustable depth, from subtle tremolos to full-on slices to create different feeling sounds and grooves. Select from eight modes to dictate the length and style of the loops and adjust an “amount” parameter.

ROLL: Use this effect to add tension in your tracks, letting one drum roll in 8th notes, 8-note triplets, 16th notes, and 32nd notes. Handy for build ups. You can also end a sequence with one of 4 different fills.

RANDOM: Keep listeners interested and avoid repetition by creating a new pattern to the element selected, for unexpected surprises.

Does UNO Drum have built-in reverb?

UNO Drum does not feature a reverb effect. You can try playing around with the decay settings and the stutter effect to create reverb sounding effects.

Does UNO Drum have a song mode?

The UNO Drum sequencer also has a song mode, which allows up to 64 patterns to be chained together to make a complete performance.

Is UNO Drum battery powered?

The UNO Drum is powered by USB or 4 x AA batteries. UNO Drum can also be powered by USB when connected to your computer.

Does the UNO Drum have built-in speakers?


Are the UNO Drum libraries free?

At the time of writing UNO Drum owners can install any of the UNO Drum drum libraries free of charge. (You can see the full list of current free drum machine libraries here.)

Is the UNO Drum worth it?

Looking online I can see the UNO Drum can currently be picked up for just under $150 bucks making this a drum machine suitable for both hobbyists looking to dabble with their first drum machine and seasoned pros looking to expand their collection.

Straight out of the box you get a pretty capable “bread and butter” 909 type drum machine and when you start exploring the 100 included preset kits plus 10 different drum machine libraries featuring the likes of the Roland TR-909, 808 and many more, the UNO Drum represents incredible value for money.

I’ve been using my UNO Drum machine for about 10 months now, mostly to quickly create 4 on the floor techno loops with a nice subby kick and I’m pretty pleased with it. Given the price, it’s an impressive piece of kit even if it can’t qualify for best drum machine ever status.

The UNO Drum’s software/hardware hybrid approach with the reminds me most of the Arturia Spark 2 drum machine although I find the UNO Drum more intuitive and less clunky than the Spark 2.

You could also compare the UNO Drum with the latest groovebox and app hybrids from Novation. The UNO Drum is cheaper than all of the Novation range while offering less functionality (the Novation Circuit Rhythm can actually sample, for example).

UNO Drum vs Arturia Drumbrute Impact

The UNO Drum is much cheaper than the Arturia Impact but can it hold its own in terms of sound quality? In my opnion it can but you can see both machines go head to head in the video below:

Arturia Drumbrute Impact vs IK Multimedia UNO Drum machine

What do the press say about UNO Drum?

For its size and price then, there is a lot to like about the UNO Drum. Its sound is meaty and gritty, with decent variety, which might not suit everyone, but we really enjoyed throwing together patterns with it … The low-budget hardware is a hindrance though – more so than with the UNO Synth. That single minijack output in particular may really come to irritate me in the long run.


If you fancy a taste of some classic drum machines in a handy modern package which, alongside the UNO Synth, can easily knock out gritty hip-hop or synthwave, then it could be just the thing.

Sound On Sound

More information: See the IK Multimedia website for all the details, full specs and user manuals.

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