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I've spent literally hours reading up about every kind of drum machine out there - it seems like either the Alesis SR 16/18 or Boss Dr 880 is what I want here, but I also like a lot of the features of the more mid-range machines like the Arturia Drumbrute and Roland TR-08.

It seems amazing that there isn't something that allows complex sound layering that also includes reasonably good sounding acoustic drumkit sounds?

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I think half your problem is that when drum machines first started to use sample playback, real sounds were made popular. Older machines with analogue synthesis were going out of fashion [though they'd come back later, of course].

Through that transition, from the Linn 1, Drumulator etc, no-one wanted those old noises any more.

By the time they were coming back into the 'everybody wants them' category, we'd already moved mainly to software-based sampling & DAWs.

You can find any number of 'soft synth' VSTis with everything from CR78 noises up to full acoustic kits taking up 4GB data.
Finding both in an actual hardware drum machine - not so much, because it's expensive to do it that way.

I suppose the modern equivalent would be something like Native Instruments' Maschine+ or Dave Smith & Roger Linn's Tempest, neither of which I've ever used personally.

I've been through a few in my time, Roland CR-78, Boss Dr Rhythm DR-55, Roland TR-606 [I never had an 808, I'd moved away from 'bong tiddle ping' boxes by then], Linn 1, Drumulator, Oberheim DMX, Alesis HR16, Simmonds SDS [not strictly a drum machine, played with sticks]
But out of all that lot, I haven't pressed a pad on an actual drum machine since the late 80s [I also don't still own any of those, they all got moved on as they went out of fashion]. I first started midi sequencing mid 80s [I had Steinberg's Pro 16 & Pro 24 before it ever became Cubase], then later as DAWs came into play, sampling & then VSTis.
Never looked back ;)

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    thanks for your response! I actually ended up going with a Maschine mk3 and it suited everything I needed perfectly – user30792 Dec 7 '20 at 4:05

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