Adam and I got our MachineDrums today. After spending a couple hours fooling about, here are my initial thoughts:
1. If you have been assembling drums in a DAW for, say, five to seven years now, it's actually kind of difficult to think of ways to use a drum machine that aren't annoying. Like, there's no way I'd have the patience to assemble a song in the MD. No way.
2. I'm not sure what the hell everyone is going on about "it sounds all IDM and shit." Not really. It sounds like a drum machine. It actually sounds like several different drum machines. I was able to get fairly stonking prog house beats out of it in short order, without using any outboard. (MachineDrum right in to Rosetta.) I was also able to get some pretty convincing Flip Mode shit going quite easily. I will happily admit that if one wanted to do IDM type things, this would be pretty good at it.
3. As a drum synth, it is fairly sophisticated. I can't, off the top of my head, think of another drum machine that is as easy to program as this one, at least as far as the synthesis portion goes.
I'll put up a more sophisticated review on Sunday, I suppose. But initial impressions are much the same as they were when I got a run-through at Analogue Haven last year. This is an excellent drum machine if you like that sort of thing; in fact, I think it may be the best drum machine ever made. It does have a little crispy critter edge to it, but just remember: 9 out of 10 hip hop producers have never even seen a real 808. They all use the MPC sample set. So relax.