Image Line’s Groove Machine is a drum machine audio plugin for PC and MAC and is one of my favorite VST plugins (also included with the FL Studio DAW). This drum synth plugin can also be operated in standalone mode without a music program. Ideal for concentrating on making drum loops or beats. The Groove Machine also has a lot of practical functions, such as loop recording, which make this drum machine a flexible instrument.
The Groove Machine includes some useful drum kits and drum samples to get started with drum programming right away. You can of course import your own drum kits, edit them and save them as a new drum kit. 8 channels are available for the samples, with four sample layers per channel being feasible. All samples can be edited in detail with filters or equalizers and played backwards.
There are also some effects available that can be controlled live using an XY Pad or Midi Controller. Of course, there is also a complete filter section that makes an excellent impression.
The Groove Machine has individual outputs that can be routed internally. There are a total of 10 effects, equalizers and a stutter effect per channel. Good equipment with many possibilities for beat programming.
The drum machine also has its own hybrid sound generation (subtractive and FM synthesis) and can output it on 5 channels. The Groove Machine can also be used as a synthesizer and since FL Studio 11 it has also been an integral part of the music program as a GSM (Groove Machine Synth).
The sounds between GSM (FL Studio) and Groove Machine are compatible with a small workaround, which means that many new synthesizer sounds are available. Otherwise, you can load and process your own samples and sounds. The hybrid soft synth is definitely an asset to the Groove Machine.
There are two options for drum programming. The first is of course the usual function for drum machines in which the beats are programmed step by step into bars and patterns via the pads (step sequencing).
This is done via keyboard and mouse or using an external midi controller such as the Akai MPD26 or Korg Padkontrol. Of course, the beats can also be created live. The second option is programming via the internal sequencer, which is particularly recommended when using the internal synthesizer (drum and synth part sequencing). You can also implement the complete drum programming with the internal sequencer or use both options in parallel if required.
With synthesizer sequencing, you have a small note editor available in which you can also draw in automation and progressions (also per step). All 5 synth channels can also be accessed separately in the sequencing mode.
More complex beats and small songs are no problem. Of course, the programmed drums, beats, synthesizers and songs can be recorded directly and saved as a wave file. The loop recording works wonderfully and generally, the timing of this drum machine is excellent.
Groove Machine is a successful and inspiring drum machine that is suitable for almost all music styles. The learning curve is fairly low, and Image Line has also created a few helpful video tutorials to get you started.
Unfortunately, the manual is a little short but sufficiently informative. What I like most about Groove Machine is its standalone mode and accessibility.
Simply creating a few beats or loops without having to start a music program is very advantageous. There is also a demo version (PC and MAC) for the Groove Machine.
The price of around €110 is completely reasonable in my opinion and it is also available with the FL Studio DAW as in-house virtual instrument.