akai xr20 drum machineYou never know when a new beat combination will come to mind, so if you do not want to lose any ideas, the Akai XR20 Drum Machine is the perfect beat production station for you because it is highly portable. The Akai XR20 has battery power capability and it is easy to carry it with you. This drum machine has a nice compact design and it weighs less than 2 pounds.

Generous Sound Samples

The target buyer for the Akai XR20 is, above all, a fan of hip-hop and R&B beats. More than 700 pre-loaded sounds are at your disposal, but their combination tends to be these two musical genres. There are 3 sound layers:  The Drum (414 drum sounds), The One Shot (306 percussion sounds and effects) and The Synth (64 basses and strings). You can not change the sample set or add your own samples. However, so many sound samples will probably keep you interested and busy for a long time. As for the effects, you have at your disposal 23 reverb presets and 14 EQ and Compressor presets. These are great for the final touch to your songs.

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The Right Features

The backlit LCD is noticeable as soon as you lay your eyes on this product. It is the right size in order to see the full name of the sound samples, which makes your work easier. Before the Akai XR20, the display was usually too small and many abbreviated words were used which made it harder to remember which pre-set was the right one. On top of that, it has a nice bright blue backlight that makes everything easier to read regardless of lighting. The pads also have backlight which comes on with the beat. Additionally, the traditional “note repeat” button is still in the Akai XR20.

What the Akai XR20 does not have is an USB port or a card reader, which makes its options limited. To compensate for these shortcomings there is a microphone input and a headphone output. The microphone is a useful feature if you want to add voice to your beats or just sing for enjoyment with your friends.

User friendly

The Akai XR20 Drum Machine has a very user friendly interface and it does not take too long to set it up how you like it. This means it is a great drum machine for beginners or casual players, but at the same time, useful and intriguing for professionals. However, you need to remember that when you power it off, all the customizations you made will switch back to default.


Overall, the Akai XR20 Drum Machine serves its purpose even if it has some minor limitations. With intuitive controls and an attractive design, the Akai XR20 Drum Machine is just right for experienced users or people who are picking up their first drum machine.  Once you get one of these, it is up to you and your imagination to create new catchy beat combinations. The Akai XR20 makes it easy for you because the mixtures are practically endless.

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