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tiny hardware sample player?

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I'm in the market for a hardware sample player, probably specific to drums. I'd like it to be small, like half a 1U rack or even smaller. It should have a USB port and/or an SD card slot for loading my own sounds. I wouldn't need any more than stereo out. Alesis just announced a couple relevant items at NAMM, the SamplePad Pro and the SampleRack. The SamplePad Pro has 8 pad triggers built into it. The SampleRack is really close to what I want but it's a 1U rackmount device. Both have trigger inputs for e-drum sets, which isn't at all necessary for a Zendrum. I want something even smaller, possibly with an AC adapter to reduce the size of the thing. The idea is to have something that's really small for jamming with friends, something that can fit in the outside pocket of my bag. It'd be nice to have an LCD for showing the name of the selected kit and perhaps a clickable rotary encoder or buttons for selecting a kit. If I really have to I'll try to build something based on Raspberry Pi and LinuxSampler or drumkv1, but that would be a lot of work to build a cape with MIDI and audio jacks. If anybody has any other similar product suggestions, I'd appreciate it.

The smallest modern (VST based) one I'm aware of is the V-Machine.

There are of course a lot of small drum machines out there still as well, such as the Alesis SR series, Boss DR, Yamaha RX, Korg etc.  Though obviously these all sound dated.

It's quite a bit larger than the V-Machine but I've always thought the Alesis DM-Dock showed a lot of promise too, if only for the ability to change kits and parameters on the fly.


I think I've found what I'm looking for. Roland's new TM-2 module, I guess announced at NAMM last week. It's pretty much perfect for what I need. Here's what I like:

* MIDI In and Out
* SDHC card support for loading your own drum samples
* Small form factor
* Can be run with 4x AA batteries
The battery operation is fantastic, would make it great for jamming! The only question without an answer is polyphony.


I highly doubt it supports more than 2, possibly 4 total samples per setup.  That unit is designed to augment a set with only two inputs and would not be suitable for Zendrum.

There are many small drum machines out there with the ability to be powered by batteries if that's what you're after.

There really aren't that many options. The Alesis SR series doesn't appear to allow you to load your own sounds, neither does the Boss DR. Korg hasn't sold a hardware Electribe for a few years. I have an iPad, but I figure the latency is pretty bad and I haven't really found software for it that would cover my need. I wish that DM Dock would be released soon but again I'm concerned about latency. The Alesis Sample Rack while too big for my preference is probably the closest thing I've seen. I'd prefer to spend $200 or less, but no more than $500 because beyond that I might as well get a whole new drum brain or use a laptop :/

This is where we now talk about making a ZenDrum Drive Mini for <$500 ;)


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