I spent a few hours in GC playing with the Volca Beats, the Arturia Drumbrute, and the Akai Rhythm Wolf. I planned on getting the Volca Beats before I got there, because it has good reviews and it's so cheap. I played it, and it was so underwhelming. Maybe after a lot of compression and other effects it's usable, but the snare was terrible as we all know. I've read "layer some PCM with it and it's better!" If I wanted PCM sounds, I'd just use my Electribe Sampler. I wanted an analog drum machine for analog frickin' drums. I digress. The Drumbrute had some great sounds on it. I loved the 2nd kick and the toms. The snare was WEAK. Better than the Beats, but still will not cut through the rest of the sounds, even mixed higher. I was apprehensive about the Rhythm wolf, because it has such terrible reviews. I played it anyway. Immediately it sounded better than the Beats by a long shot, and the snare was (to my ears) far more usable than either of the other drum machines, and has the ability to have a nice long decay, which is desirable to me. GC had it on sale, brand new for $129. I couldn't resist. I brought it home and expected to hook it up and program a beat and play through one of my songs with it, and promptly return it. NOPE. It sounds dope. You people are deaf. What were you expecting from a $200 drum machine anyway? What are you using that sounds sooo much better that makes the Rhythm Wolf trash? If you're looking for an analog drum machine, that sounds like an analog drum machine this is it. No it doesn't have the most tweak-ability, but if you can't make a beat sound good with the Rhythm Wolf, you can't make a beat sound good. (Or you're relying way too heavily on gear to make you sound good.)
a little oddball analog drum machine from akai. the sequencing is quick and fun to get a good beat going. the sounds themselves are pretty quiet without the howl. it relies on this too much to give it a really loud punchy analog tone. it could be fun for awhile but ultimately i prefer something more useful like a tr-08.
It seems good to me. The drum sounds are not the best and you can't tweak them as much as I'd like but they aren't offensively bad like most people say they are. Another criticism people have is that the percussion sounds the same as the snare which isn't true either.
The unit has a midi in and midi out and you can send note data so you can sequence an external synth. It seems better than a SQ-1 Notes can only range from C0 to Eb3 though.
Basically it's £145 for a pretty sturdy unit that's bigger and easier to turn the knobs on than the tiny volca beats (and the snare probably sounds better). It has fun flashing tricolour LEDs, velocity sensitive pads and I can use it as a sequencer.
I'd test more but the unit I received has a dodgy red LED in the 2nd position so I'm having to return it.
edit: The dodgy LED was probably because I got sent an ex-display unit, so don't take it as a bad sign of unit reliability.
this is one of the worst pieces of equipment I have ever owned in my life, my first track sampler was better than this, usually I like akai products, but this is terrible, the tweaking does almost nothing and the sounds are unexciting and dull, do better akai.
I don't actually use it a lot but I tend to push its buttons and turn its knobs every now and then just for fun, it so cool and could be a sip of fresh water when you're creatively dry!