MFB's latest drum machine offering, as seen at Musikmesse 2013.

MFB’s latest drum machine offering, as seen at Musikmesse 2013.

Amidst a wave of monosynth options, it seems your options for a new hardware drum machine in the classic mode are surprisingly limited. The new Tanzbär from Berlin-based boutique builder MFB could be the one to put in the budget. At 800 €, it isn’t exactly an impulse buy – but it’s also considerably cheaper and more compact than the Tempest from Dave Smith Instruments.

And then there’s what you get for that price. The instrument simply sounds stellar, and packs some serious functionality to boot. The sound source is a beautiful, classic analog-based sound with loads of direct access via knobs (44 of them – count ’em), some fourteen instruments, a bassline, and a 16-step sequencer. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine this could become a real dance-music-in-a-box standard; let’s hope Uwe’s ready to make a few. The knobs feel rather nice – closely spaced to keep the unit small, but smooth to turn and with enough room to use comfortably (at least for me). It was one of my favorites from Messe, and now hard work has brought it to completion.

I didn’t expect MFB to get the unit done until later this year, but it looks like it’s Christmas in July and whatnot.

German-language tech and music tastemaker mag De:Bug will be out first with the review. In the meantime, they’ve posted just the sample patterns, and I’m already thinking about where this could go in the studio. If you’ve got questions or interests, I’ll talk to the builder, so fire away in comments.


Heh, I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed listening to preset patterns.

Preview: MFB Tanzbär – Tanzbär dreht sich schonmal ein wenig [De:Bug Preview / Deutsch] [Manufacturer site … some Web designer reading this site is about to trade redesign services for hardware, no?]

  • Justin Reed

    Wow – that thing sounds like butter…looks like they ditched the 1/8″ outputs of the baby brother of this. They were brilliant to include a bassline generator – is it also analog?
    This really gives the xbase machines + machine drum a run for their money.

  • Eric

    …hopefully they did a better job on this than the 522. It sounded amazing but the midi sync was so bad as to be useless and memorizing all the different unlabeled functions for each knob and button was kind of irritating. One of the few pieces of year I’ve sold in less than a month.

  • Blue Monster 65

    Oof! Another drum machine to add to the must-have pile. Very, very nice indeed.

  • Justin Reed

    Am i the only one who hates the tiny knobs placed so close together on these MFB boxes?
    I have small hands but c’mon!

  • bcte76

    the claps on this thing sound amazing!

  • Goldbaby

    Stereo clap at last!