The sound generator is the core of the MIDI home recording studio, two of the available sound gnerators are the drum machine and sound module.

Drum machine

A drum machine contains not only the sounds of the drum set and other more exotic drums but also a sequencer to allow you to program rhythms. The following illustration shows you a typical drum machine.

A drum machine has drum sounds and often a sequencer to program rhythms.
A drum machine has drum sounds and often a sequencer to program rhythms.

Most drum machines contain hundreds of drum sounds, numerous preset rhythm patches, and the ability to program dozens of songs. All stand-alone drum machines have pads on which you can play the part. The more advanced drum machines can give your rhythms a more human feel. Effects, such as reverb and delay, are also fairly common on the more advanced drum machines.

Sound module

A sound module is basically a stripped-down version of a synthesizer or drum machine. Sound modules don’t contain triggering devices, such as the keys for the keyboard or pads for the drum machine. What they do contain is a variety of sounds (often hundreds) that a master controller or sequencer triggers.

The advantage of sound modules is that they take up little space and cost considerably less than their fully endowed counterparts, especially in the case of software synthesizers (generally called soft-synths).

If you already have a master keyboard, adding sound modules can be a cost- and space-effective way to add more sounds to your system.