What is the best metronome for you?

Photo conventional vs electronic metronome

Hi, I’m Jos.
I’m the manager of Japanese-Online-Store.

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Are you looking for the best metronome to buy?
Are you sure you have the best metronome for you?

I’d like to help you answer these questions.

1. Pros and cons of mechanical metronome vs. electronic metronome for choosing the best metronome
2. Tips depending on a musical instrument you play for choosing the best metronome
3. My recommendations of the best metronome
4. Conclusions for the best metronome

This article is 1562 words.
It takes about 7 minutes to read this article.

1. Pros and cons of mechanical metronome vs. electronic metronome for choosing the best metronome

 When choosing a metronome, first you have to choose from two options. One is traditional mechanical metronomes and the other is modern electronic metronomes.
Here are the pros and cons of both types.

(1) Mechanical metronome pros

  • Handsome authentic look
  • Classical ticking sound
  • No need of batteries
  • Easy settings

The best part of the mechanical metronomes is their classical look and sound. If you are playing the classical piano, the handsome authentic look goes quite well with your instrument.

You don’t need to worry about battery life time and it’s eco-friendly. Some like the short moment to wind up the main spring because it gives you a small refreshing break. You don’t have to read a manual, which can be sometimes painful and time consuming.

(2) Mechanical metronome Cons

  • No extra feature other than just rhythm generation
  • Suddenly stops when a spiral spring comes to an end
  • Needs a flat space to place
  • Can be inaccurate if not level or when very old
  • Difficult for traveling
  • Sometimes too noisy

It generates rhythm, but nothing more. I’ll explain various other features of electronic metronomes in the later section.

You don’t have to worry about battery life time, but you do have to care about your spiral spring. You need a flat space to place it, otherwise it can be inaccurate. Because the pendulum rod doesn’t swing back and forth equally. It’s not easy to travel with and some people feel the clicking sound noisy from time to time.

(3) Electronic metronome pros

  • Affluent functionality
  • Wide choices
  • Small and light, can be placed on various places
  • Easy traveling
  • With a headphone/microphone jack

(4) Electronic metronome cons

  • Needs batteries
  • Settings can be complicated
  • Some don’t like the sound of cheap electronic metronomes

Pros and cons of electric metronome are opposite to mechanical ones.

(5) Groove and pendulum

One thing I’d like to mention here is a feeling of “groove”. Some musicians say it is absolutely necessary to be able to see the pendulum. Because the movement of pendulum swing shows the “groove”.

What they are saying is as follows.

Rhythm is not just a static sequence of dots, but the smooth movement between the dots. It is this movement that generates groove or real musical feeling.

You can get it from the pendulum movement in a visual way. It is difficult to get “groove” from just consecutive dots of beep sounds. Hand movement of an orchestra conductor is a good example.

If you believe what they are saying is true, you might opt to a conventional mechanical metronome.

But I do recommend electronic metronomes, unless you play the classical piano or you are emotionally involved in mechanical metronomes. Because electronic metronomes have many useful features to support both beginners and professional musicians.

Some electronic metronomes do have a pendulum swing movement on display. You can enjoy best of the both worlds by choosing one of them.

 2. Tips depending on a musical instrument you play for choosing the best metronome

(1) Drums

Photo drums playing

If you play the drums, your choice is definitely one of the electronic metronomes.

Reasons why drummers need an electronic metronome:

  • You might have a problem of spiral spring comes to an end too quickly. It happens more often when you are practicing fast tempo music.
  • The sound of a mechanical metronome is too small. Most of the electronic metronomes can generate loud enough sound themselves. Otherwise, you can connect it to an amplifier.
  • Mechanical metronomes are vulnerable to vibration. They are not compatible with bass drums.

I would recommend the following 3 features for a drummer.

Features recommended for a drummer:

  • Tap function: Display the speed of the tempo by pressing a tap button several times.
  • Rhythm function: Break a beat into eighth notes, sixteenth notes, triplets.
  • Lineout jack: To headphones, speakers, volume control preferable

(2) Guitar

Photo guitar playing

If you play the guitar, I would recommend electronic metronomes with a volume control. Guitars are a relatively quiet instrument unless you amplify them heavily. You could feel it annoying if a metronome keeps generating too noisy sound. But you might want to increase the volume depending on your environment.

(3) Violin

Photo violin playing

If you play the violin, I would recommend a metronome with a pendulum. It is difficult to hear small digital sound when playing the violin because you hold it very close to your ear. You can consider using an earphone, but the cord can be annoying.

You don’t have to be confined to mechanical metronomes. Because there are good electronic metronomes with a pendulum on display.

(4) Stringed instruments in general

If you play the stringed instrument which needs to be tuned, a metronome with a tuner could be a choice. This way you can have less gadgets to carry around and save space. There are some models even with recording functionality.

KORG has a good line-up for these products. 

Go to KORG TM-50PW product page
KORG TM-50PW without recorder

Go to KORG TM-50PW product page

Photo KORG TM-50BK
KORG TM-50BK without recorder

Go to KORG TM-50BK product page

KORG TMR-50PW with recorder

Go to KORG TMR-50PW product page

KORG TMR-50BK with recorder

KORG TMR-50BK out of stock

3. My recommendations of the best metronome

As you can see there is no simple formula to find the best metronome for you. There are so many different types on the market and it takes a lot of time and energy to find the right one. So I try to simplify it for those hovering on.

My recommendation is to choose one from the BOSS Dr. Beat series.

The reasons are:

  • They all have minimum basic features as a descent electronic metronome and reasonably priced.
  • They are all very robust and reliable. They are proven by many musicians for years. I’ve rarely heard complaints about these products.
  • You just have to answer the following questions

Q1. Do you want a simple one at a reasonable price?
The answer is BOSS DB-30  

Q2. Do you need more than just a metronome with rhythm pattern variety?
The Answer is BOSS DB-60  

Q3. Do you want as much functionality as possible?
The Answer is BOSS DB-90

Let me elaborate details of these recommended models.

(0) Basic features

They all have the following basic features.

Basic features of BOSS Dr. Beat series

  • Reference tone
  • Headphone output
  • Memory function
  • Tap tempo
  • Auto power-off
  • LCD pendulum needle for visual reference

(1) BOSS DB-30: The take-along Dr. Beat

Photo link to BOSS DB-30 product page

Go to BOSS DB-30 product page

It is ruggedly built pocket-sized portable metronome.

BOSS DB-30 dimensions

  • Width – 2.4inches
  • Depth – 3.6inches
  • Height – 0.8 inches
  • Weight – 3oz.

It has all basic features as an electronic metronome at a reasonable price. A clip on the back is very convenient to fix on a music stand or hook on your shirt or trousers.

If you are looking for a simple, compact metronome, this is your choice.
Here’s a nice video to introduce DB-30 by JAMMAN1701.


(2) BOSS DB-60: More than just a metronome Dr. Beat

Photo link to BOSS DB-60 product page

Go to BOSS DB-60 product page

DB-60 offers a variety of rhythm patterns such as 8-beat grooves, waltz, bossa nova, and more in addition to the basic features. Battery is easily exchangeable Dry Battery (R6/LR6 (AA) Type) x 2 instead of the CR2032 lithium battery of DB-30. Here’s a video showing how memory loop works by Ben SS. Although caption is in Japanese, you can easily see what is possible with DB-60.


(3) DB-90: The versatile and professional Dr. Beat

Photo link to BOSS DB-90

Go to BOSS DB-90 product page


DB-90 is the flagship model of the Dr. Beat series. It has almost all features available in the market.

Operation is user friendly thanks to dedicated sliders, buttons, and large backlit LCD. Changing tempo with a large rotary dial is smooth and easy. If you are tired of high tone beep sound of electronic metronomes, you can choose from 4 sounds (including human voice and traditional metronome clicking sound).

There are so many functionalities. So it might be helpful to watch the following video, as they say seeing is believing. Here’s a fantastic video to show how you can use DB-90 without reading the manual by Frank Roberts.


 4. Conclusions for the best metronome

Unless you are playing the classical piano or emotionally involved in mechanical metronomes, I would recommend the electronic metronomes with a pendulum on display. In addition to the various functionalities, you can get “groove” from the pendulum swing movement in a visual way.

If you are hovering on, BOSS Dr. Beat series are good ones to choose from. You can get any of these at the best price in the market in my store.

Anyway, whichever your choice is they say practice makes perfect.
Good luck!

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Author: Jos

Hi, I'm the manager of Japanese-Online-Store. http://japanese-online-store.com/ Enjoy my blog about Japan and Japanese products. I appreciate your feedback !

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