The metronome is a powerful musical teaching tool and within the last few years, the technology behind it has advanced considerably. Practice with a metronome on a regular basis is important for all musicians, but it needs to be done with the right model which will force you to think and challenge your ability to keep time. Scroll down to our metronome buyers guide for additional information to help you find the perfect model.
Boss DB-90 Dr. Beat Metronome
Tama Rhythm Watch RW200
Boss DB-60 Dr. Beat Metronome
KORG TM-50 Tuner Metronome
Boss DB-30 Metronome
KLIQ MetroPitch Metronome Tuner
Boss is the most recognizable name in metronomes and the DB-90 is their best model. Known as the "Dr. Beat", it has been praised as being the best metronome in the industry because of its advanced features. The Boss DB-90 is fully programmable for mixed metered passages and can also play back multiple subdivisions. It has adjustable volume faders for each subdivision and you can adjust the amount of accent as well. There are also several different voices for the click and two headphone jacks so you can plug in headphones, or plug it into speakers.
The internal speaker is louder than most, so you can hear the click even over loud playing while the unit’s spin wheel adjusts tempo and other audio options much quicker than push button adjustment used on other metronomes. It also has an extensive memory so you don’t need to waste practice time on daily reprogramming. The metronome itself is constructed with durability in mind to promise years of reliable function.and will last many years.While one of the most expensive metronomes available, it's range of capabilities justify the price of admission.
Tama’s Rhythm watches are some of the best metronomes on the market with the RW200 being the newest model with several new, useful features. It has a tempo range of 35-250 BPM, a dial for quick and easy adjustment, as well as individual volume dials which can subdivide the beat in a number of different ways (including eight, sixteenth, and triplet notes). The tap tempo function is easy to use and smartly placed in the top corner so that it will not be accidentally triggered.
The RW200 is fully programmable for up to thirty different songs and offers different options for meter and beat. There’s even a foot switch available for purchase which can be used to change programs while playing. The RW200 also has a stereo-mini headphone jack as well as a ¼ inch jack which makes it easy to attach headphones. The unit can also function off of nine-volt battery power or by attaching an adapter. The LCD display has been updated with a new backlight that’s brighter than the previous model and is very helpful, especially on darkened stages. Speaking of on stage use, one of the new features includes a “stage” mode that clicks only for a few bars and then turns itself off.
This Metronome is very useful for gigging drummers because you can click off the band with the RW200 in your ear and then freely play with the band once the click stops. This metronome also features a sleek, updated design which has been greatly improved over the previous model. The RW200 can also be mounted to a cymbal stand with a mounting bracket that is available for purchase separately. The best part about this metronome is it’s priced lower than the competition, but still offers the same great features.
The Boss DB-60 is the best choice for players who don't need the full gamut of options available on the more expensive DB-90; in fact, this pick has many of the same features at a fraction of the price. It has separate volume controls for all of the standard subdivisions and the level of accent can be adjusted as well. It’s also programmable for changing rhythms with “write” and “memory” options. This metronome also offers a tap tempo option and even a timer for determining song length.
Additional features include the vital headphone jack, an internal speaker for the click as well as push buttons to change tempo. The size of the actual metronome is smaller than its competitors, making more portable which is always a plus for the actively gigging musician. This metronome has also been constructed to provide years of reliable service, not surprising given the Boss reputation for long lasting electronics.
Korg is a very reputable manufacturer of electronic musical equipment and their TM-50 is one of the most popular metronomes available because of its reputation fort reliability. It has a wide tempo range from 30-252 beats per minutes and fifteen different rhythmic variations that sub-divide the beat. Additionally, the tap tempo function is easier to use than most budget metronomes yet remains very accurate. This metronome also functions as a tuner which is helpful for timpani practice or drum tuning. There’s also a backlight LCD screen with a needle meter if you prefer a visual click, a volume dial, as well as a headphone and input jacks.
Boss has been long known for making the best metronomes and the DB-30 offers the best overall performance options and value for your money. It produces different time signatures and rhythmic patterns along with a headphone jack so you can plug in headphones and hear it over your drums (or instrument of choice). The DB-30 can also produce subdivisions, has a memory function for mixed metered passages, a “tap tempo” function, as well as a mute button.
Like most budget metronomes, the tempo is adjusted through the use of separate buttons for increasing and decreasing the speed of the click which actually reacts quicker than you might expect it to. The DB-30 is the smallest and most portable of all the Dr. Beat metronome, which is great for musicians who practice in many different locations. And despite this pick bearing the hallowed Dr. Beat name, it’s surprisingly inexpensive.
Kliq’s Metropitch is a great metronome which features a wide tempo range of 30-250 beats per minute, a headphone jack, adjustable click volume, tap tempo function, and different rhythmic options. The beat can be subdivided a number of different ways and this will help you practice more effectively. This metronome is also a tuner and can produce different pitches for ear training. This is also one of the few budget metronomes which has a dial for quick tempo adjustment which is faster and easier to use than button orientations. Available in three different colors, this pick is housed in a very durable case with an integrated foldout kickstand mounted to the back allowing it to stand up on a table or desk.
Metronome Buyer’s Guide
The metronome is an important tool every musician should use. Modern metronomes come equipped with advanced capabilities and features to push your practicing and time-keeping abilities to new levels. Many top models have capabilities similar to sequencers and can be programmed to do amazing things. The following buyer’s guide covers the key features all metronomes should have and will help you choose one best suited for your needs.
Digital or Pendulum?
Weight-based Pendulum metronomes don’t have the advanced capabilities necessary for proper practicing. Additionally, simple metronomes can actually become a crutch for a player because they’re only capable of producing a simple click. Therefore, you should always consider purchasing a digital metronome first.
Allows you to hear the metronomes click.
It helps to be able to plug a set of headphones into the metronome. Often the metronomes external speaker isn’t loud enough to be heard over the sound of music, especially if you’re playing drums.
A good metronome allows tempo adjustment by a single beat per minute (BPM). There should also be a speed adjustment feature to quickly skip ahead by several BPMs (often 10).
Wide Tempo Range
Most metronomes will offer a good tempo range from 35-250 BPM.
Allows you to adjust the volume of the metronome click and balance it against your music. Adjustable volume saves your hearing and helps prevent the metronome from becoming a crutch.
Some metronomes provide different options for the actual sound of the click; some even feature audible numeric counting.
Typically a light which flashes on the beat or sometimes a traveling line that simulates a conductor.
The click should be able to subdivide notes into quarters, eighths, and sixteenth notes with some metronomes offering triplets and accented beats. The best metronomes will have an individual volume control for each subdivision.
Some metronomes can be programmed to perform specific meter and tempo changes and are similar to sequencers.
Some metronomes have attachments allowing them to be screwed onto a cymbal stand or attached to a music stand.
For certain players, these extra features are great practice tools:
Some metronomes can double as a tuner for guitars or other musical instruments.
Most metronomes produce a tone pitched at “A” 440 and can be changed to other pitches.
Some metronomes can record a session and offer you playback.
The Dr. Beat line of metronomes from Boss has become the standard for professional musicians. There are several different models of these reliable metronomes offered in a wide price range. Tama and Korg are two other manufacturers also known for making reliable metronomes which will last you a long time.
Price / Value
Generally the more features, the more expensive the metronome. Regardless, professional musicians should invest in a quality metronome to maximize their practice sessions.
For specific examples of top-end metronomes, you can refer to our list of Best Overall Metronomes. There’s also Best Budget Metronomes for musicians that prefer not to spend as much.