The 10 Best Metronomes

Updated May 24, 2018 by Taber Koeghan

10 Best Metronomes
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
Whether you're a master composer or you're learning a new instrument, every musician needs a metronome. The reliable items on this list will help you keep perfect time as you work your way through piece after piece. Our selection represents a wide variety of options, from traditional wind-up models to high-tech, multifunctional digital devices. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best metronome on Amazon.

10. Korg TMR-50

The Korg TMR-50 is one of the most versatile models available. It can count out the tempo with ease and detect pitch discrepancies, so you can make sure your instrument is tuned up before practice or performance. It also stores up to 100 recordings.
  • built-in microphone
  • allows for looped playback
  • a bit too quiet for some
Brand Korg
Weight 9.1 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Boss DB-90

The Boss DB-90 is an advanced gadget, with four audible click sounds and plenty of tools useful to virtually any musician. It can memorize up to 50 tempos and has a unique Rhythm Coach feature that trains the user to stay on time.
  • controls are intuitive
  • lets you program your own beats
  • not very durable
Brand BOSS
Model DB-90
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

8. Wittner 813M Maelzel

Classically styled and elegant are two fitting ways to describe the Wittner 813M Maelzel, which comes with a walnut-colored wooden case for storage and is powered by a traditional wind-up mechanism. It is expertly crafted in Germany.
  • swinging pendulum action
  • adjustable from 40 to 208 bpm
  • inner parts are made of plastic
Brand Wittner
Model 813M
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Korg KDM-2 True Tone Advanced Digital

The Korg KDM-2 True Tone Advanced Digital is every bit as high-tech as its name suggests. It has a 30-252 beats-per-minute range, tap tempo control, and is energy efficient, allowing for up to 120 hours of continuous operation on a single set of AAA batteries.
  • red and green led beat indicators
  • headphone jack for private practice
  • tapping button is poorly placed
Brand Korg
Model KDM2
Weight 8.5 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Cherub WSM-330

The Cherub WSM-330 requires no batteries to work, as its action is all mechanical. Just wind it up and watch as its metal arm hits the extremes of its sweep at whatever tempo you've selected using its built-in sliding weight.
  • classic wood block sound
  • one-percent margin of error
  • plastic construction feels cheap
Brand Cherub
Model WSM-330
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Seiko SQ50-V

A basic, yet dependable selection thanks to its quartz-regulated, battery-powered signal, the Seiko SQ50-V is suitable for anyone who needs accurate timekeeping with no frills. Its simple dial allows for tempo selection from 40 to 208 bpm.
  • easy-to-read led indicator
  • choice of two beat sounds
  • dial is a bit fragile
Brand Seiko
Model SQ50-V
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Kliq MetroPitch

The hybrid Kliq MetroPitch is a tuner, tone-generator, and timekeeper all in one. It features a simple wheel-based interface and a tempo range of 30-250 beats per minute, which is a bit wider than most other models. It also includes a soft carrying case.
  • less than one inch thick
  • also available in red or blue
  • three-year guarantee
Brand KLIQ Music Gear
Model MetroPitch-BK
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Korg KDM3BK

If you're looking for an option with plenty of settings that's also easy to use, the Korg KDM3BK is the way to go. It has a digital display that makes programming a breeze, and can produce a wide range of beats for limitless musical possibilities.
  • batteries included
  • matte black finish
  • lightweight design
Brand Korg
Model KDM3BK
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Yamaha MP-90

From a trustworthy company in the musical world comes the Yamaha MP-90, which features a removable cover that keeps the rod clean and protected when not in use. Even though it's constructed from plastic, it has a classic, sophisticated appearance.
  • four colors to choose from
  • chime function can be turned off
  • highly accurate timing
Brand Yamaha
Model MP-90BK
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Matrix MR600 Deluxe

The Matrix MR600 Deluxe is a dial-operated choice that musicians of all experience levels can benefit from using. It has a bright LED display and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Additionally, you can keep it propped up using its fold-out metal stand.
  • printed tempo markings on face
  • runs on one nine-volt battery
  • adjustable volume
Brand Matrix
Model MR600
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Keep To The Beat

Expressive forms of art are not necessarily meant to be structured or quantified. When learning how to paint, for example, an apprentice learns about the different styles of canvas, brushes, brushstrokes, and paint consistencies needed to create the most lifelike images. But at the end of the day, an artist's desires, personality, and time allow him to infuse his creation with his own views of culture and history without obsessing over the mechanics of what's involved in the process.

Professional singers or musicians are not always obsessed with the structural nature of their music or the notes they see on a page. Following the adaptation to a musical composition and the way it should be played, these professionals learn how to personalize the art form and make it their own in order to convey feeling to an audience. That is one of music's ultimate goals, but in order to get there the fundamentals still need to be taught, learned, and practiced. For the student or professional musician learning a new piece, a metronome can be an excellent tool to help keep them in time as they play and become accustomed to the nature of the composition.

A metronome is a device that produces audible and metrical beats or ticks per minute in order to keep a musician in proper time. The device is most useful as a training tool for students or any musician learning how to keep the right tempo (speed and pace of the notes played). Depending on the passage of music, it may require an increase or decrease in tempo. The device also encourages further development of one's internal sense of tempo. This means that a musician learns to recognize the appropriate moments to play fast or slow without having to depend on the metronome indefinitely.

While it is a great training tool, a common criticism for the device is that it also removes personality from the music being played. This defeats the point of conveying the feeling of music to an audience in the first place. We're not here to bash the metronome by any means, but it's important to recognize it as a tool for developing one's individual sense of musical instinct and not as an object of permanent dependence.

The three major types of metronome include mechanical, electronic, and software. Mechanical metronomes leverage an adjustable weight on the end of an inverted pendulum rod, which swings back and forth to keep the tempo consistent. When the weight is raised along the rod, the tempo will decrease. When the weight is lowered, the tempo will increase. These devices also have an internal component that produces a clicking noise as the pendulum swings to each beat. The visual cue of the pendulum swinging back and forth can be a significant advantage for a student who's just learning to play an instrument, as they can learn to anticipate the pendulum's movements.

The electronic metronome is typically battery-operated with a digital display that uses quartz crystal to maintain its accuracy. Many electronic metronomes have built-in dials or buttons to control the tempo, while others can produce several distinct sounds to represent different beats. Software metronomes can be an element of a larger musical sequencing system or they can exist as standalone programs. Practical applications for software metronomes include film scoring and digital music production.

A Brief History Of Metronomes

The earliest attempt to create a form of the metronome occurred in the ninth century with Andalusian inventor and musician Abbas ibn Firnas. By the late sixteenth century (1581), Galileo Galilei began studying the mathematical motion of the pendulum and discovered that pendulums (of any given length) would vibrate in the same time, whether their amplitude was large or small. This concept was referred to as isochronism and was applied to the mechanical clock, but it also provided insight into the development of the mechanical metronome.

The first mechanical metronome was invented in 1696 by musical theorist Etienne Loulié with the use of an adjustable pendulum. Unfortunately, the device did not produce any sound, nor did it include an escapement for counting the pendulum's oscillations and keeping it in motion.

The practical mechanical metronome was developed by Amsterdam inventor Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel in 1814. Incorporating Winkel's ideas and manufacturing the device under his own name, Johann Nepomuk Maelzel added a scale to the device in 1816.

Modern-style metronomes became common with the harnessing of alternating current, which made possible the Franz electric metronome of 1938. This device featured a synchronous motor (similar to those used in electric clocks) used to control a tempo-beating hammer. It was produced (and remained popular) until 1994.

Beginning in the 1970s, the digital electronics age allowed for the development of the electronic metronome with microprocessor technology. This gave the device a multifunctional edge for incorporating additional features, such as accented beats and pitch tuning capability.

The Ideal Metronome

Whether one chooses an electronic or mechanical metronome is a personal choice. That said, if simplicity makes more sense to you, a mechanical device is a good way to go.

The best metronome assists you during practice and improves your skill by keeping you on point with respect to the appropriate tempo. However, it should be easy enough to shut off or stop when it's no longer needed. This doesn't devalue the metronome, but the device should be used in moderation, regardless of the type chosen. For that reason, there's no need to invest huge amounts of money in one full of bells and whistles. However, students who have trouble keeping time can benefit from an electronic metronome's ability to store various tempos for practice.

Some of the most cutting-edge electronic metronomes allow for the programming of custom beats, which comes in particularly handy if you're a drummer or a musician wishing to improvise a composition. Additionally, some metronomes can even detect pitch discrepancies, which can help you tune your instrument properly during practice sessions.

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Last updated on May 24, 2018 by Taber Koeghan

Taber is a writer working in Los Angeles, which also happens to be the city she was raised in. She enjoys reading mysteries, rock climbing, and baking. A funny cat named Roswell lives in her house.

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