Hydrogen Drum Machine, a free and open source drum machine

about hydrogen

In the next article we are going to take a look at Hydrogen Advanced Drum Machine. This is a free advanced drum machine and Open Source which can be used on Gnu / Linux, Windows and MacOS. Drum programming based on professional patterns can be performed with this program. It also comes with a stereo audio engine, and it will allow us to import sound samples in wav, au and aiff formats. This software is released under the GNU General Public License v2.0.

This program offers a graphical interface based on Qt4, which is fast and intuitive. The main objective of the project is to make a professional drum machine, although simple and intuitive, based on pattern programming.

Hydrogen Drum Machine General Features

hydrogen drum machine preferences

  • It has a very easy to use, modular, fast and intuitive graphical interface, based on QT 4.
  • Uses a stereo audio engine based on samples, giving the possibility of importing sound samples in .wav, .au and .aiff formats. It also supports samples in compressed FLAC file.
  • In this program we will find a sequencer pattern-based, with an unlimited number of possibilities. We will find available the possibility of chaining patterns in a song.
  • It has up to 192 ticks per pattern, with individual level per event and variable pattern length.
  • We can work with an unlimited number of instrument tracks, with volume, mute, solo, and pan capabilities.
  • The program offers multilayer instrument holder (up to 16 samples for each instrument).

hydrogen running

  • We can also use the sample editor, with basic cut and loop functions.
  • We will be able to use the time and pitch stretch functions via elastic band cli.
  • We will have playlists with scripting function.
  • Director window, with visual metronome and song position labels.
  • Timeline, with variable tempo.
  • We will be able export / import individual patterns into song projects, as well as song files.
  • JACK, ALSA, PortAudio and OSS audio drivers.

mixer running

  • JACK MIDI, ALSA MIDI and PortMidi input with assignable midi-in channel (1..16, ALL).
  • Import / Export Drum Kits.
  • We will have the possibility of export the song to a wav, aiff, flac, ogg, midi or lilypond file.

These are just some of the features of this program. Users who want to know all of them in detail, can consult them in the project website.

Install Hydrogen Drum Machine on Ubuntu

We will find this program available in the main Ubuntu repositories and as a flatpak package.


To install this program we will only have to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and execute the following commands to install Hydrogen Drum Machine in Ubuntu:

install hydrogen drum machine with apt

sudo apt update

sudo apt install hydrogen

Once the installation is complete, we can find the program launcher on our computer. Another possibility is to write in the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) the command:

program launcher



Remove this installed program with apt, it is as simple as opening a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and executing the command in it:

uninstall hydrogen drum machine

sudo apt remove hydrogen; sudo apt autoremove

Using flatpak

Another possibility for install Hydrogen Drum Machine will be through its corresponding flatpak pack. If you use Ubuntu 20.04 and you still do not have this technology enabled on your computer, you can follow the guide that a colleague wrote a while ago on this blog.

When you can use this type of application on your system, open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and in it run the following install command:

install flatpak package

flatpak install flathub org.hydrogenmusic.Hydrogen

Once the installation is complete, you can find the launcher on your computer or run in terminal the following command:

program launcher

flatpak run org.hydrogenmusic.Hydrogen


If you chose to install this program as a flatpak package, you can remove it from your system opening a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and executing the command in it:

uninstall flatpak package

flatpak uninstall org.hydrogenmusic.Hydrogen

For more information about this software or about its use, users can take a look at the project website or the official documentation.

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