May 22, 2007

If I could save time in a bottle...

by Chris Randall

...I'd take that bottle, once it was suitably full, and conk Jim Croce right on the head with it.

In any event, my sister and her family are visiting from Belgium for the week, so I'll be largely entangled in family matters for the nonce, and thus not posting with my usual piss and vinegar. That being the case, you can consider this an Open Thread. Today's subject: the Elektron MachineDrum. Discretion was soundly thrashed by valor, and we ordered a pair of these from Analogue Haven; they should be here in a day or two. Do you have one? What should amaze me? What should astound me? What will bemuse or befuddle me? Is it, in actual fact, Full Of Techno??



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May.22.2007 @ 9:52 AM
I just have a question for the people who use the machine drum as a sampler:

1. How difficult is it to transfer samples from a PC to the machine drum?

2. How difficult is it to transfer backup data to the PC (patterns, sounds, etc)?

I think if Elektron ever did a full on Akai-killer sampler, I would buy it the minute it was released. But the wave option on the machine drum seems kind of like an afterthought.

Also, this is off-topic, but since it is an open thread:

My oven (the kind that bakes things) has this very cool plate reverb sound. Has anyone miked a "plate" or done something similiar, and have any suggestions?


May.22.2007 @ 10:46 AM
im not the most knowledgeable person in this field, especially on this page. but i was wondering if anyone knew about a good vst drum synth, something that would compare to the drum machines engine. obviously, in vst format, so no need to compare the downfalls. ive used waldorf attack, and native instruments battery, but was wondering if there was one in between the two.

thank you


May.22.2007 @ 10:54 AM
Adam Schabtach
"The MD ended my years long search for a likeable drum machine." I was pleased to read this since I've also been searching for a likeable drum machine for years. I love the little devils but somehow they always end up vexing me or disappointing me in the end. I've had my eye on the MD since it came out but could never quite bring myself to throw down the $ given past vexations and disappointments with its kin. CR convinced me that they were worthwhile investments for AD; I'll blame him if I don't like it.

Someone mentioned MIDI sync. Are any of you using an MD in conjunction with Cubase? I'll be a happy camper if I can get the MD to play nicely with Cubase, i.e. start and stop at the right time, play at the right tempo, and (for bonus points) understand song pointer changes. You know, that stuff that MIDI is supposed to do but so many devices fail to really do entirely correctly...



May.22.2007 @ 11:43 AM
"CR convinced me that they were worthwhile investments for AD"

I was wondering about that when I first read his post. Care to explain the logic here?

nathanj- check out microtonic (link []">link [])


May.22.2007 @ 12:15 PM
Adam Schabtach
Um... I'm not sure whether the "logic" holds up to explanation. How 'bout this: the AD Board of Directors, in recognition of the outstanding jobs done (respectively) by the Chief Officers, agreed to award each an Executive Bonus consisting of one (1) Machinedrum.

Nobody ever said that we're immune to either gear lust or fits of self-indulgence. :-)

I did spend quite a bit of time with the microtonic demo. It's nice. In the end I decided that it didn't grab me sound-wise. I came within a hair's breadth of buying it, though.



May.22.2007 @ 12:19 PM
I look forward to getting the full rundown once you've had a chance to give it a good once over.

I've gone through periodic waves of Elektron lust since Monomachine came out. But, when I finally had a chance to check both the Monomachine and Machinedrum out in a shop, I was a bit disappointed by the build quality for the price (those dinky knobs are what got to me most).

What's with the frequent use of the sample rate reducer on so many Machinedrum-heavy tracks I've heard (for instance, many of the tracks to be found at the elektron users site)? Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but its common appearance suggests a trend of some kind.


May.22.2007 @ 12:27 PM
love it or hate it: korg electribes. i have both the esx1 and emx1...though neither of these is a drum synth (one a sampler, one a rompler)...they are really fun because of their limitations. no velocity information for sounds (only 'accent'), everything is auto quantized, etc etc. but motion information for just about every knob on these things is recordable in the sequencer, and thus you can get some really unique sounds out of them. so pitch, filter, effects, (and volume to replace velocity info) etc. is all automatable. plus the esx1 has stereo audio in so you can use it as a gate with ribbon controlled arp...some people hate the sound quality though. its got those tubes with leds behind them to make you think its some vintage gear, but they really do help make things less sterile.

and re: the uw version of the machine drum...isn't it a waveform sampler? so you're not sampling hits, just waveforms to synthesize from, correct?


May.22.2007 @ 12:27 PM
Adam Schabtach
I personally think that sample-rate reduction is a badly overused effect. I blame myself for writing Pluggo's Degrader plug-in.



May.22.2007 @ 12:27 PM
Chris Randall
Okay, I'm back for the morning. Some interesting thoughts on the MachineDrum, and I'll see how they mesh with my worldview. I will, of course, put up my thoughts when I get it. I got a pretty thorough run-through with it when I visited Analogue Haven, so I have a good idea of what I'm in for; it's really just a matter of being able to program in my sounds. We'll see how that works.



May.22.2007 @ 1:22 PM
I also was seriously underwhelmed by the MD. At the time, there was no way to demo a unit, so I have only myself to blame. I completely disliked the sound. As mentioned previously, I also found it very "cold," "harsh," "thin," --> very, very digital. I demo'd microtonic and was shocked to find that a 79Euro plugin sounded just as good if not better than the MD, IMO. I don't know and the UW version - maybe my opinion would be different.

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