May 25, 2007


by Chris Randall

Adam and I got our MachineDrums today. After spending a couple hours fooling about, here are my initial thoughts:

1. If you have been assembling drums in a DAW for, say, five to seven years now, it's actually kind of difficult to think of ways to use a drum machine that aren't annoying. Like, there's no way I'd have the patience to assemble a song in the MD. No way.

2. I'm not sure what the hell everyone is going on about "it sounds all IDM and shit." Not really. It sounds like a drum machine. It actually sounds like several different drum machines. I was able to get fairly stonking prog house beats out of it in short order, without using any outboard. (MachineDrum right in to Rosetta.) I was also able to get some pretty convincing Flip Mode shit going quite easily. I will happily admit that if one wanted to do IDM type things, this would be pretty good at it.

3. As a drum synth, it is fairly sophisticated. I can't, off the top of my head, think of another drum machine that is as easy to program as this one, at least as far as the synthesis portion goes.

I'll put up a more sophisticated review on Sunday, I suppose. But initial impressions are much the same as they were when I got a run-through at Analogue Haven last year. This is an excellent drum machine if you like that sort of thing; in fact, I think it may be the best drum machine ever made. It does have a little crispy critter edge to it, but just remember: 9 out of 10 hip hop producers have never even seen a real 808. They all use the MPC sample set. So relax.



Page 2 of 2

May.27.2007 @ 9:41 AM
<Where is the ultimate Drum Machine plugin? The MachineDrum in sofware, the SofrwareDrum so to speak? >

I always liked Waldorf Attack. If they made a hardware version with all the knobs of the VST, I would have bought it. The rack-attack was just too spartan an interface.



May.27.2007 @ 11:11 AM
Zero One
The other downer of the Waldorf Rack Attack was XXXX-all MIDI control of the paramters, but at least it does a good kick!

May.27.2007 @ 12:11 PM
Chris Randall
I always found the foot in the Attack to be wanting; I ended up using a layered kick that consisted of the "909" foot and the "SDS5" one, but I was still never really happy with it.



May.27.2007 @ 6:39 PM
Zero One
DO you really say 'Foot' for kick drum?
i never ever met a drummer who said 'Foot' or seen 'Foot' in a sample CD!

May.27.2007 @ 6:58 PM
Chris Randall
I'm not a drummer, so you still haven't.



May.27.2007 @ 9:47 PM
Zero One
but you are not denying that you might not be a sample cd though - ;0)

May.27.2007 @ 10:00 PM
Chris Randall
If I _made_ a sample CD, every "kick" drum would be labeled Foot, I can say that much. For what it's worth, it's not a "kick" drum either. It's a bass drum. "Foot" and "Kick" make an equal amount of sense (or lack thereof, more to the point) but since I learned to program from Chicago House old-schoolers like Van Christie, Matt Warren, et al, I call it a foot, because that's what they call it.



May.27.2007 @ 11:36 PM
I've heard "foot." I've even heard James Gadsen Jr. say it -- though not exclusively -- and he's got a serious one.

Re: drum synth: anyone else ever use Microtonic? I don't know how it's considered, critically speaking, but it's bumping a lot of trunks in the chicano-gangster-rap southland; I've used it a bunch since I got sick of my collection of 808 samples.


May.28.2007 @ 1:20 AM
I think the MD's song mode resembles a tracker. I'm hot into making tracks with one or two patterns and then programming pattern length changes & mutes on the song mode.

The maximum length of 32 steps per pattern sucks balls though, and I agree, the bass can be a bitch to tweak just right. I'd go for pre-made sample if I wasn't so lazy.


Page 2 of 2



Sorry, commenting is closed for this blog entry.