May 26, 2007

More MachineDrum thoughts...

by Chris Randall

Okay, I've spent the better part of a day and a night working on a track where the rhythm parts are entirely MachineDrum, and I have some more thoughts on the box. Whether you find these useful in informing your purchase decision, or reinforcing it, is entirely up to you. In no particular order:

1. The synthesis methods are quite comprehensive. If I can think of a percussion sound, there seems to be a block in the MD dedicated to producing it. For the most part, they sound quite good, if a bit artificial. That last may not make sense, but I've been using the same 909 sample set I made myself for almost a decade, and I'm just used to the way it sounds; these made-on-the-fly sounds just sound a little made-on-the-fly.

2. I'm having a hard time coming up with a foot that will sit in the mix really well; I've noticed in a lot of the tracks I listened to where I knew the MD was doing the drumming that the foot didn't really sit, and I'm experiencing that here. Since that's the single most important part of electronic music, it needs to be perfect. I'll work some more on that; there's almost certainly a reason for it, and where there's a reason there's a solution.

3. I've settled on a methodology for working with a DAW. I make the pattern(s) in the MachineDrum, then use the Mute Tracks function to mute all but one, and record them individually in to the DAW, so everything is separated out. This seems to work the best for my normal methods. I couldn't see myself actually arranging a song in the MachineDrum. That'd just be lame.

So I guess that's about it for now. The preset kits are kind of lame, but it's easy to touch 'em up or make your own new ones. The preset patterns are essentially useless, but if you buy a $1300 boutique drum machine expecting to use the presets, you might as well save yourself $1250 and pick up a couple disks of Acid Loopz from Sony.




May.26.2007 @ 6:37 PM
I did the same with my MD until I got a 909, especially for the kick, it solved the problem.

May.27.2007 @ 4:39 AM
That's the interesting thing about so many drum machines I've tried - they just don't have enough power to the kick. I used to use a jomox airbase and it had a lot of character - the noise and the filters were really beautiful. But the kick was rubbish, even with heavy compression it had no punch. I've never owned an 808 or a 909 but they still seem to rule when it comes to kick drums. I'd love to know if there's anoher decent kick maker out there though...

May.27.2007 @ 6:28 AM
i use a metalbox 8008 module for kicks. it's pretty much identical to the original 808 kick, except it has modern components, a tune control and outputs at modular level - 10 volts of phatness ;)

comes in frac rack modular format for about $150 and kicks like a mule.


May.27.2007 @ 2:51 PM
I've been using a rave-o-lution for it's kick drums, and nothing else.

All these years, I got so much mileage out of the archive of TR-808 , TR-909 sample set.



May.27.2007 @ 5:02 PM
I'll second the Metalbox 8008.. I have one as well in my frac and it's fucking HUUUUGE. I run that into a distressor compressor then into a germanium pre.......punchy thick nasty kick.

I'm looking at getting a machinedrum soon..... but right now I'm working on a ucaaps midibox sid synth... the color scheme i'm doing it will match the machine drum when I get it. hehe. here is the basic drawings so far of the sid synth. link []">link []
Peace! :)


May.27.2007 @ 8:36 PM
I wrote out a song using song mode... I wouldn't call it lame - it just took a long time.

Also... I think there's the X0X and MPC crowd who wouldn't think of working in song mode. Then there are those of us who grew up w/ the Drumulator and SPxx where song mode is intuitive. To each his own.


May.28.2007 @ 11:35 PM
TragedyBySyntax ,
not that I want to totally cop your sound, (not familiar with your work even...) but what could I trade you for some samples of the kick you just described? That device chain you just described (Metalbox/Distressor/Germanium) sounds rocking!!

I am constantly in search of the master kick drum, and that sounds like a good candidate.

I often use a combination of the Reaktor Massive kick for bite, layered with some filtered acoustic samples to round it out.

If I am going for chunky analog, I'll route it out to a chain usually involving waldorf filters and a joe meek pre/comp.

There is a Reaktor 808 module that is OK. It's a standard sample set that I believe has been around for years. From there it's fun with compression and EQ to lock it into place.


May.30.2007 @ 7:34 PM
I first solved my kick problem by making a few kick samples with 808 clone synths in my Pulsar/Scope system, mastering them and importing them to my MD. Since I bought my Vermona DRM1 I haven't really used the Pulsar samples. The MD and Vermona box compliment each other beautifully.



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