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Help me decide on hardware
Old 10th December 2017
  #1
Help me decide on hardware

Here’s some background on what I do, as to help you know where I’m coming from:

Im into producing electronic (and I mean not always 4/4 drums and not EDM bangers though), lofi, hip hop, techno and ambient tracks. Currently mainly producing lofi.
I primarily use Ableton Live, a midi keyboard and a Behringer CMD-LC1 Ableton clip launcher for production.

What I’m looking for:

A) Something that is capable of producing a track or beat DAW-less. (Exporting patterns/tracks into a DAW later is acceptable).
B) Something to boost my creativity and allow me to move away from the keyboard mouse and screen. I feel like it can be intrusive to creative vibes sometimes.
C) Needs to be able to handle multiple genres effectively so that it does not become unusable if I decide I am more into another genre later on.

Here’s what I’ve been looking at:

Roland SP-404SX/A
Elektron Digitakt
Native Instruments Maschine (I’m aware this needs software in some cases)
Korg Volca Sample
Korg Electribe
Monome Grid (meets req B and C but not A)
Midi Fighter (also meets req B and C but not A)
MPC 500/1000

Any other suggestions?

What are you guys’ opinions?
I’m a college student so the least money I can spend the better.
Old 10th December 2017
  #2
Lives for gear
 
login's Avatar
Novation Circuit is other option.

Also Ableton Push, that or Maschine can be used without mouse if you adapt to the workflow.
Old 11th December 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 
jbuonacc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwagner View Post
... What are you guys’ opinions?
I’m a college student so the least money I can spend the better.
while Maschine actually does "need software" in ALL cases, compared to everything else you've listed it's the only one that makes sense. just as long as you don't require it to be fully portable and are ok with it being hooked up to the computer. it can do pretty much anything that the others can (combined with some 3rd-party VSTs if needed) and so much more.

as said, Ableton and Push2 as well. that's more expensive though. while that Behringer clip launcher looks cool, it's not nearly as "game changing" as something like Push2 or an APC40mkII. even a used original model Push would be a serious step up.

one of these options will do well enough to get you "away from the keyboard/mouse" without having to fit your workflow to match one of these limited boxes.
Old 11th December 2017
  #4
Lives for gear
 
login's Avatar
A used Push 1 is a very good idea, they go for cheap and are quite well built. See if you can get something done with it.
Old 13th December 2017
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Novation Circuit is other option.

Also Ableton Push, that or Maschine can be used without mouse if you adapt to the workflow.
Do you know how the sampling is on the Novation Circuit? Could you import samples long enough to do a sampled hip hop type track?
Old 13th December 2017
  #6
Gear Nut
 

The circuit has 60 seconds of sample time of 64 slots. Looks like more a oneshot machine than a sampler that handles loops well.
Old 13th December 2017
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwagner View Post

What are you guys’ opinions?
I’m a college student so the least money I can spend the better.
My advice is to not let this be the primary guiding factor on what you buy. I did the broke college student thing for 7 years and now I’m doing the broke adjunct thing as my career.

Having bought and sold a fair few pieces of gear over the past 3-4 years and finally finding a setup that works a charm for me, I can say I ended up spending way more money buying things that fit my budget more than my needs. Buy cheap, buy twice (and sometimes a third time).

Of the items on your list I’d say the Digitakt might be a really good option. Then the SP404 or Electribe 2 Sampler next. I think the Circuit is also a great suggestion, but I don’t think it’ll make you happy for sample based hiphop.

I’d take the Volca Sampler straight off your list. It does fine for what it is, but its got very low functionality.

I love my Electribe 2 Sampler as a drum machine.
Old 16th December 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by InTheAM View Post

I love my Electribe 2 Sampler as a drum machine.
My main fear with the Electribe is that it can only sequence 4 bars. :/
Any workarounds for this? The Electribe otherwise has more advantages to the Circuit as far as fine-tuning goes.
Old 16th December 2017
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwagner View Post
My main fear with the Electribe is that it can only sequence 4 bars. :/
Any workarounds for this? The Electribe otherwise has more advantages to the Circuit as far as fine-tuning goes.
There is some kind of pattern chaining and song mode option. Basically, in the song mode, you just tell it what patterns to play in what order (live only I think, can’t be programmed) and it will play the patterns back in that order. I have no idea how the patterning chaining works as I never use it, but I think you can do that out side of real time. I think it’ll chain up to four patterns? Check the manual : )

For the way I work I just record 4 bars at a time. No big deal for myself.

The other thing I’ll do is just assign the same 8 samples to the top and bottom rows then I’ve kind of got “pattern A and pattern B” kind of like some of the classic X0X.

Just to be really clear, it works a charm as a one shot drum machine, but I wouldn’t expect much more out of it.
Old 17th December 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
 
jbuonacc's Avatar
pretty much any of these hardware drum machines all have this same "prison cell" pattern system. part of the reason that i could never go back to that workflow. i was obsessed with classic drum machines years ago, now they cause a negative physical reaction when i think about using one. if i want to have a static 1-bar loop repeating forever, i can still do that (and i still do that way too often). i'd just rather not be stuck with that all the time. Octatrack and some others are pretty flexible though.

but again... Maschine and Ableton is the answer.
Old 17th December 2017
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

You can listen to that last guy if you don't mind being tethered to a computer, but an RS7000, MC-909 or even an Electribe ES2 or ESX would be a better replacement for the computer than most of the options you've mentioned, but possibly a bit much if you're still gonna do most of your sequencing in a DAW. I'd say a Maschine would suit you nicely, Circuit is a nice modern one too, or you can export Ableton stems with the newest electribes.
Old 17th December 2017
  #12
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Digitakt is a no brainer, it's so easy and super fun to use, you can dump samples into easily and it sounds great.. I've seen them for great prices second hand on ebay already..
Old 17th December 2017
  #13
Kja
Lives for gear
Digitakt is a really great peice.. It seems really simple unwell you get really into it and see how deep it really is, you gotta "play it" not just hit play on preprogrammed patterns but you can get endless variations and it sounds really warm and grainy compared to most modern samplers, I picked it over the live, pioneer, etc. and I could afford them.. For the price, well or not just the price but it is a classic box for half what most go for.. Its in another league than the other cheaper groovebox sampler boxes. I would recommend it.
Old 20th December 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
Digitakt is a no brainer, it's so easy and super fun to use, you can dump samples into easily and it sounds great.. I've seen them for great prices second hand on ebay already..
Does the Digitakt offer enough to make it be worth several hundred dollars over others such as the Circuit, Maschine (Mikro)?
Old 20th December 2017
  #15
Lives for gear
 
didlisquat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
Digitakt is a no brainer, it's so easy and super fun to use, you can dump samples into easily and it sounds great.. I've seen them for great prices second hand on ebay already..
If I am ever ready for a sampler, I'll give these words some thought.
Old 20th December 2017
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Nick Stedman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwagner View Post
Here’s some background on what I do, as to help you know where I’m coming from:

Im into producing electronic (and I mean not always 4/4 drums and not EDM bangers though), lofi, hip hop, techno and ambient tracks. Currently mainly producing lofi.
I primarily use Ableton Live, a midi keyboard and a Behringer CMD-LC1 Ableton clip launcher for production.

What I’m looking for:

A) Something that is capable of producing a track or beat DAW-less. (Exporting patterns/tracks into a DAW later is acceptable).
B) Something to boost my creativity and allow me to move away from the keyboard mouse and screen. I feel like it can be intrusive to creative vibes sometimes.
C) Needs to be able to handle multiple genres effectively so that it does not become unusable if I decide I am more into another genre later on.

Here’s what I’ve been looking at:

Roland SP-404SX/A
Elektron Digitakt
Native Instruments Maschine (I’m aware this needs software in some cases)
Korg Volca Sample
Korg Electribe
Monome Grid (meets req B and C but not A)
Midi Fighter (also meets req B and C but not A)
MPC 500/1000

Any other suggestions?

What are you guys’ opinions?
I’m a college student so the least money I can spend the better.
The Sp555 gives you "loop capture" mode. Which comes in super handy for quick ideas/ creative loops. It basically has a built in interface as well (XLR/trs input w/phantom power) a lot of the effects are better as well from the 404. ESPECIALLY the lofi compressor effect. This is different from the 404's "compressor" or lofi button. This is both effects in one, and it gives you like 5 different presets from within that effect to choose from. It is amazing for drums. I regret getting rid of mine. I'd be using it as an outboard compressor for drums. It's loaded with effects of course. With the 404 you can't listen to the incoming signal from a line out (turntable) while playing a drum pattern. It was so blocking from that alone and only the 303 would let you do that. With loop capture mode you avoid that pain completely. It gives you a lot of options. A lot of spontaneous creativity that you can use external instruments with and tweak them out.

If you want to spend a little more I really suggest the Elektron Octatrack over the Digitakt. Jon wayne does a lot of good lo-fi stuff and he's been using one lately paired with the Elektron Rydm.

It IS a DAW without a computer.
Old 20th December 2017
  #17
Gear Addict
 
Nick Stedman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
A used Push 1 is a very good idea, they go for cheap and are quite well built. See if you can get something done with it.
It still doesn't completely detach you from the computer though unfortunately.
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