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Where to start (synth, sample, drum machine, etc.)?
Old 6 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Where to start (synth, sample, drum machine, etc.)?

Hi,

I am an amateur musician and I already play guitar, bass and drum. However, I do like making electronic music even if it's not the core of my practice.

I used to make music with a midi controler and a big bunch of VSTI. I got bored messing with too much stuff and I would like to have a simpler setup, where I can quickly sit and make music after work. A friend of mine has a lot of analog gear which I really had fun playing with but I don't know where to start.

I would like to be able to :
-Make drumbeats
-Play synth (bass and keys)
-Mess around with some sounds and loops

All in all, I want to make complete tracks, play them live without busting my bank account.

Which kind of gear do I need? Would I need to buy an individual drum machine, synth and sampler or I can get a quality all in one machine?

Thank you for your help!
Old 6 days ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by yannnn View Post
Would I need to buy an individual drum machine, synth and sampler or I can get a quality all in one machine?
A used Fantom-G does all you want and more and sell for a fraction of what they were new. Built-in 24-track digital recorder and 128-track MIDI sequencer. Easy as pie to use.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
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cogsy's Avatar
 

The question to ask yourself is do you really want a drum machine if you are already a drummer? I think programming in fills would be torture when you could play them 10x faster.

You may want to consider a groove box to start off. That would give you some synths, drums, and something hands-on to program. Electribe is the cheap option. It has a built in synth engine (not analog) so you can make your own sounds, plus synthesizer drums. Model: Samples is similar. Fewer voices but all the controls are exposed. Or you can step up to an MPC (Live or One) which would really give you some of everything. Secondhand Lives are probably easy to come by right now. Secondhand Elektron A4's are stupid cheap right now, and you can do lead, bass, drinks, you name it. It's analog and only four voices, but you can stretch that in all sorts of fun ways. You'll just probably wind up having to record multiple passes to get around the voice limits.

My recommendation is you probably don't need analog. It will be more expensive and more limited if you just want to make tracks.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
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chaocrator's Avatar
Quote:
I would like to be able to :
-Make drumbeats
-Play synth (bass and keys)
-Mess around with some sounds and loops
seems like you need a groovebox.
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Gear Head
 
Chandro Ji's Avatar
 

Where to start (synth, sample, drum machine, etc.)?


Get all of them (and a powerful Sequencer) in just one little and mobile box!

I would go for a Synthstrom Deluge!
It’s also very mobile, you can make music everywhere because it can be battery powered.
No need for anything else. With this little device you can easily start in electronic music - with fun!

Here is a fine introduction what you can do with the Deluge
by RED MEANS RECORDING



Deluge is good for many styles of electronic music
There are many videos out there...







Maybe a Roland MC-707is also a good option!

Here is a session with a Deluge and a MC-707

Old 6 days ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for your answers!

These seem to be nice pieces of gear! You are right, I do have an electronic drum (Roland TD9) which makes beat making much quicker, but the recording process is more complicated (maybe I didn't found the right way/tools to do so).

Correct me if I'm wrong; I understand that a groovebox is an all in one machine that contains instruments sounds and a sampler as well? Which means that I can use the onboard sounds or import my drumkit sounds (or any other samples) ?

I didn't know that samplers could come with included instruments.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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kwaping's Avatar
You might also like the new MPC Live II. It’s a “one and done” box for what you want to do.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
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was silents's Avatar
Agree with MPC Live.
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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syntonica's Avatar
Depends on your groovebox. Some are just a box of sounds (drums, bass, pads, leads, etc.) and some are samplers/sample players.

What's your budget? We can give you just the right suggestions then, rather than the usual scattershot.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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There's a good selection of "grooveboxes" out there.

That, or just get an iPad.
Old 5 days ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by was silents View Post
Agree with MPC Live.
+2

To that I would add:Also get a MIDI keyboard controller (a keyboard with no sounds of its own)—something you can plug into the MPC to play its built-in piano, synth,and bass sounds. The controller could be as small as an Arturia Keystep, or something larger with 49-88 full size keys.

You could also get any synth or digital piano with MIDI jacks (or USB MIDI) to serve as a controller to play the MPC’s sounds.

(Of course you can play, say, a piano sound, using the MPC’s drum pads—but if you play guitar already I am going to guess that a piano-style keyboard will feel like a more natural way to play chord progressions; lots of guitarists can play a little piano.)
Old 5 days ago
  #12
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kwaping's Avatar
Actually, Pad Perform is really awesome for chords, progressions, and other playing. I call it "cheat mode".
Old 5 days ago
  #13
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You are right, there are a lot of choices on the market. My budget is between 350-750$us (500-1000$can). I guess I could wait and get a used MPC Live? Or a used Elektron A4? The later sounds great, but I must admit I like the digital approach and possibilities of the first. I can see there is an Elektron A4 MKI one the market in my city for 875$us.

Things is that I already am a musician and I wonder if I would be limited with an electribe. I read the it is one of the most intuitive to quickly create tracks (but has a limite memory, which means I wouldn't be able the create complex grooves). I have already tested the Electribe MX (blue one with a tube) a couple of years ago. It was fun, but the thing was complex! (High learning curve I could notice, you wouldn't make music right away with the thing)

Thank you for your help!
Old 5 days ago
  #14
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syntonica's Avatar
Actually, a new MPC One fits your budget fine. Or, wait a bit as the new Live II rolls out, the older Lives will start to kick loose and show up secondhand.

The new Electribes are fantastic sounding and fun with just the right amount of knobiness and buttoniness. My only gripe is the typical bad Korg interface menu diving, but this is really only if you need to do some fine tuning. It's well worth seeking one out to take for a spin. You just need to decide if you want a sampler or a synth version
Old 5 days ago
  #15
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was silents's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by yannnn View Post
I have already tested the Electribe MX (blue one with a tube) a couple of years ago. It was fun, but the thing was complex! (High learning curve I could notice, you wouldn't make music right away with the thing)

Thank you for your help!
Well, whatever you choose will require a significant investment of both money and time. The learning curve will usually be proportional to the capability of the instrument and its ability to accommodate your compositions.

The MPC will be a major learning curve.
Old 5 days ago
  #16
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
Actually, a new MPC One fits your budget fine. Or, wait a bit as the new Live II rolls out, the older Lives will start to kick loose and show up secondhand.

The new Electribes are fantastic sounding and fun with just the right amount of knobiness and buttoniness. My only gripe is the typical bad Korg interface menu diving, but this is really only if you need to do some fine tuning. It's well worth seeking one out to take for a spin. You just need to decide if you want a sampler or a synth version
Have you used the drum machine electribe? I’m curious how the synth engine sounds too, I heard it’s essentially one oscillator from the King Korg. I like the Electribe drum sounds, just not sure if you can get much variation from the four bar limit?
Old 5 days ago
  #17
Gear Head
 

How about this:
Arturia drumbrute impact $260 used
Arturia microbrute $200 ish or less
Tc electronics ditto looper $85
All analog. Except the looper pedal. Easiest setup to learn and hits the analog feel you might want.

The microbrute is monophonic however. If you add another $200 to this price you can get a used korg minilogue and be able to play 4 note chords or mono. There are others in this price bracket too if you shop around. But everything here is kept with analog in mind.
Old 5 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowfood View Post
How about this:
Arturia drumbrute impact $260 used
Arturia microbrute $200 ish or less
Tc electronics ditto looper $85
All analog. Except the looper pedal. Easiest setup to learn and hits the analog feel you might want.

The microbrute is monophonic however. If you add another $200 to this price you can get a used korg minilogue and be able to play 4 note chords or mono. There are others in this price bracket too if you shop around. But everything here is kept with analog in mind.
Seems like an interesting option, that wouldn't cost an arm! Thing is that I love playing synth and classic drum machines sounds and feel, but as I already have GAS in the guitar department (my main instrument), I don't want to go too far for starting! Of course if I could, I would get a great synth, a dedicated drumbox and a sampler.

My friend has a bunch of Volka synth, which are nice, but found that I needed more than one or two to create the tracks I wanted. However, I love the fact that you can quickly jam with them and that's the feeling I'm looking for : jamming.
Old 5 days ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yannnn View Post
Seems like an interesting option, that wouldn't cost an arm! Thing is that I love playing synth and classic drum machines sounds and feel, but as I already have GAS in the guitar department (my main instrument), I don't want to go too far for starting! Of course if I could, I would get a great synth, a dedicated drumbox and a sampler.

My friend has a bunch of Volka synth, which are nice, but found that I needed more than one or two to create the tracks I wanted. However, I love the fact that you can quickly jam with them and that's the feeling I'm looking for : jamming.
The drumbrute impact is jam city. So is the minilogue/monologue. Each has its own sequencer and you just sync them up.
Old 5 days ago
  #20
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syntonica's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
Have you used the drum machine electribe? I’m curious how the synth engine sounds too, I heard it’s essentially one oscillator from the King Korg. I like the Electribe drum sounds, just not sure if you can get much variation from the four bar limit?
I have the sampler version of the new Electribe, which only has a few of the VA oscillators and only the Korg filters. The synth version has way more VA oscillators and a I think 6 filter types, including an acid filter. The tech is all from the King Korg, like one oscillator Lite, but is also one huge sweet spot.

The new Electribes do pattern chaining, so you can go up to any number of measures and even do double-time patterns to get two measures of 32nd-notes per pattern. It's not quite a song mode, but you can use chaining for that in a pinch. The best part is that you can export your stems per pattern for arranging in your DAW if that's the way you roll. Or, you can use the Event Recorder to record a whole song and record the playback.

Either model will take a little digging in for some stuff, but the important stuff is mostly intuitive. Whatever gear you get, there will be a learning curve if it actually does something useful.
Old 4 days ago
  #21
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by syntonica View Post
I have the sampler version of the new Electribe, which only has a few of the VA oscillators and only the Korg filters. The synth version has way more VA oscillators and a I think 6 filter types, including an acid filter. The tech is all from the King Korg, like one oscillator Lite, but is also one huge sweet spot.

The new Electribes do pattern chaining, so you can go up to any number of measures and even do double-time patterns to get two measures of 32nd-notes per pattern. It's not quite a song mode, but you can use chaining for that in a pinch. The best part is that you can export your stems per pattern for arranging in your DAW if that's the way you roll. Or, you can use the Event Recorder to record a whole song and record the playback.

Either model will take a little digging in for some stuff, but the important stuff is mostly intuitive. Whatever gear you get, there will be a learning curve if it actually does something useful.
Ah, thanks for the info. I stayed up and watched a ton of Electribe videos last night. For my own taste, the drum sounds and patterns sound quite good, And pretty interesting. I didn’t see anyone playing the synth sounds with a keyboard, maybe it’s not possible. Hmmm... I’ll have to check out the manual.

Even as just a drum machine, not even really a Groovebox, the machine seems pretty nice. It sounds better than a lot of newer machines to me.
Cheers
Old 4 days ago
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Indeed, the Electribe seems to be a nice box! However, I am wondering if it would suits my needs, because I like to have multiple tracks/textures in my compositions (I have done audio recording). Videos I saw mentioned that it has this limitation.

This is a tough choice; drum machine + synth would fit my needs for now (especially the Minilogue, which I tried and loved), but eventually I might be limited if I want to add further instruments to my setup, without having a sequencer. I guess buying a groovebox would be a good start since I would have some instruments to play with and a good plateform to expand. What do you think? (Yes, I am definitely thinking about the best option to limit further gasing!! )

Thanks again!
Old 4 days ago
  #23
Lives for gear
I do not agree on the MPC/groovebox idea that much. If you want to tape into electronic music at the very core of it, its a synth and stepsequencer.

I would recommend the new moog maschines 32/dafm or subharmon which make you realy feel why a simple synthesis and modulation over a stepsequencer can be so addictive and pleasent to your hands+ears. It is like playing a real instrument. As a bonus you can start patching modular. which makes it even more addictive.

I would not recommend the minilogue. Yes I have it here, I will also not sell it. But it simple does not has the same spirit for almost the same price.
Old 4 days ago
  #24
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was silents's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantik View Post
I do not agree on the MPC/groovebox idea that much. If you want to tape into electronic music at the very core of it, its a synth and stepsequencer.

I would recommend the new moog maschines 32/dafm or subharmon which make you realy feel why a simple synthesis and modulation over a stepsequencer can be so addictive and pleasent to your hands+ears. It is like playing a real instrument. As a bonus you can start patching modular. which makes it even more addictive.

I would not recommend the minilogue. Yes I have it here, I will also not sell it. But it simple does not has the same spirit for almost the same price.
That’s a totally valid perspective. Considering the op wants to do this for a live setting, how easy would it be for them to recall each patch between songs on that kind of gear? I’ve never owned one of those Moogs but they look good.
Old 4 days ago
  #25
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Here’s a different take on things. For your budget, you’ll have a lot of compromise. I don’t think there’s a box in your budget that does analog drum synthesis, analog synthesis, samples, etc, or if you do get all that, you’ll end up with some functionality that’s crippled. For instance, my Elektron RYTM has really good drum synthesis, but as an analog bass or lead instrument, it’s very basic, and it’s sample capabilities are poor.

Going for a workstation keyboard will get you farther. Pick an older model from Korg, Roland or Yamaha and you’ll get a lot for your money. However, the workflow of those things can be pretty awkward, and they don’t do analog synthesis. They do have a lot of built in ROM samples, and that might be enough.

If I were you, I’d stick with my computer based setup and add something like a Maschine. You can get a lot for your money and it can totally function like a 100% hardware machine. All functions are accessible without looking at your computer, though the sound is being generated by the software. You get great virtual analog, tons of great samples, a fine wavetable synth and access to all your plugins from the Maschine interface. It’s a great value, and when you’re ready to finish off your piece with your traditional instruments, it’s already in your DAW for editing and final touches.
Old 4 days ago
  #26
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syntonica's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by yannnn View Post
Indeed, the Electribe seems to be a nice box! However, I am wondering if it would suits my needs, because I like to have multiple tracks/textures in my compositions (I have done audio recording). Videos I saw mentioned that it has this limitation.

This is a tough choice; drum machine + synth would fit my needs for now (especially the Minilogue, which I tried and loved), but eventually I might be limited if I want to add further instruments to my setup, without having a sequencer. I guess buying a groovebox would be a good start since I would have some instruments to play with and a good plateform to expand. What do you think? (Yes, I am definitely thinking about the best option to limit further gasing!! )

Thanks again!
Regarding the Electribe:

Yes, you can hook a keyboard up to it to play chromatically.

Yes, it has multiple tracks. 16, to be exact, one for each pad. The downside is that the MIDI channels are hardwired, making it a bit tricky if you want it to sequence other gear.

It only has stereo outs, though (as will anything in this price range). If you need to track all sixteen tracks, either record them one at a time, or export the stems to waves.

For different takes, check out the Elektron Digitakt and the Roland JD-Xi. The Digitakt is limited in synthesis and the JD-Xi only has for tracks: drums, analog mono, and two VA.
Old 4 days ago
  #27
Gear Head
 

Do you have the necessary audio interface and connections for an outboard setup? I'd recommend scaling down your itb library to more essential stuff until you're more confident with what you want. You need years of VST use to figure it all out. Hardware isn't a bandaid solution, the limitations are an acquired taste and at a limited budget you're basically going one device at a time, for good and bad. As a drummer you'd probably love hooking some drum pads into your pc, the Yamaha DTX 12 is fairly cheap.
Old 4 days ago
  #28
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orcoaffamato's Avatar
Elektron Digitakt + Digitone

Old 4 days ago
  #29
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jbuonacc's Avatar
Old 4 days ago
  #30
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yannnn View Post
This is a tough choice; drum machine + synth would fit my needs for now (especially the Minilogue, which I tried and loved), but eventually I might be limited if I want to add further instruments to my setup, without having a sequencer. I guess buying a groovebox would be a good start since I would have some instruments to play with and a good plateform to expand. What do you think? (Yes, I am definitely thinking about the best option to limit further gasing!! )

Thanks again!
Minilogue has a sequencer, and it can be used to sequence other gear, albeit it is a tad limited. I think 8 physical buttons but 16 steps
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