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Monomachine... dive into it or sell it? Desktop Synthesizers
Old 4th September 2011
  #1
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Monomachine... dive into it or sell it?

Hey guys, I own a Monomachine for a few weeks now.
I was aware that it's not said to be an intuitive machine, but I could only try it out at my place.
I have to say, it's all a bit confusing, especially cos I considered it as a device for beat and sequencing external gear. I considered the included synth machines as bonus.

Anyway, what I need is this, an easy to use device for making straight, simple beats (synth pop, minimalistic beat, etc) and I need a device to sequence external gear. It can also be split into 2 devices, but with the aim that I can carry it easily in a backpack for use in bands and live.

My most important factor rightnow is easiness and FUN, cos this is a thing that definitely lacks recently. It should be able to get me into my studio.
So a difficult non-intuitive use would be not so good at the moment.

So my question is:
Should I stick with the Monomachine, study the manual and tutorials, try it out some more, or sell it and go for something else instead?
Something else for me might be a Jomox Xbase 09... or an Electribe.. I now even consider a Maschine even though I don't really like NI anymore, and that it can't deal with external gear is a big minus. But I tried it for a bit in the shop and god it was fun. But it could only be used in my studio, as I don't use my macbook (white) for stage...
any other idea?
Old 4th September 2011
  #2
I have all the Elektrons and for external controll I consider Octatrack to have the best midi sequencer among them. Microshifting, independent track lenghts, cc controll, really inspiring arrpegiator - and its quite simple. If You dont use Monomachine for its sounds I would definitely exchange it for Octratrack.
Old 4th September 2011
  #3
I got one a while back to try, Original MK 1. I really dig it, and for the most part it's super easy but yet complex. I've just started getting into using it as a sequencer for a external device for a couple song ideas. I remember I had to look at the manual to figure it out as it wasn't that clear to me.

IMO it's one of my funnest piece and I have fun using it.

I've also herd going into it that it's a complex powerful beast. I'd say that is a true statement and the only way to know is to dive deep into it.
Old 4th September 2011
  #4
ark
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Think of it this way:

Monomachine is mostly a melodic (i.e. pitched) synthesizer + sequencer + MIDI sequencer. 6 tracks audio + 6 tracks MIDI. It can do percussion, but that's not its strength.

Machinedrum is mostly a percussion synthesizer + sequencer + MIDI sequencer. Its MIDI sequencer is not as capable as Monomachine, but it has 16 tracks instead of 6. You can also add limited sampling capabilities with the UW option.

Octatrack is a sampler + sequencer + MIDI sequencer. 8 tracks, and its MIDI sequencer is more capable than either Monomachine or Machinedrum. However, it makes no sounds on its own -- you have to feed it samples. Compared with the other two, it has an enormous amount of sample memory.

Oh yes -- for two these machines, the MIDI sequencer is separate from the internal sequencer: Monomachine gives you 6 tracks of synthesis + internal sequencing + 6 tracks of MIDI sequencing; Octatrack gives you 8 tracks of each. For Machinedrum, a track can generate audio or send MIDI, but not both at once.

Last edited by ark; 4th September 2011 at 09:04 PM.. Reason: Added last paragraph
Old 4th September 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
I have all the Elektrons and for external controll I consider Octatrack to have the best midi sequencer among them. Microshifting, independent track lenghts, cc controll, really inspiring arrpegiator - and its quite simple. If You dont use Monomachine for its sounds I would definitely exchange it for Octratrack.
I second this. I only have the octatrack but I use it for exactly what you describe (eg sequencing external gear and providing drum sounds). I just loaded a boat load of drum samples onto it and now use it as my main drum machine and sequencer. You can record melodies in real time using a midi keyboard which makes it very handy (I think the monomachine can do this too though).
Old 4th September 2011
  #6
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

I didn't consider Octatrack as an option, for the simple reason that I don't work with samples. Sampling just doesn't take place in my musical life... ok I use the presets for Fxpansion Geist, and some of the logic library, but that's it.

I am really not a sampling fanboy

Also, Octatrack seems a bit too expensive for me rightnow, both used and new.
I'd hardly spend more than 500 euros on a groovebox, and I'd rather spend my fortune on Tempest or a current Xbase I think.

So... sorry, but Octatrack isn't for me at all
Old 5th September 2011
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
I didn't consider Octatrack as an option, for the simple reason that I don't work with samples. Sampling just doesn't take place in my musical life... ok I use the presets for Fxpansion Geist, and some of the logic library, but that's it.

I am really not a sampling fanboy

Also, Octatrack seems a bit too expensive for me rightnow, both used and new.
I'd hardly spend more than 500 euros on a groovebox, and I'd rather spend my fortune on Tempest or a current Xbase I think.

So... sorry, but Octatrack isn't for me at all

Cool, to each his own. I just want to say that I was exactly like you, I was never into sampling nor did I get the octatrack for sampling (got it for sequencing mainly). But now that I've played around with it I'm starting to see the potential. All I'm going to say is you don't have to be a sampling 'fanboy' to appreciate the octatrack. But I agree it's rather expensive if you're sure you'll never use samples.
Old 5th September 2011
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
I now even consider a Maschine even though I don't really like NI anymore, and that it can't deal with external gear is a big minus.
It does support external gear though. If the gear in question has MIDI In/Out then all parameters can be automated from Maschine's sequencer via editors that load as plugins. If the gear doesn't already have an editor plugin like Virus TI or Fantom/Motif...etc. than you can get free open source editor plugins or make your own using CTRLR:
Downloads - ctrlr - MIDI hardware modular controller - Google Project Hosting
Old 5th September 2011
  #9
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

yeah.. if I had a fortune, I might just get one, try it, resell it with a small loss.
But I also have other needs
Anyway, any thoughts about the Jomox products? Electribes might be another option, though they have kind of a toy feeling to me.

Btw, I just tried a different approach to music.. i.e. just sitting on the sofa with a bottle of beer, and just the monomachine connected to the nanozwerg in front of me.
I think I might get into it. Gonna give it a few more weeks.

Just wondering how to select the drum "instrument" (not kit, what happens on the trig buttons) before entering the steps in record mode... or is that impossible?
Can I only do it via an external keyboard, or the cursor?
I thought it should work that I pick a sound before and then enter the steps of it, but it will always take the same sound...

btw having a Mk1.
Old 5th September 2011
  #10
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goatscape View Post
It does support external gear though. If the gear in question has MIDI In/Out then all parameters can be automated from Maschine's sequencer via editors that load as plugins. If the gear doesn't already have an editor plugin like Virus TI or Fantom/Motif...etc. than you can get free open source editor plugins or make your own using CTRLR:
Downloads - ctrlr - MIDI hardware modular controller - Google Project Hosting
ah, but you have to run it on the computer still I guess.
Thats rather what I meant I can't use it standalone without computer to control external gear, can I?
Old 5th September 2011
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
ah, but you have to run it on the computer still I guess.
Thats rather what I meant I can't use it standalone without computer to control external gear, can I?
It uses the computer as the brain instead of being trapped inside a box which is an advantage since it is actively developed and continuously growing as a platform though constant updates. It's really the best of both worlds as you still get the all hands-on hardware workflow without having to look at the computer screen or touch the mouse.
Old 5th September 2011
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
Anyway, any thoughts about the Jomox products?
Not sure about their other products but I have an XBase888. The drums sounds are good, the drum sequencer is decent. But if you want to sequence external MIDI gear I'd stay away. It works fine, but you only get 4 channels and unless you like picking notes one by one by turning encoders, I wouldn't exactly call it 'fun' to program.
Old 5th September 2011
  #13
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mildheadwound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
yeah.. on the sofa with a bottle of beer.. give it a few more weeks...Just wondering
It's a painfully complex box at first, but once you figure it out, it all makes sense. And is definitely worth it. hahaha, 'had mine 2 years and still discovering things on it every few months. You can even turn off the synths and make it 12 track sequencer!

As for the drums sequencing; set it to the digipro beatbox synth, and press the record key while the mnm is stopped. Then place out your beats along the timeline. The pitch of the note, (pressing the trigger and then moving the cursor left or right), determines which drum sample you will use for that beat. It's much easier to hit play and record at the same time. Then every beat you hit, or knob you turn, records in the loop. (Hitting more sequences at once, and then hitting play record allows you to record sequences longer then 64 steps) The up down keys determine the octave you are in, while triggering the samples. This should help, if i read your question properly.

Good luck, and stick with it! It's a totally solid sequencer.
Old 5th September 2011
  #14
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

yep I guess I'll take the advice.
Especially for the price I got it for (500 Euros) I can't think of anything better rightnow.

I might just get an Mbase or Kick Lancet in addition to have a beefy analog bass drum attached to it. but it can wait.
Old 5th September 2011
  #15
Make sure you got the latest OS in it, mine was a couple versions back when I got it.
Old 6th September 2011
  #16
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Catabolic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
Just wondering how to select the drum "instrument" (not kit, what happens on the trig buttons) before entering the steps in record mode... or is that impossible?
Before you hit Record, playing the keys will let you know what instrument is on what key. Also, there is a listing in the manual. If you have a copy of that handy, that might speed things up. It's worth trying a few different octaves once you have the sound you want. Go up/down 2 octaves and the tonality of the drum will change.
Old 6th September 2011
  #17
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yeah, I do that, so live recording works well for me.
I just thought that if I hit a button, and then press record, I could "draw in" this very instrument into the grid. But it's always some other instrument, no matter what key I hit before Record.
Anyway, I'm slowly getting into it, and damn it sounds good. It sounds much more analog than I thought it would?

I'm still not convinced that it will be my go to drum machine, but I'm quite convinced I'll keep it anyway.
Old 6th September 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
Why not get Maschine instead? Lots of great drum kits to keep you busy... realtime and step sequencing not only of drums but instruments (internal or plug-ins) and you don't have to touch the mouse or look at computer screen if you don't want to. Seems more of what you're after.
Old 6th September 2011
  #19
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easy, cos I can't use Maschine without computer = on stage, with bands, etc. I prefer not to use my laptop for live, and it's only a macbook white 2008 - I even get problems with Logic sometimes.
But for the studio I still might give it a try. Though saving for a Nordlead at the moment, it's not on top of the queue... but in the back of my head
Old 6th September 2011
  #20
Gear Nut
 
convex's Avatar
 

I have one and honestly I found it much easier to get the hang of than 90% of the other machines I've used. I was also doing a lot of synth-pop stuff a few years back (I'm not anymore) and found that the thing almost seemed like it was specifically designed for that genre. I agree that its not so good as a drum machine though, but I still sometimes use it for percussive effects - sometimes you can get cool results using the dynamic FM engine, locking the pitches and envelopes up and down to craft a super-robotic sounding percussive loop. Also, even when I'm not using its synths, the midi sequencer is indispensible to me. It would pretty much drive me nuts to use a different sequencer now.
Old 6th September 2011
  #21
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Great, just one more question....
I'm very new to midi sequencing. The Monomachine has 1 midi out, but 6 midi tracks. How do I best adress my synths?
Using their midi thrus and different midi channels? Or can I use my Motu Midiexpress 128 also when the computer is off?
What's the natural way to sequence several synths with just one midi out from the sequencer?
Old 6th September 2011
  #22
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mildheadwound's Avatar
Most synths have somewhere you can allocate it's 1-16 midi channel. The monomachine has a lot of midi options, in the options menu, including a place where you can say which midi track is is assigned to which track, and what it's bottom 4 midi cc controls will affect, per track. You can even use these to shoot out mnm's lfo's to other equipment.
Old 13th September 2011
  #23
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Thanks for letting me stick to the machine, I made a LOT of progress in the past days. Just wanted to let you know
The question that remains (rather for myself) is, how I will use it. I still need to find that out.
So far, I think it's good for a first hardware sequencer in my studio, but it might be joined with something else in the future, like Oberkorn, Europa or Dark Time, time will tell. I also might want a Vermona DRM to make the beat sounds.
But what I think will be the biggest use of the Monomachine for me rightnow is, to have it as a live device to provide beat, sequenced lines and controlling my mopho for bass.
I also installed the newest update now, and now it all makes me happy for what it is.

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