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Elektron machinedrum sequencer? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 18th September 2011
  #1
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Elektron machinedrum sequencer?

I'm pretty close to replacing my hardware Roland MC80 (which I occasionally use for programming beats) with an Elektron Machinedrum.

Can anyone tell me how it's sequencer does with external gear via MIDI? I plan on programming on it then using it to control various sound modules.

Thanks!
Old 18th September 2011
  #2
ark
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All three of the Elektron devices (Machinedrum, Monomachine, Octatrack) have MIDI sequencers. Of the three, the Machinedrum's sequencer is the least capable and the Octatrack's is the most capable.

On the Machinedrum, you sequence MIDI gear by putting a MIDI machine on one or more tracks. That means that you cannot simultaneously sequence a MIDI device and also play audio from the same track. It also means that if you change kits, you change which MIDI devices you are sequencing--which may be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending. Each MIDI channel can produce up to 3 notes, all of which must have the same length.

On the Monomachine and Octatrack, the MIDI sequencer is separate from the audio playback, so in addition to the six (Monomachine) or eight (Octatrack) audio channels, you have the same number of MIDI channels available. Both the Monomachine and Octatrack can produce up to four notes (of the same length) per channel.
Old 18th September 2011
  #3
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Ark is spot on. The only thing I would add is that the Machinedrum has 16 tracks, versus the Octatrack's 8 and the Monomachine's 6. What this means in practice is that using up a track or two for MIDI sequencing is not always going to be much of a problem.
Old 19th September 2011
  #4
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I believe the MIDI tracks on the OctaTrack are dedicated, which implies they are seperate beasts from the internal audio tracks (your samples). You can sequence eight internal tracks AND eight MIDI tracks.

Play hard, my fwends
Old 19th September 2011
  #5
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So hold my hand hear for a minute. If I want something to replace a hardware sequencer that I used to program mostly drum patterns into (controlling other sound modules) would I be better off with the Octatrack or the Machinedrum? I have plenty of other samplers both hardware and soft and a few have time stretch, etc.. I'm also never going to use the thing live. It'll be a studio tool to get me away from just programming in digital performer/reason or tweaking pre existing loops in my other drum machines. For example if I program a loop in the Machinedrum can I export the MIDI to say a Alesis DM5 and record audio from the DM5? Thanks again.
Old 19th September 2011
  #6
ark
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So far as I know, there is no way to export MIDI directly from any of the Elektron boxes. You have to play the MIDI into something that records MIDI, and you get whatever it was playing at the time.

If you are serious that you intend to use the device only as a sequencer, then I'd say you should go for the Octatrack because it has the most flexible sequencer. In particular, unlike the Machinedrum and the Monomachine, the Octatrack allows you to have a different pattern length for each track. Moreover, the Octatrack is substantially less expensive than the Machinedrum.

However, I think that ignoring the synthesis or sampling capabilities of the Octatrack, Machinedrum, or Monomachine would be a real pity.
Old 19th September 2011
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
So far as I know, there is no way to export MIDI directly from any of the Elektron boxes. You have to play the MIDI into something that records MIDI, and you get whatever it was playing at the time.

If you are serious that you intend to use the device only as a sequencer, then I'd say you should go for the Octatrack because it has the most flexible sequencer. In particular, unlike the Machinedrum and the Monomachine, the Octatrack allows you to have a different pattern length for each track. Moreover, the Octatrack is substantially less expensive than the Machinedrum.

However, I think that ignoring the synthesis or sampling capabilities of the Octatrack, Machinedrum, or Monomachine would be a real pity.
Good info thank you! I meant I would play MIDI from the Machinedrum/Octratrack through another module and record that on the fly. I don't need to actually export MIDI in terms of storing patterns.

I'd absolutely take advantage of the onboard synthesis capabilities, that's half the reason for getting one of these. I find that every hardware sequencer has its own "feel" (I think anyone who's ever worked with an 808 will agree that its more than just the samples) and from what I have watched/read the Elektron stuff does too. Can I program drum sequences on the OCtatrack? It doesn't come with any onboard sounds like the Machinedrum does right?
Old 19th September 2011
  #8
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login's Avatar
Yes, it brings like 2 gigs of free samples.
Old 20th September 2011
  #9
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Also of note, with the latest patch the Octatrack is able to record midi data from an external device via midi in, like a keyboard or pads. I've heard the quantizing is pretty solid.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #10
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The OctaTrack's sequencer allows for something called "micro-timing" which allows you to program swing per-step, if you want to look at it that way. The Machinedrum and the Monomachine's sequencer are the exact same thing, where as with the Monomachine you get it's wicked arpeggiator... which plays more like a "sequencer within a sequencer".

I'd only go the Machinedrum route if you're planning on synthesizing your own drum sounds. There are two versions of the Machinedrum, one allows for sampling and the other is a drum synthesizer (that is also capable of some gorgeous basses!).

If you're looking for a SEQUENCER... go with the OctaTrack and you will NOT be disappointed. Who knows... maybe you'll find more uses than you planned for it. It's a super incredible box.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #11
ark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RubixGroove View Post
I'd only go the Machinedrum route if you're planning on synthesizing your own drum sounds. There are two versions of the Machinedrum, one allows for sampling and the other is a drum synthesizer (that is also capable of some gorgeous basses!).
Actually, they're both drum synthesizers. It's just that one of them also allows sampling.

The Octatrack's sampling capabilities run rings around the Machinedrum, but it does no synthesis at all--just sampling (and sequencing).
Old 23rd September 2011
  #12
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sushiluv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RubixGroove View Post
.. where as with the Monomachine you get it's wicked arpeggiator... which plays more like a "sequencer within a sequencer".
The Octatrack has an arp too, even with swing and p-lockable arptimes, something they never made available on the monomachine.

it has solid midi sequencing functions, way better then the Machninedrum and the differnt time signatures and track length settings are great too.
Old 5th November 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gongbass View Post
I'm pretty close to replacing my hardware Roland MC80 (which I occasionally use for programming beats) with an Elektron Machinedrum.

Can anyone tell me how it's sequencer does with external gear via MIDI? I plan on programming on it then using it to control various sound modules.

Thanks!
Will work fine within its polyphonic limits.I'm looking for a roland mc80 if you hear of one for sale.
Old 15th November 2011
  #14
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Originally Posted by ark View Post
The Octatrack's sampling capabilities run rings around the Machinedrum, but it does no synthesis at all--just sampling (and sequencing).
To be fair if you grab a bunch of single cycle waveforms like these

Adventure Kid

and load them into the octatrack it does a pretty good job of wavetable synthesis.
Old 11th October 2015
  #15
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I am currently sequencing my externql synths on mmachinedrum, but was looking into buying a cheap yamaha qy70.
Anyone used both qy and machinedrum for sequencing externql gear? Would there be any benefit for me from buying yamaha? Type of music i am making is very repetetive with occasional pad melody, which is something that cannot be programmed on machinedrum.
Old 11th October 2015
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sushiluv View Post
The Octatrack has an arp too, even with swing and p-lockable arptimes, something they never made available on the monomachine.

it has solid midi sequencing functions, way better then the Machninedrum and the differnt time signatures and track length settings are great too.
Yes but you get the glorious SID mode on the Monomachine ARP which only plays an arp if you input as chord of up to four note on a given step which allows you to get wonderful ratchet like trills and runs on specific steps within a sequence or melodic progression that sound aces.
It is always possible to sequence a specific Monomachine track from something else also for much longer melodic passages playing over shorter musical interludes.
As good as the OT sequencer was/is the Monomachine has a certain wonk to it I haven't been able to replicate elsewhere once you factor in the individual swing per track and a few other tricks like the note repeat / trig functions on the BBox machines.
You do however get far more Plock Cc options and extra Midi LFO's on the OT.
Depends on which one you gel with and Song Mode on the MnM allows for some very clever tricks regarding, speed of pattern playback / length for an often overlooked area of extra exploration.
Old 11th October 2015
  #17
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re5etuk's Avatar
you might find this handy for octatrack stuff.
theres a lot of videos out there

https://www.mindmeister.com/31066304...tutorial-index
Old 11th October 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vangaal View Post
I am currently sequencing my externql synths on mmachinedrum, but was looking into buying a cheap yamaha qy70.
Anyone used both qy and machinedrum for sequencing externql gear? Would there be any benefit for me from buying yamaha? Type of music i am making is very repetetive with occasional pad melody, which is something that cannot be programmed on machinedrum.
The machinedrum is a simple 16 (up to 64) step pattern sequencer with up to 4 CC parameters per step. The qy is more a full 16 track midi sequencer, with much higher resolution. The machinedrum one is easier and quicker to use but with more limitations.

edit: I didn't realize you already have the machinedrum.
Old 11th October 2015
  #19
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So you think qy70 would be more appropriate to make full arrangements?
Old 11th October 2015
  #20
ratchetting, midi cv timing..

Quote:
Originally Posted by VennD68 View Post
Yes but you get the glorious SID mode on the Monomachine ARP which only plays an arp if you input as chord of up to four note on a given step which allows you to get wonderful ratchet like trills and runs on specific steps within a sequence or melodic progression that sound aces.
It is always possible to sequence a specific Monomachine track from something else also for much longer melodic passages playing over shorter musical interludes.
As good as the OT sequencer was/is the Monomachine has a certain wonk to it I haven't been able to replicate elsewhere once you factor in the individual swing per track and a few other tricks like the note repeat / trig functions on the BBox machines.
You do however get far more Plock Cc options and extra Midi LFO's on the OT.
Depends on which one you gel with and Song Mode on the MnM allows for some very clever tricks regarding, speed of pattern playback / length for an often overlooked area of extra exploration.

thanks for this valuable information. this thread covers exactly i've been wondering about. after being disapointed in my recently aquired AK sound, i've been looking for another solution for drum machine and external midi sequencing. and MD, MM or OT are also a posibility. i like the sound of early digital elektrons.


you mentioned ratchetting.. is it possible on any of these machines with internal engine and/or transmitted as midi? i mean ratchetting in classic sense, 2, 3 or 4 times repeated identical note on a step.



while at it, if anyone of you is running digital elektrons into a midi/cv to reach analogs - how is your timing for rapid/fast stuff? i wanted to like A4/AK as it sequences CV directly. no midi. thing is, the midi cv converters i used in the past were always inconsistent and innacurate compared to machine gun cv sequencers..


thanks
Old 11th October 2015
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
thanks for this valuable information. this thread covers exactly i've been wondering about. after being disapointed in my recently aquired AK sound, i've been looking for another solution for drum machine and external midi sequencing. and MD, MM or OT are also a posibility. i like the sound of early digital elektrons.


you mentioned ratchetting.. is it possible on any of these machines with internal engine and/or transmitted as midi? i mean ratchetting in classic sense, 2, 3 or 4 times repeated identical note on a step.



while at it, if anyone of you is running digital elektrons into a midi/cv to reach analogs - how is your timing for rapid/fast stuff? i wanted to like A4/AK as it sequences CV directly. no midi. thing is, the midi cv converters i used in the past were always inconsistent and innacurate compared to machine gun cv sequencers..


thanks
Identical step NO but using the ARP in SID mode either external or midi on melodic progressions yes but the BBOX (drum machine) engine allows you to do all kinds of fancy drills, flams, rolls and repeats of a single note.
The regular ARP also allows you to not trigger certain notes within the arpeggio run making it as someone else said almost like a sequencer within a sequencer.
It won't cover everything Cirklon or Seq4 will but I use two units together to get around those limitations myself and you can do a lot of fancy tricks with the built in delay and/or thru machines and the like even processing audio through a series of them with all sorts of Plocks going on.
On the mid to CV front my Kikpatrick Audio Phenol has midi to CV built in so the midi input then has to patched out via CV/GATE on the unit but on this synth it triggers just fine.
Old 11th October 2015
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vangaal View Post
So you think qy70 would be more appropriate to make full arrangements?
Yes, but editing after is much more cumbersome. Also, unless you are recording your parts real time, it will feel a bit outdated compared to elektron sequencers. It's a proper midi sequencer with full spec, very similar to the yamaha rm1x/rs7000 sequencer, if not the same minus a few tricks.

You could also check the mpc1000 with jjos for a proper midi sequencer.
Old 31st October 2015
  #23
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I'm trying to understand if I can use my machinedrum as sequencer at the centre of all my synths, but I would be wanting to live record all the sequences in from a midi keyboard which I can do with my MPC 500 and it will quantise. I get the sense you can't live record in to the machinedrum?

I have a qy-22 and I've never considered it as a centre for my studio as I bought it long before I had anything else midi... Does it live record from keyboard input? I've only ever manually step sequenced on that thing using the cheesy sounds built into it. Found it pretty frustrating.
Old 31st October 2015
  #24
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Oh dear, it's been a long time since I read that Manual. 1995. What a fun year for midi. So the qy22 loves assigning crappy voices to things. You get 3 tracks per pattern to sequence (plus a drum track). Then in song mode you get another 4 tracks to sequence.

The advantage I can see of the MPC is that switching between looped sequences would be much more dynamic and accessible. You'd be able to have 3 different parts on your Moog, another three patterns on your virus, and another three of drum parts. And switch between them, turn them off and on.

The qy-22 is much more an arranger, very linear, program out your whole song then hit play.

It'd be interesting to see if the qy-70, 100 and up are very different. I know 300 up are desktop rather than hand held.
Old 31st October 2015
  #25
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Be aware that the Machine drum does not allow you to mid trig via a midi keyboard or elektron style step keys. One must, dial in the pitch via a pitch knob
Old 31st October 2015
  #26
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lu77's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by orwell View Post
Be aware that the Machine drum does not allow you to mid trig via a midi keyboard or elektron style step keys. One must, dial in the pitch via a pitch knob
Thanks, yeah I was thinking that was what was said above but wanted confirmation as I can play synths using the 16 step buttons if I have midi send on.

I think the MPC will be the control centre for me. Allows real time recording, and quantisation, as well as mixing and matching patterns from different tracks on the fly.

Thanks for the help, I've been fretting over this for some time.
Old 22nd November 2015
  #27
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I use my Machinedrum to sequence my Moog Little phatty.
I bought it specifically to use the SYNTHESIS. That's why you buy a MD, but I use it as a central hub to control all of my gear now.
I can't imagine getting rid of it.

Bottom line get a MD and an OT
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