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Which groovebox to help alleviate creative deadlock - MC303 or Korg ESX1
Old 23rd October 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Which groovebox to help alleviate creative deadlock - MC303 or Korg ESX1

Since I've moved away from a MPC based sequencing setup I find myself struggling with creativity. There are tons of threads about this same situation, I know. I now sequence my hardware via REAPER, and the quantizing etc. just doesn't have the fun that the MPC 60 had. For now though, I don't want to jump back to the MPC, but fool around with a groovebox just to bring back that feeling of jamming.

I need a very simple box with limitations that force me to think with what I have at hand. I would also like some decent arps, and few OK drum sounds, but that is about it. The simpler the better.

While the ESX trumps the MC in terms of features, and sampling, is it as simple and basic as the 303? How do the arps of the two units compare? Like I said basic = better. Finally, which integrates best into a modern DAW setup if I ever want to go down that route? This last point not being quite so critical.

Thank you all kindly for any advice.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #2
Gear Guru
Seriously... save your money and get an Elektron Monomachine..
It's the only really "groovebox" IMO that does synths AND drums.

MC-303 is just awful.. and Korg is only good if you use other gear (meaning IMO if you just use it as a sequencer)
Old 23rd October 2013
  #3
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Rogue Ai's Avatar
The Electribes are much easy to use than the MC303. You had to go into some stupid record mode on the MC303. With the Electribes it's as easy as selecting a track and pressing the buttons.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #4
meh
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another vote for the esx. Lots of fun and easy sound mangling. Out of the 2 go for the esx. The mc303, well....it sounds like crap really. If you want to go roland at least go for the mc307 or 505. None of the rolands are that great in the ease of use department tho. Things are rather convoluted. The mc303 might not be as bad as the others tho, since there's hardly anything to edit anyway
Old 23rd October 2013
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for the advice so far everyone! I guess the reason I've suggested the two units is that they fall within the range of $150-250 which is what I sort of want to spend on this experiment. All the other MCs seem to cost a lot more! I guess we could also include the EMX etc.etc.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #6
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kpsiegel's Avatar
 

Please for the love of all things sacred do not torture yourself and those around you with an MC-303. Absolutely worst piece of crap I ever owned. I wish I could have back the time I spent trying to polish that turd.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #7
Gear Guru
ESX still goes for a bit... might want to just get the EM-1
Old 23rd October 2013
  #8
meh
Gear Maniac
 
meh's Avatar
307's usually go for about 125-150 when the deals come along. and they do pretty often. But I don't suggest it anyway if you're looking for inspiration. If you're looking for a good (cheap) studio tool then yes. But otherwise go korg.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #9
Oli
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Oli's Avatar
 

Have to agree on all the 303 comments. Really horrible.

Korg boxes are much more fun, and sound better too.

For cheap groove boxes, you might also consider a command station. Korg might be more immediate though.

How about a couple of Volca boxes?
Old 23rd October 2013
  #10
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Alex Specht's Avatar
 

I liked the mc303


Sent from my T-Mobile myTouch Q
Old 23rd October 2013
  #11
Gear Guru
any synth can sound decent if you only use square waves..
Old 23rd October 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
the 303 is the most instant piece of machine i`ve ever used, wtf guys

lol

dont know bout the korg,havent used it. but the 303 is just so quick to work on, you will be smacking down ideas in no time

i actually love the mc3o3, do a hit of some designerstimuli and just spazzz out
Old 23rd October 2013
  #13
Oli
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Oli's Avatar
 

I thought 303 sounded like worst of cheap ROMpler, with a limited and poor performing synth engine that falls apart with any amount of tweaking. So range is limited, and ROM selection was an attempt at cookie cutter tech/trance. It did have some good points at the time. It could provide budget producers with plenty of compressed percussion samples, with decent enough output. I didn't love the sequencer. Hated it for any synth lines. I can't see any point to it now.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #14
EMX user, previously had an EAMKII. Does all my sequencing. Never use the synth sounds, rarely the drums. Love it to death. However, if there is one fault, it is the lack of USB which can make integration into a DAW a bit of a pain.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #15
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josh broome's Avatar
 

MC-505

Fun easy, sounds outdated because it is... but tweakable, I used to perform with one one so don't listen to haters, MC-303 is missing a lot of the fun effects and most importantly the FADERS for live mixing and FX sends. And Mega mix (mix in one part from a different pattern)... why did they drop that in the MC909? It renders the MC909 useless. You can record the midi into reaper and replace the samples after writing the stuff out.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #16
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greenlights's Avatar
I would say the MC909 has it's limitations, but it can also be a power house. My advice would be to get one, and max out the memory. Also, get a smart media card. You can store so much on this machine, and the sampling is killer! Check out "auto-sync" when sampling it's amazing. The drum kits are pretty good. One of my favorite things to do with the MC 909 was taking a few drum sounds, mixing and layering them to a certain degree, then resampling them. I can sit here and tell you 1,000,000 things about the MC909 that inspirational. I'm thinking about buying one again!
Old 23rd October 2013
  #17
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anigbrowl's Avatar
 

MC-909 is quite capable, but this thread is about the MC-303.

As for the MC-303, IMHO it has one of the worst user interfaces ever created and you should run screaming in the opposite direction. ESX is a fun machine, also consider a Yamaha RM1x which is fun, powerful, and plays very well with other gear. Avoid an Emu command station - it's a great synth but the sequencer isn't much fun to use.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #18
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Sclr's Avatar
+1 on the esx. Its my favorite hardware sampler and the linitations are like little lessons in disguise. You can do chopping on it as well. Its not as great as the mpc mute groups but you can group 2 samples together so they choke each other off, you can have up to 4 pairs. If you look at the drum pads you'll see what i mean. The arp on the esx can only do 16ths in the bpm you have set currently. Its the worst feature of the esx imo.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #19
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natefrogg's Avatar
 

terrence dixon boiler room mc 303 set, there are some rough spots and audio issues with rca channel crapping out it seems, but i was pretty impressed with what he pulled out of this much derided box


i kind of want one, but wouldn't pay over $100 for it, maybe $120 if it came with the t shirt and instructional video

the esx1 can sample though, man you can add whatever you want into it, electribes boxes are a lot of fun to play on, but it is going to cost 2 to 3 times as much as an mc303
Old 23rd October 2013
  #20
Gear Nut
 

I can't speak for any of the other grooveboxes, but can only recall my frustration in using the MC303. Even if you just forget about the sounds this thing generates, the sequencer aspect fails miserably. It's pretty limited in polyphony which in turn limits the amount of notes that can be sequenced. After a while, notes will start randomly dropping out. Also lots of menu-diving just to accomplish simple edits. Two things i did like about it were: 1) you could record real time knob moments like filter sweeps, 2) it had a wide variety of arps and arp settings. In terms of incorporating this into your DAW; if you have a DAW to begin with there's absolutely no need for a MC303.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #21
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Sclr's Avatar
I generally try to stick to the positive and post what i like. But i gotta say i was really disappointed in the 303 back in the 90's when it played pacman and munched all my sequences for a set i had in the same week. I wouldn't touch another one if you paid me.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #22
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The obvious solution to me is to go back to the MPC.
Old 24th October 2013
  #23
meh
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meh's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by natefrogg View Post

the esx1 can sample though, man you can add whatever you want into it, electribes boxes are a lot of fun to play on, but it is going to cost 2 to 3 times as much as an mc303
not if he buys used. Just avoid the SD version and it's within his stated price range.
Old 24th October 2013
  #24
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GeminIAm's Avatar
Mc303 is terrible, stay well clear!

Sent from my SoftwinerEvb
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