Used to use both, although it was quite a while ago. Both have their pros and cons. Rm1x
- can have patterns of different lengths (and even time signatures IIRC) on different tracks playing simultaneously - e.g. 1 bar BD over 4 bar bassline over 16 bar lead
- has a "grid edit" mode where you can shift timing of individual beats in a 1/16th grid
- can mute/unmute several tracks with a single button - up to 5 user-definable "mute groups", plus dedicated buttons for tracks 1-8 and 9-16
- fun MIDI FX (delay, note shift etc)
- must stop the sequencer to switch between play/record, cannot switch between tracks in record mode
- haven't used the "step record" (x0x) mode, but heard that it's pretty much unusable because the other tracks are muted Command Station
- 2 MIDI outs => up to 32 MIDI channels
- a single track can send data on multple channels
- 16 knobs that can control volume/pan of 16 tracks
- can switch between play/record without stopping the sequencer
- cool "step record" mode, where 16 knobs control velocity of 16 steps
- up to 16 programmable arpeggiators playing simultaneously
- none as such, except that it doesn't have the nice extras that Rm1x has (see above)
hope this helps
i am sure the command stations sound better than the rm1x.....
Command station has a good synth engine (although you need to be careful, switching tracks can result in losing your edits very easily). Also the pads are fantastic, they have aftertouch as well as velocity and are an absolute joy to play on.
On the negative side it's an incredible pain trying to edit everything through a 2-line LCD, and although you can do x0x-style grid editing it is on the same keys as the patch editoing categories (Filters, LFOs, etc. ) so you have to switch out of sequencer mode constantly to edit the sound. I thought I would enjoy sequencing it with the Octatrack, because I liked the Emu sound/architecture in general, apart from the FX routing. To my surprise and disappointment, I hated it (except for the pads) and sold it within 3 months. If you want Emu sounds I advise to buy a rack. Although I still miss the pads.
The RM1x has a much simpler and inferior sound engine, although the onboard effects are quite good. The internal samples are 'good enough' especially for bread-and-butter drum tracks - a little swirl, distortion, and reverb and you could have something quite usable. I love the sequencer - although it has some limitations (like you have to stop the sequencer to change tracks in grid mode; they way around this is to program all your drums on one track and then use the wonderfully-named 'track explode' function to automatically spread them across a bunch of different tracks). The sequencer is very quick to work with in real time and would pair well with your Octatrack.
The #1 thing it does (also on the RS7000) is that you can pull parts from different patterns. Imagine that you have some 500 or something preset patterns and maybe 50 of your own patterns in different musical styles. So each pattern might be 2 or 32 bars long - much like any other sequencer. So...say you made some 4-on-the-floor beat that's 8 bars long, but you don't like your hi-hats. Then you remember that pattern XXX has a great hi-hat pattern, but it's only 4 bars long; no problem, you can just drop just the channel with the hi-hats into your own pattern, and it will loop automatically. You could also add the snare channel from pattern YYY. So you can treat the patterns like construction kits and just take different things from different patterns to build up your own very quickly, and of course all the BPM matching etc. is automatic because it's MIDI. Likewise you can easily switch drumkits per track.
This is really fantastic, and especially for drums, because you can take a loose funky snare thing from one of the hip-hop patterns, grab some disco-sounding hi-hats or percussion from somewhere else and just mix and match freely. Change the kit on each track to get the basic sound you want, tune it a bit, put on some gentle effects and boom. When I had one I used this often because the programming on the internal patterns is really excellent; it's super-easy to put in your own ideas but there will be times that it would be wise to use existing patterns for some instrument that you could not play on your own.
The MIDI effects (delay, octave etc. are also quite useful, and the 'groove' editing, which is sort of like swing on steroids, is also great. Switching between patterns is very easy and it's also easy to convert patterns to songs. Editing the list of MIDI notes etc. is very straightforward; it gets tedious if you are dealing with a lot of CC data but if you just want to edit the notes you can filter CC, pitch-bend etc. out of the display.
As you can see I have a very high opinion of the device. I frequently think about buying another one to run alongside the OT and A4 and I think you'd enjoy it a lot since you have a similar setup. The only area where I consider the sequencer weak is that it has a very basic arpeggiator, compared to something like a Roland MC-80 where you can mix a 30-40 musical motifs (note patterns) with 60-70 different rhythms which is the ultimate in flexibility. But since you have an OT and the arpeggiator in that is super-programmable and can be p-locked, that's not going to be a problem for you.
For you I think the RM1x would be a particularly good combination. Unless you want to go large and buy my RS7000 that I'm not using
OH RM1x v RS7000: RM1x is smaller and to my mind prettier - it's made of steel, has a slightly neater panel layout, generally 'tidy'. since I got into Elektron gear I have become much more critical of how much space things require :-)
RS7000 in that view is a bit ugly, made of silver plastic and with the kobs a bit 'random'. The sound engine slightly superior - you have multiple filter types, an LFO designer (a bit like the Elektron one on the OT, but only syncs to max length of 2 bars...why?!). It's still basically 1 envelope and 1 LFO; nothing like as flexible as the Emu sound engine.
But it is well built, the filters are good if a little clinical (the Emu ones...well you get a lot but none of them are really amazing, that's why you need so many; also they don't let you tweak resonance while the note is playing). The sound quality is fine, and with the AE1b card you get 8 outputs plus also digital. The FX in the RS7000 are very good, comparable to a medium quality outboard box. Sampling is easy but if you're like me you probably won't sample much because it means stopping everything, unlike the 'sample while you sequence' approach of the OT. Actually this was my #1 negative about the RS7000, if it was possible to link the sampler to the sequencer then I would be a fanatic about it. I would say it's a very very good sounding machine. On the sequencer side they fixed some annoyances from the RM1x like now you can easily switch tracks in grid mode, and also you can record mutes on a separate track.
Hmm, I think I will take it off the shelf and plug it into the Elektons for a few hours.
I have 3 command stations and also the RM1X.
Can´t even be compared, the E-mu blows it out of the water in all the areas....
The RS-7000 is something else. Is a very nice sequencer-sampler for live performance, maybe the best "groovebox" released by Yamaha.
Must to mention, the command station is more a synthesizer than a sequencer. It has a formidable, large and complex sound engine. And the sequencer is the best you can get at such price.... and I'm sure their price will go up in a short term. Grab yours now.
the ot and a4 handle a lot, but i just wanted to cover a few basses that they dont.
But I love the bass from the OT and A4
OK, to be serious I agree that the Elektron gear is less good for song and long-form stuff - it's possible to sequence that but it's definitely challenging. I guess this is the price we pay for the simplicity and speed of the pattern mode. This is also why I think you'll have a problem with the command stations - great as they sound, sequencing through that 2-line LCD sucks.
You should probably also consider an MPC1000 with jjOS, and/or the large screen.
I've never understood the dissing the Command Station seems to get. I guess because of it's rompler status. Even if you use it for nothing else, it's a 16 knob midi controller for your other synths!
Neither did I until I bought one. I think it suffers from 2 fatal design mistakes:
1. Tiny screen
2. Sequence grid buttons are the same as the sound editing buttons
3. USB port that doesn't do anything useful
I also had a problem with losing sounds whenever I switched channels, but that may have been related to program change messages in my sequence.
I can't understand Emu - dumb decisions like this are what put them out of business*. The Ultra samplers all had giant screens (great!) but no knobs (WTF) and if you wanted to control it via MIDI you had to map your MIDI knob to a controller labelled from A-L and then map that to a modulation destination. When you have a fixed osc-filter-amp-fx architecture, why not just use standard MIDI controller mappings like everyone else? Why would you not want a set of standard mappings by default? There are plenty of open slots for custom controllers in the GM standard.
Then they brought out the command stations which had knobs, a quite-good ribbon strip, and outstanding pads...but a 2x20 screen that was smaller than even the Emulator III series
I mean that was OK for the rack units where you would not do a lot of deep editing all the time - because they make fantastic romplers and occasional editing is not too painful. But if you are making a groovebox where it has to be self-contained and potentially provide all the sound for a complete track, then you will be editing things constantly. And trying to unlock the full power of the machine through that interface was strictly for masochists. It's much less painful with Prodatum but then you lose a set of MIDI in and out ports, plus you have to be connected to the computer all the time which kind of defeats the object of a groovebox.
I mean, I could understand this if the company had never made a product with a large screen and didn't know how to retool their user interface. But why would improve the physical interface and then take away the visual interface? Complete fail.
Also, did I mention the USB port that didn't do anything? Well, you could update your OS via USB, but how often will you do that? Again, this was one of the (few) things missing from their premium sampler line, USB connectivity. So they add USB...but don't offer any way to use it interactively. So goddamn stupid. For that matter, why didn't they make a version of it that used the sampler engine?! The sampler engine that they already made and had brought through several generations?
If they reissued it tomorrow with a larger screen, a better layout of the buttons, and (ideally) two octaves of pads - because I sometimes want to work in keys other than C, and two octaves means you can do 16 'white' keys and offer X0X style grid sequencing - then I'd be delighted to buy it.
* I know, they got bought by Creative...but that happened because they were failing to make adequate profits. Creative basically shut the whole instrument division down and redirected their IP into manufacturing sound cards.
The problem with the command station's screen is not its size, but the implementation of cursor navigation controlled by just two Left-Right buttons.
Is a shame they didn´t include soft knobs under the screen.
There´s a second LCD screen for bpm, pattern, measure position, etc.
Now, this a too generous instrument. It´s not just a very complete and multifunctional sequencer, but also a MIDI controller and sequencer for external gear. And it has the best rompler engine I´ve ever used.
If not enough, it also has one of the best arpeggiators ever designed, capable to perform/transmit 16 different arpeggios at the same time, wich are really versatile and expressive, not mentioning a 2nd global arppegiator (Master Arp) and the Beats section.
Plus! 50 Z-Plane Filters, and a modulation matrix that can put your brain to work during years.....
Regarding the USB, well, This is a 2001 synthesizer. Just having USB, is remarkable.
I don't think so, like I would do knob tweaks and then lose it when I switched channels. but I don't want to blame the machine for something that might have been caused by the other gear I had connected.
- haven't used the "step record" (x0x) mode, but heard that it's pretty much unusable because the other tracks are muted
The main reason I hated it. Sold mine recently.
Looks fun but truly a pain to program. also every time you edit a parameter to a patch and save it, this will effect the original patch. Not my bag.