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Euro Sampler Shootout: 1010 Bitbox VS Assimil8or VS ER-301 VS...?
Old 19th April 2018
  #1
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Euro Sampler Shootout: 1010 Bitbox VS Assimil8or VS ER-301 VS...?

I’ve been oscillating between the Bitbox, Assimil8or, and ER-301 for a while now, and as the eurorack sampler market is growing I’m sure I’m not the only one who is struggling with this. All three samplers have serious advantages to each other, and I switch between all of them for different reasons and still feel like there might be some killer eurorack sampler I just haven’t seen yet that would settle it for me. Mind you, I’m aware that the ER-301 is far more than just a sampler module, and if it were more readily available I’d already have one or be waiting for one to ship...being essentially a modular within your modular is awfully enticing. But, at the end of the day, I’m still sitting here without a capable sampler in my modular, and that makes me GASsy.

Bitbox: looks very easy to use, and is pretty readily available for cheap-ish. As an Ableton Live user it looks very easy to integrate with my existing workflow and knowledge. On the downside, fairly limited options for CV input and sample mangling.

Assimil8or: purely as a sampler, this seems to scratch all the itches. Extremely versatile and informed by decades of work by Dave Rossum. Alternatively, not an inexpensive module, and pretty new on the market so still lots of unanswered questions.

ER-301: the granddaddy. The sky really seems to be the limit with this one, and I have yet to see a bad word said about it. But infrequent production runs and delays and shipping from Japan (customs/fees in the States maybe) put a bit of a damper on committing to one.

Maybe something else? There’s so many new modules being unveiled daily that it’s entirely possible there’s some new hotness I’ve totally missed.

Very interested in pros/cons for any of the above, or other suggestions. Personally, I’m really looking for something that can provide the sample mangling options of something like the Octatrack to get really creative with sounds, without being tied to something like the Octatrack sequencer, and euro seems like the last battlefield outside of software.
Old 19th April 2018
  #2
In only know one (Bitbox) and only vaguely know that is it is new to me.
It is very easy to use. I think for me, the sample mangling is going to be through other modules. So Bitbox gets the audio into my modular system, then I route it out of the module through my system.
I'm 100% happy with that.
I think the cv-ability is pretty good. There are a ton of input jacks on the front.
The firmware seems to be evolving too. The latest, to 2.0, was a major leap in features.
Old 19th April 2018
  #3
RiF
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I am finding the actual sampling process to be very important. Especially in a modular system where you have all kinds of sources available.
I don’t have the other modules mentioned, but a lot of other hardware and software „samplers“, but I have to say that bitbox is by far the most quick and easy way to sample stuff. Sampling beat synced loops and using them right away is dead easy for example.

And if you have a Beatstep Pro, sequencing bitbox via a single 1/8“ TRS MIDI cable is very nice.
Old 19th April 2018
  #4
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subdo's Avatar
I don't know why I'm in this thread. I already made my choice to go outside of euro for sampling. But here I am...
Old 19th April 2018
  #5
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void23's Avatar
There's never a "delay" in shipping for the ER-301, the maker just flips between making ER-101/102's and the ER-301. When the maker sends a delivery date, it's either spot on, or ships early. Also, there were no additional costs associated with my order, that warning is directed mainly towards EU customers.

I bought the ER-301 for a sampler, which it works great as. Thanks to the community surrounding the ER-301, I also have an E-350, Music Easel, Space Echo, Morphagene, and high quality Reverb. Additionally, if I ever run out of VCAs, function generators, filters, or need another simple VCO or noise source, I've got a next to unlimited amount available to me in the ER-301. For example, I've got a full "analog" style drum kit that I patched together for easy recall on the ER-301; FM'd sine wave kick, noise-based and filtered snare and hats.

If you're interested in live sampling, there were some huge improvements in the last couple of weeks with the inclusion of a clock sync'd looper along with my request for clocked sync'd sample playback.

I haven't played with the others on your list, but you're spot on in that if you can live with the build schedule, you can't go wrong with an ER-301.
Old 19th February 2019
  #6
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Giving this a bump as I assume there have been a few updates in the last year... just came across a cheap(ish) bitbox and wondered what the current candidate was for "best sampler" in euro...
Old 19th February 2019
  #7
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I sold my bitbox after about 6 weeks of owning it from new. It's the only module I've ever sold. It wasn't for me. Too much messing around in menus trying to load samples. The display/GUI seemed very basic/unfinished and needed more polish. Simple OS quirks started to annoy me like not being able to touch the screen to load the sample, it forces you to scroll with the knob to select etc.

What annoyed me most was that 1010music, while having 3x seemingly unfinished firmwares for bitbox,fxbox,synthbox decided to go ahead and create some lighting controller spiroscope type firmware rather than polish up and flesh out their existing ones. Updates trickled out slowly for each firmware in a round-robin type way and and added simple things that should've been there at launch rather than anything worthwhile.

Don't get me wrong, if bitbox hits the nail on what you want it to do then jump on it as it's a great device. For me, it just fell short on features on just about everything and I didn't want to hang around waiting a year to see if some future update made it usable.

IMO the device is under powered and I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or so nothing much has changed regarding the firmware and the whole thing is dropped as is for a future more powerful revision.
Old 19th February 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcB View Post
I sold my bitbox after about 6 weeks of owning it from new. It's the only module I've ever sold. It wasn't for me. Too much messing around in menus trying to load samples. The display/GUI seemed very basic/unfinished and needed more polish. Simple OS quirks started to annoy me like not being able to touch the screen to load the sample, it forces you to scroll with the knob to select etc.

What annoyed me most was that 1010music, while having 3x seemingly unfinished firmwares for bitbox,fxbox,synthbox decided to go ahead and create some lighting controller spiroscope type firmware rather than polish up and flesh out their existing ones. Updates trickled out slowly for each firmware in a round-robin type way and and added simple things that should've been there at launch rather than anything worthwhile.

Don't get me wrong, if bitbox hits the nail on what you want it to do then jump on it as it's a great device. For me, it just fell short on features on just about everything and I didn't want to hang around waiting a year to see if some future update made it usable.

IMO the device is under powered and I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or so nothing much has changed regarding the firmware and the whole thing is dropped as is for a future more powerful revision.
Thanks for sharing.

I have plans to put a sampler and some related stuff in a little skiff in front of my 9U rack. I loved my OT (no regrets selling it though ) and can’t wait to play with samples (and sampling) in my eurorack.
I have enough space to put the sampler in the rack, but I want to keep these two ‘instruments’ seperated from each other, only connected through cables .

About the bitbox:
I thought the last few updates made the Bitbox worth buying it....
The big screen and menu diving are the cons for me, but I can live with that as long as the sampler has his own housing (makes sense to me at least ).

Alternative?:
I was thinking of the 4ms sampler as an alternative but only 2 tracks and it seems it seems to have its quirks too. However a new update is coming up. And cheaper than the bitbox.

The Rossum sampler and the ER-301 are too pricey for me. If price was not an option I would go for the Rossum sampler. The ER-301 seems very cool too, but to me it is more a modular in the modular...like the Percussa..

Last edited by TMT75; 19th February 2019 at 06:52 PM.. Reason: Typo
Old 27th February 2019
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
Bitbox owner here. It's a little menu-heavy, but considering its capabilities, that's a small impediment. It's a really smart module.
Old 8th March 2019
  #10
I did the same thing, got fed up of waiting for what seemed like obvious things to include in a sampler.

The hidden limiter drove me nuts on main outputs, concept was good but felt like it was becoming abandonware at some point..... having been on the forum it looks like he’s finally done some updates.

Could make a great looper but the transposition of samples sounded ropey, but then I have particular tastes for sample transposing (think old school samplers).

Menu diving through dials drive me crazy when the touch screen solution was right in front of you.

Looper phrase sampler yes..... even as a fancy way to play back lfo’s For cv yes

Sampler meh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcB View Post
I sold my bitbox after about 6 weeks of owning it from new. It's the only module I've ever sold. It wasn't for me. Too much messing around in menus trying to load samples. The display/GUI seemed very basic/unfinished and needed more polish. Simple OS quirks started to annoy me like not being able to touch the screen to load the sample, it forces you to scroll with the knob to select etc.

What annoyed me most was that 1010music, while having 3x seemingly unfinished firmwares for bitbox,fxbox,synthbox decided to go ahead and create some lighting controller spiroscope type firmware rather than polish up and flesh out their existing ones. Updates trickled out slowly for each firmware in a round-robin type way and and added simple things that should've been there at launch rather than anything worthwhile.

Don't get me wrong, if bitbox hits the nail on what you want it to do then jump on it as it's a great device. For me, it just fell short on features on just about everything and I didn't want to hang around waiting a year to see if some future update made it usable.

IMO the device is under powered and I wouldn't be surprised if in a year or so nothing much has changed regarding the firmware and the whole thing is dropped as is for a future more powerful revision.
Old 8th March 2019
  #11
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MarcB's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey Specter View Post
having been on the forum it looks like he’s finally done some updates.
Looks like they've already updated the hardware and licenced it out for VST manufacturers to use. Firmware not compatible with the Bitbox or Toolbox 1010music versions.


Old 3rd September 2019
  #12
Gear Addict
 

i am looking into sampler modules as well.
First i thought the bitbox is the right one, but i played it in the store and think the screen is nice, but not only 2 outputs and sampleediting seem a bit basic.
So my choice goes into ALM Squid Salmple or the Erica Sample Drum, which i like most atm, filter ans stuff onboard.
Old 3rd September 2019
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
I have Bitbox, but honestly, I feel like it's overkill for what I use my modular for, so it rarely sees any use. I'm more about that Doepfer sampler. It's simple, but straightforward, and adds some grit and heft to whatever is put into it.
Old 3rd September 2019
  #14
Deleted 998abe3
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
There's never a "delay" in shipping for the ER-301, the maker just flips between making ER-101/102's and the ER-301. When the maker sends a delivery date, it's either spot on, or ships early. Also, there were no additional costs associated with my order, that warning is directed mainly towards EU customers.

I bought the ER-301 for a sampler, which it works great as. Thanks to the community surrounding the ER-301, I also have an E-350, Music Easel, Space Echo, Morphagene, and high quality Reverb. Additionally, if I ever run out of VCAs, function generators, filters, or need another simple VCO or noise source, I've got a next to unlimited amount available to me in the ER-301. For example, I've got a full "analog" style drum kit that I patched together for easy recall on the ER-301; FM'd sine wave kick, noise-based and filtered snare and hats.

If you're interested in live sampling, there were some huge improvements in the last couple of weeks with the inclusion of a clock sync'd looper along with my request for clocked sync'd sample playback.

I haven't played with the others on your list, but you're spot on in that if you can live with the build schedule, you can't go wrong with an ER-301.
I'm planning to get into eurorack sampling and I was aiming on the more affordable tier, like Morphagene and Nebulae V2. Now I'm starting to consider selling some gear, stretching my budget and getting something like ER-301 or the Assimil8or.

Since you have two of those (maybe the two that seems more interesting to me) I'd like to ask you somethings but I don't want to bother you with a long interrogatory about them. So, I'd like to know how much of Morphagene the ER-301 can or can't be, and why do you have them both (that seems like a weird question so ignore it if you feel like it) ?
Old 3rd September 2019
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 998abe3 View Post
Morphagene
Don't forget about its (much) cheaper predecessor the Phonogene! If you intend to do sampling in the rack and don't need stereo or sample-saving, it's the bee's knees.

Last edited by Derp; 4th September 2019 at 02:03 PM.. Reason: Grammar Matters!
Old 4th September 2019
  #16
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by guictr View Post
I'm planning to get into eurorack sampling and I was aiming on the more affordable tier, like Morphagene and Nebulae V2. Now I'm starting to consider selling some gear, stretching my budget and getting something like ER-301 or the Assimil8or.

Since you have two of those (maybe the two that seems more interesting to me) I'd like to ask you somethings but I don't want to bother you with a long interrogatory about them. So, I'd like to know how much of Morphagene the ER-301 can or can't be, and why do you have them both (that seems like a weird question so ignore it if you feel like it) ?
I replied privately ... but I'll chime in again. The Morphagene is more of a looper than a sampler. In the old days, I'd map a few noise loops to the lower octave of the Emax when playing live; found sounds, melodic stuff that was pitched down, etc. That's what the Morphagene is best at, it's a tape loop machine in eurorack. If you need accuracy in pitch or timing, or something that plays one-shot drum hits, it's not for you.

The ER-301 is the closest you'll get to an old school sampler in Eurorack, think E-mu or Akai stuff. Asides from just being a sampler, it's a whole lot more ... a realtime audio processor. Programming it is a lot like the blocks in Ableton Live. Sources can be samples, basic VCO wave shapes, external audio, etc. It'll do all the basic voice building blocks, like LFO's, envelopes, filters, EQ's, delays, reverbs, you name it. It's a complete modular in a box. I can dial in a quick sample playback unit in less than a minute, but it can get really, really deep. There's even an SDK based on LUA if you're so inclined

The ER-301 is limited to four audio in's and four out's, but you can have multiple voices mapped to an individual output. You also get 4 dedicated gate in's along with 16 CV ins (that also do gates or triggers). Polyphony is limited only by CPU power and I've yet to hit the limit.

Patch and sample management on the ER-301 makes sense, unlike the Octatrack. It also does a great job of handling clock sync'd or mangled drum loops, something I wish I had back in the Emax days. It's a bit expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for in terms of value. In the simplest terms, how much would a Morphagene / Assimil8tor, function generator, filter, VCA, and FX costs you?. Also, price was just what I payed, no customs in the US, and shipping / delivery date was exactly as quoted.
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