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Korg Electribe ER-1

Korg Electribe ER-1

4 4 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

Limited, dated, but with a lot of character.

29th September 2016

Korg Electribe ER-1 by mtts

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Korg Electribe ER-1

Picked one up because it was all I could afford in 1999, but still own it. It's that much fun.

The sequencer is awesome. Intuitive to use and allows all parameters to be automated - easily. The sound engine is, of course, digital and not very refined as you'd expect from something that was toy level cheap in 1999. The envelopes are limited, consisting of nothing more than a decay control and the knobs are so wobbly that you can pretty much forget about fine tuning anything.

That said, it does allow you to synthesize four different sounds per pattern and it gives you grittily sampled hi hats (personally I'm rather partial to the open hi-hat, but ymmv), a clap and a cymbal to boot that you can change the pitch and the decay of. If that isn't enough, you can sequence two separate audio inputs and if you want you can even ring modulate one of them with one of the synthesizers (you can also ring modulate two of the other synthesizers).

The synthesis engine isn't particularly deep, but it's good enough. It will not give you access to all the sounds you could possibly need (snares especially are rather lousy) but the kicks are good and if you're into gritty sounding digital clicks and bleeps, it will more than deliver.

A bread and butter drum computer this is not, but if you like something a bit odd and you can pick one up for a couple of hundred euros or less, it might be worth it. In recent years the ER-1 has become something of a cult classic with steadily rising prices. That, I'm afraid to say, is ridiculous. You will not use it enough to justify cult classic prices. It is, however, a very fun toy that can really liven up your arsenal of percussive sounds if you can find one for a reasonable price.

  • 4
6th June 2019

Korg Electribe ER-1 by Headphones

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Korg Electribe ER-1

I own a ER-1 MK2, which has a better build quality, newer patterns, but is pretty much the same as the og. First things first, it doesn’t do acoustic drum kits at all. So if you need “real” drum sounds, this won’t be the only drum machine you’re going to rely on. But chances are, you’re never going to afford a real 808 or 909. This might be for you then.

You can customize kicks, Snares, toms, to your liking. 4 bars for each drum sound, and 2 audio ins that really allow you to have fun. Remember how I said this can’t do acoustic kits? Well it can if you pair it with a drum machine that has those kits. Just sync them to midi, and press your audio in button.

The fX leave a bit to be desired. Only delay/flange. Better than nothing, but more fx would have been great. Chain it to a ES-1, and that’s a grand slam. But if you have other fX boxes, guitar pedals, you can experiment with those.

You have plenty of memory to make your own patterns, but you can also copy parts of your favorite patterns over to a blank one, but then make all the changes you want into your own creations.

With a EA-1 you have a minimal house/techno/d’n’b setup. It’s crazy fun.

You usually can still find these for $150 or so, but they are getting harder to find, and the prices may rise. If you’re thinking of getting one, do it.

  • 2
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