E-MU Systems MP-7 Command Station by crufty
The command station is a one midi in, two midi out groovebox rompler. It accepts any number of rom chipsets...i have xl / mophatt roms installed.
Fx: The onboard fx are in the fair category; for those used to limitless per track fx in a daw, it may be a shock to see that there is pretty much only one or two fx for all sixteen tracks.
Sounds: The rompler engine is very nice, many different filters, stepping is not noticeable. Voice stealing is present but not incredibly annoying, and iirc tracks can have priorities set.
As a rompler there is no, obviously, sample capability though i think there might be flash roms that could allow one to stuff personal sounds in there.
Sound Summary: There is nothing wrong with the rom samples...some may sound dated but some are very, very nice and analogy...some surprising saw samples that sound very good imo. Obviously all rom samples are polished and tuned so they "fit" w. Minimal eq, so dont expect anything super raw or edgey. And when we compare to korg oasys / m3 or daw (komplete, logic, east west play etc) the gb of resources and infinite fx capability of modern multicore cpus give those platform the edge. So I give it a 7...no flaws, just time has marched on.
Ease of use:
Manual: Manual is wordy to some, detailed to others; i found it readable and useful.
Interface: Lots of knobs, some menu diving...mode buttons make it pretty simple to keep track. Intuitive workflow; easy to make "sounds" out of baseline rom samples. Cant, iirc, make new drum sets. It can be easy to forget track volume mode vs patch tweak mode in the sixteen knobs to tweak.
tr step programming: Even though manual reading is necessary and and there is menu diving, i give 9 for ease of use because tr programming is a DREAM. Select patch, select octave, hit note. A separate bank of sixteen buttons is used for tr x0x style programming, at the velocity of your note hit. Very quickly one can build a rythm track w. mult velocities for drum hits...or simply do realtime record w. the velocity/afterpressure sensitive pads. Awesome!
summary: Those who have problems with menus and arent into tr programming might rank ease of use in six or seven range...when compared to the ease of use of daw midi programming, or simpler machines (sh101). So that is the final ranking: 7.
Very solid. Knobby, octave of pads plus tr style buttons (multi purpose). Two midi out and a capable sequencer mean that this is a solid box for non computer midi sequencing. Havent done tests but timing feels tight enpugh. I cant remember if it can do patch change or cc...havent used it in that fashion. Tack on the rompler engine and two sets of outs...a lot of utility in this box. I can tell a lot of workflow thought went into its creation, really feels like it was built to be used, sort of like the creators thought 'what would i want my dream machine to do?'. Track mutes, pattern chaining...all there and ready for realtime use.
Doesnt have four midi out, and only sixteen tracks...so 8.
Bang for buck:
Given that these can be found for 300 - 400, very very high. Take a midi controlled analog mono, midi controlled analog dco poly, a full assortment of roms + this box and one could make pretty nice / complete tracks. Slave it to a drum machine of choice and toss in a keyboard and that would be a fairly complete live setup, for the price of a midi interface!
draft...will return later...