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The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

Do you use hardware drum synths or software and samples only?

Hardware drum synths all the way, how dare you use a computer!
3
3%
Software and samples only please.
34
32%
Software or hardware is fine as long it it gets me where I want to go.
58
55%
You'll pry my x0x box out of my cold dead hands.
1
1%
I hit things with sticks. (sometimes fish)
9
9%
 
Total votes : 105
User avatar
zerocrossing
KVRAF
 
7174 posts since 26 Jun, 2006, from San Francisco Bay Area

Postby zerocrossing; Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:57 am Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Shy wrote:I'm perfectly happy with sample libraries of the great sounding analog drum synths (none of which are in production since the '80s), I don't need the real ones, the multi-sampling is good enough.


Yeah, that's more or less the conclusion I've come to... and actually, because guys like Goldbaby run those classics though amazing outboard gear that I can't afford, they actually end up sounding better than the real naked vintage box.

Shy wrote:If I want simple "percussive" sounds (that includes any standard oscillator / noise / filter / ringmod etc. combo), I can get great results from a plain (as in without the super complex dedicated design per voice) analog synth or a TX7, but that's nothing like those drum synths.


I didn't mention it, but I do make drum sounds from time to time using my analogs and I've gotten amazing stuff from my DX200.

Shy wrote:If I want great real drum samples, I have the best ones from various hardware products, and many great real drum sample libraries. So I definitely don't need hardware for recorded samples.


Yup, I agree. In fact, I think to put a final "lid" on my GAS for the TR-8 I'm going to buy a few of Goldbaby's sample sets I've been wanting. Maybe Transistor Revolution too, though it's kind of pricey.

Shy wrote:And I have some real drums I can record whenever I want, and I have a Wavedrum, it's fun and sounds good.

And the sequencers?... f**k hardware.


Yeah! SCREW HARDWARE! :lol: I wish I had a drum kit... and talent to play drums... and a place for them... I had a Handsonic 15 a long time ago and after some time I realized I just didn't have the time to put in the practice to get good enough to do what I wanted, but I'm decent on the Maschine or basic keyboard.
Zerocrossing Media
http://www.zerocrossing.net
4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~
Jim Y
KVRist
 
316 posts since 29 Jun, 2008, from Mid Wales, UK.

Postby Jim Y; Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:26 am Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Good thread.

I think I want the impossible - the simplicity of an X0X box containing the sound options of ten euroracks stuffed with every kind of percussion module.

IMO, the Electribe is still a good option. Korg has somewhat overshadowed them with the Volca stuff after a lame update of the EMX and ESX 'tribes.
Kriminal
KVRAF
 
18470 posts since 1 Oct, 2001, from England

Postby Kriminal; Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:46 am Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Ive just bought a DR220a and DR550....last year i bought (sampled and sold) DR660 and SR16. Year before it was the R5.

Looking into getting a modded TR505....
Dont Upset The Drama Queens
User avatar
zerocrossing
KVRAF
 
7174 posts since 26 Jun, 2006, from San Francisco Bay Area

Postby zerocrossing; Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:15 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Jim Y wrote:Good thread.

I think I want the impossible - the simplicity of an X0X box containing the sound options of ten euroracks stuffed with every kind of percussion module.

IMO, the Electribe is still a good option. Korg has somewhat overshadowed them with the Volca stuff after a lame update of the EMX and ESX 'tribes.


Heh, yes, I think that's me too. I wouldn't be too worried about Korg. My guess is we'll see a new electribe soon. Something like the EMX but using analog synthesis as well as PCM samples. Just a guess.
Zerocrossing Media
http://www.zerocrossing.net
4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~
User avatar
KrisM
KVRian
 
823 posts since 25 Aug, 2009

Postby KrisM; Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:21 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

I just make sample chains for my Octatrack with DrumSpillage these days, or sample one shots/loops from my OP-1 and Monomachine.

I used to use my MFB 522 but need to slim down and it's not super versatile anyway. Tempting to keep it and get a x0xb0x and acid out, but I won't :D
Meh.
GruvSyco
KVRist
 
449 posts since 1 May, 2002, from Kalispell, MT

Postby GruvSyco; Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:57 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

I'm a Tempest owner and I just don't really ever use it. For the way I do stuff, I like the flexibility of Ableton Drum Racks better. If I'm lazy, I drop samples in to it... my favorite is using Zebra though, it's so low on CPU a full drum kit doesn't really hit the CPU much. I love that anything can be used as a sound source in a drum rack.

I've been toying a bit with the idea of that Arturia Beatstep in conjunction with drum racks.
lacandon
KVRist
 
350 posts since 31 Aug, 2012

Postby lacandon; Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:20 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

I love the outboard workflow but i must admit that total winner its Fx pansion Tremor this thing is extremely powerful,i hope i will see some more interesting hardware drum machine what its up there now its very boring nice piece of gear but i heard that sounds everywhere..Probably new Waldorf Atack will work for me,the guys at Waldorf always do game changing tools
User avatar
foosnark
KVRAF
 
2631 posts since 9 Jan, 2003, from Saint Louis MO

Postby foosnark; Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:54 am Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

...basically everything that Zerocrossing and Shy said.

Hardware sounds: covered very well by samples and software synths.

Hardware step sequencers: suck.

Hardware pads: Maschine has great ones.

Something to physically beat on: got a Korg Wavedrum and several acoustic hand drums.

Hardware portability: don't need it for production, but I do take a darbuka, tar or ashiko on camping trips or whatever.
kritikon
KVRAF
 
5075 posts since 23 May, 2002, from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Postby kritikon; Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:12 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

I used various of the Roland boxes in the past and mostly thought they sounded awful. All of the cheaper x0x boxes were like toys. Sacrilege I know, but I didn't even like the 808. The 909 was the only one that actually sounded good, and I still like it today, but once I made anything outside of strict 4 on the floor danceystuff it became useless. Tried an Alesis HR thingy, and although its set of samples was much better, it was hardly a pleasure to actually work with. Had a Roland R8 for quite a while, and it could do more than sound like a robot if you really got under the hood, but despite a reasonably varied sample set, once you had it for a few months you noticed it sounded obviously like a Roland R8 every time you used it. I can spot them a mile away, and mostly you just
don't want your drums to define the sound of everything you do.

Even played around with another Alesis - one of those D things, wasn't it a D5 or summat?
Good set of samples again, but as an outboard, I ultimately found PCs easier and more flexible to use completely ITB rather than running a rack unit. I'll probably always keep going back to analogue (and some digital) h/w synths, but for both FX and drums, I find DAWs have the advantage. I absolutely loathe using a mouse, which is why I ended up going back to probably 75% h/w use, but if you're not a drummer, the mix of s/w ease of use and ability to mnagle both loops and individual samples together wins out for me. Some things, h/w just don't make sense, and drums is one.

If you want to sound like a robot, drum machines are fine (and for an awful lot of my music, robot is perfectly fine -4/4 is all I often want). If you do other completely different styles, then ITB. Even if I had unlimited moolah, obviously I'd have a warehouse studio with every decent analogue synth made. I'd probably even buy up quite a few analogue and digital FX boxes, but apart from a 909, I don't think I'd have a single drum machine. I like mucking around with h/w generally, but drum machines just aren't fuN to progam. Apart from the old style x0x type interface. Trouble is they mostly sound crapper than they play.

I see the point in analogue g.a.s. There absolutely is a point of difference, whether that be synths or modulars. Mostly they sound different to s/w and the interface is completely a different thing (ie one knob per function etc), but drum machines seem to combine the worst of both worlds. They sound digital as anything, and have the most complicated interface you could design. I really liked the look of the latest Roland one, but I won't buy it because I know in my heart of hearts that it'll be a pita to actually use.
User avatar
justin3am
KVRAF
 
9240 posts since 7 May, 2006, from Southern California

Postby justin3am; Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:17 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

I totally forgot!
Have you thought about an Ensoniq ASR-X?
I haven't used one myself but I have been GASing for one for a few years. The feature set sounds great but I feel like I can do all of the sample mangling I want with my Octatrack.

Any ASR-X users want to convince me that I should get one?
User avatar
thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
 
16472 posts since 27 Jul, 2005, from the wilds of wanny

Postby thecontrolcentre; Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:44 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

There's a tatty looking Ensoniq ASR-X Pro on Ebay for $99 ... no bids yet.
ghettosynth
KVRAF
 
4033 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Postby ghettosynth; Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:01 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

So kritikon has written a good post here and I want to address some of his points, most of which I agree with in spirit, I have some disagreement in detail.

kritikon wrote:I used various of the Roland boxes in the past and mostly thought they sounded awful. All of the cheaper x0x boxes were like toys. Sacrilege I know, but I didn't even like the 808. The 909 was the only one that actually sounded good, and I still like it today, but once I made anything outside of strict 4 on the floor danceystuff it became useless.


I think that the essence of old analog drum machines are that there are a few great analog circuits and a lot of simple stuff. What was great about the 808, other than the silly booooooom, was the detail in some of the other sounds, for the time. I too never got on much with the 808, although, I wish I had picked one up when they were cheap. The 909 is the same. To me, the 909 is the kick and the clap. The snare/rim is ok.

There is a really important point here, however. The reason that those sounds are great is because of the attention to detail that Roland put into the engineering to mimick a real drum sound with analog circuitry. Try to keep in mind that the 909 was not sold as the ultimate techno drum machine, rather, it was sold as the top of the line drum machine at the time. It was right there at the cusp of sample based drum machine and it was far more difficult/expensive to get the variation in sounds with samples than with analog circuits.

Tried an Alesis HR thingy...Had a Roland R8...I can spot them a mile away, and mostly you just don't want your drums to define the sound of everything you do.
...Alesis - one of those D things, wasn't it a D5 or summat? Good set of samples again...but if you're not a drummer, the mix of s/w ease of use and ability to mnagle both loops and individual samples together wins out for me.


Ok, yes, I clipped quite a bit. The essence here is that there's not much point to a drum specific rompler unless it's attached to an out of this world sequencer. Absolutely!

Some things, h/w just don't make sense, and drums is one.


Now I disagree ever so slightly. What doesn't make sense is silly romplers, or limited samplers that aren't awesome grooveboxes, or trying to convince people that the Matrix 6 makes a good drum synth (I'm looking at you DSI). What does make sense is awesome drum synths but there are VERY VERY FEW! Now, getting back to the first part of my post, you might think that I think that Roland has this down, but they don't. They had great analog designers at one point, but, they've never been good at thinking outside of the fusion jazz box. They know how to be trendy, they just don't know how to be hip. People think of them as famous for the techno sound, but, everything that is techno about Roland is just an accident on the way to a jazz fusion concert. The 909, the 303, the Juno-60, all mainstream instruments intended for a mainstream audience.

Jomox knows what's up. Their shit has always rocked and the reason that the Mbrane is good and the Tempest isn't is becasue Jomox knows that there's more to designing a drum synth than just stuffing a bunch of cheap bog standard subtractive synths behind a step sequencer.

So, yes, drum synths matter. Analog vs digital isn't as important as drum synth vs some other kind of synth. Knobs are just as important for linking what you hear to how you play as they are in any other kind of sound production.

If you do other completely different styles, then ITB.


But let's be clear, this is usually a limitation of the sequencer. I once did a live piece with a 909 that is hardly techno, but, I slowed the tempo down to about 20 BPM.

A drum machine is a sequencer plus a drum sound engine. If neither is compelling, you have shit, if one or the other is compelling, you might have something. If both are compelling, well, that just doesn't happen because nobody will pay for it. Both devices always end up being compromised.

I see the point in analogue g.a.s.


My translation: Wonderful instrument g.a.s. If you aren't getting that, you're not getting your money's worth. Take off the retro goggles and put yourself back in time. The TR-505 wasn't meant to be compelling, it was meant to be a cheap drum machine with enough features to meet a price point.

There absolutely is a point of difference, whether that be synths or modulars. Mostly they sound different to s/w and the interface is completely a different thing (ie one knob per function etc), but drum machines seem to combine the worst of both worlds. They sound digital as anything, and have the most complicated interface you could design. I really liked the look of the latest Roland one, but I won't buy it because I know in my heart of hearts that it'll be a pita to actually use.


Here, I don't say digital, I say sterile. Drum machines sound sterile for two (related) reasons. One, it's expensive to design a good sequencer, and two, it's expensive to design a flexible drum synth. Put these two things together and you have conflict because drum machines are expected to be cheap.

But good step sequencers can be compelling and get you places that you can't get easily with your DAW. We know this is true otherwise we wouldn't have so many software step sequencers. They aren't a replacemtn for ITB though, not for production. So, when you consider coupling your drum machine to your DAW, the drum machine is now nothing more than a sound module, and, unless it's a great sound module, it seems rather pointless. The ARP1613 still fetches a hefty sum on ebay. Ok, some of that is hoarding, but they are quite usable in interesting ways.

I was ragging on the RS7K earlier, and my points hold, but, it is a decent live sequencer and before push came along, I did not find anything that I liked better, and, there are still some shortcomings, but,they aren't worth the hassle at this point.

tl;dr: Compelling drum synths, and compelling sequencers are worth the money. Most drum machines are some combination of a less than compelling sequencer combined with a less than compelling drum synth.
User avatar
arkmabat
KVRAF
 
2401 posts since 5 Nov, 2009

Postby arkmabat; Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:26 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

zerocrossing wrote: I wish I had a drum kit... and talent to play drums... and a place for them...


I'm struggling with that right now. My future roommates look at me like I'm crazy when I explain that I want to bring my electric kit and acoustic with me... :D I hope we get a bottom floor because even the electric kit's bassdrum pedal shakes the floor a lot. :dog: Deserted parks are a great place to practice louder... I'm rambling...
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arkmabat
KVRAF
 
2401 posts since 5 Nov, 2009

Postby arkmabat; Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:27 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Btw, XOXOXs Bong drum sounds amazing. That thing is well worth the price. I need to get it.
kritikon
KVRAF
 
5075 posts since 23 May, 2002, from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Postby kritikon; Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:13 pm Re: The drum machine is dead. LONG LIVE THE DRUM MACHINE!

Following on from Ghettosynth - you're probably right, in that if I think back, mostly it was the sequencers themselves that utimately put me off drum machines. You tended to get a great set of sounds but with a crappy sequencer, or a really good sequencer that was intuitive to use but coupled with tedious sounds. Probably the most useable would be a proper analogue sequencer coupled with something that can do fluid analogue style tweaking of digital sounds - which basically means prohibitively expensive, such as physical modelling. I can see a sequencer attached to the insides of 16 Korg Wavedrums being really useable. Unfortunately only by a handful of people due to price.

Probably the physical size limits functionality in a drum machine. Things like the R8 could do great things with swing etc, but the endless screens you need to go through was just too tedious - again where DAWs win out. But although 808s and 909s were very useable, it's precisely because they didn't have endless edit screens that they were useable. Hence limited. And nobody wants a drum machine the size of a planet. Too many knobs and it's unwieldy, too few and it's too basic. There are some obvious things that could be done, but too few machines do it. For example I should be able to select a few drum hits in the x0x style, then simply dial a knob to increase or decrease swing in just those drums. Then go on to do that with a few other drums etc. I should save that with a simple keypress and be able to use that same keypress to apply the whole swing to whichever parts I want. You can do it with some machines, but god, it takes forever and woe betide anyone who hasn't read the manual from chapter 317 through 3,489.

And you're right about Roland. They never intended most of their gear to be used the way it was. And unfortunately because they're Roland, they'll never go backwards and get it down pat and make yesterday's hits with today's functionality. Probably their AIRA things will go on to be famous for completely different uses than fancy modern 808s, 909s and 303s. I can see them being used for weird non-techno glitchy shenanigans that they never foresaw. Once the Acid "names" marketing hype has died away we might all forget what Roland thought they were trying to sell us and find wonderful uses for those gadgets other than trying to make them into the x0x gadgets that they very likely are not. It might even be the basis for a whole new genre, after all acid etc wouldn't have been what it was without a whole slew of Roland kit. :shrug:
Last edited by kritikon on Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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