This is a free VST groovebox using unlimited number of samples, from the maker of energyXT.
Firstly, to update the specs, in version 1.4 you can put up to 64 steps in one pattern, and you are not limmited by 4s (it can be 5 or 34 or something). I don't know how many patterns you can make, but more than 32 for sure.
Though it looks spartan, I am yet to find a sampler of this sort with more ergonomical layout than Machine II!! Everything you need is easily accesible and twaekable as it plays. There's 8-step Groove control (or swing), cutoff control is graphical, every step in a pattern has its own volume, pitch (coarse) and cutoff, simmilar to FLStudio editing.
But Machine II is not perfect. There is no MIDI automation through my Tracktion DAW, and tempo can't be altered. If only Jorgen stops his energyXT development for a week (genious concept btw), he would easily implement the enhancements, and make Machine II a real champion (I would pay money for it!).
SO, here it is: + really ergonomical once set up + ideas simply poor through + small and free! - no MIDI automation through DAW - not allowing tempo change through DAW - no hands-on acces to saved patterns and sample groups - mono and 16-bit samples only - stability under some DAWs (Live i.e.)
Ideas from Machine II are acctually used in energyXT design, but there is so much extra stuff that ergonomy is lost when I need just a groovebox.
Nevertheless, I tend to use it to get that groove even if I have to re-program the patterns directly in MIDI afterwards.Read Review