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Modules or a drum machine for simple snare and BD duties
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Modules or a drum machine for simple snare and BD duties
Nagasaki45
Hi wigglers,

In my current setup a teenage engineering PO-12 (rhythm) is responsible for naive, very repetitive, drum loops. It is clocked by the clock out of the 4ms DLD and generally works great for what I need: a stable beat to support the experimental stuff coming from the modular. However, two things are missing from the PO-12: it can't mute individual drums and the pattern length is always 16 beats.

Therefore, I'm looking for an alternative. The requirements are:

- A 16 beat sequencer with variable length. 12 beats and 16 beats will be good enough.
- Bass and snare drums. These are what I'm using now with the PO-12 and they are enough for me.
- The ability to mute individual drums.
- Clocked from the DLD with either 2PPQ like the pocket operators and volcas, 4PPQ, or 1PPQ (if these even exist).
- Cheap (<300£).

Anything more (more drums, pattern chaining, save and recall, global effects, etc.) is a bonus.

The ideas I had in mind are:

- Keeping the beatstep pro that I already have and adding BD and snare modules. The advantage here is that I can pick modules to try, replace them, and gradually find the ones that I like the most. The downside is that I won't get the benefits that drum machines often have (global effects, parameter locks, stutter, etc.).
- Selling the BSP and buying a volca sample or beats instead. I had a volca bass in the past so I'm familiar with the sequencer and know that it's good for me (I actually think that the volca sequencer is amazing!). A drumbrute is another option here.
- Selling the BSP and getting a MIDI clocked drum machine, like one of the MFB boxes, plus a module to convert my clock to MIDI. Does it possible to do considering the budget?

What would you do in my situation?

Please recommend anything that comes to mind. I intentionally said nothing about the sound that I'm looking for, so suggest anything and I will do my homework to see if I like the sound.

Thanks for the help,
fragster
A used drumbrute seems to check all boxes, no?
Edit: i got one for more or less these reasons and it works, so... w00t
euromorcego
Nagasaki45 wrote:

[...] Therefore, I'm looking for an alternative. The requirements are:

- A 16 beat sequencer with variable length. 12 beats and 16 beats will be good enough.
- Bass and snare drums. These are what I'm using now with the PO-12 and they are enough for me.
- The ability to mute individual drums.
- Clocked from the DLD with either 2PPQ like the pocket operators and volcas, 4PPQ, or 1PPQ (if these even exist).
- Cheap (<300£).

you may look at a pre-owned electribe sampler 2. It can be clocked like the Volcas but has a far better sequencer (it also has some quirks, so also google a bit).

Another option is the Sonic Potions LXR (but <300£ only if you DIY)

Nagasaki45 wrote:

- Keeping the beatstep pro that I already have and adding BD and snare modules. The advantage here is that I can pick modules to try, replace them, and gradually find the ones that I like the most. The downside is that I won't get the benefits that drum machines often have (global effects, parameter locks, stutter, etc.).

sounds good! The BSP sequencer is quite good (random, etc ...) not all drum machines have a sequencer that is as good. Maybe Arturia will even update it (with some features of the new MiniBrute 2s sequencer).

Instead of BD and SD modules you can also use midi. See if you can find a pre-owned MFB 522, or even a bleep drum with midi, or the Audiothingies DoubleDrummer, or a pre-owned nord drum, or ... there are endless choices < 300£.

Nagasaki45 wrote:

- Selling the BSP and buying a volca sample or beats instead. I had a volca bass in the past so I'm familiar with the sequencer and know that it's good for me (I actually think that the volca sequencer is amazing!).

what is so amazing about the volca sequencer?

Nagasaki45 wrote:

- Selling the BSP and getting a MIDI clocked drum machine, like one of the MFB boxes, plus a module to convert my clock to MIDI. Does it possible to do considering the budget?

it is a lot easier to convert the midi clock to an analogue clock than vice versa.

I'd keep the BSP and go from there, you can always pickup a volca for cheap at some point.
TheRosskonian
One thing missing from your original post is how tied you are to your workflow, which sounds like it is centered around the BSP? And also how much HP you have free for drum/sample modules or if you prefer a synth or sampler over the other.

I would lean towards drum modules, since you do not have to learn a new sequencer or workflow or even change much of your setup (potentially).

If not, probably a drumbrute. I've never used one, but people seem to like it's sequencer more than the sounds itself and it should integrate with modular pretty easily. I am not sure it would fit your clocking requirement though.

The release is far off, but Malekko is coming out with a drum machine that should integrate with modular rather well, given how they designed the Manther.

All that being said, the volcas are hard to beat, might be a tougher choice to settle between the beats, kick, and sample. Although you could certainly get a used Electribe 2 (sampler or not) for around the same price as a couple of volcas.
Nagasaki45
euromorcego wrote:
you may look at a pre-owned electribe sampler 2. It can be clocked like the Volcas but has a far better sequencer (it also has some quirks, so also google a bit).

Another option is the Sonic Potions LXR (but <300£ only if you DIY)


Both are good options! I didn't know that the electribe can be synced like a volca. I will definitely read more aout it. Same for the LXR (DIY is great).

euromorcego wrote:
Nagasaki45 wrote:
- Keeping the beatstep pro that I already have and adding BD and snare modules. The advantage here is that I can pick modules to try, replace them, and gradually find the ones that I like the most. The downside is that I won't get the benefits that drum machines often have (global effects, parameter locks, stutter, etc.).

sounds good! The BSP sequencer is quite good (random, etc ...) not all drum machines have a sequencer that is as good. Maybe Arturia will even update it (with some features of the new MiniBrute 2s sequencer).

Instead of BD and SD modules you can also use midi. See if you can find a pre-owned MFB 522, or even a bleep drum with midi, or the Audiothingies DoubleDrummer, or a pre-owned nord drum, or ... there are endless choices < 300£.


I actually don't like the BSP sequencer too much (no way to jump to specific step; can't change pattern length when in record mode; increasing pattern length doesn't copy; can't read knobs value without touching them). Also, keeping it just for having another MIDI device synced to my eurorack seems like a bit of a waste of space / money. But you are right that it opens many options that I can't get otherwise.

euromorcego wrote:
what is so amazing about the volca sequencer?


Mainly the active step idea is much more playable than the pattern length for me. Also jumping to specific step is nice.

euromorcego wrote:
it is a lot easier to convert the midi clock to an analogue clock than vice versa.


I know :-(
In the eurorack my workflow largly depends on the 4ms DLD as a polyrhythmic looper. It is a great module but it doesn't sync to external clock pretty well (the loop drifts over time). So I need it to be the master clock for the entire setup.

Thanks for the input!
Nagasaki45
TheRosskonian wrote:
One thing missing from your original post is how tied you are to your workflow, which sounds like it is centered around the BSP? And also how much HP you have free for drum/sample modules or if you prefer a synth or sampler over the other.


- I'm not dependent on the BSP so much at the moment and will be happy to replace it. Weirdly enough I currently use it mainly as a clock divider.
- I will have to move to a new case soon anyway, a 6U 104hp. Let's say that without a sequencer I prefer to give drum modules not more than 20hp.
- I'm not sure if I prefer a synth or a sampler. I would say that it depends more on the workflow.

TheRosskonian wrote:
I would lean towards drum modules, since you do not have to learn a new sequencer or workflow or even change much of your setup (potentially).

If not, probably a drumbrute. I've never used one, but people seem to like it's sequencer more than the sounds itself and it should integrate with modular pretty easily. I am not sure it would fit your clocking requirement though.

The release is far off, but Malekko is coming out with a drum machine that should integrate with modular rather well, given how they designed the Manther.

All that being said, the volcas are hard to beat, might be a tougher choice to settle between the beats, kick, and sample. Although you could certainly get a used Electribe 2 (sampler or not) for around the same price as a couple of volcas.


The malekko is probably irrelevant. Too much far into the future. The other suggestions looks great though, thanks!

BTW, the drumbrute clock input can work with 1PPQ and 4PPQ (among other).
rean1mator
the soon to be released erica synths 909 bd and Snare modules look pretty tasty, if you want to stick to modules.
TheRosskonian
Nagasaki45 wrote:

- I'm not sure if I prefer a synth or a sampler. I would say that it depends more on the workflow.


Given this, I would say take a closer look at the manual of the Electribe 2 and the Drumbrute, trying to figure out which workflow and sequencer works better for you.
Nagasaki45
Thanks for your recommendations everybody!

I think that the best solution will be to replace the BSP with a drum machine that can be synced with analog clock. Apparently there are more devices that can do that than I originally thought:

- Volcas
- Electribes
- Drumbrute
- LXR (+ trigger IO extension)

I will check these and ask again if needed.

Thanks again!
Sleipnir
Just jumping in to say I built an LXR w/triggers, and my BSP went in the trash.
Get the Erica Synths metal enclosure for it, and it’s a “real” drum machine.
SlayerBadger!
stopthesignal
Given your requirements, I would strongly recommend the Volca Sample.
Nagasaki45
Hi all!

After a weekend full of youtube videos I think that:

- The drumbrute and the volca beats (with the snare mod) seem to me somewhat similar. They both sound good to my ears, check all of my requirements, and have a nice interface for messing with the sound live. I'm not going to claim that the drumbrute doesn't worth the price, because it definitely is! But it costs like 3-4 volcas - a price that I can't justify. So the drumbrute is out.
- Now for the electribe sampler 2: After seeing many videos I'm still not convinced that I understand this instrument. In every youtube video there is lots of menu diving, which I can't stand. This is a bit unexpected considering the nice physical interface for sound manipulation (filter / envelopes / modulation / etc) that the device has. It also seems more tailored for production that for live, and personally I find the look a bit uninspiring. I know that all of this sounds very negative, and maybe it's a great tool, but from the many videos online it doesn't look that this is what I'm looking for. So the electribe is also out.
- The LXR: Sounds great! Really nice performance capabilities Also, the idea of saving kits separated from patterns kind of appeals to me, together with the idea that kits are saved together and not each voice separately. It seems more reasonable for live improvised performances (as I play) than the way save/load usually work. The obvious downside with it is that you need to navigate through different screens to modify the sound. This is a major drawback for me but it's still far from deep menu diving. But, as usual, there's the price factor. I'm happy with DIY, and that's the cheapest option (even compared to 2nd hand), which costs 365£.

So the conclusion is <drum roll....>
I think that I will start with a 2nd hand volca beats or sample and see how it goes. If it won't be enough I will upgrade to an LXR.

Thanks again for your help. Much appreciated!
euromorcego
Nagasaki45 wrote:

- The LXR: Sounds great! Really nice performance capabilities [...] The obvious downside with it is that you need to navigate through different screens to modify the sound. This is a major drawback for me but it's still far from deep menu diving.

you can be helped: http://www.bastl-instruments.com/instruments/sixtyknobs/
Nagasaki45
euromorcego wrote:
Nagasaki45 wrote:
- The LXR: Sounds great! Really nice performance capabilities [...] The obvious downside with it is that you need to navigate through different screens to modify the sound. This is a major drawback for me but it's still far from deep menu diving.

you can be helped: http://www.bastl-instruments.com/instruments/sixtyknobs/


Already saw it. It looks great but again, more , so I prefer to think about the LXR without this for the moment.
mharpum
no suggestions for the digitakt!

I just got one and I think it is ace! Even though I do mainly percussive stuff on my modular the sampling capabilities and sequencer is awesome. So much more than just a drum machine.
Nagasaki45
mharpum wrote:
no suggestions for the digitakt!

I just got one and I think it is ace! Even though I do mainly percussive stuff on my modular the sampling capabilities and sequencer is awesome. So much more than just a drum machine.


Sorry mharpum, I didn't notice your comment. How do you sync between the digitakt and the modular? The digitakt is quite expensive for me, and it will require another module for MIDI <-> clock conversion, isn't it? (assuming that I get rid of the BSP).
Nagasaki45
BTW, I decided to wait with this until I complete the next phase of my modular upgrade. It will probably take a few months... And also, I have a major GAS on the new tr-8s. It's way above what I planned to spend, and doesn't have a clock input, only output, but still, it looks amazing! I will probably come again with more questions in few months from now.
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