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Drum Modules Vs. Drum Machine
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Drum Modules Vs. Drum Machine
cryptthing
Hi all,
Originally posted this to the Live section of the forum, but I think it is a fairly relevant question to many...


I'm about to sell a bunch of gear to fund a new step for live performance.

I'm weighing up between a dedicated skiff for a few drum voices/sequencer/compressor Vs. an Elektron Octatrack/Rytm/Digitakt/Other Drum Machine/Sampler thing

Perhaps a single versatile drum voice in my current rack plus the octatrack would be the best route of all??

These are two very different propositions I know, and quite possibly incomparable!

Would be great to get peoples thoughts all the same smile

Thanks in advance for any advice!
It's peanut butter jelly time!
Futuresound
I was all excited to have drums and drum sequencing in my rack.

Then after a while, I looked at the 32 cables and 8 modules I was using to generate a single not-very-interesting beat, and bought a RYTM.

That said, it really comes down to what you like - lots of people program great drums in their racks. And certainly for more abstract drum stuff, modular offers great possibilities.

I should note that I come from a background of using Logic to sequence hardware samplers for drums, and that level of control is much more difficult in modular imo. If you're not accustomed for that, you may be happier than I was with modular drums.
Tubefund
Having the same thoughts here. I still own a relatively small rack but i am looking forward to fill the rest of my space with drum modules just to get full use of those 8 trigger CV's from my BS pro. I love having one big case with nothing else then the sequencer to jam and patch. I Feel i am creating my own one in all workstation over time. For drums i use the disting sample player and a kickdrum module, hihats with noise and filters. The truth is the more i think of buying pure drum modules is the need for more mixer modules with panning possibilitys and so on. In the end i doubt it would get me the same functionality as an external drum machine and not even talking about the pricetag. It depends on what kind of music you make but total recall on drumpatterns might be nice, not to mention that drummachines have their internal sequencer purely designed for beats: rolls, flams, velocitys, swing options end so on.
XXXEsq
I used to own a ton of drum machines, but sold them all off years ago. (Wish the tech had been available to sample them first...) When I started making EDM, I was just using Cubase and Battery, but the visceral hands-on element was missing. I bought a BSP last year to sequence Battery (and the modular) and that was better, but still not ideal. I then bought a DrumBrute, which I am somewhat disappointed in sound wise, but that I generally appreciated-for the price. Haven't decided whether I'm keeping it or not.
I recently bought a Social Entropy Engine which I'm really enjoying. (I'm selling the BSP) I'm still looking for an analog sound source I prefer to the DB and am considering a Vermona DRM1. The RYTM is very intriguing, but is pricy and appears to duplicate much of my current capabilities. But I'm also inclined to just sequence my extensive library of drum samples in Battery with the Engine. If I need a particular sound that I don't have, I can create it as a 1 shot on the modular, then import it onto a battery pad and play it from the Engine. And with the Engine knobs being programmable by track, it does get me close to the ideal hands-on feel.
mt3
Only use interesting modules:
Braids
Basimilus
Dinky's Taiko
Hi5
I find a combo of both works best. I don't want to dedicate the case realestate to have a fully functional drum machine but having a few voices to accompany a drum machine has been the best of both worlds. Drum modules are convenient but I'd rather patch up the drum voices for more control and then the drum machine can handle the more static drum duties.
BillyB909
I've started a drum rack, and am very happy with this route. Two real reasons:

-The dedicated controls for sculpting all aspects of the sound, and modulation possibilities.
- Conversely, operating within a certain set of constraints.
noddyspuncture
Makesoundsloudly
cryptthing wrote:
Hi all,
Originally posted this to the Live section of the forum, but I think it is a fairly relevant question to many...


I'm about to sell a bunch of gear to fund a new step for live performance.

I'm weighing up between a dedicated skiff for a few drum voices/sequencer/compressor Vs. an Elektron Octatrack/Rytm/Digitakt/Other Drum Machine/Sampler thing

Perhaps a single versatile drum voice in my current rack plus the octatrack would be the best route of all??

These are two very different propositions I know, and quite possibly incomparable!

Would be great to get peoples thoughts all the same smile

Thanks in advance for any advice!
It's peanut butter jelly time!


Go with the octarack and the single drum voice. Best option overall.
petersandbach
What about some exciting modules like Akemies Taiko and Basimilus Iteritas. Combine with some probabilistic sequencing and logic modules and you have a recipe for IDM excitement it would be very hard to replicate elsewhere. There's a video somewhere of Baseck with just 3 modules (2 sequencers and one drum module) absolutely rocking out...
petersandbach
Tubefund
Start to wonder why so many people hesitate to fill their rack with drum modules Don't think that by doing that the need for a future bigger case disappears suddenly. seriously, i just don't get it
WaveRider
I guess it depends on what sequencing method you want to use.

I have an Acidlab Miami with rock solid DIN sync to my modular.

Duplicating this with modules is ridiculous... in price first and not worth the extra trouble. But still I could trig great modular sounds. ..but I really want to go further than standard XoX programming... it can get crazy on the modular just with clock, switches, and resets.. and great new modules like varigate, tempi, random stuff etc...

5 years ago I wanted to build a drum machine style modular case, but not anymore. But a modular for building beats via alternative methods still sounds exciting to me. even the excellent circadian rythm does not excite me anymore since it is pretty much standard xox drum programming withc I have done for ages (I do not have it, but I am sure that my music would benefit from it, but money constraints)
Multi Grooves
For me the usual answer rings true: both.
My machine drum is the heart of my set up providing the main clock and the rest of the euro slaved off it. There's a BI alter, hex mutant machine, and a braids providing alternate sounds to the elektron box which is super varied anyway plus I have instant recall of songs patterns. Add an ADDAC 402 [euro drum seq] plus a voltage block and beats /percussion are nicely covered.

:Mariachi banana:
Rockin' Banana!
suboptimal
I won't ever part with my Machinedrum. I tried building a perc section into my modular and after doing the math of how much other stuff I could get for the cash I'd thrown at it, I dispensed with all but a couple interesting modules (I agree with others that the interesting modules are worth keeping around). MD stores my patches forever, lets me experiment in non-destructive ways, and serves as a master clock for my rig. I'm adding a Digitakt to get access to the newer Elektron sequencer and the fun sampling capabilities, and that will probably make me spend more time rolling drum sounds on my modular, for sure.

The sequencing stuff is where things really fall apart for me in the Euro realm. There are extremely powerful sequencers available, like Trigger Riot or Circadian Rhythms, that can do astonishing things. You can piece together interesting combinations with logic, Euclidian modules, etc. BUT you have to fart around every time you want to make a beat. If you aren't attuned to the maths running underneath what you're doing, you'll take a while creating basic riddims to get started with. It's the time sink that kills it for me.

Lots of good musicians are using the "basic" drum modules to make excellent music, so it's all a matter of taste.
ugokcen
Eurorack as a drum machine never made sense to me; too expensive, too large. Modular synthesis as a way of making your own sounds makes a lot of sense though. You don't need dedicated drum modules for that but if you're short on space having something like the Basimilus is a good idea. Couple that with a sampler and a sequencer of your choice (Digitakt?) and you'll be making music in no time.

Having said that drum sequencing in Euroland offers some unique options if you want to break out of xox style sequencing. I have a Nord Drum 2 already and I've been looking at gate sequencers as my next purchase. Varigate, Grids, Knight's Gallop, 4 Bricks Rook, Numeric Repetitor, Drezno are on my list. Worth checking them out.
Multi Grooves
^No gate storm?
Sinamsis
My approach to drums in the rack vs outside.... I do a little of both honestly, but that's because I have 21U x 168 hp in my massive case. If I had 6 or 9 U I wouldn't bother with trying to complete a drum synth in eurorack format. My approach has been this: what makes eurorack interesting in terms of drums?

- Synthesis techniques: FM, unique modules like Basimilus Iteritas, etc.
- Unique sequencing: probability based gate sequencing, evolving or generative, euclidean, modules like Trigger Riot, I could keep going... Also the ability to CV these techniques to add random, or further evolution.
- Further processing in the modular realm... Clouds, DLD, Rainmaker, SMR, etc.

So how can you do that without a dedicated drum skiff, or row of drum modules?

-Sample individual drum hits and sequence them via MPC, Machinedrum, Ableton, whatever your sampler/sequencer may be.
- Use a gate/trigger to MIDI converter like the Ladik or I use a DDrum DDTI. You can sequence external gear this way.
- Audio interface to bring in external audio for processing.

My personal approach these days is sequencing the modular using my Machinedrum or Ableton. I have a few drum "voices" including kick from Basimilus Iteritas, snare from Peaks in FM mode, hat or cymbals from through the Sinc Iter or Loquelic Iteritas through a filter. At time I'll use a Grandpa or two for additional percussion samples. Otherwise I supplement with Ableton or the Machinedrum for some stuff.

Why are the benefits of other sequencers? To me the Elektron gear stands out. I used to hate it. But as I've gotten used to it, the P locks are superb. Once you get past the initial learning period, the sequencer becomes very powerful. You could take a sample from the modular and continue to mangle and transform it. The Digitakt is appealing in that it takes the novel sequencing features of the Rytm (micro timing, probability based triggers, etc) and allows external sequencing. But like all Elektron stuff, it's intentionally limited. Unlike the Machinedrum, the Digitakt is limited to 8 audio tracks and 8 MIDI tracks. Anyways, IMO the Elektron gear interacts very well with eurorack and compliments/augments it. Also it's geared towards live use. I'm pretty fond of it.
Carrousel
Unless you're going to patch in proper velocity with VCAs I don't really think a modular drum machine will get above a certain complexity of beat. Better off with a regaular drum machine plus modular additions for frills and glitches.
luketeaford
I love patching percussion, and I think if you choose your modules well, you can make a drum machine out of a non-drum machine centric rack. It gives you the option to make wild modular drum sounds, but you lose a lot of the flexibility with this route that a drum machine provides and it's more expensive.

The recent Pittsburgh Modular percussion sequencer thing seems like it might be a game changer for tipping the balance of feasibility of a modular drum machine. You still have to have all the modules required as sound sources, but I can see that making sense in a large system.
sihiL
I'm lusting after the Digitakt. The only way to make drums on a modular which would make sense to me is to sample things from the modular on to something and then trigger the samples with a sequencer. The Digitakt seems like it would be perfect for this. I've only got an almost full 6U/84hp rack. Since I don't have dedicated drum modules, I have to use EVERYTHING to get even a simple beat going. It's fun, though, since it makes me get more creative with what I have.
zolar_czakl
I was thinking recently about expansion to a eurorack centric drum kit. But as I researched modules and took a look at space requirements and cost, I had a the conclusion to just do both drum machine plus some modular percussion with logic, LPGs, and a couple sound sources that can double as percussion. I already have those modules on board so I've just purchased a TR-8 and some Aira effects. I think this gives me much more flexibility and various methods to program beats.
Dcramer
petersandbach wrote:

applause amazing thumbs up
kwaidan
WaveRider wrote:
I have an Acidlab Miami with rock solid DIN sync to my modular.

Duplicating this with modules is ridiculous... in price first and not worth the extra trouble.


Ha! I have the full Eurorack version of the Acidlab Miami. While WaveRider may be right about the cost, buying the modular version let me build it up slowly, sort of like on an installment plan. Plus, there are some modules like the cowbell that never get used, and I could have saved money buy not buying them. In addition, if I wanted to opt out of XOX programming, I could have skipped buying the Robokop and gone more experimental.

While the Acidlab bass drum is great for 808 kicks, I added a Jomox ModeBase module to go into 909 territory and beyond. It is CV controllable and sounds great.

If I had to do it today, I would probably consider the new Jomox drum machine coming out in a couple of months.
kwaidan
Nevermind.
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