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Groove box recommendation
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Groove box recommendation
Todai
So a befriended DJane is wants to produce her own tracks to compliment her set.

So far she tried her luck with a (heavily modified) Poly 800, MS 20 and RX 7. You get the picture...buying what is cheap, trying to make it work - not much FU involved.

I recommended an Electribe 2, but am open for recommendations.

Style is 'new disco' (yep - that's actually a thing).
Mind Flayer
I would recommend the Korg EM-1. It's one of the first gen electribe boxes. It's an awesome, entirely self-contained groove box. Sounds fantastic, worth it just for the drums alone. Really easy to use. And she should be able to find one for about $200.

I'm not sure what "new disco" is, but you can definitely bring some funk with the EM-1 if that's what she's looking for.

There was a mk ii released later, which is more expensive. It is more powerful, and has some tubes built into it, but I think that's kind of a gimmick. I have owned both and I preferred the original version, it just seemed simpler and more compact (plus, the mk ii uses some weird power supply and if there's a problem with it, it might be harder to replace than the power supply on the mk i).
anselmi
another vote for the EM-1...it´s very good for start but could be too simple for some people after the initial period

the EMX is great too, but offer much wider synthesis resources and results...it´s very easy to operate too
Koekepan
I think that with those sound sources your friend is well off. What's needed most is a combination of effects and sequencing.

My go-to effects solutions:

Zoom G1on : about $50 for way more flexibility than you think

Zoom G3n : about $150 and it has tweakable knobs too!

Electribes are definitely OK for sequencing - another thing well worth considering in the same vein would be the Circuit.
rew_
MPC 1000

a little pricier than the above recs but also a lot more powerful and with more I/O for sequencing
Todai
So I've checked the older Electribes - the price is definitely right and there are quite a few on the 2nd hand market.

But for a bit more the 2 seems to come with a whole lot more power?

MPC is always an option...but they're pricy and from what I understand the learning curve is rather steep?
lisa
Electribe 2 is great, cheap and can sound amazingly radio ready (just check the included pattern bank) but the UI is a bit boring and menu heavy. Also, the polyphony is lacking, I run out all the time.
drowld
Forget the 1000. We live in 2018. The interface is garbage imo.
Yeh you can get to like it and be efficient with it. It can even be a beast.
But Digitakt, Rytm are way more able to program fast and efficient modern music with modern needs
Mind Flayer
drowld wrote:
Forget the 1000. We live in 2018. The interface is garbage imo.
Yeh you can get to like it and be efficient with it. It can even be a beast.
But Digitakt, Rytm are way more able to program fast and efficient modern music with modern needs


Yeah, I'd also recommend the Digitakt if it's within her price range. I think of the Digitakt as more of a sampler than a groovebox, but it can be used as a groovebox. It's also very easy to use and understand. Elektron products have a rep for a confusing UI, and maybe other products like the Octatrack and Rytm are more confusing (I don't know, I've never used them), but I found the Digitakt very easy to understand.
revtor
RM1X

Also, don’t equate new gear with new music. That’s bs. And don’t believe the hype. All music is an ordered list of events. Any MPC can do that. BETTER than the elektronnboxes! Get a knob box and record 5 cc’s per track in real time.. into each track. times 16 tracks. And split those out on multiple MIDI outputs.

RM1X has lots of fun MIDI effects and good micro editing. Only downside is is that you need to stop the sequencer every time you want to record in a new track. But cost per functionality, it’s really going to be hard to be the RM 1X or a cheap MPC.
lisa
The RM1X is a really old rompler that doesn’t sound great by today’s standards, though I did like it quite a bit when I had one some 13-14 years ago.
IR
lisa wrote:
The RM1X is a really old rompler that doesn’t sound great by today’s standards, though I did like it quite a bit when I had one some 13-14 years ago.

I don't understand what "today's standard" means, but it does have a lot of aliasing which can be removed by putting a low-pass filter after it.
Todai
So thanks for the input!

It'll be an Electribe 2...second hand they go for as low as 250€.

And since it seems to be one of the devices beginners seem to favour I guess there might be a good chance to find one 'as new'... cool
ObsoleteModular
I'd definitely take a look at the Novation Circuit

Drums, synths, sampling and pattern sequencing all in one box with a knobs and button grid UI

Has some kind of funky web browser integration too and Novation are hot on updating firmware. The PEAK just got some crazy new features, entirely free!

https://novationmusic.com/circuit/circuit
Todai
Looks tasty and Novation sure built some great synths!

What I don't like so much is the 2 x 6 voice polyphony? And the lack of a display, of course. Shouldn't be much of a problem for her since she's very computer-centered, though.


Do you have personal experience with the Circuit?
revtor
I think a decision has been made already, but to beat the dead horse... -If she is a DJ, have her look at the Toraiz SP 16. It’s fairly DJ centric, a great sample player, not the best for composing tracks (neither is electribe) but great for making loops and has an awesome overall sound. Plus the great analog filter which works well in live situations. A bit pricey, but these days you can get them for a steal.
Todai
No dead horse around here...still open for suggestions!

Toraiz goes 2nd hand for around 800 - 900, so that's a bit over her budget... seriously, i just don't get it
fac
I have no clue what "new disco" is, but if she doesn't have any knowledge about music theory or synthesis, I would advise to start with a Novation Circuit and/or a Korg Kaossillator Pro. They're both very easy and fun to use and they quantize by default to a scale so nearly anything you do will sound musical.

I have the original Electribes EA-1 and ER-1 and love them both, but they do have a steeper learning curve, and the Circuit is probably more interesting for what she wants to do than both of those tribes combined. I've never used the EM-1 (would like to try one, though) and didn't care much for the ES-1 sound.

The newer electribes don't look nearly as fun or intuitive. I would avoid them for now.
Mind Flayer
I also would avoid the new electribes. I have the electribe sampler, and I like it, but it has a lot of dumb, annoying limitations. More importantly, I think it would be frustrating for a beginner. The older electribes are 1,000 times easier to use and sound great.

The novation circuit is also an excellent choice. My main gripe with it is the fact that you need to connect to a computer to really get into the synthesis parameters, but you said she’s ok with that so maybe that won’t be a problem. It’s also super affordable. Maybe the best bang for your buck out there.
pricklyrobot
E-mu Command Stations are still going for cheap. Excellent sequencer, that you can learn the basics of quickly, but get more complex with as needed.

And it can take on some ROMpling and drum duties as well, depending on which ROMs you manage to snag with it.
fac
pricklyrobot wrote:
E-mu Command Stations are still going for cheap. Excellent sequencer, that you can learn the basics of quickly, but get more complex with as needed.

And it can take on some ROMpling and drum duties as well, depending on which ROMs you manage to snag with it.


I like my MP7 but I'm not sure I would recommend a Command Station to a beginner. They're fairly complex machines, unless you stick to presets. Plus they're huge.
damase
I know someone who is a wizard with groovy disco house type music with yamaha rs7000. They can be had for relatively cheap and have a cool character to the sound imo
pricklyrobot
fac wrote:
pricklyrobot wrote:
E-mu Command Stations are still going for cheap. Excellent sequencer, that you can learn the basics of quickly, but get more complex with as needed.

And it can take on some ROMpling and drum duties as well, depending on which ROMs you manage to snag with it.


I like my MP7 but I'm not sure I would recommend a Command Station to a beginner. They're fairly complex machines, unless you stick to presets. Plus they're huge.


It can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. I think it’s a good combo of instant gratification but still something to grow into and not get bored with as you learn more.

Especially if you’re mainly using it as a sequencer, I think it’s pretty simple and straightforward (I mostly use mine as a sequencer and drum machine so I don’t honestly delve into the sound programming a ton).

Re: size, “huge” compared to what?
If the OP had asked for compact and portable, maybe not. But it’s definitely in the desktop unit size range.
Technologear?
My guess is that she'll secretly think grooveboxes are lame if you gave her one. The gear she has suggests not just her budget but also aesthetics, which is super important to chicks. My wife would view anything without a keyboard as a toy (unless it's a drum machine). She's never reached for my Circuit but will go for a vintage synth with key bed every time, regardless if it's analog, rompler, modern digital.

I'd buy a sequencer so your friend can utilise her hardware without a computer. Beat step Pro (preferably in black), some midi cables, midi solutions quadra thru. BSP isn't polyphonic, Keystep is though.

I second the DT suggestion. A Digitakt would be out of budget but allow sampling (often a focus in nu disco for mining obscure loops from old tracks) and allow hardware polyphonic sequencing of her gear plus expansion of her drum sounds (which are limited by the rx7 currently). But it's a risk with the interface maybe not being her favourite
teamhobson
Technologear? wrote:
The gear she has suggests not just her budget but also aesthetics, which is super important to chicks.


What a load of absolute shit.
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