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Machinedrum vs TR8S
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Machinedrum vs TR8S
booger
I was interested in picking up a Machinedrum but noticed they have achieved vintage pricing on Reverb. Is the Roland TR8S basically a modern incarnation of the MD? Is the MD still a better product than the Roland? (I don’t have experience with either unit. Responses from users or former users would be appreciated.)
Panason
I have the MD and played around with the TR8S in a shop. Not really comparable but here goes: I'd say the MD (and all elektron gear) sucks for live use (depending on genre) and is much more of a drum synth computer that you could easily make full tracks with as the synth engines can go beyond percussive sounds.

The problem is the same like all elektron gear: it doesn't often sound great unless you use the individual outs and process them externally, and there are too many button combos and double function buttons that can get annoying and get in the way of creativity. Importing sampes into the MD goes at the glacial speed of MIDI Sample Dump...I have never bothered with that.

It's still the most powerful and feature rich drum machine out there and also can be used as a powerful MIDI sequencer that can send any MIDI CC or program change on any step of a sequence (!), up to 16 tracks, 4-note chords, LFOs that can be applied to the CCs, etc etc.

Musically I 'd say it is more suited for experimental electronica... it lacks micro-timing (all steps are on the grid) but you can get around that to an extent. Lots of LFOs that can be routed to most parameters on any track, and massive tweakability potential - it's a very deep rabbit hole.

The TR8S is more instant results and more oriented towards conventional 4/4 stuff but importing samples should be a lot easier and faster. It is also mcuh more fun to play live and has the normal drum machine one finger pattern change behaviour, whereas Elektron force you to fuck around wth button combos.

Will be selling the MD when the vintage prices go up a bit more and geting a TR8s and pocketing the change hihi
chiasticon
different machines, in my opinion. I think the TR8S is great for bread and butter TR style sounds. the MD can do those those, but MUCH more. there used to be monthly a challenge on one of the Elektron user groups to take one MD machine and make an entire track with it. like... a cowbell suddenly becomes a Rhodes piano, for example. you can do crazy crazy things with that drum box, before you even use the sample machines (and then those let you mangle your sample to hell and back).

yes the MD interface isn't as immediate as the TR8S. but I don't find it difficult. there's just more paging around instead of what you see is what you get.

in short: the MD begs you experiment with sound design, find all kinds of new and exciting sounds, and run with them. the TR8S says "hey, you know all those TR-X0X sounds you love...? here they are!" both are awesome, it just depends on what you're after.
wavecircle
booger wrote:
Is the Roland TR8S basically a modern incarnation of the MD? Is the MD still a better product than the Roland?


The MD is very different to the TR8s. The synthesis on the MD goes far beyond what the TR8s does but I would say the MD never quite nails the old TR-x0x machines perfectly. The TR8s will get you closer than the MD to those sounds.

Even with sampling, it is 12bit so had a grittiness which I really like. The only samples I ever bothered to upload to my MD are the TR machines, you can really go to town on them and they sound amazing but they are not perfect TR sounds.

The MD is great for live use in my opinion, you have a really good song mode and control all functionality is amazing, especially with parameter locks.

If I had to choose one it would be the MD all day but I am biased having owned them since 2002. My friend bought a TR8s and I had a real blast on that too, great if you want to knock out classic TR patterns quickly.
slumberjack
MD
jbuonacc
TR-8S

i've owned the MD-UW twice now. it's great for some things and can do plenty that the TR-8S can't (do you need those things?), but the TR-8S is just a great experience overall. i wouldn't suggest a Machinedrum without the UW expansion, or without being a MkII.
booger
I’ve owned pretty much all of the Roland drum boxes in the past (and still have an 808) so the vintage drum kit isn’t what I’m looking for. It appears that the MD gives a little more flexibility in sound design. Actually, I might up the ante and try to get my hands on an Octatrack. Thanks for all of your responses!
Red Electric Rainbow
The Machinedrum is a modern masterpiece.
PatrickW
booger wrote:
It appears that the MD gives a little more flexibility in sound design.


This is a contender for the understatement of the year wink
One example : the Machinedrum has one LFO per track (that makes 16 LFO's total), which can all be assigned to one single track (and sound), if you want to.

The Octatrack you are referring to, that's again another beast : an incredibly deep sampler, but much more complex than a Machinedrum.
If you are prepared to invest a lot of time in the Octatrack, you can do wonders with it.
sutekina bipu-on
I've only used the MD minimally, but my opinion of the TR-8S is we're not worthy and anyone who i've shown it too also thinks we're not worthy within a couple minutes of messing with it and seeing what it can do...

You can get really deep with ACB sound design on the TR-8S, but it's not as much of a synth as the MD is. I would say it's much more versatile as a sampling / performance drum machine / master brain and audio processor of your whole studio than a percussion synthesizer.
acidbob
MD=12bit mono sampling
Microtiming is sort of possible with samples.
Samples can only be transferred via. Midi or recorded into the machine

RAM and ROM machines

Good synths drum engine with possibility to switch kits on the fly

Retriggering, reverse, overdrive, bit reduction, choking

Super steady clock

16 midi tracks
Automation without triggering synths or other machines.

Parameter locks
per pattern bpm in song mode
Playing cromatic samples is not easy as the digitakt or rytm

modular routing and in general very modular approach

Reverb and delay is better on the newer machines
But overall lots of FX and compression

Key combos are simple as opposed to the newer machines

I only have the TR8 and I like the sound, sort of, it emulated the classics rather well, but there is something about the sound, maybe it's just me.
But overall it's much much more simple compared to the MD, if you like the one knob per function idea, then TR8 is good.
I have had the MD for almost 10 years now, and I can work it like any other machine with my eyes closed. The buttons and knobs are imo better than the TR8 with the fact that you can press the knobs down for fast action and keep them unpressed for precise wiggling smile

It depends very much how you would like to work with the machines, they both work very well for live use, for the MD you can switch back and forth with classic and extended mode if you mess up something and then you have the CTR8P and CTR-ALL machines which is like an interface where you can setup any parameter you would like to have at hand when playing live.

Think of it like this, the TR8(S) is a very hands on sampling drum machine
the machinedrum is a sampling percussion drum machine with midi and a modular approach.

My personal recommendation would be to get 1010music sampler and a MD. That way you can control your synths, get a dedicated sampler that is stereo and basically create entire live sets with only these two + synths.
But that is just my opinion.

TR8=Simple classic sounds
MD=advanced IDMish crazyness, can do classic but invites to be manipulated
Panason
booger wrote:
Actually, I might up the ante and try to get my hands on an Octatrack. Thanks for all of your responses!


Sorry to hear that, you're not the first or last to fall...

oscilloscope
This type of post is tiresome.
The OP mentions two widely disparate drum boxes, he/she doesn't deign describing his/her style of music or the nature of his/her music project, but "wants to know which unit is better ?".

Does the OP mean which has a better housing ? a better on/off switch, prettiest LED colors, a nicer display, better rubber feet, a better smell ?

As I said: tiresome.

w00t
booger
oscilloscope wrote:
This type of post is tiresome.
The OP mentions two widely disparate drum boxes, he/she doesn't deign describing his/her style of music or the nature of his/her music project, but "wants to know which unit is better ?".

Does the OP mean which has a better housing ? a better on/off switch, prettiest LED colors, a nicer display, better rubber feet, a better smell ?

As I said: tiresome.

w00t


I just wanted general opinions about each machine and I appreciate everyone who gave one. The last two posts were completely unnecessary, though.
jabberwalky
The Octatrack is awesome, but actually might not be the best for the deep drum design stuff in my experience. It's possible to get some VERY interesting stuff, but not in the conventional sense. You can't modulate one waveform with another for instance, or create any FM type sounds. What you can do is is weird "re-trigger" glitch stuff at audio rates. Different beasts.

I'm personally a big proponent of FM drums, starting with the Korg Er1 back in the day, and the Volca drum is also a lot of fun. So if you're looking to deep dive into drum sound design, the MD is the king. The LXR might be a cheaper alternative, and a volca drum would be a simple purchase to try those sort of sounds.

Anyways, perhaps just press ignore on certain toxic individuals around here.
Rally
I am not too familiar with the Elektron line. For the most part, do those attributes being listed for the MD apply to the current offering in the Analog Rytm MKII? Thanks
wavecircle
Rally wrote:
I am not too familiar with the Elektron line. For the most part, do those attributes being listed for the MD apply to the current offering in the Analog Rytm MKII? Thanks


No, the MD is in my opinion the best thing elektron ever made, closely followed by the monomachine and octatrack.

The Analog Rytm is great as an analog drum machine and sample player but it has nowhere near the potential for insanity the MD has.
acidbob
Octatrack is a lot more complicated and not nearly as hands on, that doesnt
mean its not a great machine.

It's a sampler, and in that respect limited to samples, feedback, resampling etc.

It has 8 midi tracks.
SD Card!!!

Not as modular as the MD.

But.... You can load entire live sets into it and use it as a playback machine synced to other machines. Imagine using it for backing tracks.
Good filter, so I think that is pretty nice.

One could argue that you could start with the Digitakt and find out if that is for you. 4 midi tracks. But also hell of a nice box.

I use the Digitone a lot for drums, but I sample them into the RYTM for that analog touch and punch.
Otherwise I use Norddrum 2 which is the best sounding drum module I have ever tried - And dont try to argue with me on this one hahaha
acidbob
Rally wrote:
I am not too familiar with the Elektron line. For the most part, do those attributes being listed for the MD apply to the current offering in the Analog Rytm MKII? Thanks


No, it does not;
Different sampling rate.

RYTM is analog with 8 VCA's and you are restricted in polyphony in that respect.

Microtiming, yes, with dedicated menu for this.

No RAM machines. I have not played so much with recording internally, dont even know if that is possible, but you could route the output into the input, I dunno, I record into my computer, cut it and transfer it back... Maybe someone else can chime in.

Analog synth engine with hell of an analog punch
MD is digital with a kind of digital punch to it - Sound is very different.
It's like an 808 vs. Akai - not really but sort of.
Both of them has lots of headroom, and loud as f..k
Samples in the RYTM should not really go past 100 in volume otherwise you will hear distortion (You are clipping the VCA's - Like a VCO into a filter)

MD clock is better
RYTM does not have any midi for sequencing synths or other machines.
Automation is a lot easier on the MD, especially regarding realtime recording of automation.
Retrig yes, but imo better on the MD

Playing cromatic samples is waaaay easier on the RYTM, so simple and good sounding.

Dunno about per pattern BPM???

LFO's are limited IMO

Reverb and delays are stunning compared to the MD.

Key combos and workflow annoys me quite a bit on the RYTM, it's not as intuitive if you ask me.

The RYTM shines when you combine samples with analog sounds

This is just my opinions, someone else may argue against this...
But as said, the MD is a classic for a reason, it's a tank and can do almost everything you would want to...
The fact that MD doesnt have microtiming doesnt stop you doing microtiming for example, this is what I mean by modular approach, you just sample the synth engine sounds into the RAM machines, cut them in each end by x amount (leave free space without any sound) Now you can freely shift your sound as you please and you can copy paste this parameter lock and use the CTR8P machine to make slides or even put LFO on the timing of your recorded sample - Yes the samples are 12 bit, but it sort of gives that crunch that you just arent getting from ableton...

blah blah blah, I talk to much, hope it's useful
dubonaire
oscilloscope wrote:
This type of post is tiresome.
The OP mentions two widely disparate drum boxes, he/she doesn't deign describing his/her style of music or the nature of his/her music project, but "wants to know which unit is better ?".

Does the OP mean which has a better housing ? a better on/off switch, prettiest LED colors, a nicer display, better rubber feet, a better smell ?

As I said: tiresome.

w00t


There's an easy solution for you. Just close the thread and read another thread that you don't find tiresome.
Rally
acidbob, thanks for the MD / RYTM comparison, lots of good info to consider.
chiasticon
acidbob wrote:
One could argue that you could start with the Digitakt and find out if that is for you. 4 midi tracks. But also hell of a nice box.

it's actually eight midi tracks, same as Octatrack. but yeah I was going to say if one is considering Elektron just for drums and steering towards Octatrack, the Digitakt isn't a bad choice either. depends if you want to do all kinds of sample mangling or just drums/short samples. Octatrack is certainly deeper and harder to learn than the Digitakt or Machinedrum, and overkill if you just want drum samples. BUT for the price of a Digitakt you can likely pick up a used MK1 Octatrack and have the features of Digitakt, plus much more...
booger
Seems to be lots of love and enthusiasm for the MD. What would be a modern equivalent (in terms of flexibility, functionality, and sound)?

The MD’s ‘vintage’ pricing and availability are making it difficult to obtain.


Thanks for the advice on the Digitakt. That one has also been on my radar. I would like to do more than drum sampling, though. The MD was appealing because it seems like it can be one of those ‘entire track production’ machines. The complexity of the OT is daunting but it looks like it could be a fun rabbit hole to explore once you figure it out.
acidbob
chiasticon wrote:
acidbob wrote:
One could argue that you could start with the Digitakt and find out if that is for you. 4 midi tracks. But also hell of a nice box.

it's actually eight midi tracks, same as Octatrack. but yeah I was going to say if one is considering Elektron just for drums and steering towards Octatrack, the Digitakt isn't a bad choice either. depends if you want to do all kinds of sample mangling or just drums/short samples. Octatrack is certainly deeper and harder to learn than the Digitakt or Machinedrum, and overkill if you just want drum samples. BUT for the price of a Digitakt you can likely pick up a used MK1 Octatrack and have the features of Digitakt, plus much more...


Ah sorry, my bad, well ok ok ok, now I am actually considering the Digitakt, 8 midi ch. Is nice, so I guess it was the Digitone that only had 4 midi tracks? no?

I dont know about any modern equivalents, hmm... thinking... I think that would have to be something in software - Maybe something Dave Smith, but dunno, never tried it. Otherwise there is Gotharman and Jomox, but not quite the same, if you are seriously looking for one I can keep an eye out, I see them sometime here in Denmark in groups on Facebook. I would get the UW, plus or not - Dont find the plus so important.
booger
What does the plus add on the UW model?
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