Advice on a hardware path?

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lucyfur
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Advice on a hardware path?

Post by lucyfur » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:35 pm

Background - picked up guitar again for the first time since teenage punk bands. I've been enjoying it and getting back into the swing but I have no interest in (or time for) a band these days and what I've been playing is droney and noisy. Which has me thinking about electronic music production (integrating my guitar) going forward.

I'm feeling out where I'm heading - something along the path of IDM (as terrible as that term is), trip-hop, sample-based music, field recordings, verging into ambient (or... dark ambient I guess?).

I've found elinch and Hainbach's Youtube channels quite inspiring.

For now I've pretty much just been trying out stuff with a Bitwig demo and VSTs and VCV Rack. I don't mind working with a computer for certain steps but I'm more into the tactile experience of knobs and buttons.

So... now to where I go.

Sampler - down to Digitakt and MPC Live. The Digitakt seems more advanced for sample mangling but what I'm thinking is the Live for bread and butter sampling and down the road I can get weirder with modular options (Morphagene and granular).

Semi-modular - Plankton Ants or Lifeforms SV-1+RackBrute. The ants seems a little more interesting in and of itself but the SV-1 as a first module (+ Maths down the road then more modules).

If I was laying down the money tonight it would probably be Live + SV-1 (I have a Keystep already). Is that crazy for where I'm wanting to go?

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Datum
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Post by Datum » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:10 pm

I have a similar setup to what you're proposing. I use an MPC 1000 as the center of my DAW-less setup. It is the main sequencer for my synths and I can integrate it with my modular.

My recommendation is to get one piece of gear and spend time really getting to know it. Whether you want to jump for the sampler or a semi-modular I would just get one. Each requires a ton of time and practice to really understand and wrap your head around. Hell, the amount of things you can do with just the MPC is mind-boggling but you really need to learn it inside and out.

I will say that the SV-1 was my first module and it's a really terrific gateway into modular. I love the way it can visually be separated into its component "modules" which helped me learn the ropes of modular better.

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MAXTHEDOG
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Post by MAXTHEDOG » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:27 am

Hi,
Welcome. I totally agree with Datum, although don’t underestimate the pull of GAS(gear acquisition syndrome). I’ve had a Live for 8 months and have barely scratched its surface, but then I’ve got a modular to play with too.
What about a Live and a Make Noise 0-Coast, budget allowing of course. That should keep you going for ages.
Enjoy it whatever you decide.
Regards,
MtD.
Lovely parrot, the Norwegian Blue....its pining for the fjords.

Current setup : https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/529118
My avatar is my old tricolour Border Collie. Long gone now.....

calaveras
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Post by calaveras » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:38 pm

I'll almost always recommend the Machinedrum.
You can still get these for a decent price, and it's a very solid performer. I'm still squeezing new things out of mine.
It can also sequence MIDI, though not in a very cute way.
Honestly one of the biggest features of Elektron stuff is that it takes MIDI seriously. A lot of otherwise great gear out there does not (blofeld!).
Machinedrum has full in out and thru MIDI ports, and can send LFO as CC on any channel,as well as store multiple MIDI configs to accommodate various set ups.
Plus it has a hedphone jack!

There are sample capable version of the Machinedrum, however those are starting to be in demand.

Another grerat one is the Analog 4. The prices are crazy on these right now.
Going for only $500-600 USD often.
4 voices of analog synth, sequencing and CV/Gate sequencing. Downside is that it will sync to MIDI and be controlled by MIDI. But it does not sequence MIDI or allow you to send MIDI the way a Machinedrum can. I'ts more for controlling some modular with a few analog voices builtin.
Last edited by calaveras on Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sounds From The Shed
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Post by Sounds From The Shed » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:04 am

If you're thinking modular down the line plus sampling then you would probably be better off with the Akai Force with its cv outputs, that would be an all in one knob twiddling solution based on what you've said. I'd go about it differently though :despair:

Panason
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Post by Panason » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:38 am

calaveras wrote: Honestly one of the biggest features of Elektron stuff is that it takes MIDI seriously.
The Rytm does not.

It would be a mistake to go down the Elektron dead end path, IMO , of course. :roll:

Sounds From The Shed
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Post by Sounds From The Shed » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:47 am

Panason wrote:
calaveras wrote: Honestly one of the biggest features of Elektron stuff is that it takes MIDI seriously.
The Rytm does not.

It would be a mistake to go down the Elektron dead end path, IMO , of course. :roll:
Very diplomatically put sir, personally I though that Elektron suggestion was a bit misguided :despair:

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sutekina bipu-on
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Post by sutekina bipu-on » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:10 pm

I would definitely argue for getting a cheaper groovebox because those can still be very capable master brains of your studio. Some have samplers built in too (rs7000, asr-x). Easy to get into but also very deep and when you get to learning what it can do, you can make entire albums on the things and sound fresh every time.

There are lots of great options from the 90s and 2000s, so go thru and see what stands out to you. I cut my teeth on the asr-x so i am partial to that and can do anything on it.

The Neutron is a great starting point for a semi modular, especially since it can easily interface with a couple other euro modules and it only takes 2 or 3 more modules on top of what's inside the Neutron to discover worlds inside that synth. :mrgreen:

I would advise against the MPC because you cant edit the pattern while it's playing. It's the least flexible of the bunch in terms of real time modulation. Ive had a lot of mpcs and love them but you gotta know what theyre good for.

lucyfur
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Post by lucyfur » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:23 am

Thanks, y'all. I traded a pair of floorstanding speakers that I wasn't using for a MPC Live today - for some of the above reasons it wasn't looking like the top choice for where I said I'm headed but I'm thinking of it as a first piece to start figuring out my way.

(Plus I can indulge my side fantasy of producing golden age hip-hop.)

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Post by Technologear? » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:16 am

lucyfur wrote: (Plus I can indulge my side fantasy of producing golden age hip-hop.)
That would be a great initial focus and goal to help you get to learn the mpc Live. Gear with lots of options can create many rabbit holes when learning, I like setting limitations to focus my efforts.

Have fun

Sounds From The Shed
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Post by Sounds From The Shed » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:31 am

lucyfur wrote:Thanks, y'all. I traded a pair of floorstanding speakers that I wasn't using for a MPC Live today - for some of the above reasons it wasn't looking like the top choice for where I said I'm headed but I'm thinking of it as a first piece to start figuring out my way.

(Plus I can indulge my side fantasy of producing golden age hip-hop.)
I figured thats what you would buy, as you more or less stated so in your post, it'll be a good bit bit of kit to use as it's so portable, tunes in bed! It does not have the CV option but that will not matter until you decide to go down the analogue path.

Can I suggest though you consider buying a mono synth, like the Mono Station, really cheap, that way you can have your own input beyond the samples, it's easy to use, has a ton of modulation options, and will make the sound YOURS, not just the samples in the MPC.

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joeTron
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Post by joeTron » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:21 pm

Sounds like a Mother 32 would work for you if you can afford it. It's a fast track to eurorack with plenty of knobs and holes, a sequencer and that FAT classic Moog sound. Given the real estate it takes up I 'd say it's a bargain in the long run.

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Allen Arin
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Post by Allen Arin » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:16 am

I have a comparative arrangement to what you're proposing. I utilize a MPC 1000 as the focal point of my DAW-less arrangement. It is the principle sequencer for my synths and I can incorporate it with my measured.

My suggestion is to get one bit of rigging and invest energy truly becoming more acquainted with it. Regardless of whether you need to bounce for the sampler or a semi-particular I would simply get one. Each requires a huge amount of time and practice to truly comprehend and fold your head over. For hell's sake, the measure of things you can do with simply the MPC is stunning yet you truly need to learn it all around.

I will say that the SV-1 was my first module and it's an extremely dynamite door into particular. I adore the manner in which it can outwardly be isolated into its part "modules" which helped me gain proficiency with the ropes of measured better.

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forestcaver
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Post by forestcaver » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:30 am

My background (including punk guitarist in my teens, etc etc) has been really similar. I used Maschine and ableton (Maschine comes with a ridiculous amount of software for the price but the sequencing is a bit frustrating when you want to move it all into the daw) then I started with a tiny eurorack (mostly diy) which has grown and grown.

However, the most fun bit of hardware I own (and probably use most often) is the op-z. Being able to sample (with the latest firmware) and sequence eurorack directly (either by cv/gate or midi or both) is truly amazing.

Now I use the op-z at home, at work, etc. I use the eurorack dawless for generative ambient (rings into clouds :-) ) as well as processing guitar.
I autosample directly from the eurorack and build multi-sampled, round robin Kontakt instruments so I can play with the eurorack sounds on the laptop. I’ve also used those samples on the op-z....

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search64
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Re: Advice on a hardware path?

Post by search64 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:47 am

lucyfur wrote:Sampler - down to Digitakt and MPC Live. The Digitakt seems more advanced for sample mangling but what I'm thinking is the Live for bread and butter sampling ...
That seems backward. I had a Digitakt and while it is a fast and deep sequencer, the sampling is somewhat limited, especially since there's no time stretching.

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Post by calaveras » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:01 pm

Sounds From The Shed wrote:
Panason wrote:
calaveras wrote: Honestly one of the biggest features of Elektron stuff is that it takes MIDI seriously.
The Rytm does not.

It would be a mistake to go down the Elektron dead end path, IMO , of course. :roll:
Very diplomatically put sir, personally I though that Elektron suggestion was a bit misguided :despair:
How so?
I picked up a Machinedrum MK1 about 5 years ago and it quickly kicked every other drum machine I own out of the mix. It's far from perfect. But I've grown accustomed to it's metal face.

I also really like that I can set up a simple beat and be jamming with my guitar or keys in just a couple of minutes. Most things I've owned previously took far longer.
Completely get that some people hate the lack of velocity or pressure sensitivity for the trigs.
And of course it's TRX and EMU emulations are not 100%. But they get me in the ballpark.

It also has headphone out, and external inputs. So you can be up and making beeo boop boom-bap with no mixer required. :bananaguitar:

Curious whats up with the Rytm? Does it not respond to MIDI? Or is it like the A4 and can't really send MIDI in a useful way.

heckadecimal69
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Post by heckadecimal69 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:36 pm

Get an affordable drum machine, and synth. If they don't both have sequencers, consider that as well, but you can find plenty that have that integrated.

Get used to different kinds of sync, whether MIDI or clock or triggers.

The Roland boutique line has a lot of options, TR-08 and SH-01a are classic, sounds good, and capable to make tracks alone. Plus they can be synced and each use their own onboard sequencers, or the TR can send triggers to advance the SH sequencer, which is its own kind of fun.

With your current setup it might be fun to do some sampling/looping as well. I'll wholeheartedly endorse the Machinedrum as well. The UW version has limited sampling, but it's deceptively powerful. Plus the synthesis engines are fantastic, and capable of much more than just drum sounds. It also has MIDI sequencing.

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