Portable Acid House Groovebox?

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flx
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Portable Acid House Groovebox?

Post by flx » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:55 pm

I’m tremendously enjoying grooveboxes at the moment, especially the Cyclone Analogic TT-303 v2 and TT-606 combo. On their own those two devices are reasonably portable, working with a 9V USB power bank. Together they would get a bit unwieldy though on a train, so I was wondering if there is something equally fun and live-tweakable that does 303-ish basslines and XOX-ish drums in one small portable box. The Cyclone Analogic sequencers are amazing and adjusting sounds and patterns is easy during playback, but I know I might not find this exactly in another device.

I already own an iPad by the way and know apps that do this. I’m more interested in hardware though. I also own an Electribe 2 Sampler, which kind of fits the bill. Just out of curiosity, I’d like to know of other devices as well. I have a feeling that there might be some even smaller gems to be found (old Yamaha grooveboxes?).
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Post by Panason » Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:22 pm

Wouldn't an analog groovebox with good sound be awesome ... A TT303 and 606 in one box, with digital fx.... will somebody please sort this out:hihi:

The Roland MC101 is probably the best option if you need a battery powered box.

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Post by euromorcego » Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:54 pm

i strongly doubt there are any old gems to be found. The older 'grooveboxes' were all quite large and not none did a 303 very well.

The MC-101 looks indeed interesting (albeit a bit expensive). Another thing to look at is (still) the Novation Circuit. It is easily dismissed as a toy but it is really fun to use, very intuitive. 606 is no problem (load your own samples), the synth engine should be good enough for 303 (you might have to use the software to build your own). The slides and sequencing won't be close, though (I guess) ... the TT-303 is certainly more spot on (obviously).

Roland should really do a 2x303/606 combo in boutique format. Digital is fine for me, would be tremendous fun.

Also look at the boutique 303. It is battery powered and has an audio. Makes it a bit less unwieldy to use when traveling.

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Post by flx » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:46 pm

Yeah, the MC 101 looks good indeed!

I did some more research and came up with the following “simpler” (maybe not) old grooveboxes, which would work with a 9V or 12V USB power bank. Sound-wise they might not be super though.

BOSS DR 202 (9V)
http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/dr202.php
Manual: http://thesnowfields.com/manuals/DR-202_OM.pdf
This one has one drum track and one bass track and claims to come with the iconic XOX sounds.

Korg Electribe EM-1 (9V)
http://www.vintagesynth.com/korg/etm.php
Manual: http://i.korg.com/uploads/Support/EM1Ow ... 340000.pdf
It’s apparently a mix between the ER-1 and EA-1, both of which I’ve owned in the past actually. So it’s like a simpler Electribe 2.

Yamaha AN200 (12V)
http://www.vintagesynth.com/yamaha/an200.php
Manual: http://www.synthmanuals.com/manuals/yam ... an200e.pdf
Seems like a more complete physical modeling VA synth engine with more hands-on controls, polyphony and three added drum tracks.

Roland MC-303 (9V)
http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/mc303.php
Manual: http://www.synthmanuals.com/manuals/rol ... 303_om.pdf
Well, it’s bigger and heavier than the rest, but I’ll list it anyway.
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Post by anselmi » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:46 pm

I think the best option is the MC-101
flx wrote: Korg Electribe EM-1It’s apparently a mix between the ER-1 and EA-1
nope
the EM-1 is just a "ROMpler" groovebox with some assorted samples and little process capabilities that can´t touch the dedicated synth engines of the ER-1 and EA-1

If you like electribes the EM-X can do acid and a zillion other stuff, with 5 synthesis parts (multi-synthesis oscillator engine)and like 8 drum parts (samples). It´s quite heavy and the size of a 15¨laptop, and I don´t know if you can power it with a power bank, but it´s a very capable acid box for sure

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Post by SyndieBot2000XL » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:58 pm

The DR-202 was one of the first machines I ever owned - picked it up in 2000 or so. I still own it, but it only ever gets used as a sound module and only when I need some weird chords in a mix.

Spoiler alert: it is an unmitigated piece of crap. You can do some great pads with it but for drums look elsewhere. Absolute low-headroom trash, and not in a fun way. Terrible sequencer, steppy digital filter (which can be great for slowly decaying pads, truly weird and bubbly sounds when the res is way up, about useless for anything else), muddy reverb, the works: a proper rogue’s gallery of the worst rompler shortcuts and cheap-outs the late 90’s had on offer.

It can do a budget acid bass but almost anything that can make that claim will do it better. You have to clean the signal up so much...

Unless you can pick one up for <$50 I would stay far away. The electribe ER-1 steals this box’s lunch in every single conceivable way (except for, you guessed it, playing chords).

At least the Mc-303 has a fun arpeggiator in it.

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Post by chaocrator » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:56 pm

anselmi wrote:the EM-1 is just a "ROMpler" groovebox with some assorted samples and little process capabilities that can´t touch the dedicated synth engines of the ER-1 and EA-1

If you like electribes the EM-X can do acid and a zillion other stuff, with 5 synthesis parts (multi-synthesis oscillator engine)and like 8 drum parts (samples). It´s quite heavy and the size of a 15¨laptop, and I don´t know if you can power it with a power bank, but it´s a very capable acid box for sure
Electribe 2 synth does it all, has more excellent emulations of classic filters, is compact and can be battery powered.

there is note stealing issue, but it's extremely unlikely to happen with such style as acid.

so, i can recommend Electribe 2 synth for this.

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Post by sutekina bipu-on » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:15 am

The DX200/AN200 are great, i've had them each for a very long time, but they're not acid-y at all. The mc101 i am personally tempted by myself.

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Post by mycoST » Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:17 am

Another groovebox which might be worth looking at is the Yamaha Rm1x. People seem to have abit of a love/hate relationship with its internal sounds, but it may be worth it if you need its external sequencing capabilities in addition to it being a groovebox.

Comparing it to the EM-1, it has that ROMpler sheen to the synth sounds, but imo it fares better as a 303 compared to the Electribe. The drums on the Rm1x can have some aliasing on the lower frequencies compared to the EM-1, which has suprisingly punchy drums.

[Note: the Rm1x cannot jump in and out of record without stopping the sequencer. Might be a dealbreaker for some]
Last edited by mycoST on Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by hamildad » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:12 am

Monotribe sounds pretty Acidy if you get the filters just so...

has drums as well....

pretty basic in terms of sequencing but the SOUND....
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Post by euromorcego » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:14 am

flx wrote: I did some more research and came up with the following “simpler” (maybe not) old grooveboxes, ...
BOSS DR 202 (9V)
this is similar to a generic Roland/Boss drummachine with a few knobs. No X0X programming. If you can pick up one for 50eur it might be fun for a while, but otherwise: why bother.
flx wrote: Korg Electribe EM-1 (9V)
underrated. Yes, it is a rompler with very limited sound editing. But it sounds very raw. And the sequencer is quite good/intuitive, so you can always use an additional synth to get better quality sounds (not on the train but later).
Drawback: it is not that easy to find and a bit expensive for what it is. It might also draw a lot of power (most older gear was not battery powered for a reason).
flx wrote: Yamaha AN200 (12V)
hard to find and expensive for what it is.
flx wrote: Roland MC-303 (9V)
the classic. If you look for cheesy 90s stuff it might be fun. But it is also quite large and not sure how well it runs on power banks. The problem with all (older ?) romplers is that they don't do the characteristis slides and 303-ish basslines very well.

You forget the quasimidi 309 (also large, unwieldy), rm1x (even larger but a way better sequencer which is entirely not needed when on a train). Some newer stuff like the OP-Z (certainly not unwieldy). Put two roland boutiques in a custom box (unfortunately they have no 606, but even 3 boutiques would probably be less space and power than a rm1x).

I'd say: If you already have a ES-2: use it. You do not need the slightly better synth option of the synth versions anyway. Problem is: step sequencing on the newer electribes is not fun at all (they could have made a way better machine with only a little more effort *sigh*).

Alternatively: take the ES-2 and keep the TT-303: best of both worlds ... and still less space than most of the older boxes (also works with a roland boutique 303, the integrated battery power, delay and distortion even simplify things further).

Or, again, look at the Novation Circuit. Quite cheap, very intuitive.

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Post by Mind Flayer » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:27 am

I’d go with the electribe sampler you currently have, or pick up the regular (non-sampler) electribe, which gives you more filter options, has all the sounds you’ll need, and sounds good. Get a used one for a couple hundred bucks, and I highly recommend getting the rubber replacement knobs from DJ Tech Tools (for this AND your electribe sampler) - they make it much easier and more fun to tweak knobs - the feel much better than the stock knobs, which are kind of slippery.

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Post by Mind Flayer » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:29 am

Oh, and don’t forget the Korg Monotribe! Fully analog. Drum sounds are VERY limited though.

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Post by revtor » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:29 am

mycoST wrote:Another groovebox which might be worth looking at is the Yamaha Rm1x. People seem to have abit of a love/hate relationship with its internal sounds, but it may be worth it...
...
Another thing to watch out for when looking at the Rm1x, is the firmware: Only with the latest version can you switch between record and play without stopping the sequencer.
*****—->Even the latest firmware for RM1X, leaves you having to stop the Seq between recording different tracks... it does fix the “sending program change info” event pattern change though..
I think this behavior was changed with the RS7000 though.
That being said, the RM1X is still an awesome piece of MIDI hardware that can record and all midi info, allow you to micro edit , midi effects etc etc.. really nice for “out of the daw” synth work. Use it to record the jams you create with other gear I guess.. although it’s 1000 percent capable of making trance music

Another great groovebox for patrernnbased music- Toraiz SP16.

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Post by Panason » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:19 pm

The SP-16 is purely sample based but has a sound that destroys the competition.... and is very easy to use thanks to its generously large format , touch screen with great GUI and almost no button combos.
A bit dumb in the editing department but sounds both fat and hi-fi. A modern classic that will be sought after in the future.

disclaimer: Poo-poo on Pioneer.

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Post by Annwn » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:04 am

If the train has power, the Monomachine can certainly do this. I think I've seen people with battery packs for them too. It will take quite a bit of effort to get away from the rigid, Kraftwerk character but acid, techno, ambient... The MNM does a lot with the right coaxing.

[video][/video]

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Post by Panason » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:18 am

In my experience (bought, tried, tried again, facepalmed, sold) the Monomachine is best for lo-fi video game music, and any scenario where a constricted, cheap digital and boxy sound is required. I found the best coaxing to open it up would be a hammer but it's more profitable to sell it on ebay.

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Post by Annwn » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:22 am

Panason wrote:In my experience (bought, tried, tried again, facepalmed, sold) the Monomachine is best for lo-fi video game music, and any scenario where a constricted, cheap digital and boxy sound is required. I found the best coaxing to open it up would be a hammer but it's more profitable to sell it on ebay.
Well good on you.

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Post by estragon » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:37 am

Analog 4 does a passable 303 with slide and accent, plus you get three other tracks for doing drums and you can pick up Mk1 models for nothing. Worth considering!

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Post by Prints » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:19 am

MFB TANZBAR 2 is the most “acid groovebox” of them all.

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Post by flx » Tue Oct 01, 2019 7:11 am

Prints wrote:MFB TANZBAR 2 is the most “acid groovebox” of them all.
:eek: Holy crap! That does look like a tremendously cool instrument! Not too big, analog bass synth and drums, sample-based drums, USB 5V 0,5A power supply ... I think I need to try this one out.

How is the sequencer on it? I've never liked those on the older MFB devices.
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Post by Prints » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:32 am

flx wrote:
Prints wrote:MFB TANZBAR 2 is the most “acid groovebox” of them all.
:eek: Holy crap! That does look like a tremendously cool instrument! Not too big, analog bass synth and drums, sample-based drums, USB 5V 0,5A power supply ... I think I need to try this one out.

How is the sequencer on it? I've never liked those on the older MFB devices.
I think that for drums, the sequencer is fine; less confusing than previous models. For the bass synth, it's a bit finicky; but that can definitely also be said about the original TB-303's sequencer.

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Post by roger » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:57 pm

[video][/video]

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Post by flx » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:42 pm

roger wrote:[video][/video]
How does that work? I thought the LXR was only for drums and not bass or melodies in general. The manual also doesn’t seem to say anything about pitch/note entry per step.

EDIT: Ah, I found it in the manual :tu: I actually have a 60knobs controller already ... hmm ... maybe around Christmas I’ll have time for a DIY adventure.
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Post by J3RK » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:47 pm

Similarly to that LXR, the Elektron Rytm can get very acidic with its new(ish) Dual VCO machine.

This is a pretty rough example. I hadn't yet got the parameter slides going quite the way I wanted, but this is 100% Rytm MkI.

I did get the slides figured out, and it can get into pretty decent 303 territory. Of course, nothing beats having the real 303 (or clone) square wave, but this isn't bad.

http://soundcloud.com/drj3rk/acidicthing



Another thing I really used to like was Audiorealism's TechnoBox app for the iPhone. It was two 303s and two 808/909 drum machines, and very easy to edit. Good sound too. They must have lost compatibility with newer iOS versions or something, because I can't find it in the store now. :cry:


Also, now that the Digitone has portamento, you can get pretty well into Acid territory with it. Its filter isn't quite as squelchy as the Rytm, but it does ok. Plus it's smaller.
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