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Drum Machines vs. Modules - choices/pros/cons?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Drum Machines vs. Modules - choices/pros/cons?
odecahedron
Im getting pretty close to playing out now and have reached a pretty good level of comfort/confidence working with the harmonic/melodic elements of my system (plus synths for leads and pads) ... the stuff im making is pretty void of percussion atm (i guess u could say its berlin oriented - lots of staccato snappy-envelope sequences etc), but i feel like i could really flesh stuff out and give each piece more "carry" with some precussion-ish sounds - not fully fledged DRUM PATTERNS per-say... itd be nice to keep it minimal, tho id really like to avoid the stock "chuck a 4/4 bassdrum under it" thing.

im imagining with dedicated modules for this duty you would have a lot more flexibility with subtle shaping and mixing individual transients, tho a drum machine approach may be easier to interface with live and to clock... thought id put it out to hear other peoples experiences/preferences with their approach to handling perc in a live sitcho?

cheers
Otis

edit: also - if your more on the modules tip - what are you using ?
oozitron
I was lucky enough to get a very nice deal on a tr-808 years ago, and for live / improvised stuff it has a boatload of cool tricks. Volume pots for each instrument is very handy, as is the "fill" trigger button or footswitch. Individual outputs... etc.

I also trigger some "percussion" sounds in the modular, and for that I'm really happy with my (cheap) tr-505 to which I added trigger outs. Very simple mod, and now I have 16x3 saved patterns that I can use. My next DIY project is going to be some of the 909 modules that are available now.

Drew
laserpalace
I would say if your focus is entirely modular, integrating drum modules should be relatively easy. That being said I personally love centering my compositions around a drum machine. You really can't go wrong with an 808. Three trigger outs really open up modular compositions. When I perform I usually just focus on the 808 and sequence my modular from there. Of course this is for my more "dance" oriented work, you really can't go wrong with the TipTop modules and a RCD/SCM combo either.
infradead
i with modules. timetable, RCD, and a DrumDokta do pretty well though i need to get some logic.
XidZeta
I have been using the TTA 808 modules for my drum machine for some months now. I feel like it is a great way to have everything "in the box", but it is a hassle to keep my attention on constantly changing the patterns. It takes a decent ammount of patching to get decent drum patterns.

Even with the convenience of having drums in my case, I just picked up a Korg ER-1 percussion synth/seq because It is just too much work to keep the beat going while i need to focus on basslines/blips and glitches.

that said, I will still keep my 808 modules around
MyHeadbone
I've had my eye on Vermona's DRM-1 for awhile now. I like the layout of the eight sounds, the wide range of possibilities for live tweaking of each tone. You've still got to sequence it. The Mk II's are usually below $500 now and from what I understand, the Mk III mostly just thickened up the kick.
frank diego
If you are not opposed to sampling, I would recommend a Akai MPC 1000.
You can sample modulardrumsounds beforehand,
and sequence them in different sequences. In a live situation you can switch between different sequences and mute the different tracks. You also have 6 dfferent audio outs which you can use for audio OR analog triggersignals!
Keep it all simple and it's really easy to operate live.

I love the mpc for interaction with the modular!
filmersam
I like the MFB schlagzwerg- I don't need to waste space in the modular case with drum modules.
hanerlend
while there are a few good drum modules out there, there really isn't much in the sequencing department that's both flexible and space efficient. Maybe the new Delptronics trigger module? seriously, i just don't get it

it would be really nice to be able to do it all in the box, though.

-han
infradead
[s]http://soundcloud.com/infradead/paper-circles[/s]

DrumDokta, RCD, timetable, and shortbus well let you do some pretty fun drums.

Really looking forward to the delptronics trigger module as well
jonah
I like to use drum machines/samplers with trigger/foot switch input to do things like start/stop, switch patterns, change tempo, or just leave them constantly running and sequence the VCAs that they go into.

I don't mind that it's cheap! lol But the main appeal to me in managing multiple rhythmic ideas in a compact form that's only semi flexible, so it's harder to go 100% off the rails! But I still feel like i'm interacting with the music. It's kinda like clips in the Live paradigm or track mutes on the MPC.

When playing with someone else or along with something I've recorded then I feel more comfortable and enjoy using the whole modular for percussion because I feel I can give it the attention it deserves.
hanerlend
infradead wrote:
[s]http://soundcloud.com/infradead/paper-circles[/s]

DrumDokta, RCD, timetable, and shortbus well let you do some pretty fun drums.

Really looking forward to the delptronics trigger module as well


The shortbus seems interesting. Being it is passive, would it hurt your modules if it summed together 7 triggers at the same time?
infradead
hanerlend wrote:
infradead wrote:
[s]http://soundcloud.com/infradead/paper-circles[/s]

DrumDokta, RCD, timetable, and shortbus well let you do some pretty fun drums.

Really looking forward to the delptronics trigger module as well


The shortbus seems interesting. Being it is passive, would it hurt your modules if it summed together 7 triggers at the same time?


i haven't blown up anything and i'm not worried about it either.
Low-Gain
The nature of the (shortbus) beast is this... It's OR combining. Which means the voltage does NOT get "summed" together.

If you put seven 5V gates into it at once all bus'd to BUS A, the max voltage would be around 4.3V (taking into consideration that the original Shortbus diodes are a .6-7V forward drop). **for those who are into details.. the V2 Shortbus (due out Aprilish) will have a forward voltage drop of around .19-.25V drop, as well as higher quality flat bad style toggle switches.

If you ignore the voltage drop of the diodes, then it would be 5 in 5 out.

If one of those gate signals was 10V then the max output voltage would be 10V. The highest voltage at any given input is the highest voltage potential on the output. the signal voltages are NOT summed together. They'OR Combined (hihi hihi )
hanerlend
Thanks for the explanation Low-Gain. The analoghaven description makes more sense now. Sorry for hi-jacking this thread!

This seems like a great module for changing rhythms and adding fills.

-han
CJ Miller
Modules have nearly every benefit over drum machines, excepting perhaps, for contained portability.

As for voices, machines have sounds of varying quality. I tend to like analog drums, such as X0X, FM electro drums, and physical models. But in many drum machines, especially the "classic" units, the drum sounds themselves are fairly static over time. The amount of tweaking which can be done is often limited. A modular easily facilitates mixing and matching drum sounds, and more involvement in manipulating those sounds. Also, the modules tend to be more reliable and far less costly than shelling out thousands of dollarpounds for vintage machines.

The biggest advantage of modules over drum machines is patterns and performance. Most drum machines do not "understand" percussion-based music events. They are just a grid. And in my experience, this is very limiting. It is possible to do things such as syncopation, pattern offsets, tuplets, and such by massaging a grid until it fits, but IMO there are diminishing returns to this approach. A decent modular with flip-flops, dividers, and logic is already far more rhythmically sophisticated than most any drum machine one can buy.
vlk
I'm happy with a mix of samples loaded into the octatrack, and a couple of "drum" sounds coming from the modular as well. The modular sounds can give it a sense of syncopation, poly-rhythms and unpredictability which can help keep things interesting. The octotrack stuff is consistent and reliable - eg I can get the kick set up nice and subby in advance if that is what I want - but the octatrack drums can also be tweaked or mangled in real time as well. And you can use lfos. This set up is also pretty portable - especially as the octatrack is also used as a sequencer, looper and fx box.
naxat
frank diego wrote:
If you are not opposed to sampling, I would recommend a Akai MPC 1000.
You can sample modulardrumsounds beforehand,
and sequence them in different sequences. In a live situation you can switch between different sequences and mute the different tracks. You also have 6 dfferent audio outs which you can use for audio OR analog triggersignals!
Keep it all simple and it's really easy to operate live.

I love the mpc for interaction with the modular!



I was thinking about going this route once my system gets here.
I need an MPC! help
Steevio
modules all the way for me. you can get much more interesting and dynamic percussive sounds which can interact with each other, morph into other sounds etc. and generally be more holistic and integrated with your rig.

of course you have to have a fairly robust sequencing set up.

the only dissadvantage may be portability, personally that doesnt bother me, when i decided to go all modular with my live rig, i knew what i was letting myself in for.

i've used, and still own several drum machines like a TR909, and i'm totally bored with the sounds from these machines, they're so recognisable and have become overused cliches. Unfortuantely many of the modern equivalents are doing nothing more than cloning the old kit, so you cant escape.

there are certain percussive instruments that are hard to replicate without using a lot of modules, so it's worth using the odd dedicated module for these tasks (like snare)

i've posted this on here before, but here's a jam i did last year with all live sequencing, the only non-modular elements are a Moog Voyager (with semi-modular connection to the rig) and an MBase01 kick drum (now replaced with modules) This is my current live gigging rig.

snadge
Fuck me Steevio, how the hell are you doing? BTW you know me from the Viva stuff we did at Riverside, and the parties we used to do at Tranwell.

Good to see you still doing great stuff.
jumbomonkey
Steevio wrote:
i've posted this on here before, but here's a jam i did last year with all live sequencing, the only non-modular elements are a Moog Voyager (with semi-modular connection to the rig) and an MBase01 kick drum (now replaced with modules) This is my current live gigging rig.


Great performance and rig. I was just wondering how your sequencing everything, is it something like the Expert sleepers rig your using, or something or is it a hardware drum machine?
transistor logic
whats nice with drum modules is that they influence you to process/modulate your sound further . i bought a kick module recently and since then i can't refrain from experimenting all the time to get new tones from the drums. when using drums from the mpc i tend to use then as they are but in the modular i will crush ,distort, filter ... more naturally . also i like using an analog sequencer to control the velocity of the hihat . and use an lfo to modulate the filter on the hh or snare ...
Steevio
jumbomonkey wrote:
Steevio wrote:
i've posted this on here before, but here's a jam i did last year with all live sequencing, the only non-modular elements are a Moog Voyager (with semi-modular connection to the rig) and an MBase01 kick drum (now replaced with modules) This is my current live gigging rig.


Great performance and rig. I was just wondering how your sequencing everything, is it something like the Expert sleepers rig your using, or something or is it a hardware drum machine?


no all the sequencing is done within the rig, at the heart of it are two A155/154 combos, plus lots of switched multiples and sequential switches. also super important are 4 x A185-2 precision adders, and lots of A162 trigger delays.
Steevio
snadge wrote:
Fuck me Steevio, how the hell are you doing? BTW you know me from the Viva stuff we did at Riverside, and the parties we used to do at Tranwell.

Good to see you still doing great stuff.


hi mate, whats your real name ?, my memory is f*cked from all those parties at Viva and Tranwell haha !
austinedward08
didn't read too far back to see if anyone mentioned a tempest, but I really like mine. it's very valuable to me considering it's capabilities like doubling as a synth for bass lines & being able to play chords is cool too. it was my first drum machine so the learning curve was a bit steep but once you get around it, it kicks ass. I slave my modular with a pitts midi2. Also you can sync by using the kick as a clock source via pitts in/out. for live use I love it, very flexible.
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