Is it time for a new drum machine thread?



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Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby jrmy » Tue May 14, 2019 8:41 am

I THINK MAYBE IT IS.

I was talking to Errant Tiger about drum machines yesterday, and he replied "Have you even queried ILF about that?" to which I said something like "I haven't but I've seen it come up a million times and blah blah blah..." and then I went looking for it and couldn't find it.

JOKE'S ON ME SUCKERS (suckers being me).

So here's my quandary: I want a drum machine (or app) that comes with some really simple kind of motorik-esque loops straight outta the box if possible. Easy editing essential. As little menu-diving as possible. In-box effects a major plus. Needs to sound fat and analog-y or completely unrealistic. Simple outputs, ideally 1/8" or 1/4" (I know that's unlikely). No MIDI necessary. Clear indication of BPM a major plus.

Not looking for something to provide realistic AC/DC backing drums for boogie riffs, but something that percolates and putters oddly in the background, keeping a quirky metronomic beat while I make an odd racket in the foreground.

Basically, what's the ILF-est drum machine out there?
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby lordgalvar » Tue May 14, 2019 9:28 am

Drum Brute Impact. The probability/random per channel is nice and easy touch. It only has distortion though.

One of those old preset organ rhythm boxes like Suicide used. And kraftwerk. Ace, Korg, etc.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby 01010111 » Tue May 14, 2019 10:49 am

I’m an enormous fan of the Volca Beats. The Volca Sample’s good too, but if you ever want to use it with other midi gear, it can be a bit of a pain. Neither of these have effects, but both of them are extremely fun to use.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby friendship » Tue May 14, 2019 10:53 am

+1, impact checks all your boxes. The distortion on it is great, it has subtle settings that compress and saturate the drums without being too obvious. Plus it is really fun to play. Feels like an instrument instead of a tedious sequencer like some drum machines.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby echorec » Tue May 14, 2019 11:55 am

Funkbox is $4.99 for iOS. It has several vintage machines and requires little acclimation time.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/funkbox ... 37349?mt=8

GarageBand has a vintage drum machine collection, too, but I think it's geared more to hip hop/early electronica sounds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjODCbfVdFI

As for the DrumBrute, I think it sounds like shit in most demos. The machines I use (SR-120, CR-68, Rhythm Ace FR-4) are warmer, more lo-fi, and have more body. I think the DrumBrute sounds comparatively thinner and less lifelike than its vintage counterparts. If I was going to go the DrumBrute route, I'd get the smaller Impact version. If you had a large space and were going to run every individual drum through separate FX chains, I could understand purchasing the original Brute. (reverb on one channel, delay on another, granular delay on another, scuzzy filter on another, phaser, etc.) For people wanting to do more stripped-down productions, I'm not sure it's a great pickup. It doesn't sound like a vintage machine, unless you add effects to give it more girth & grit.

I haven't used iSpark or the DM1, but they might be worth investigating. I've consistently been more impressed with Arturia's software offerings over their hardware products.

https://www.producerspot.com/10-best-io ... hines-apps

If you decide you have to go hardware, the TT-78 from Cyclone is a compromise between old and new. (about $300 with a sale code) It has individualized outputs, but at its core it's a tribute to the CR-78---easy to operate & portable with a retro-flavored sound. Like a vintage machine, though, it's lacking a BPM indicator. You have to manually turn the tempo pot or clock it via MIDI.

https://www.perfectcircuit.com/cyclone- ... t-bot.html

The most ILF drum machine---a bootlegged SOMA Pulsar-23?
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby jrmy » Tue May 14, 2019 12:37 pm

echorec wrote:Funkbox is $4.99 for iOS. It has several vintage machines and requires little acclimation time.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/funkbox ... 37349?mt=8

GarageBand has a vintage drum machine collection, too, but I think it's geared more to hip hop/early electronica sounds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjODCbfVdFI

As for the DrumBrute, I think it sounds like shit in most demos. The machines I use (SR-120, CR-68, Rhythm Ace FR-4) are warmer, more lo-fi, and have more body. I think the DrumBrute sounds comparatively thinner and less lifelike than its vintage counterparts. If I was going to go the DrumBrute route, I'd get the smaller Impact version. If you had a large space and were going to run every individual drum through separate FX chains, I could understand purchasing the original Brute. (reverb on one channel, delay on another, granular delay on another, scuzzy filter on another, phaser, etc.) For people wanting to do more stripped-down productions, I'm not sure it's a great pickup. It doesn't sound like a vintage machine, unless you add effects to give it more girth & grit.

I haven't used iSpark or the DM1, but they might be worth investigating. I've consistently been more impressed with Arturia's software offerings over their hardware products.

https://www.producerspot.com/10-best-io ... hines-apps

If you decide you have to go hardware, the TT-78 from Cyclone is a compromise between old and new. (about $300 with a sale code) It has individualized outputs, but at its core it's a tribute to the CR-78---easy to operate & portable with a retro-flavored sound. Like a vintage machine, though, it's lacking a BPM indicator. You have to manually turn the tempo pot or clock it via MIDI.

https://www.perfectcircuit.com/cyclone- ... t-bot.html

The most ILF drum machine---a bootlegged SOMA Pulsar-23?


NICE. I have FunkBox already, but maybe need to dig further into it. Perhaps putting it through some delay will liven it up for me.

Checking that TT-78 out now! Intriguing...
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http://crotchthrottle.bandcamp.com/
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby echorec » Tue May 14, 2019 7:54 pm

For really hypnotic percussive parts, I've been using EMS-inspired apps lately. I use them more like rhythm generators / primitive sequencers than drum machines or synths.

For iOS, there's the iVCS3---crank up the white noise pot and engage the sequencer---you can do some really hypnotic, Krautrock-esque loops. (it may take an hour or two to start really getting engaged, but I don't think the learning curve is as steep as some reviews suggest) I bought a couple of the add-on sound packs & it probably took me for 45 mins to really hit a wow moment. Once you understand the interface, there's a lot of tweaks you can do to finesse the rhythms along. You can randomize the sequencer to generate different patterns or manually edit it. If I was tasked with doing driving sequences ala Neu!, I'd take this over almost anything else.

For standard desktops, there's the new Synthi program from Arturia. It can deliver primitive, mid-century electronic beats, or it can be used for pads & drones. It has the most sentient reverb I've ever heard---it really comes alive when you get the feedback swells going. This has more overall range than the iVCS3, but you'd also need to hook up a sequencer to keep it going---with the right settings it will regenerate drones/sirens endlessly, but the iVCS3 has an included sequencer, so it will repeat rhythms infinitely.

Comparison:

iVCS3 ($15) Synthi ($99) standalone or included in the Collection 7 bundle)
noisier, more lo-fi more dynamic range
32-step onboard sequencer has sequencer parameters, but lacks a sub-layer for editing/muting individual steps
*hands-free mode deeper editing, more modulation options, more FX (overdrive, delays, compressor)

*you can set a variance range and the knobs will rotate autonomously---from say 9:00 to 3:00 & back again

If you wanted to experiment with the EMS architecture, Arturia offers a demo version of their apps (closes after 20 minutes & you can't save settings...you have to take a screenshot).
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby Gone Fission » Tue May 14, 2019 9:15 pm

Adrenalinn is a PITA to program drums on, but the drum sounds are punchy, the stock patterns are useable if you aren't expecting real-drummer variation, and the effects can process the drums synced to the beat (or not). I should really use mine as a gazey, trippy stand-alone drum machine.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby Faldoe » Wed May 15, 2019 9:56 pm

Got an Alesis SR-16 and HR-16 some years back on a killer deal. HR-16 has some great sounds. Need to get it hooked back up. SR is good too but love the HR sound.

Sequencing in Ableton.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby jrmy » Thu May 16, 2019 10:57 am

INTRIGUING OPTIONS!!!

Anyone got experience with the Korg kr-55? It has some interesting features like a built in line mixer and the ability to store and play back loops off an SD card. Quite possibly more than what I need. Dunno. Gonna delve deeper into all of these...
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I can't wait to annoy the shit out of you with my mountain of mids. - bigchiefbc
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby Psyre » Thu May 16, 2019 11:35 am

The KR-55 seems like the closest to what your first post indicates. Definitely a modern take on the preset drum machines of the 60's. Looks like you can memory store some loops as well. Analog machines like these through tape delay is instant early Eno rhythmns.

The machines I have, I believe, are nothing like what you are after, Machinedrum MKII UW+, 606, and 707. Definitely my favorite machines available though.

Also, I saw mention of the Pulsar-23 above, I'm on the waitlist for one and can't wait! Not really what you are after either AFAICT.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby coupleonapkins » Thu May 16, 2019 12:37 pm

With some finesse, the Zoom Rhythmtrak series of drum machines will have to be my suggestion (relatively easy to use, still plentiful, and also cheap).


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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby dubkitty » Thu May 16, 2019 1:22 pm

I have a HR-16 that i like a lot, but it's an ungodly pain to program if you're doing anything other than fairly stock quantized patterns. i've spent too much of my life scrolling endlessly through 8-beat patterns so i can offset one cymbal hit by 1 or 2 positions to make the part breathe.
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Re: Is it time for a new drum machine thread?

Postby MrNovember » Fri May 17, 2019 8:47 pm

I've owned the original Drumbrute, which was actually really nice to program. Super easy to use! However, I hated how it sounded. It was absolutely essential to run it through a few pedals. Still, I have considered trying to pick up a used one now that they've come down in price.

I've actually got my eyes on a Roland TR-330 that's up locally right now. I'm hoping I can get it for a good price because it looks stupid, but really fun. It comes with a built in speaker, but I absolutely want to send it through some fuzz.
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