Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
icedsushi
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by icedsushi » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:02 pm

I know the suggestion is absolutely nothing new but I really wouldn't bother with any of them. Just use a 13" laptop (or iPad) with Ableton. It's almost the same size, more portable & does a lot more. I think modern hardware drum machines are overrated nowadays. I have a few analog hardware drum machines but I rarely use them. I think it's just a phase you will grow out of after a year, because you want a change to make things feel fresh.

I program beats in with the mouse or by playing a pad controller & would find integrating/editing long audio files in one of those hardware units too tedious. I also like keeping the midi file the same & just dragging in whole kits on top of the beat I've created quickly changing the sounds as it's playing. That seems more tedious to do on a hardware unit as well with all the menu diving.
Last edited by icedsushi on Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

3dot...
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by 3dot... » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:02 pm

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3dot...
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by 3dot... » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:03 pm

icedsushi wrote:I know the suggestion is absolutely nothing new but I really wouldn't bother with any of them. Just use a 13" laptop (or iPad) with Ableton. It's almost the same size, more portable & does a lot more. I think modern hardware drum machines are overrated nowadays. I have a few analog hardware drum machines but I rarely use them.

I program beats in with the mouse or by playing a pad controller & would find integrating/editing long audio files in one of those hardware units too tedious. I also like keeping the midi file the same & just dragging in whole kits on top of the beat I've created quickly changing the sounds as it's playing. That seems more tedious to do on a hardware unit as well with all the menu diving.
the voice of reason...
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starving student
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by starving student » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:07 pm

:mrgreen:

have you checked out carsondays videos on the tube, imo theoretically the octa should be the one to go to but from everything I've seen it's the most unwieldily of them all, it's a shame cause it's a forward thinking sampler but doesn't look like it lends itself to workflow and the machine drum is dope but out of the three seems like it offers the least of the three, the tempest just seems to hit the right balance and like I said it does more than drums even though it's not a sampler it's probably the best beat machine that isn't a sampler meaning with all of it's automations and the fact that it's a synth will do your creative thinking good.

but that's from close observation I haven't been able to compare these three side by side but tarekith has good experience with at least 2 of them and he can give you a run down of the electribes as well

JuanSOLO
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by JuanSOLO » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:19 pm

iPads and more controllers sound wack to me.
I have that shit, been at it for a long while now, I dont like all that flexibility tied to a generic set of knobs and buttons.

I like the way hardware offers you just what it does, nothing more.
I like plugging in tons of gear, making me a case to simplify things, crafting music in a mouseless fashion.

Tempest is an awesome analogue drum machine, I have watched countless videos.
My main 2 concerns are the lack of pattern stitching right now, weather that could be compensated with the laptop until further updates.
I have watched TONS of Machinedrum videos and got more and more interested, my main concern is that Tempest is an Analogue machine and I have been kinda craving that. Yet the sequencing on the Machinedrum looks WAY fun.
does Machinedrum let you dial in velocity per note when sequencing?

Tarekith
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by Tarekith » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:10 pm

Yes via parameter locks. You can basically lock any of the parameters to a specific value at each step in the sequence. Either by dialing in exact values, or by real time recording.

Sibanger
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by Sibanger » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:58 pm

Was over @ a mate place a couple of weekends ago, & he was running a setup with 2 Octotracks, an Elektron & a Monomachine & a nice outboard processing rack incl a hardware comp & eq.

Looked like a lot of fun & very hands on.

The Octotrack has a lot of button clicking & and menu diving on a very small screen, but he was pretty fluent with it. He said it took him a fair amount of time/practice to get a fast workflow going.

He has a computer, but doesn't need it when playing out. He does sample a lot of drum sounds from his older work & loads them into the octo.

Funny, he has also been eying off a Tempest, if he can get one @ a reasonable price.

RE hardware sequencers, have you checked out the Darktime ?

biologik
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by biologik » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:34 am

I don't have a tempest but I was in your situation a few months ago (ie. Temptest or Machinedrum UW).
I ended up going Machinedrum UW. Of course I can't say what it would have been like with the tempest, but I'll be damned if the Machinedrum UW didn't shoot up to my favorite piece of gear in no time (previously it was the virus - since 1999!). Not only is it dead easy to use, but it's fun as hell. The p-locks with the ctrl-al machines are a joy like you've never experienced before (check out some videos). That's something that software can't come close to touching. Also, the elektron-users forum is super active and helpful. I love my machinedrum so much I'll probably be getting the octatrack (their sampler) soon.
Good luck!

Tarekith
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by Tarekith » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:41 am

MD-UW is my favorite of all time too.

JES
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by JES » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:10 am

I love Live, but the MDUW is just incredibly fun to use. Easily one of ym favorites too. Yes, it is less powerful than software, but you can perform your beats and not just program them.

convex
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by convex » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:07 pm

The responses so far have focused a lot on usability, and rightly so, but there's the not insignificant issue of sound quality. It should be noted that while the synthesizer part of the MDUW is flexible and can be used to create a wide range of interesting and usable sounds very quickly, it has a very particular digital sound. Especially when you inevitably start to make sounds that fall outside of the drum category - more sustained tonal, synthy sounds. A lot of people love the tone of the machine, but it is a decidedly more plastic, and sometimes brittle or shrill sound than analog.

On the other hand, with the Tempest, you also get a six voice analog synth w/ analog filters and distortion in addition to a drum machine. Those complaining about the expense of the Tempest seem to ignore this fact. I have a MDUW, but not a Tempest BTW.

Back to usability for a minute. If you go with a MDUW, be prepared for a certain amount of tedium and menu diving for file transfer, sample management, backups, etc. I've had mine for years and I still hate this aspect of using the MD. Elektron have a unique vision for their machines and this extends to keeping the internal storage capacity fantastically small by today's standards and relying on MIDI for notably slow file and sample transfer and management using a small computer application to facilitate it. Straightforward is not the first word that comes to mind. Having said that, at least with the MDUW you have the option to use samples. Not so with the Tempest.

The thing with the MDUW is that it is really hard to overstate how easy and quickly it is to make a beat. The workflow is killer and very satisfying in that regard. It also has a ton of little key combo shortcuts that make it incredibly well-suited for live use. From what I've seen, the Tempest is no slouch in this department either, though, and you get the benefit of a much higher resolution sequencer.

Either way, both of these machines are very modern takes on classic drumbox ideas. VERY roughly speaking, in terms of programming, you're faced with a decision between an updated take on either Roland X0X and Akai MPC-style workflow. Although, with the Tempest, you can do both.

In any case, I have a hard time imagining you being hugely disappointed with either.

JuanSOLO
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by JuanSOLO » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Tempest has a higher resolution sequencer?
Do you mean the amount of steps per bar?

Thanks for the in depth response.
I think you kinda sold me on Tempest a bit more, not that I needed a huge nudge.

convex
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by convex » Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:55 pm

Yes. With the next OS update, very much so.

From the Dave Smith site:

The sequencer has a resolution of 96 ppqn (parts per quarter note) but always uses quantize during real time recording, with quantize rates from 8th notes to 32nd triplets. In the next software update, a "Time Shift" parameter will be added to the Beat Events screen, permitting each note to be manually shifted forward or backward in time to one of four 96 ppqn positions, which at 120 BPM represents a time shift of about 5 milliseconds each.

So, you'll still be recording to, at best, quantized 32 notes, but you can then shift each note backward and forward on the grid independently. Not possible with the MD. It has a basic swing function, but the same value applies to each note in a pattern.

This is not to say that you can't get dynamic beats out of the MD, you just have to tinker more with parameter locks and LFO automation to build in variations in the sounds that sort of mask the Roland style programming. If you're working with samples that have a bit of silence at the beginning of the file, you can play w/ start times to achieve timing variations. But this is sort of a clunky workaround, in my opinion.

Anyway, didn't mean to shill for the Tempest necessarily. Both machines are well-built, well-designed, and well-supported. So to sum up, my only minor gripes w/ the MD are clunky file/sample management, somewhat reedy sound when you push outside of the drum realm into synth sounds, and relatively stiff grid programming. None of these are deal breakers, just quirks or understandable limitations that might force you to rethink how you work - very often with nice, unexpected results.

Tarekith
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by Tarekith » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:24 pm

convex wrote:Not possible with the MD. It has a basic swing function, but the same value applies to each note in a pattern.
Don't forget that you can specify which tracks have swing applied, and even which steps of the pattern will swing too.

convex
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Re: Machine Drum or Tempest...or ???

Post by convex » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:04 pm

Absolutely. Being very selective about where the swing is applied really brings MD patterns to life. A fun and usable sequencer.

Still, there is something to be said for having extremely granular control over placement. I've been using a Cirklon a bit this year to trigger Battery kits among other things, and the ability to microedit the position of individual events is pretty addictive. Not to mention running tracks in a pattern at different lengths.

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