Drum machine and synth suggestion

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
amook11
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Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by amook11 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:27 pm

hi guys right now I have korg ms20 mini (synth) and Vermona drm mk2 (drum machine) however i find them very limiting . I used them for a while and then I was back making track using DAW . but now as i really enjoy making live track im going to try different hardwares again .
I have 2 option one is buy KORG VOLCA bundle(bass,key,drum,sample) + Roland jp08 for synth. and sync them all toghter .and the second option is to just buy elektron analog four ! which one do you think is better option and why ? do I get all I need with analog four ?
Iam going to use them to make tech house music generally. which one of two option are more complete ? easier to use ? more straight forward ? or maybe tell me cons and pros of each option ?
thanks alot

timday
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by timday » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:49 pm

The Volca Beats is very 808 like and you might want more of a 909 sound. Also the Volca snare sound out of the box is a bit rubbish (although you can get a cheap mod done). If you want that kind of vintage sound they're pretty good (I have a beats and a keys) but you might want to look at a Roland TR-8 which will be a bit more versatile and will give you all the classic Roland sounds. I have heard great things of the bass but bear in mind that while all the Volcas are pretty cheap, they have a bit of noise to them whereas the Elektron is pretty much noiseless.

I also have an Analog Keys and I love it to bits, you will probably find most of the sounds you want including some great drum sounds, it's very powerful. The limitation I would say is it only has 4 voice polyphony which limits chord playing (although it is fully multitimbral and you can have each voice doing different things). If you use the internal sequencer it has parameter and voice lock per note which means you can get a lot more sonic variety out of it that you might think. You can also CV sequence your MS-20 and I have found that if you CV sequence OSC 2 while you MIDI sequence OSC 1 you can get your MS-20 to be kind of duophonic which will increae its versatility as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byp6ste1yY8
If you decide on the Elektron and nothing else just bear in mind you will be doing a lot of printing to audio - that 4 voice limitation can bite. It's also a bit of a learning curve especially its save and library structure which is a bit opaque. It also comes with Overbridge which enables you to control and automate it via a VST (which sort of goes against the point in some ways while being incredibly useful in others).

penguinpajamas
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by penguinpajamas » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:50 pm

I just received the Analog Four recently and I would highly recommend it. It's so versatile, and you'll be able to achieve basically any sound you want out of it. The compatibility with Overbridge is also phenomenal (when it's working) and saves you a whole bunch of audio cables and inputs/outputs.

You are limited to four voices, but being able to tune the oscillators per step, you make chords with more than four voices rather easily,if you weren't using the second oscillator.

Also, it's good to know that it's a very complicated synthesizer that takes a lot of time to learn, particularly when the manual isn't all that great. And using it with Ableton instead of entirely within the box like they would prefer can take a bit of getting used to.

Overall it's an amazing synth though and I'd definitely recommend it.

amook11
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by amook11 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:16 am

penguinpajamas wrote:I just received the Analog Four recently and I would highly recommend it. It's so versatile, and you'll be able to achieve basically any sound you want out of it. The compatibility with Overbridge is also phenomenal (when it's working) and saves you a whole bunch of audio cables and inputs/outputs.

You are limited to four voices, but being able to tune the oscillators per step, you make chords with more than four voices rather easily,if you weren't using the second oscillator.

Also, it's good to know that it's a very complicated synthesizer that takes a lot of time to learn, particularly when the manual isn't all that great. And using it with Ableton instead of entirely within the box like they would prefer can take a bit of getting used to.

Overall it's an amazing synth though and I'd definitely recommend it.
thanks for reply. does analog 4 has built in drum sounds (kick ,snare ,etc) like volca sample ? or do you have to import your own samples ? i feel stupid asking this . reason is i saw a video that guy was going thru so many nice sounds in a4 wondering if i get same thing .

Tarekith
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by Tarekith » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:06 am

You can't load samples into the Analog 4, so it's all synthesis. If there's not a preset with the sound you want, easy enough to make your own. That's the joy of the elektron boxes, coming up with your own sounds. They're not really presets machines per se.

timday
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by timday » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:01 am

Having said that there are som every nice kicks, snares and hats in the standard sound set.

I should add a word of caution - an analog 4 is not a drum machine in a conventional sense in theat you can't lay out a drum kit over the keys like a GM kit. It only has 4 voices so it can only make 4 sounds at once. People who are running it as a drum kit and synth at the same time are using sound locks in the sequencer or similar which is a little tricky (not very but a little) to do and depends on using the onboard sequencer rather than controlling it from Ableton.

if you want a standard sample based drum machine a volca sample might be the way to go for what you want.

Seriously the Elektron is quite an expensive box, like I said I love mine to bits but you might want to try one out in a music shop before laying down that much money. If you decide on one, see if you can pick up a B-stock one then you'll have enough money left in the budget for a Volca sample as well if you decide that's what you want.

Tarekith
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by Tarekith » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:38 am

Or see if you can find an Elektron MD-UW, on sale now while supplies last.

amook11
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by amook11 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:32 pm

timday wrote:Having said that there are som every nice kicks, snares and hats in the standard sound set.

I should add a word of caution - an analog 4 is not a drum machine in a conventional sense in theat you can't lay out a drum kit over the keys like a GM kit. It only has 4 voices so it can only make 4 sounds at once. People who are running it as a drum kit and synth at the same time are using sound locks in the sequencer or similar which is a little tricky (not very but a little) to do and depends on using the onboard sequencer rather than controlling it from Ableton.

if you want a standard sample based drum machine a volca sample might be the way to go for what you want.

Seriously the Elektron is quite an expensive box, like I said I love mine to bits but you might want to try one out in a music shop before laying down that much money. If you decide on one, see if you can pick up a B-stock one then you'll have enough money left in the budget for a Volca sample as well if you decide that's what you want.
thanks mate . another stupid question . when you say it has four voices and i can use 4 sound at same time certenly it doesnt mean i can only use for example 1st voice for kick , 2th voice for snare ,3th voice for hihat , 4th voice for synth ? so what is it? how many voices volca sample has (if any)? i worked with volca sample before . so maybe by comparing volca sample and analog four i can undrestand what voices are !

timday
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by timday » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:50 pm

amook11 wrote:
timday wrote:Having said that there are som every nice kicks, snares and hats in the standard sound set.

I should add a word of caution - an analog 4 is not a drum machine in a conventional sense in theat you can't lay out a drum kit over the keys like a GM kit. It only has 4 voices so it can only make 4 sounds at once. People who are running it as a drum kit and synth at the same time are using sound locks in the sequencer or similar which is a little tricky (not very but a little) to do and depends on using the onboard sequencer rather than controlling it from Ableton.

if you want a standard sample based drum machine a volca sample might be the way to go for what you want.

Seriously the Elektron is quite an expensive box, like I said I love mine to bits but you might want to try one out in a music shop before laying down that much money. If you decide on one, see if you can pick up a B-stock one then you'll have enough money left in the budget for a Volca sample as well if you decide that's what you want.
thanks mate . another stupid question . when you say it has four voices and i can use 4 sound at same time certenly it doesnt mean i can only use for example 1st voice for kick , 2th voice for snare ,3th voice for hihat , 4th voice for synth ? or does it? how many voices volca sample has ? i worked with volca sample before . so maybe by comparing volca sample and analog four i can undrestand what voices are !
That would be right. The number of voices on a synth is the number of sounds it can make at the same time

Each voice is effectively a monosynth (although a very powerful one). Think of it as a bundle of electronics which all trigger at once when you play a note. Each voice on the Analog 4 has 2 oscillators, a suboscillator, 2 variable state filters, and a whole bunch of assignable envelopes and LFOs as well as a dedicated sequencer, and every part is fully automatable from Ableton. If you want to compare each voice to a super powerful MS-20 that's not a bad start. But each voice will only play one note at a time. if you think of it as four super powerful monosynths in a box the price seems, well, quite cheap really. At least that's what I told myself when I bought mine.

You can assign a sound to one or more voices - so if I had a pad sound and wanted to play chords I would set that up so all four voices could use that sound giving me a maximum 4 note chord. I couldn't play a five note chord. Lots of synths are named after the number of voices which is called polyphony, so a Korg Polysix has six voices and can play a six note chord, a Prophet 8 can play an 8 note chord, etc.

Now the elektron has the advantage over some of these synths that it is also multitimbral - each voice can play a completely separate sound and be sequenced separately. So I could assign voices to kick, snare, closed hats, and bass, and still be OK, but if I wanted to introduce open hats I might have a problem, and if I wanted to play a dyad with my bass sound I would have to do it when say the hi hat was not playing. That is pretty much the limit of what I can do with voices sequencing it from Ableton. However, using its internal sequencer I can also do what is called sound locking, which means I could have the same voice assigned to (for example) closed and open hats, since I will never play these together I can use sound locking to switch between them as needed and extend the capabilities that way. You can also use tricks like detuning the voice oscillators as mentioned above to give a 2 note chord out of one voice. So you can in fact do a bunch of techie stuff which will make it sound like it is doing a lot more than it actually is - but ultimately you are limited to four notes at a time.

Now I don't have a Volca sample but according to the spec has 8 voice polyphony meaning it will play 8 of its samples at any one time. Because these are digital you don't need to build effectively eight physical synths which is why digital polyphony is cheap compared with analog. Some of the sample presets are laid out as drum kits which means its drum samples will be laid out over the keys probably in what is called a GM layout (this is a standard drum kit layout with kick on C1, snare on D1 etc) and you can, if you wish, play 8 of those drums at once, which is probably all you'll need. The others would of course be avaliable in a sequence so you would have access to the full kit, just limited to 8 drums playng simultaneously. I don't know what the sounds in a volca sample are like because as I said I don't have one. I can tell you though that I have a Volca Beats and keys and they are a bit noisy. If you start doing minimal stuff you'll most likely hear the noise unless you put a gate on it. It is also a bit tricky to load your own samples into the Volca - as I understand it you need to use an iOS app so if you're on android you're kind of screwed (although I'm sure someone has done a hack of some kind).

I have to say I don't use my Analog keys as a drum machine althogh I have sampled sounds off it and dropped them into a drum rack. If you think it sounds like a lot of messing about compared wth using a soft synth you have a point - generally people don't buy analog stuff for its flexibility but because it sounds amazing and/or they like the workflow of fiddling with actual physical gear.

You might be better off spending more on the drum machine (say a TR8 or a Machinedrum) for what you want. If that means spending less on the synth you might want to look at a Minilogue or a DSI Tetra bit of which look pretty good. And as before if you're spending this much go somewhere where you can try the thing out!

amook11
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:33 pm

Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by amook11 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:29 pm

timday wrote:
amook11 wrote:
timday wrote:Having said that there are som every nice kicks, snares and hats in the standard sound set.

I should add a word of caution - an analog 4 is not a drum machine in a conventional sense in theat you can't lay out a drum kit over the keys like a GM kit. It only has 4 voices so it can only make 4 sounds at once. People who are running it as a drum kit and synth at the same time are using sound locks in the sequencer or similar which is a little tricky (not very but a little) to do and depends on using the onboard sequencer rather than controlling it from Ableton.

if you want a standard sample based drum machine a volca sample might be the way to go for what you want.

Seriously the Elektron is quite an expensive box, like I said I love mine to bits but you might want to try one out in a music shop before laying down that much money. If you decide on one, see if you can pick up a B-stock one then you'll have enough money left in the budget for a Volca sample as well if you decide that's what you want.
thanks mate . another stupid question . when you say it has four voices and i can use 4 sound at same time certenly it doesnt mean i can only use for example 1st voice for kick , 2th voice for snare ,3th voice for hihat , 4th voice for synth ? or does it? how many voices volca sample has ? i worked with volca sample before . so maybe by comparing volca sample and analog four i can undrestand what voices are !
That would be right. The number of voices on a synth is the number of sounds it can make at the same time

Each voice is effectively a monosynth (although a very powerful one). Think of it as a bundle of electronics which all trigger at once when you play a note. Each voice on the Analog 4 has 2 oscillators, a suboscillator, 2 variable state filters, and a whole bunch of assignable envelopes and LFOs as well as a dedicated sequencer, and every part is fully automatable from Ableton. If you want to compare each voice to a super powerful MS-20 that's not a bad start. But each voice will only play one note at a time. if you think of it as four super powerful monosynths in a box the price seems, well, quite cheap really. At least that's what I told myself when I bought mine.

You can assign a sound to one or more voices - so if I had a pad sound and wanted to play chords I would set that up so all four voices could use that sound giving me a maximum 4 note chord. I couldn't play a five note chord. Lots of synths are named after the number of voices which is called polyphony, so a Korg Polysix has six voices and can play a six note chord, a Prophet 8 can play an 8 note chord, etc.

Now the elektron has the advantage over some of these synths that it is also multitimbral - each voice can play a completely separate sound and be sequenced separately. So I could assign voices to kick, snare, closed hats, and bass, and still be OK, but if I wanted to introduce open hats I might have a problem, and if I wanted to play a dyad with my bass sound I would have to do it when say the hi hat was not playing. That is pretty much the limit of what I can do with voices sequencing it from Ableton. However, using its internal sequencer I can also do what is called sound locking, which means I could have the same voice assigned to (for example) closed and open hats, since I will never play these together I can use sound locking to switch between them as needed and extend the capabilities that way. You can also use tricks like detuning the voice oscillators as mentioned above to give a 2 note chord out of one voice. So you can in fact do a bunch of techie stuff which will make it sound like it is doing a lot more than it actually is - but ultimately you are limited to four notes at a time.

Now I don't have a Volca sample but according to the spec has 8 voice polyphony meaning it will play 8 of its samples at any one time. Because these are digital you don't need to build effectively eight physical synths which is why digital polyphony is cheap compared with analog. Some of the sample presets are laid out as drum kits which means its drum samples will be laid out over the keys probably in what is called a GM layout (this is a standard drum kit layout with kick on C1, snare on D1 etc) and you can, if you wish, play 8 of those drums at once, which is probably all you'll need. The others would of course be avaliable in a sequence so you would have access to the full kit, just limited to 8 drums playng simultaneously. I don't know what the sounds in a volca sample are like because as I said I don't have one. I can tell you though that I have a Volca Beats and keys and they are a bit noisy. If you start doing minimal stuff you'll most likely hear the noise unless you put a gate on it. It is also a bit tricky to load your own samples into the Volca - as I understand it you need to use an iOS app so if you're on android you're kind of screwed (although I'm sure someone has done a hack of some kind).

I have to say I don't use my Analog keys as a drum machine althogh I have sampled sounds off it and dropped them into a drum rack. If you think it sounds like a lot of messing about compared wth using a soft synth you have a point - generally people don't buy analog stuff for its flexibility but because it sounds amazing and/or they like the workflow of fiddling with actual physical gear.

You might be better off spending more on the drum machine (say a TR8 or a Machinedrum) for what you want. If that means spending less on the synth you might want to look at a Minilogue or a DSI Tetra bit of which look pretty good. And as before if you're spending this much go somewhere where you can try the thing out!
thanks alot for complete explanation . the thing is Iam looking for device which has 16 step squencer in row , just like volca series and analog 4 sequencer and also electribe series. i also wanted it to be compact and save me a lot of input/output sync stuff or able to use one sequencer for both drum sounds ,keys , synth . analog 4 almost had everything I wanted great sounds aswell. now i learnt about it can only play 4 sound at same time i think i search abit more . can you think of any synthsizer with above specification . or what other device i can sync it with i f i want to add 4 more voices to A4 ?

timday
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by timday » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:03 pm

With an analog 4 or keys you can MIDI sequence it from other things (i.e. use it as a slave) but it doesn't have a MIDI out so you can't use it as a master MIDI sequencer. It does however have CV out so you can sequence your MS20 with it.....

For your needs you might want to think about an Octatrack if you're going with Elektron. I don't have one but I've heard good things. Polyphony is I think limited to 8 voices but you can resample if you want to create chords or drum loops etc and it also has 8 MIDI tracks which can be used to sequence external gear so you can very much use that as a master sequencer. Since it's a sampler, sounds can be whatever you like.

On the minus side it apparently has a very steep learning curve and I know at least two people who bought them then sold them again because they found them hard to learn. Maybe someone on the forums who has one can help you out a bit more with that. I'm told if you can get to grips with them they're super powerful. My expertise kind of stops here - I know about MS20s, Volcas and Analog 4/keys since I have those but I don't have an Octatrack so you probably need someone who does.

/edit, obviously it does have a MIDI out but you can't use the sequencer to send MIDI
Last edited by timday on Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jbvdb
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by Jbvdb » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:25 am

Look at a rytm, does all you want I think, and will be better at drums than the a4
Then if you get along with the rytm, just get the a4 later, for added synths.

amook11
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by amook11 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:47 am

timday wrote:With an analog 4 or keys you can MIDI sequence it from other things (i.e. use it as a slave) but it doesn't have a MIDI out so you can't use it as a master MIDI sequencer. It does however have CV out so you can sequence your MS20 with it.....

For your needs you might want to think about an Octatrack if you're going with Elektron. I don't have one but I've heard good things. Polyphony is I think limited to 8 voices but you can resample if you want to create chords or drum loops etc and it also has 8 MIDI tracks which can be used to sequence external gear so you can very much use that as a master sequencer. Since it's a sampler, sounds can be whatever you like.

On the minus side it apparently has a very steep learning curve and I know at least two people who bought them then sold them again because they found them hard to learn. Maybe someone on the forums who has one can help you out a bit more with that. I'm told if you can get to grips with them they're super powerful. My expertise kind of stops here - I know about MS20s, Volcas and Analog 4/keys since I have those but I don't have an Octatrack so you probably need someone who does.
cheers mate. I also just learnt about analog rytm. its 12 track 8 voices . is kinda similar to octatrack . but i heard its much easier to learn . after reading few forums and watch few videos about these two, I defenttly go with either octatrack or rytm .

amook11
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:33 pm

Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by amook11 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:49 am

Jbvdb wrote:Look at a rytm, does all you want I think, and will be better at drums than the a4
Then if you get along with the rytm, just get the a4 later, for added synths.
yes mate that what i m going to do. rytm seems to be exactly what i want . however octarack is another option . do you have opinion on these two ? how do u compare them?

timday
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Re: Drum machine and synth suggestion

Post by timday » Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:26 am

Well the RYTM's just a drum machine isn't it? Doesn't do synths at all. An Octatrack is a full on sampler, it will do whatever you like but you need to load sounds into it.

I say "just", it's a very nice drum machine and I want one.

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