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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:51 pm 
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mnml mmbr
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:59 pm
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Location: Porto, Portugal
Hello everyone!

Im beeing dj for 20 years, have my own label, and for the past year i´ve been studiyng production possibilities.
Many people give advices for drum.machines and i came up for this one:

http://www.vintagesynth.com/korg/esx1.php


If possible give me your opinion or share just an opinion about this one!

Thank you in advance! 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:30 pm 
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mnml mmbr
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The good:
Fun and easy to use
Quick for jamming on
Nice workflow
Rarely need to stop the sequencer while working

The bad:
Hissy and noisy outputs
Extremely fiddly to get samples into it
Imprecise editing
Limited feature set
Poor fx
Poor overall sound quality
Responds very badly to external midi velocity - cannot use it as a drum machine in this context

I've owned both the EMX and the ESX. I sold the latter and kept the EMX. Never really did click with the ESX... its too imprecise and limited to produce commercial quality tracks on it. Useful and fun to jam to, and you might get some good loops and weird noises out of it, but overall I didn't think it worth it. Too difficult to get samples into it, impossible to edit them exactly right, cheap sounding fx, blah, I just gave up on it.


Depending on your goals, an MPC1000 might be a better option. Much better control, sample accurate editing, better sound quality overall, but you lose the hands on live jamming feel almost entirely. Less of a techno jamming interface but much better sampler and sequencer.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:47 am 
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mnml maxi
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:01 pm
Posts: 1971
Location: Worcestershire
The whole point of the electribe series is to use the on-board sequencing, in that way you'd be getting the most out of it. I disagree with a lot of the above from magpieindustries, let's start with the efx section.

( I had the EMX1, a mate had the ESX1 ) the efx are not poor at all, in fact, I really liked them, the reverb is lo-fi/washy in a way I really like and I have sought this sound in software since ( I get close with Audio Damage Ratshack reverb and a few other chains ) You can always add sounds with efx ( say reverb ) applied to them anyway.

I'm not quite sure what magpieindustries connection between external velocity and drum machine is. Drum machines are, by their very nature a combination of source sounds and sequencing, triggering internal sounds via an external sequencer over midi takes away the essence of what defines a drum machine. Why you'd want to bypass the sequencer and feed it external midi is anyones guess but for me, it misses the point of what this box is about.

So in that sense, you CAN use it as a drum machine since it responds like 90% of other drum machines do. There's an accent track. On any old skool type drum machine, you'd usually find an accent track, you'd program in accents and it will affect all sounds globally. This isn't unique to the ESX1, it's the way drum machines worked for years, also you have the choke ability, put open and closed hats on these 2 parts and they will cut each other out. Whether or not this type of velocity limitation is for you ( more modern stuff has more flexibility ) is a different matter. It's worth being aware of though, sometimes I deliberately want the feel of a drum machine and will program beats with this type of limitation in mind, sometimes a DAW app can offer too much control, subtle variations of velocity on every possible sound is all well and good and sounds more modern but sometimes you may want an old skool drum machine feel. Either way, like I was saying, it's worth pointing out and being aware that a lot of other stuff you may check out could operate the same way.

There's no more noise/hiss at the outputs than anything else I have ever owned. My Machinedrum was the most modern drum machine and it was the noisiest along with an old super bass station rack. The EMX1 had a bit of 'airy noise' too, only really detectable through headphones and I dont even think it's worth mentioning. You will always get a bit of noise and hiss from hardware stuff, embrace it.

Better to edit sample in an audio editor first and the way it handles stereo samples sucks, you can record motion sequences into the sequencer and resample into itself. You CAN edit samples but these days, people rely on graphic editing but it wasn't always so.

I quite liked the filters in tame useage, hated the compressor and eq and a lot of people experienced the 'fuse' going on these electribes - my EMX1 died this way. The valve tubes never impressed me and I found them more of a gimmick and thought they made too much of them as a selling point.

I tend to favour Sound on Sound for gear reviews, they have this on there: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar04/a ... rgesx1.htm

I guess I agree with magpie industries on some of it but other points are a matter of opinion and others like the drum machine analogy not at all. If they are still around the £250 mark, I'd leave them alone, I dunno how common smart media cards are any more either. Def look around for other options. That said, those electribe series are fast and fun to work with, but not without frustrations and you may quickly out grow it and run into things you cannot do. If I had one now, it would prob be just to sequence stuff like 808 or 909 drum sounds or something, the danger is that you start writing more in depth stuff and then you'll find it too restricted so it depends on what you'd expect to get from it.

I'm a bit off the ball with other grooveboxes around at the moment but if i was after a studio sample/sequencer/synth in one, for the same money, I'd be looking at an EMU 4XT Ultra, just ridiculously poweful but over kill for some. Or a Kurzweil K2000rs....

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:00 pm 
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mnml mmbr
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Some is taste, of course. One mans crap reverb is another ones lofi wash...

Regarding the velocity, the esx plays back its drum samples when you send it note on msgs, but for some reason it uses a really strange velocity curve, basically for velocity levels 0-3 it is quiet and for 4-127 it more or less maxes out the volume playback. Probably not a big deal for many but I tried triggering it from an e-kit and it was totally useless. Oddly enough, the emx did not exhibit this at alle and behaved as you'd expect, lowe velocity produced quiet sounds getting louder as you up the velocity.

I continue to use my emx, but mostly as a midi only sequencer, I got tired of its sound engine long ago. Its all sort of the same, maybe due to the low quality internal summing or something. Not sure about the esx if its any better, but since the strenght in these machines is absolutely the sequencer and the speedy hands on live action workflow, the emx is superior due to the 5 monophonic synth parts.

I have also had an xl-7 (which I regret selling), the mpc1000 (my main sequencer today), a yamaha rm1x (like electribe, sounds poor, but great performance playback options. Too bad its brutally difficult to program, just copying a few bars of melody around is a challenging engineering exercise). I am gassing for a tr-8 these days.

OP, what exactly do you want a drum machine for? To make standalone tunes? Just beats? Do you want to mix percussion on top of vinyl? Your goals will influence any recommendations and what is "good" or not in your case.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:59 pm 
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mnml admn
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Location: detroit metro : walk the -e[art]h-
AK wrote:
The whole point of the electribe series is to use the on-board sequencing,

( I had the EMX1, a mate had the ESX1 ) the efx are not poor at all, in fact, I really liked them, the reverb is lo-fi/washy in a way I really like and I have sought this sound in software


:!: :!: :!:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:30 am 
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mnml maxi
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:01 pm
Posts: 1971
Location: Worcestershire
I still have the Yamaha RM1x but it doesnt work any longer, nothing happens when I press certain buttons but I liked the sequencer on it too and some of the MIDI efx which seem to get over looked these days. I am still deciding whether to get an MPC1000 or just a laptop - I'm away from home a lot and only have music making stuff at mine where I am there like 1 week a month...

But man, I am a big fan of groovebox/TR/XOXO style ( call it what you like ) sequencing, for the music I enjoy making, it's perfect and very fast, maybe let down by subtle things that provide variation and other limitations but for brute sequencing, it suits me really well.

Even if I have been totally in the box I have sought this method in some way or another. I used Reasons Redrum for ages and sometimes still do but I find Rewire and the constant routing of cables in Reasons interface slows down creativity. I am a big fan of Battery 4, man, if I knew of some hardware unit like battery 4 with a sequencer, I'd be all over it......

In Ableton, I kind of made my own Battery 4 and TR sequencer combo. I never read it anywhere or heard of anyone else doing it but I have D16 Drumazon & Nepheton and don't use them that much cos I don't really like the sounds but was aware they both transmit MIDI out ( constantly ) They conform to GM ( General Midi ) so any MIDI drum map shows which MIDI note message is sent for each sound source and it was a case of building Battery kits which conform to this, some simple routing in Ableton and et voila, I got TR step sequencing for Battery 4 and pattern storage. Battery 4 is too good, quality samples are easy to make into great samples. Somebody build a hardware version with a sequencer.

Maybe that's Maschine????? I dunno, I wont consider it as it's not portable in a proper sense.

I think I have gone a bit off topic lol

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:34 pm 
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mnml mmbr
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I can't get my head around the rm1x to be honest. It tries to break my musical flow every chance it gets. Should not need a piece of paper to write down the locations of phrases when editing. Insane. But it's cool for playback :)

I am seriously GASing for a tr-8. Looks exactly like how I like to make my beats, and I dig the sounds, and could probably use it to trigger samples in other machines too. Wish I could get my hands on one to feel the buttons.

The mpc is not GM-midi friendly. It'll cause headaches if you try drive it with GM drum tracks, and also if you try to trigger a GM kit on another device with its pads. Best to not go down that road..

By the way, the MD has a great feel to it too, one of the best, but I hate the sound engine with a passion. Would have been nice if elektron released a midi-only version of the thing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:30 am 
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mnml maxi
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:01 pm
Posts: 1971
Location: Worcestershire
I bought the RM1x as a cheap, simple solution to capture musical ideas when I moved apartments, everything was in transit for a while as well as my computer dying on me, I saw one just on the spur of the moment for cheap and bought it while I waited to set up again and afford a new computer. It ended up staying with me though as I liked the sequencing, in contrast, this was about the same time as I wanted a rompler/sampler/workstation for rompler type sounds and bought a Korg Triton Studio but I never got into the sequencer on that, I couldn't be bothered giving it the amount of time it needed but I quickly learned the RM1x and made sequences quickly. I dunno where it would fit in now though to be honest. Either way it's broke, hardly any of the buttons work and it's not like I'm gonna pay for it to be fixed either so it's sat in a cupboard. If I recall, I made a sequence, copied it, altered it, copied it, altered it etc. I was never making full on stuff on that, I was getting structural ideas, like maybe some chords, bass, phrases, musical lines etc. When I got a new computer I never used them either, but just the other week I took it out to check that it was still broke lol and quite liked the ideas still ( not the sounds though ) But I can't remember at all how to use it really.

I had the MD and feel the same, I quickly tired of the sounds because my tastes changed to a more raw flavour and it just didn't fit with that at all. In the end, all I was doing with that was sending a trigger from a spare output to the SH-101 to sequence internal bass patterns, then I though, may as well sample that 'Pulse' and fire it out from a spare out inside my DAW and sell the thing. If it fits your sound, I think they're really good but as I grew more into raw deep house stuff, I wanted sounds closer to a Jomox and 909/808.

I'm still considering the MPC1000 both as a portable way of making half developed tracks while away from home and as a way to approach tracks on the go in Ableton. I could get a pad controller for what I want to do but then I still lack portability. It's an ongoing thing with me at the moment, I just don't know yet. I've seen these MV8000's go real cheap but they look seriously heavy so not exactly portable, other MPC's are just too heavy too and I don't think something like the Octatrack is for me, from what I gather, it's not ideal for sequencing simple one shot sounds, more streamlined for other longer things, plus I don't wish to spend that much on something for *ideas*....

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