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In-depth Feature:  Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1
Elektron should be applauded for making an inspiring and engaging instrument.
Nick B writes: .

Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Out of the Box and Into the Studio
  • Hear the Drummer Get Wicked
  • Structure + Synthesis
  • About Those Inputs
  • Creating Your Own Patterns + Songs
  • Recording Parameter Tweaks
  • Come Down My Effector
  • Conclusion. .

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    Introduction
    Why would anyone want to release a drum machine in this day and age you might ask? With the pervasive use of computer-based music setups, you might have a point. However, this way of working doesn't suit everyone. Gigging can be a real problem if you have lug your CPU around with you all the time, not to mention the temperamental and delicate nature of the biege box . Hardware can just give you that little extra confidence. It can also provide an inspiring and transparent hands-on interface that you can abuse with greater satisfaction than prodding a qwerty keyboard. However, if you're one of those people who use a computer, you might just be looking for some hardware to enhance and compliment your system - that's where the Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 could fit the bill...

    Elektron have a band of loyal users who swear by their other products. The SIDStation for example, elicits glowing praise from the users here at @Sonic State.

    The Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 is a drum machine; a powerful percussion synthesizer with built in effects. It’s intuitive, clearly laid out and by golly, the sounds are great. Now I must confess, I’ve not worked with hardware sequencers/drum machines since I was a spotty youth writing songs about girls that didn’t fancy me. (I know that at least some of you know what I mean.)

    I was initially sceptical, as I can’t usually be bothered to learn another user interface. However, I was up and running in no time without a glance at the manual. This really is a testament to the great interface design of this unit. Maybe it’s a Swedish thing. That reader, is where SPS-1 hails from. Maybe it’s something in the water over there but Swedish synth design as with the music, seems to be in the ascendancy – think Propellerheads, Nord, Roxette, er, perhaps not them.

    The SPS-1 uses the classic drum-machine style interface– from the same mould as the Roland 808/909. Sixteen drum ‘pad’ buttons and a voice selection dial. There are also 8 control knobs for the numerous voice/synth, effects and routing parameters. The pads are not velocity sensitive as the programming is done in the classic drum- machine style: you tell the sequencer where the voice plays then assign an accent, should you wish. However the individual voice parameters (including volume) can be recorded using extended mode (more on this later). Those of you already familiar with the Roland way of working will feel right at home. Those of you not (like me), will find it easy to pick up.

    More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Machinedrum Website
  • Drum machines @ synth site
  • Discuss SPS1 @ TGS
  • Machinedrum official samples
  • SPS-1 Demo Song (10mb mp3)

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