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In-depth Feature:  Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1
Nick B writes: .

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Hear the Drummer Get Wicked
You might want to check out the demo song - it's a whopping file as it covers so many sounds and styles - I don't feel it does the SPS-1 full justice, though it does showcase a lot of the sonic capabilities the unit has to offer. I would recommend listening on a system with decent bass response, as believe me, it's got plenty of weight to it. As is the way with such things, finding a pattern you like and flipping through the available kits is the way to go - selecting patterns is a little quirky to begin with but very intuitive and easy to 'jam' with once you get the hang of it.

Structure + Synthesis
The basic sound generating unit is a machine of which there are 16, each of these is designed for generating a specific drum eg: bass drum, snare, toms or hats each with it’s own specific set of parameters. This is where the 8 control knobs come in. Now, here’s where it gets a little more interesting – there are four types of synthesis for creating each of these voices:

  • TRX – inspired by the classic analogue models such as the 909, 808 etc. Many parameters will be familiar to those who’ve used the old Roland machines – Snap, tone, decay etc
  • EFM – or “Enhanced Feedback Modulation” uses Elektrons own algorithms and is based on FM synthesis. The sound ranges from realistic acoustic drums to wild, chaotic FX. Capable of producing Simmonds Claptrap and electronic kits, synthesised bass drums, syntoms
  • E12 – based on carefully processed sampled percussion sounds. Similar (to my ears) to the Linn and SP1200 sound.
  • P-I - physically modelled synthesis allows you to control parameters such as the pitch, strength of hit, tension of skin, damping and ring of shell. Some nice snares can be built with this. Similar to the Roland V-Drum concept.
  • GND - a collection of machines that give “extra tonality”
  • INP - controls the behaviour of the 2 external inputs. These inputs can be used to trigger internal sounds or add enveloping and filtering to those inputs.


    Creating and editing your own kits is a doddle, though you might find yourself spending unhealthy amounts of time doing it. You can save your work to any of the 64 kit memories. It is worth doing this as some patterns in extended mode have particular kits associated with them so a careless pattern change could lose you all your kit work.

    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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