Synth Site: Elektron ESI: Machinedrum: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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Brady a part-time user from Minnesota writes:
Okay, here's my testament to this piece of kit: I was on the beta-test (one of the first 100 units) and had to sell my machinedrum to pay for school.... twice. I am now on my 3rd machinedrum and since I no longer have school hanging over me, it will hopefully be my last, unless I send it in for the new sampling upgrade. Man, that looks sick. Electron is probably the freshest company in the hardware synth business right now. They have some stellar engineers working for them, and they make art in their machines. Furthermore, their customer service is top notch. Updates are constantly being released for the OS of their machines, and they listen to suggestions. I've had several suggestions that I've made (and were most likely echoed by other owners) actually become reality in the machine, and make it an even more flexible drum-synth.

Sounds... oh, yeah... that's why we buy these things...

you want a 909/808, go buy a 909/808/whatever. The machinedrum, in my view dsoesn't emulate classic drum machines at all. It has the same spirit, but the sounds are not the same at all. This is NOT a bad thing. First off, the kicks on this thing are punchy as F***. I mean, seriously, there is no drum-machine on the new or secondhand market that can match some of the punch you can get on this. The rest of the sounds do not attempt to copy another drum machine, like I said, the spirit of the 909 is in there, but the MD has her OWN sound. It's not trying to copy anything, liek the Novation Drumstation, or (to a lesser degree) The jomox boxes (which I personally like better than an 808 or 909)

Straight up, it's pretty gritty, lo-fi, stuff. The machinedrum is all about freakin' the knobs and seeing what spews forth. Seriously, it has 16 LFO's! 16!!! all fully routable! I can't think of any hardware synth that has 16 LFO's (cept maybe a virus in max-timbral mode...) It's just sick. You can take a cowbell hit, and by using the Amplitude modulation, LP filter (oh yeah, there's a low and hi-pass filter for EACH drum once again, 16 filters) and get it to sound like a guitar pluck. so, the MD can really do nasty, sleazy electro beats, to bubbly ambient and whatever your fingers can make happen.

Oh yeah, the sequencer. Whoa. You know the Korg boxes, and the MS2000, how you can do "knob sequence recordings" or whatever they call them The Machinedrum lets you do something like 30 of these, and thus makes the MD capable of writing bleepy synth lines jsut by converting some drums. This function also rocks for using the audio input channels, and warping a bassline by rattling it through a shifting filter. On the downside, this function on the sequencer (as far as I've figured out) is stepped only, they don't have any change glide options. Oh well, maybe in the next OS rev.

Finally build quality. It's a goddamn aluminium and steel box. I think you could drop it off a bridge. The buttons are solid, and have a very satisfying throw, the LCD is great, and red... it's so cool! I agree that the knobs might feel a little flimsy, but, they are infinite turn knobs that have a push throw (act as a button) as well, so it's a give and take. I carry mine everywhere in a backpack, and I've had no problems with the knobs.

bottom line... if you're looking for the 808/909 sound, or some "popular" dance sounds, look elsewhere. save your money and get a sampler. Heck, the MD isn't even my primary beat machine, but it sure is fun to play (because, as opposed to most machines, you really can "play" this one)and wonderfully inspiring, especially if you're looking for really unique sounds.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jun-06-2005 at 23:30
Daniel a part-time user from USA writes:
made some comments earlier on this machine (bit embarassing)

I think it's a great machine, but I did sell it. I started to not like it's hihats. I think it's just that DSP in general doesn't do well for hihats. sound too "zippy". snares are hit or miss. Kicks are beautiful. the rest is great strange new sounds.

I'd like to add that .. if I didn't have a monomachine I would have to keep this thing. I will miss the physical kit.

haha ... I replaced it with an MPC 60 II

I'd also like to add. I don't think it's overpriced.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Mar-01-2005 at 11:59
Charly a hobbyist user from Austria writes:
great stuff, but the manual is too difficult. anybody know a german manual. let me know: 7star@gmx.at. thanks alot

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-30-2004 at 18:56
Festus from London/ Liverpool writes:
I've had my SPS1 for a while. I've recently got real deep into its possibilities. Truly excellent. I used to use redrum(reason) which is very good, but this is incredible, whether you a preset or especially if you're a creator from the bottom up. The only downers are (1)the quality of the knobs aren't up to the high standards set by the rest of the SPS1 (2)the dc wall wart power supply would be an expensive pain in the arse to replace. Right now I'm loooking forward to checkin out the new 1.2 update.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-27-2004 at 19:28
Charles Choc, Jr a part-time user from US writes:
Just to chime in as another overwhelmingly satisfied owner of this highly adventurous, amazingly spec'ed machine. The sonic possibilities are endless. The built-in sequencer allows you do things that high-end software sequencers would break a sweat trying to accomplish. Simply amazing. Elektron is an awesome company, making very inspirational instruments, and being plain 'ol nice folks in terms of support. Pricey, but, as many of you have probably learned, you get what you pay for 9 out of 10 times.

I feel confident in saying that this is the best, most sophisticated drum machine available. Anyone who's spend some time with machine will attest to this.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Dec-23-2004 at 02:21
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