Synth Site: Korg: Electribe ES-1: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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charming ray a hobbyist user from chicago usa writes:
grimley: my es-1 doesn't recognize my .WAV samples. can't find korg.usa tech support on line, so they can expect a call from me on monday. still, like you, i've been a sampling fiend these last few days, so it's not an issue. yet...

mike: you can trim samples with surgical accuracy. say you have a 4-second sound with 1,284,111 samples. when you're trimming the end point, the display will show you the sample's last three digits (111). press the shift key, and you'll see the second three digits (284). you'll never see the 1 that represents 1 million. now, if you want to trim the sound in half (from 1,284,111 samples to 64,000, for instance), press shift and turn the dial till the display shows 064, then release the shift key and spin the dial till the display reads 000. play the sound to make sure the loop ends at sample number 64,000, not 1,064,000. if you're used to working with loops, it's a snap. and fadeout is included for click-free loops. the only way to time-stretch, tho, is to lower the pitch. the time slice function doesn't accurately and pristinely stretch a sample without changing pitch. nor was it meant to, i think. time slice is just another beat-skanking tool that yields sometimes-interesting, sometimes-useful results. for unnoticeable time-stretching, time slice probably works best on chords and sustained sounds, tho i wouldn't know cuz i've been using it to whip breakbeats into a new state of being.

lights: dirty effects, time slice and groove-quantizing. for hip hop, this boy is true.

that said, here's my review. ahem: if you want 44.1k sampling in this price range, wait a month or so for yamaha's su200. it doesn't have a pattern sequencer, tho, so it's not what i'm looking for. your mileage may vary.

the es-1's pattern sequencer and tweakability make it the most fun-to-use stand-alone sampler in ANY price range. period. sadly, its 11 nasty, sample-grinding effects are an all-or-nothing affair -- during pattern playback, every part gets the same amount of distortion or no distortion at all. you can, of course, get around that to some extent by resampling each part with just the effect you want. no, it's not an emu ultra or an akai s6000 or an asr-x pro (a most underrated box), but it chews the ass off the sp-202.

the sampletrak 224 stands up to the electribe-s. it has the one thing i wished the korg had: the ability to tempo-sync loops with the press of a button. but ultimately the sampletrak falls a tad short. the es-1 has more sample memory and more card storage than the sampletrak 224, which has up to 4mb of smartmedia storage, versus the 4 mb-to-64 mb range of the korg. the 224 does have a 32,000-note step sequencer (not a pattern sequencer, which -- you may have noticed -- i prefer). but because the 224 doesn't have a midi out, i have no idea how you would save your sequences. still, your seqencer plus the sampletrak probably would make a great team. and zoom likely will lower the price, now that the es-1 -- with its midi in, out and thru -- is here.

but for me, the korg's pattern sequencer puts it over the top, and it comes out of the box with 4mb of erasable sounds. plus, the banging patterns are excellent for teaching the new samplist the many ways to reshape someone else's sound into your very own.

the es-1's 32k sampling rate is not to be dismissed. however, sonic clarity aside, the built-in effects guarantee this box will excel at hip hop, r&b, d 'n' b, industrial, acid -- anything that makes your head nod and leaves a dirty good taste in your mouth. if you like your ambient sparkling clean, you'll need something with cd-quality sampling to capture those tingly high frequencies, so maybe you'll want to wait and compare this electribe with the su200.

the es-1 still won't knock the sp-808 out of my hands (tho i wish somebody would so i can get some sleep!). but the new kid can teach the old dog new tricks: editable motion sequencing, groove-inducing accent patterns and lo-fi pitch sweeps at less than half the price of my precious 808 (of course, the es-1 doesn't come with selectable sample rates, a raunchy monosynth or a psuedo-hard disk recorder, either).

compared to the big boys, it's limited, sure. but in overcoming those limits, you'll find a brand-new sound. pattern sequencing and a great price make the electribe-s the hands-on champ, hands down. an excellent first sampler you'll keep using even after it has made you a star.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Jun-18-2000 at 03:49
grimley a professional user from Ireland writes:
Just got one on Friday ... and haven't been able to leave the thing alone since. I have a couple of questions though that hopefully someone else who has just bought one can help me with. I just went out and bought a SmartMedia card and a Sandisk floppy adapter. This works great and I can copy .wav files from my PC to the card. My question is how do I load the samples back into the ES-1??? Card global mode load does not show up [E] for the file name like it says in the manual. Anyway, this machine rocks. Up until now I have been using my Yamaha Ex5 as a sampler and my electribe ER-1 to trigger the samples on the EX5 so I could do some 808 style sequencing. The ES-1 however, is much more tweakable, and you can do some truly amazing sound mangling. Don't let the 32kHz spec put you off though. If like me you want it for single hit sequencing ... it kicks ass. However, you can do some very cool stuff with phrases too ... I have been busy sequencing bass loops from my Access Virus all day and using the time slice function to cut them up and mangle them. The filter isn't outstanding (but then again I'm spoilt from using the Virus) but very effective for sweeping in breaks etc while you've got another loop playing in full in the background. The reverb is only musical in very small doses, but the other effects are a LOT of fun. If you are shopping for a phrase sampler you have to check this out. There are about 4Mb woth of samples stored in flash when you buy the unit so you can get a really good idea of what the unit can do by going down to your local dealer and checking it out. This is the least expensive piece of kit I have bought in a while ... but it is undoubtedly the most inspiring. Slan, grimley.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jun-17-2000 at 23:45
Kyle a hobbyist user from USA writes:
the best sampler ever!!! I spent over an hour on it at the music shop and I was just amazed! The sound quality, ease of use, and the quality of effects make this box a perfect 10 (too bad its only out of 5). The best thing is that everything is right there. I currently have 2 EA-1's, an ER-1, and a Kaoss pad. And with this sampler you can have endless options. Those who complained that the EA and ER weren't enough to make music with, check out this sampler!!! I used to say I'd take the EA and ER over a groovebox, now I would take just 1 ES-1 over it!!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jun-10-2000 at 12:32
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