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  • Need help picking groovebox/sequencer

    Hello, I should start this off with a sentence that I'm sure many of you are loathe to hear: I started off a guitar player.

    But I want to be more of a musician than a single instrument player. I listen to a lot of electronic music, from ELO, Tangerine Dream, Aphex Twin, FSOL, Boards of Canada, to Ladytron, Add N to X, and Massive Attack. I am learning to play keys/piano, and am drifting toward electronic and more synthesized music. I read and write music, am familiar with theory, and am getting better at playing keys.

    I own a Roland SH-201, E-mu Xboard MIDI controller, and some free DAWs/Vsts. I'm not very competent using the software, and am looking to get more into hardware, and need some things to get down and make some music.

    I've been reading a lot, a real lot, and as I learn I have more questions.

    I'd like a groovebox/step sequencer kind of thing to program drums, patterns, and samples. I'd like to be able to use long samples, should I use found sounds/dialogue snippets, etc., but also would like to be able to loop and add to samples and loops. For that, I think the Roland SP-404 would fit the bill. But I want good sequencing too. An Electribe ESX-1 would probably work in that respect, but I know that the SP-404 is better and holds longer loops.

    But what would I need to really have a proper set of equipment? I don't want to spend more than about $500, and I have the synth and midi controller to use for sounds and some samples for instruments, like a piano/organ etc. I want to make electronic music from soup to nuts, and want something that I can use as a beginner but something that I can grow to understand and utilize, then maybe upgrade. Sound manipulation is key too.

    Thanks, I really appreciate the help and from what I've searched through so far on the site there are some really knowledgable people.

  • #2
    Welcome! Would an MPC fit the bill? I'm not sure it'd take care of your overdubbed sampling needs, but otherwise it sounds perfect for you. Probably a used MPC1000.

    Maybe you could suppliment with a Boss RC-2, if you're thinking about guitar loops?

    Or maybe Ableton Live?

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    • #3
      This is the part where I champion the RS7K, but yeah an MPC1K would fit the bill well. Or an SP404 with a Yamaha QY series to sequence it.

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      • #4
        I think the MPC1000 is a good single box option for what you want.

        The SP-404 is a good piece of gear, and there are some advantages to having multiple boxes (more knobs for one). A setup along the lines of the 404, a ESX-1 and a Kaoss Pad 3 would give you tons of looping and effects options. A bit more than your price range, but you can always add the KP3 later.
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><div align="right"><font face="Garamond"><font size="2">When next the GAS strikes, ask yourself, <b>WWDLPD?</b></font></font></div></div>

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        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestions. First and foremost, I'd like something that I can use to produce electronic music, so I need something rhythmic that allows for variance, the loading of new samples, etc. The looping function of the SP-404 is nice, but as for priority, I'd like something that I can program with, and utilize as a step sequencer.

          For right now, lets ignore what is needed for live playing, as I'd rather have more options to make music than for triggering and managing sounds live. If need be, I have a laptop that I can use too, and a midi controller to plug into that.

          Basically, what do I need to be able to program rhythm, sequence patterns and record loops/phrases that will play out while I add to what's playing? What are the limitations of having an Electribe ESX-1 and SH-201 if I want to make music? If you had limited funds right away, couldn't afford an MPC, and wanted to be able to fill in every gap that I can't cover with my SH-201, what would you buy to be able to program/sequence music?

          I'll worry about looping later, because I can do that with Ableton Live on my computer, then maybe trigger those live somehow on my laptop if I have to.

          I'm not averse to using soft synths, but I think its easier to learn on physical instruments, like the SH-201, where everything is laid out. I'm serious about this, I don't want to just be a guitar player who pretends to play on synths, so for all of the vets, what would you recommend I get to begin making music without spending over $500, if such a thing exists?

          Also, I forgot to mention, I have a Line6 Toneport UX1, so I can plug in whatever I use to record to my PC using the line inputs, so computer connectivity is not important, aside from being able to load new samples.

          Also, completely unrelated question, but what is the best way to program MIDI to use in software or something? If I were to write a piece of music using notation, how could I send that to a soft synth or DAW to use?

          Comment


          • #6
            Still MPC. Used 1000s sell for around $500 on eBay.

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            • #7
              Still MPC. Used 1000s sell for around $500 on eBay.


              I appreciate your help, and I'll definitely consider an MPC, but what can the MPC do that I can't do with another piece of kit? I'm only a little familiar with the MPC, and I'd like to know what separates the MPC from many other samplers. How is the sequencing? What options are available to me that are unique to an MPC? Is an MPC good for a beginner?

              And, if I decide to just forget about hardware, what kind of software stuffs can I use to accomplish the same things as an MPC?

              Comment


              • #8
                http://www.letmegooglethatforyou.com/?q=mpc+electribe

                http://www.letmegooglethatforyou.com/?q=mpc+ableton

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow thanks, I had no idea there were resources available to me outside of a forum devoted to discussion of music equipment. You're right, instead of asking specific questions pertaining to musician's own experiences using products, I could have just plugged product names into a search engine.

                  I do appreciate your help, I do, but imagine how helpful you could be if you didn't spend time in your attempts to be clever with www.letmegooglethatforyou.com. I was hoping that someone who would want to help or talk about the MPC might say, "I use my MPC for x" or "You can do this with an MPC but not an ESX-1", questions posted on a discussion forum for discussion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    :idk:

                    Two of us told you to buy the MPC. I was suggesting you go do your homework and come back with those specific questions you think you have. Off you go!

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                    • #11
                      Wow thanks, I had no idea there were resources available to me outside of a forum devoted to discussion of music equipment. You're right, instead of asking specific questions pertaining to musician's own experiences using products, I could have just plugged product names into a search engine.

                      I do appreciate your help, I do, but imagine how helpful you could be if you didn't spend time in your attempts to be clever with www.letmegooglethatforyou.com. I was hoping that someone who would want to help or talk about the MPC might say, "I use my MPC for x" or "You can do this with an MPC but not an ESX-1", questions posted on a discussion forum for discussion.


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                      • #12
                        Yeah, and I was asking what separates the MPC from other sequencers and samplers, what can be done with an MPC that can't be done with another sampler, and if it was intuitive enough for someone who has never used hardware based samplers. Were those questions too vague or general? I was hoping that maybe you had another reason to recommend the MPC, other than "Its $500 on ebay." I don't want to come off as ungrateful, but I asked you why you recommend it, and its not that you didn't answer, but that you put effort into being as unhelpful as taking a roundabout way to tell me to use google. Thanks, but that seems less like you want to offer an opinion and more like you want to play King **************** on a message board.

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                        • #13
                          Wow.

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                          • #14
                            Get Ableton Live and learn it well first. Consider hardware like the new Native Instruments Maschine or the Akai APC40 to control Live. Then look at hardware like MPCs and grooveboxes for live performance. I expect a lot of hardware to be updated in the next year or two, because so many products are at the end of their current lifecycle, including the MPCs, Electribes, and SPs.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Define your goals and budget first.

                              An MPC's reliability, rock solid sequencer, and multiple outputs makes it great for live use and a studio centerpiece if your more hardware inclined.

                              If your about software, Ableton's Live really can't be beat. It's also a great live tool hence the name. IMO though, you really need a good controller for it. Not as much of a conventional performance aspect to it as compared to an MPC.

                              Groove boxes from Korg and Roland provide synth engines so in essence, they're more or less tabletop workstations. Try to shop for one that is more oriented towards the genre's your into.

                              Example: I have an interest in Deep House and Ambient and chose the MC-505 over the EMX-1 I used to own. The EMX-1 was more geared towards more energetic/progressive styles of electronica IMHO than the MC-505 and I'm more into the more subtle styles/genre's. Also the MC-505 has dedicated controls for Reverb and delay. These FX are prominent in Ambient music styles.
                              https://soundcloud.com/jersey-bloke<br><br>DSI Mopho X4<br>Elektron Analog Four<br>Akai MPC 2500<br>StudioLive 16.0.2 Digital Mixer<br>Allen &amp; Heath Xone VF-1 Analog Stereo Filter<br>Studio One V2.5 Professional Edition<br>Ableton Live 9 Standard

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