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help with hardware drum machine

Discussion in 'Drums' started by ukuleleboy, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. ukuleleboy

    ukuleleboy Guest

    Hey All,

    I wonder if anyone could help me? I want to get a drum machine, I want to use it to make simple riffs and stuff, but I want the sounds to be editable. If not, I want a machine with LOADS of samples... I dont want to spend more than £70-£80 on ebay or somewhere...

    Also, I have a Fostex FD-4 digital multitrack, if I want to record the drum machine on there along with guitar what is the best way? Should I record via midi... I have only ever used line-out, so I dont even know how midi works... is there anywhere online that will explain it to me... or maybe one of you guys could... I really dont have a clue how it works... do I need a sequencer... what does a sequencer do?

    As you can tell I have no idea what I am talking about... HELP PLEASE!

    x matt x
  2. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Your best bet is to go with whatever BOSS drum machine you can afford. Sound editing has never been a strong point on Drum Machines, so you'll need to find one with sounds you like.

    If sound editing is important, save you'll have to save up your money and get a sampler.

    I use an Alesis SR-16 which has been around for over a decade. It's got some really usable sounds which is probably why it's been around for so long. But BOSS drum machines cover a wider range of sounds and newer ones have a lot more sounds.

    As for recording, you won't be using MIDI. You'll simply take the audio outputs of the drum machine, either stereo or mono, and plug them into the inputs of your Fostex.
  3. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    Elektron Machinedrum.

  4. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    /me drools
  5. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    what type of music are you making? You always seem to pop up in threads I find interesting, oftentimes beating my to an answer or remark I could/would have made.
    You obviosly have good taste in gear... are you my brother from a different mother? Where you from?
  6. ukuleleboy

    ukuleleboy Guest

    Thanks guys... I dont really know what to say to that really... I dont know if it has answered by question or not...

    I heard SR16's are a bit crap cos they dont have enough memory, and if the battery runs out you lose it all! Is this true? Has it been blown out of proportion?

    What does a sampler do then? As I understand it they are the same as drum machine but you can put your own sounds into them? Am I right? How does this work? Would I need a midi enabled computer to download the sounds to the sampler? or would I need a drum machine to connect to the sampler?

    x matt x
  7. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    From what your stated your budget is, a sampler is not really an option. Basically think of it as a device that you can record or load sounds into and then play them back via midi, either from a keyboard or sequencer or other midi input device.

    The only problem I've had with my SR-16 is a scratchy volume knob...but it's over 10 years old and has seen a lot of use. As is with any device that stores user data, there is a battery and if the battery dies, you lose your data. That holds true for any drum machine or synth out there. But it's not a real concern because you can easily back up all your data via midi so that you never lose it. BTW, I haven't had to replace my battery yet.

    I still say, Boss is probably your best bet.

    I'm really into electronic music and just about everything that falls under that. That's the sort of music that I write/play. I've been a synth head since the 80's, but I've never really had a lot of equipment.
    I've been wanting a Machine Drum forever...that and a monomachine. I SO want one of those.
    I usually chime in on MIDI issues since I've been using it since it was invented. Funny thing is, I still constantly hook my MIDI cables up backwards. Some sort of mental block going on there I guess.

    I went to school (for recording) and worked in studios for a few years almost 20 years ago but left the biz so that I could make a living. I got a lot of experience back then and now that I've got some money, I've been slowly putting together my own recording business/studio.

    I live and work in Boca Raton Florida...it's between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
  8. ukuleleboy

    ukuleleboy Guest

    Thanks guys... thats helped me out a lot... I think I will be looking around for some boss/alesis machines soon... the number of sounds seems to be similar on both makes in my price range... EBAY HERE I COME! :D

    Anyway... I will let you know how I get on with it...

    Also, I am thinking of getting hold of a sequencer to use on another project of mine... if I wanted to control several midi devices do these have to be connected to the sequencer all the time I want to playback? How many devices is the norm? I will be running a drum machine, and probaby a couple of synths... would an old sequencer do the job? like an MMT-8?

    x matt x
  9. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    The MIDI devices would need to be hooked up to the sequencer when you are recording to the sequencer or playing back from it.
    If you wanted to just jam for a while, you don't need to have anything hooked into the sequencer.

    There is no norm. But for the most part MIDI is limited to 16 channels, so if you have more than 16 MIDI devices, you could run into problems. Newer devices have way around the 16 channel limitation but I don't think you have to worry about that right now.

    Yes, an MMT-8 will work just fine. I used one for a few years when it first came out. It works well and has some nice editing capabilities.
    If you can find one, I'd recommend looking for Roland MC-500 or a Kawai Q-80. These have disk drives which allow you to load song or other MIDI data on to for storage or backup purposes. They are great for storing backup or extra sound banks from your MIDI synths and you would be able to backup your drum beats to disk for safe keeping as well.

    BTW..you are using a computer, the best MIDI sequencers are computer software versions. If MIDI is all you need, you should be able to find some cheap or free software that would be far superior to any hardware based sequencer. You would need to get a MIDI interface (and possibly a midi patchbay) for the computer which aren't too expensive.
  10. saemskin

    saemskin Active Member

    tsk tsk.
    That's 16 channels per port. My sequencer boasts 255 ports, which would make a max 4080 midi channels. :cool:
  11. ukuleleboy

    ukuleleboy Guest

    Thanks guys... thats a big help...

    I have Cakewalk Sonar... I have used it to record a mini album, but I used mainly loops and stuff and I made and edited all the sounds independantly of cakewalk... it was very limited but it worked... Computer recording strikes me as being expensive and complicated...

    However, I am thinking of doing some dance/electronic music... the kind of sounds I will be creating are similar to what you might find on a Prodigy album... I figured computer recording might be the only way to go... What would I need?

    I have a good soundcard, but not a midi one or anything like that, but I have used it to record successfully and of reasonably high quality... it is a 5.1 surround sound one with S/PDIF and stuff...

    I looked into a midi controller a while ago and I enjoyed messing around with a few demos of software, mainly concerning making the sounds for the midi controller... but since I didnt actually have a controller or an interface I couldnt really explore it properly...

    I would need some sort of drum machine software, with a load of samples, a few soft synths and stuff and thats pretty much it I reckon... is there such a thing as a software sampler? That would be cool... can I get these kinds of software off ebay for cheap?

    Could anyone give me a list of what I might need, as per what I have already said and what kind of music I want to make... can you help me out with that one.... sorry for my incesant question asking, I am trying to gain a lot of knowledge as quickly as possible...

    Thanks for everything so far, it has been very helpful...

    x matt x

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