Have you ever used the DR880 just as a sequencer for other gear or samples in Renoise? If yes, do you think that would be beneficial? And what are your thoughts on its predecessor, the DR 660 that Squarepusher used until 2001
I just read up on the user manual of 660 and it stands well on its own. It's got 255 sounds and 7 preset kits and 32 user kits. Two banks of A and B and sounds 33-55 (technically bank C) are playable only via midi controller, with A and B having 16 sounds each. It does not have any bass module or synth inbuilt but it has a flam button and a roll button with configurable quantized intervals similar to the Note Repeat feature in MPC. The pattern editing and song writing modes are very drum machine like and just like in an MPC you list out parts with pattern numbers. For a sound bank comparison it's less than half of DR 880, and no bass module or a guitar bass FX and tuner module either. Memory is also comparatively less with DR 880 having 500 slots for preset and user patterns. There are 3 banks in each drum kit for the 880 and all are playable via the single pad button to toggle between them. The DR has no roll features or flam button but that's fine though. In my opinion unless you are really sold on the realism or playability aspect of 880 or for the guitar fx it might not be the best machine for your needs unless you try it first and see for yourself. 660 stands well on its own as a dedicated drum module and Squarepusher used it too so it's for that IDM reference
btw 660 has an internal battery that stores the patterns and user stuff and it's given in the manual that it last for 5 years and requires change after that.
Akai also has a drum machine XR 20 which is more geared towards a stock hip hop and dance oriented sound rompler and not much for realism but for that stylistic oomph sounds. It's a lot like buying a drum sampler plugin. I don't have this but I think it would be great to play with and do some productions with onboard sounds.
As a midi controller for Renoise yes I did wire it up via USB and enabled the midi mode of 880 and it sends midi but it's keypad layout is something more akin to the one in MPC pads too and it's not chromatic as you would expect. So some amount of internal remapping needs to be done in Renoise or via pad assignments on the DR 880. Since I use it for hardware and have other pads and controllers for laptop midi and also MPC Element whose pads are really awesome and the MPC1000 and 500, I don't use this for midi purposes with laptop.
If 1000 does not work for you becos of its rather archaic pads and upgrade issues I highly recommend the 500 becos there is no compromise on the sampler and sequencer section and it's got a Q link too and super portable and runs on 6 batteries and apart from easier sample chopping visual style as on there 1000 pretty much the rest is very similar. It is done via sample numbers and trim start and end parameters via Mode->Trim on the 500, everything else is pretty much there unless you are looking for those additional JJOS stuff which no doubt is powerful on its own as a feature set but honestly speaking I use the 500 way more because of its tough build, smaller size, lighter weight, full sequencer and excellent audio hardware. The 12 pads and 4 banks are not an issue for me as my workflow uses those key features mostly and for obvious reasons I actually enjoy doing the sample editing by ear and sample offset numbers rather than a rough LCD graph waveform like in the 1000. The time it takes it really nothing more than some pad presses on the Pad 10 'Sample loop', Pad 11 'Play To' and Pad 12 'Play From' functions and I can edit any sample in seconds. Remember to use SHIFT and the right or left cursor keys to move through the number columns for more granularity and just move the dial on larger digit places to the left and for fine tuning move one place or two to right, fine tuning done in no time. The Edit->Extract feature does the pad assignments from the extracted sample from the original audio capture and it's very intuitive if not too easy. If you enable Autonormalize in the Mode->Record parameters you don't have to do any post Normalise in the Edit menu items, saving any gain related manual time spent.
The 500 has no mixer though but the program parameters have all the gain and pan and pad assignments and FX routing in one place and selection is done by dial or by pressing the bank and/or pad to reach your destination pad. Tracks are 48 and each sequence has 48 of them. It's alot of data that can be entered and played with and it's a mini powerhouse that really engages you if you give it some time. Pads are not the best though. For any other MPCs the recent ones are dope and older Studio and Renaissance still require the laptop at all times pretty much negate the hardware setup to begin with, much like Maschine.
@Lettuce: MPD218 is a very capable midi controller and with MPC 2.0 you should have no issues working with the MPC software workflow via the plugin in Renoise or standalone. I have the MPC Element from an earlier purchase and it's pads and backlight is also very workable and solid. It fits with the MPC software very tight too. It's not meant for full hardware use since it's a pared down version that gives just the pads mainly as the midi interface and other buttons for transport etc but it does the job admirably and way cheaper than the Renaissance or Studio if laptop linkage is still a thing. Plus you can use it with iPad too for the iPad MPC apps and even as a regular midi controller from the MPC software menus. I know it's not very well recieved but I totally appreciate it and am glad I never got the Studio or other similar controllers, they are all going defunkt anyways with the legacy standalones and the modern standalones taking centrestage for the most part.. Plus I got the real MPCs anyways.
You should check out the Beatmaking labs videos on YouTube and their site they use Akai controllers for their social work round the world.http://www.beatmakinglab.com
iPad used to be cool but honestly speaking even a phone gets bulk of the job done.iPad has space issues but a phone can have an external SD card, I got a 64 GB one from Samsung and it holds a lot of sample packs and other stuff. As a sound source and sequencer and guitar tuner and FX module, drummachine and audio editor it pretty much does everything you need from a portable computer. To enter data into MPC I can just record right off YouTube or play a sample from Caustic synths and drum sequences programmed into Caustic or use a drone Synth app and do some minor edits of an audio and feed it back to record it...options are endless, and unless the rather high quality apps on iOS are not the only reason to get the hardware for sounds itself through phone and an internet connection and high capacity SD card is all you need to outrank the iPad. But one thing iPad excels at is it's touchscreen and practically zero latency. Also apps are higher quality than on Android. Some apps like Korg Gadget will not even run on a phone. Korg Electribe is another good app emulation of its hardware counterpart. Beatmaker is a very powerful app and directly mimics the MPC features and making its own too. Lots of audio mastering apps and Auria for a full fledged Protools like audio recorder setup. iRig had some excellent guitar amp apps, Notion is really good on the iPad for sheet music, some good transcription apps, Guitar Pro, Sunvox on iPad and by now you can do all the Beatmaking and production you want. iPad actually is very powerful for media creation even if the hardware support itself is dismal in things like space and ease of access. Phones don't have a chance on that kind of firepower as of yet. GarageBand app on iPad is really productive too, and the guitar and bass simulations are good and physically playable too, which is darn too difficult on a regular phone.
Edited by encryptedmind, 28 January 2018 - 21:58.