Hello you guys i hope all is well.So i am looking for a standalone unit to get away from the Pc because i am really tired of the mouse and keyboard and the Pc- Daw environment is killing my creativity.I really want to go for a more hands on approach so i am interested in your opinions on this.Do you have any of this hardware Akai Mpcs,Akai force or Ni Maschine Plus?I have watched like a million videos about them and i am closer to the Akai force,i find that the Mpcs and the Maschine is more aimed at beat makers although i ve seen people make other genres on them.What are your thought on this?Please I need opinions from people who already own or had in the past some kind of a standalone unit like the ones i mentioned above
First id recommend the electribes (loopop has some videos), get both the red and blue; heres why:
I’ve got the Korg EMX-1 Groovebox and it is really really fun to use! Sounds great too!
But it has never been anywere near as powerful as fasttracker and renoise just destroys it.
For me, it is just no fun using those editors.
Grooveboxes are fun for a jam, you set up your pattern sets and use the mutes and
traverse though your pre programmed patterns.
For this to be really effective though usually you need two grooveboxes and a good dj
mixer between them; be they electribes, or mpc’s, or roland mc’s, or the circuits. Just
cant really transition well enough with just one imo.
Polyend Tracker looks cool but so does a laptop that boots into DOS & FT2!
(which is kinda what hw does anyway).
This is a big plus for me, i feel the pc is not fun anymore that is why i am searching for alternative ways to create music
I’m pretty sure you will change your mind once you’ve worked with these overpriced toys for a while.
Renoise is killing creativity? No way, dude!
Btw, if I were you I would go for Akai Pro Force or Akai MPC X.
But before you spend your money, this youtube comment (referring to Maschine+) may help you with your decision or give you at least some more input in terms of your thoughts:
Facts. Diehard Maschine user (since day one), but… they missed the mark, here. The price is just out of control… way too high. The MK3 does everything most people need, at less than half the cost. A laptop is not a major inconvenience (anymore, anyway). With the drastic price decrease of SSD storage… there’s no need. When Maschine finally comes out with the arranger/song mode/clip update (this month, apparently)… everyone will finally have what they need, with their current Maschines.
As far as beginners go-- download MPC Beats by Akai (totally free: 8 MIDI tracks, 2 audio tracks, great factory content). 3rd-party midi controller support / midi learn for a lot of the program functions, AND you can use it as a plugin inside your favorite DAW. Or, spend less than $30 and get Beatmaker 3 for ipad. EDIT (March 2021): Koala Sampler ($3.99) and the Samurai Mode for ipad/iphone… worth every penny!!! Additionally, NI still offers “Komplete Start” which gives you a TON of awesome sounds for free (you just have to register an account with NI). Buy a used Maschine MK2 for $150-200 (and maybe, ideally, you’ll get a Maschine software license transfer, too), to control MPC Beats and/or Maschine, and there you go. Or, pick up a used MPC Studio (black, v2) to control MPC Beats. Further, the Komplete M32 keyboard gives you a ton of dope sounds and the Maschine software free (the library is smaller but still has some great content)… total beatmaking investment: $400 or less. Save your money and choose wisely. There are so many cheap, fun ways to get the job done. Knowledge can take you far, and keep your wallet happy.
Funny thing is i have read this comment a while back I will not abandon the Pc entirely i just want something fun to use and try a different approach in music making.
Elektron Digitakt or Digitone, or if you can afford it an Octatrack. They are close to how you program in Renoise in terms of being a Step-sequencer/XOX sequencer. They have limitations that force creativity and retain their value in case you decide to sell either. Buying any of the above second hand is very safe as they are built like tanks.
I have been where you are and from my experience I can say that in my case it was definitely the screen itself that made my mind go blank. I wanted to make music but I couldn’t get it out of my head. It was frustrating.
(I talked to my brother about this who is more into drawing and he confirmed that he experienced the same thing: drawing at a computer is not just like drawing on paper but with more options. The screen does something to the brain. I saw similar effects happen in little kids at phones.)
I expect to get some hateful comments about this, so fire away.
I got a Teenage Engineering PO-33. It’s limits were like therapy to me: So few options, it really made me think in new ways about how to make the most out of it and work around the limits. Also there’s no space to work on two projects at the same time - I had to finish one before moving on. That was like training for me and it helped me grow so so much. Suddenly I finished more projects in three weeks than I had in three years.
Eventually I bought a deluge from synthstrom audible and I’m never coming back to the PC if I don’t absolutely have to (collabs etc.). Take a look at it, it might be a good fit for you.
If you don’t like it: the resell value is very high, you’ll hardly lose any money.
I get the warnings of the previous posters, and GAS is a serious problem. I have successfully talked myself out of 99% of the gear I am interested in. But with the deluge it was different. For me it was the missing piece and it covers so many bases that I don’t need to purchase any additional gear in the foreseeable future. It will take many years until I have mastered and outgrown it. Probably will never happen.
Let’s not hate on each others setups. Everyone’s story is different and our paths might have crossed in this forum, but everyone is coming from different places, travelling in different directions.
Good luck with your search!
Great answer thank you.I need something to get right on it, you know ready at any given time.The pc is very distracting and as a weak person that i am i cant turn the internet off to focus . I need an all in one machine as i dont make tracks only i sing also so recording and arranging is a must.Akai Force does it all but not very portable so i may consider buying the Force and something smaller like an Electribe to take it outdoors.
Right, your eyes are tiring faster. And this can remain forever if you’re in front of a screen all the time. I’m at the point getting a blurred vision more and more, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m in front of a screen most of the day. Furthermore you can get several problems due to wrong postures.
If you want to continue making serious music you can’t abandon the PC entirely without spending ten thousands of Euros for professional studio equipment.
Yes, that’s a problem. It’s like all the people staring at their mobile phone all day long, being always online, checking messages all the time, even while eating, even while eating together with other human beings. That’s stressful even if you don’t notice it right away. Sooner or later you’re empty and need some rest. If it’s a problem for you I would suggest buying another computer for offline actions only. That’s how I worked and made music for years.
Chipping in here, and qualifying myself as having researched some of the many options to get off the computer. I’m loving Renoise, but have serious elbow problems from RSI tendon injury, so have been looking at hardware solutions.
As only a recent convert to Renoise, the Polyend Tracker is the obvious choice if you want the same tracker sequencing. I myself was on the verge of getting this when they went out of stock,… since then I’ve read of some glitches (not of the good kind) with the jog-wheel and some issues with the firmware. Most owners seem to simultaneously love it and hate it.
Was also looking at the Dirtywave M8 as a handheld tracker. Looks awesome, but issues with production… it’s basically one guy building them, so don’t hold your breathe. If you want a handheld tracker though it’s an option.
Akai MPC One - especially now with the recent update to include more synths ticks MANY boxes and is my favourite to date. It’s jam packed and if you can get over the MPC’s only do hip hop stigma, it’s a one box production station. From what I can see most people prefer the One to the Force… Force if you want Ableton Live type sequencing layout.
If Polyend were to sort the myriad of issues I’d go for their tracker, I’d go for it, but it’s fairly pricey for something that is a scaled down kind of renoise and with the hardware and software issues it’s a concern.
Machine I’ve watched the Loopop reviews and he does a side by side of the Machine and Machine+ - Machine+ overpriced and not worth the extra for the features, and Machine looks like defeating the object of getting off of the computer.
As someone above I’ve also looked at the Electribe 2 Red and Blue synth and sampler boxes. Good if you need more tracks (16), synth version has more filters. Sampler version less filters, but the sampler. Limited sample slicing, but workable.
That’s my round up and where I’m at, hope helps
Similar thoughts here as stoiximan. Mostly wanting to shake up my work flow. Desiring a standalone controller for my hardware synths. A different way of working to change my normal patterns…
So I’m eying a second hand Octatrack. It looks like a powerful machine. The thing that keeps from pulling the trigger on a Polyend, an Octatrack, a Machine+ or any such hardware controller is… am I just buying a laptop in a fancy box? Will I still starting at a (small) screen all the time?
If you’re not abandoning the PC entirely your field is pretty open, from Circuits, MC-101/707 - , Digitone, Digitak, Deluge, the lot! Just depends on synth or sampler preferences, amount of tracks, sequencing options and other features weighed up and of course budget.
for singing tracks like you said above MC-707 could be a good option. plenty of sounds on board, sound design abilities, xlr input etc.
I really don’t like what Roland makes these days too much menu diving and way overpriced products if you ask me but thanks
I know what you mean .I forgot to mention that i have a very limited eye sight and a serious back problem too .THanks for you thoughts on this
The Elektron gear is laser focused, it is nothing like working on a laptop and much more like an instrument. The Digitakt and Octatrack are a little tricky to learn, especially the OT, but once you burn the muscle memory in then you can work so quickly. The screen is used well, not cluttered but just highly efficient.
If anyone has posture issues a cheap laptop angled stand at a desk or a laptray can both help.
I had the Polyend Tracker and sold it. Only 2 FX lanes per track and they are used by panning, velocity etc. So if you want either of those then no FX for you.
You’re really not missing out. I would advocate strongly for Elektron gear, either Model Samples, Digitakt or Octatrack, they are very tracker like in terms of per step modulations and samples. One track on one of those can play a different sample per step, as well as locking any and all parameters on a per step basis. The Digitakt and Octatrack can sequence/address 8 MIDI channels on top of their 8 normal tracks. Over time, each can be the brain of a bigger set up.
Had to sell mine due to COVID financial issues. Miss my Digitone so much. Maybe one day soon I can replace it.
yea there’s the limitations of the Polyend tracker, …and the bugs, …then the hardware issues :-s, and now they’ve switched to a plastic casing too , so parting with money for one increasingly feels like pain rather than a pleasure.
Yea I’ve seen some good stuff being done with the Digitakt, seems it’s a deep and very able machine. And heard it’s tracker like in some of the functionality. Probably only budget and the fact after a long music making break, I’m just getting back into normal sequencing and tracking which stops me from getting one and finding a new learning curve, but it’s on the wishlist - thinking of getting a Model Cycles first to see if I like the P-locks.
Yeah the Model Samples or Cycles are both great machines, especially now Elektron finally released the battery handles for them so that you can run them off rechargeable AAs and have a really portable little box. I think you would really enjoy either.
I bought an used mpc one for around 500€. I really like it, I use it all the time now. It’s just awesome for sample based things.
The integrated effects are great. It’s so easy to slice beats, put samples on pads, completely change them, resample and repeat… the piano roll and touchscreen is really not that bad. The lack of arranger view forces you to be more “auditive” about your sounds and stop too much focusing on a screen.
The MPC makes it so easy to tweak sounds by using knobs and to focus on creating. The integrated synths are good. The new 2.10 update brought new cool synths to use. Again resampling is the key here…
This tune has been made on the mpc one (my first tune). I imported the stems afterwards in bitwig and did some mixing.
That’s another cool thing. integrated effects like compressor with sidechain, eq, etc are all there. but you don’t get advanced eq with integrated spectrum analyzers. I think that’s good because you can focus on the sound and take care about engineering stuff later on the computer once the track is done.
Good stuff man, and viva la jungle revolution
just the kind of drum rhythms I’d like to do. Seems like the Akai is up to the job, and then some
Yeah at the end you can do jungle on anything as long as you can arrange midi and map notes to wav files (or even in audio in a daw…). It’s all about what makes it easier and importantly, fun. Here the Mpc does the job well.