Boss DR 660 vs Renoise

(clirke21) #1

Hey guys,

I’m currently trying to get away from the computer a little bit (for more limitations and other reasons) and am looking for a good, cheap drum machine for intricate patterns. Right now I record most of my guitarstuff onto a 4-track cassette recorder, but I wanna start programming drums soon to accompany the guitar (not the typical repetitive backing track though) WITHOUT using my laptop.

So, I’ve been checking out the Boss DR 660 as it seems to be really limited, but still capable of doing intricate stuff (Squarepusher comes to mind), but how would you guys say does it compare to Renoise? I wanna get a cheap, old sampler (a Yamaha A3000 or EMU E6400 perhaps) and then start synchronizing the drum machine using SMPTE/MIDI with my 4-track, then sequence the sampler and record the output into the recorder. This probably sounds pretty abstract and may be more complicated in practice, but it’s the basic idea.

Does anybody have experience with this?

Thanks in advance!


What standalone devices do you like for making sounds to use in Renois
(lettuce) #2

Renoise has a much better sequencer than DR660. As renoise is a sampler any sound would be available to you. If you could find the sample pack containing all the samples from DR660 you would have the same sound set in renoise. The sequencer in renoise is more difficult to learn ( triplets, delay commands, delay column ). It is possibly not as good for recording beats that have been tapped out live ( but still fine once you quantize or tidy up your recordings a bit ). It is much better in terms of sounds available ( any sampled sound ). It has a way more advanced sequencer ( possibly the most advanced sequencer in the world ). More DSP effects are available for shaping the sound of your drums. Obviously you will need to use your laptop to use renoise. DR660 is fairly limited, lots of accoustic drum sounds. It will still sound like a drum machine and not a real kit when you play guitar to it, but it wont sound good in electronic styles. They are alright though. Not too bad, not too good. Personally I’d go for renoise and find the DR660 samples online somewhere, then use a pad controller to record drumbeats. Instead of a 4-track it would make more sense to use the laptop with an audio interface ( probably cubase, but ableton would also be fine ).

(random) #3

I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to control with drumachines external devices, can not recommend
mapping is confusing, takes a lot of time.
the only exception i know are the akai mpc
with jjos can also “hardisk recording” to ram, unfortunately the pads are shitty (even with fat pads) and the hardware is cheap, but the sequencer is great
once had an akai-mpc 2500 would me today, despite cuts rather get an old mpc-2000 xl with card reader

also a possibility would be a yamaha ry-30 (my fav but very complex needs time) with sample extension.

got no experience with yamaha samplers
emu samplers are great, very flexible, similar to renoise , but the sound ist specific (more soft) not so neutral as an akai

(lettuce) #4

I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to control with drumachines external devices, can not recommend
mapping is confusing, takes a lot of time.

Exactly. Its much more convenient to use a computer to make music in general. Much less of a headache.

I tried the latest line of MPCs…I have to say the pads have really improved. They are great!

(clirke21) #5

Thanks for all the replies so far!

I think I’ll pass on the old samplers for now and either get a DR660 or an MPC1000. I guess with an MPC I can load samples onto that directly and use it exclusively without the computer…

Have any of you guys used the MPC1000 and can tell me how intricate it can get in terms of step-time programming? I don’t wanna do hiphop stuff (nothing wrong with that), but I want to have detailed, multi-layered stuff going on drum-wise.

Thanks in advance!

(random) #6

for step sequenzing the akai-mpc 1000 have a event editor, its a little similar to trackers

with jjos (in my opinion a must have) also a grid editor (piano roll) and many other improvements

(random) #7


(encryptedmind) #8

I have DR 880 and MPC 1000, 500 and Element.

DR 880 has awesome pads (20) for finger drumming and groove programming, way more sensitive than MPC, the size does not bother me though, fingers get used to it and it’s better for fast passages becos you have about 9-10 pads right under your finger tips unlike the MPC where you do have to spread thin. The drum sounds are like in a rompler but you can tweak their most used parameters. For live sounds and jazz etc this is really unmatched in any hardware so far as far as realism is concerned. You can also use it as a midi controller. Most drum machines emulate the rigid grid based electronic drums and won’t really play well with real drums without significant layering done for you which btw comes out of the box as a rompler with DR 880.

For squarepusher stuff it’s got 999 measures per pattern and you can do time signature changes as well. Things like Groove feature, realistic velocity changes, ghost notes, shuffle and swing are all there. Step edit is not at all fiddly as many would imagine. It’s basically number based wherein you dial the next position to enter the pad number by pressing that particular pad sound and it goes to the next quantized value you set right there on the display or you can go back and forth in units. You can copy paste events very easily, just go to the edit page by pressing Edit and choose Copy. It also has a visual display of a dotted grid which makes sense once you get used to it. MPC 500 does not have any of these features and it’s totally a sampler sequencer and not even a rompler. Ghost notes etc you have to manually program into MPC, in DR 880 the layered pad samples do it right out of the box. In fact in tandem you can use MPC and DR 880 to make up convincing jazz drum sequences with rides and ghost notes and flame and all that.

MPC 1000 has a better chopping display on the LCD and one more Qlink slider and other workflow conveniences but in essence the MPC 500 can has a fully flieged sample sequencer section that can do anything MPC 1000 can albeit with some workarounds or more manual working like for chopping which you use Edit->Extract in 500 rather than a waveform view. Defeats 1000 for portability by miles.

DR 880 also let’s you program bass and that takes care of your rhythm requirements in one box. This unit becomes the rompler for MPC at least in my setup in addition to software plugins and sample packs. The MPC captures swing better than DR 880 though so if groove is what you looking for then sequence in the MPC or record line out from DR 880 direct to MPC and chop from there. Phrase chop does not work on 500 but it does very well on 1000.

Finally since you mentioned, DR 880 has an excellent guitar and bass FX processor built right in. You can plug your guitar to 880 and record directly to MPC audio recording in Mode->Record and build phrases and chords live right there from the two units in front of you. Superb for live instrumentation and hip hop sampling.

(clirke21) #9

@random: Thanks a lot! I’ll check that out, the event editor reminds me a bit of the QY700, good news!

@encryptedmind: Thanks for all the info, quite extensive. I’m afraid the DR 880 doesn’t have a built-in sampler afaik and one can only use the stock sounds. I prefer to have everything in one box, you know? I can probably deal with the MPC’s limitations when it comes to programming velocity changes, ghosting etc…I’ve programmed stuff like that manually in the past.

The 500 doesn’t have JJOS afaik, right? Where I live, the 1000 isn’t much more expensive than the 500 and it includes the JJOS which I used a few years ago on an MPC 2500, so I still have good memories of that.

Guitarwise: I’m currently not really interested in doing guitarstuff within those units. All my guitarstuff will be recorded directly into the 4-track and from there I’ll play around with it. I want it that to be as raw as possible. The sampler and sequencer should take care of the drums (and perhaps bass) though.

@Renoised: Looks good! It’s quite expensive and rare though in this country, about 500€ while the MPC1000 costs around 300€ and the Dr660 about 100€ and the QY700 about 200€ (ofc you’d have to get an additional sampler in the latter two cases, so perhaps it evens out)…In terms of sequencing, does the Electribe live up to a DR 660 or even a QY700? And what are your thoughts on the Electribe ES-1?

The MPC1000 looks the most attractive to me right now. It’s pretty cheap, has a sampler + a sequencer. With enough time spent on it, I imagine one can push it pretty far to places most people wouldn’t expect it to go. Just a theory though.

What do you guys think of the Akai S2000? Is that a solid sampler? It doesn’t need to be the most complex featurewise, but it should do the job that Renoise does (comparatively, perhaps with some limitations). It’s very cheap here and I can imagine combining it with a DR660 or QY700 if need be. I’m gonna do some googling on it now.

I can currently think of three choices:

  1. MPC 1000 incl. JJOS (~300€)

  2. DR660 + AKAI S2000 (~160€)

  3. QY700 + AKAI S2000 (~275-300€)

EDIT: Nah, forget the S2000. There seem to be some major compatibility issues when it comes to SCSI…Right now the MPC1000 still seems to make the most sense…

(clirke21) #10

I just wanted to say it’s quite fun watching you brain-storm over this, watching you jump from one thing to another!
Changing your mind per-minute like that, you remind me of me :smiley:

Yes, the ESX-1 SD is expensive, but it fits your requirements like a glove. Thankfully I am able to return that Volca I bought the other day, and continue saving the cash to buy my own ESX as planned. If you get impatient like I just did, and buy something else just because the other is too expensive or currently out of your reach, then all you’ll do is set yourself back even longer, cause you won’t be able to return second-hand gear if you make a bad decision. It’s sucks to be poor, but it’s the way it is, and the only way to get anywhere if you’re poor, is to be determined. My honest opinion is that the KORG Electribe ESX-1 SD is the perfect machine for you (and I do mean perfect), so no point me commenting on the other stuff cause I wouldn’t do it that way when the ESX exists. Having the ESX would mean you have everything you want to do in a single box, and that single box could not be any more intuative to use than it already is - it’s a great machine.

Forget about price, just read the manual and act as if you already own one. Seek-out tutorial videos on how to use the sequencing etc. If you do that, you’ll soon get an idea of how crazy easy it is to use, and how well designed it is. I think KORG were really on the ball when they designed that one, it’s a great machine - one of those products they “got right” B)

I’ll think about it. There are a few things I don’t like about it, but I just remembered: What about the RS7000? You probably heard about that already, didn’t you? I think it’s the QY700 combined with a sampler and a synth engine. Huge unit, but very powerful.

(Akiz) #11

what about launchpad (stepp0r) + renoise?
Alternative to Maschine, Push etc

(clirke21) #12

what about launchpad (stepp0r) + renoise?
Alternative to Maschine, Push etc

I’ve heard about it and it’s good stuff, but I’m trying to build an alternative setup to my laptop setup that is purely hardware and doesn’t use a computer. What I want it to be is to be very limited and simple and just a few units (+ cheap). Because if I want more complicated stuff (fx etc), I’ll just use Renoise and Reaper.

That’s why I’m so attracted to the MPC1000. It’s a simple, limited, all-in-one unit with a sampler and a sequencer. It’s rather small, portable and cheap. I can get my 4-track, a guitar and the MPC and make entire tracks just using that. And the MPC fits into the 4-track mentality: simplicity and limitations. That’s why I was so attracted to the DR 660 in the first place, but it’s got no sampler, so I ruled that out. x)

(random) #13

I think an mpc100 is still one of the best hardwaresequenzer on the market, especially for the price.
the hardware is cheap, effects are boring and file management awkward
but the midi skills (midi, not a music production center) are better as at the new model (there are more focussed to hard disk recording)

the only current thing that can keep up in my opinion is the new beatmaker app with an ipad
unfortunately a bit uncertain to future, not sure how long usable, because its apple

(clirke21) #14

@Renoised: Yeah, it feels 100% right to me, it’s my gut. Can’t really explain why, but nothing wrong with trying. If I don’t like it, I can sell it. It won’t leave such a big hole in my wallet for the time being.

Depending on how deep I get into it (and perhaps I will just go straight back to using Renoise again, who knows), I may, at some point, upgrade to your combination of an A3000 and the QY700 which are both much more powerful than the MPC…But to get started, I think the MPC will do. I wanna keep it simple… :3

(GUEST:::El°HYM) #15

MPC’s are good pieces of hardware; yet #renoise is like sneaking inside an #mpc

Dont forget to post an instrument for your fellow users :walkman:

(clirke21) #16

Congratulations on your decision, Clirke, and when it arrives I hope you’re better at initial impressions than I am, I really fucked-up yesterday!

Was just spending some more time with the Volca Sample, and realised I fucked-up on my impression of it, it’s actually a really nice piece of kit!
I’ve edited out that post from the Volca thread and just added a new one.

It’s times like these I’m glad there’s an edit button :smiley:

Haha, yeah one has to be careful. Why did you give it a chance again? Maybe you wanted to like it. x)

Concerning the MPC, my decision was just solidified by what Autechre said:“If were disregarding any computers here just for this Q, i would give the mpc1000 a good excercise with its JJOS now n then.” (


(PBF) #17

I love my MPC1000. I’m on my second one actually. It’s my main sequencer/midi recorder for all my DAW-less jams. JJOS is the bees knees and these things are fun to upgrade as well. Check out MpcStuff if you haven’t so far.

(clirke21) #18

I love my MPC1000. I’m on my second one actually. It’s my main sequencer/midi recorder for all my DAW-less jams. JJOS is the bees knees and these things are fun to upgrade as well. Check out MpcStuff if you haven’t so far.

Thanks, I will!

(lettuce) #19

I dont understand why you want to exclude a laptop from your setup.

Instead of an old school MPC1000 you could use AKAI MPD218 with renoise or ableton ( or both ).

That would be a much better setup than MPC1000.

The problem with the MPC1000 is that it uses outdated RAM cards which are expensive and outdated CompactFlash cards.

The buttons are cheap and clicky and break easily. The pads are not very sensitive for live drumming.

If you are really sure that you dont want a laptop in your setup then I would say go for a newer MPC, MPC-TOUCH or MPC-LIVE…The MPC1000 is really outdated and expensive, you will regret it.

The best choice out of all the MPCs is MPCX but it is expensive as phuq son! It does have a guitar input though and audiotracks if i remember correctly.


Thanks for the DR660 sample pack!

![29707a-MPCLIVE_lifestyle_media.jpg]( ha-7962bdb0845b467e hmac-d2a7499ed34fa90628d956099130be177a2db68c/store/enhanced/items/MPCLive/29707a-MPCLIVE_lifestyle_media.jpg)


(clirke21) #20

@Renoised: That sounds great! I actually had a similar experience with 4-tracks a while ago. I just wasn’t used to them and it felt wrong on all levels…until my brain started clicking for them a bit and now I love it. Makes perfect sense. :>

JJOS is great, absolutely! It’s like an old piece of hardware that still keeps constantly evolving. Probably has its downsides, too, but from what I’ve heard, the basic version without JJOS is really not worth it…in comparison.

@lettuce: I probably should’ve been more clear, but let me explain what I wanna do a bit better: I’m not going to replace the laptop with this for good. I’ll still use the laptop, but whenever I do, I’ll just use Renoise and Reaper and I’m totally satisfied with that and have no need for any hardware with that setup. But sometimes I get bored of that and wanna get away from it and want to have something that is simple, hardware and limited…no real screens, no way of checking my e-mail or the internet real quick or log on on Discord. The 4-track was the first thing I got and I love the attitude and philosophy of it. Yeah, 4 tracks aren’t THAT great compared to modern recorders, but that’s not the point. Same with the MPC 1000.

So as an alternative setup, whenever I get bored of my laptop setup and want to work away from that within more constraints, I’m sure it’ll do fine. I get your point though. :3 It’s probably irrational and a bit insane, but that’s the way my brain works. I’m not sure why I can’t just do things like other people. :clownstep: